Telehealth: the technology behind the service

by Apr 15, 2020

With COVID-19 setting in and the landscape changing for almost every organisation around the globe, the demand for Telehealth technology has increased significantly. Health professionals are now forced to setup and provide services via Telehealth but don’t know where to start. Having the service up and running is important, but what’s most important is that the technology chosen is fit for purpose now and in the future.

Providers are rushing in to this decision and using consumer products such as FaceTime, Skype (consumer), Facebook or Google Hangouts. Others are flocking to use Zoom due to the popularity of the tool and clever marketing about its ease of use. A little bit of research will quickly uncover major security issues with these platforms, on top of the fact that they are not HIPAA / HITECH & HITRUST compliant. Zoom has launched a Telehealth specific product, however this starts at $200US per month.

So what tools can I use?

There are still a few options, however we have found Coviu and Microsoft Teams to offer the best combination of features and security for health professionals. Whilst Coviu & Teams have been around for a number of years, until recently Teams has been targeted mostly at education and corporate markets. Both platforms will deliver great features for Telehealth at a similar pricepoint, however Teams comes as part of a productivity suite which will enhance your entire working experience.

What do I get, and why do I need it?

Teams comes as part of Microsoft 365 which is a productivity suite from Microsoft, the same one you’ve been using for years. This version however is completely in the cloud, and has a stack of additional features and security. In addition to Teams, you get the following:

  • Business email & calendar
  • Cloud file storage & sharing
  • Web, mobile & desktop versions of MS Office
  • Security & compliance
  • Task management and online bookings
OK great but back to Telehealth – how does it work?

The core Telehealth technology is Microsoft Teams – it is the platform you will use to actually meet with patients, colleagues and consultants. Teams is accessible on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS and is free for your clients to use. If using a PC or Mac they won’t need to install any software, simply send them a meeting invitation and they can open the link in a web browser. For phones and tablets, the Microsoft Teams app is a free download from the App Store or Google Play.

Once the session is started you’ll have high definition video and fantastic audio quality, as well as the ability to share content from your device. If you have an app that’s tablet or phone specific you can join from an additional device and share this content too. You also have ability to record the session if you like, and everything remains secure and compliant in the Microsoft cloud. Working from home? You even have the ability to change your background if you happen to be working from the kitchen table:

Outside of running the sessions themselves, the additional features of Microsoft 365 will simplify the rest of your work. Here’s how some of the other tools could work for you:

Business email & calendar
Manage your emails and appointments using Microsoft Outlook – the industry leader in email. Send emails up to 150MB and never run out of space with up to 100GB of email in your mailbox.

Cloud file storage & sharing
Create, modify and share resources, documentation and case notes with patients and other professionals. Access all of your files from anywhere on any device.

Task management and online bookings
Manage your to-do list with – ToDo. The perfect app to keep you on track, it integrates seamlessly with Teams & Outlook. It even has its own app for desktop, tablet and mobile. Use Microsoft Bookings to manage customer appointments, even allow them to manage their own bookings if you like!

How do I get started?

If you would like some more information see our modern workplace page or book a free 30 minute consultation with us below. To get started with Microsoft 365, contact us and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

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