Secure applications: Store-and-forward technology platforms and applications have proven to be extremely easy and inexpensive to use and maintain. Meanwhile, HIPAA compliance is an essential software feature for any providers in this arena; thus, platforms specific to healthcare offer compliance assurances as well.
Scheduling flexibility: The primary care physician, specialist, and patient do not all have to be available at the same time for a group consultation appointment as long as the data can be shared outside of that face-to-face setting. Instead, the specialist can review the medical data/files at their earliest convenience and reply to the patient.
Convenience: There is no travel involved. Patients can be located anywhere, so long as the patient records are securely accessible. This means doctors can “see” patients from wherever they are and conduct real-time consults on an as-needed basis.
Reduced wait times: Reports from medical specialists, especially in telemedicine care processes, are typically made available within a few hours of the request. This information is not only available to the physician specialists and primary care physicians, but the patient as well. He or she can also access their test results much sooner than if they had to schedule an in-person appointment for the physician to read them their test results.
Second opinions: Store-and-forward helps expedite the process of obtaining second opinions because the data files can be easily bundled and forwarded to a second physician or specialist, almost instantaneously.
Data review: As patients, we’ve all experienced a situation where an old school physician enters the examining room and barely glances at the charts and files right in front of them, but instead relying primarily on a dialogue with the patient and/or nurse. In a telehealth setting, the files themselves are all that the specialist or physician has to work with, so they must remain especially attentive to the information those files contain—more so than they would in a traditional clinic or office-based practice setting.
Reduced language barriers: Store-and-forward all but eliminates the need for physicians, specialists, and patients to speak the same language. This greatly increases the markets and demographics in which healthcare professionals can provide care xii.