As technology advances, more and more aspects of our lives are going digital. This trend is apparent in the medical industry as an increasing number of healthcare providers are using virtual telehealth solutions to treat patients remotely.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth usage has increased substantially. In 2019 only 11% of Americans used telehealth, compared to 46% in 2020.
While it might come with countless benefits, virtual care still needs to be cost-effective for medical professionals. For medical providers looking to go digital, here’s what you need to know about telehealth software costs.
The price of telehealth software isn’t clear-cut. Pricing depends on several factors, such as:
- The number of users on the platform (including staff and patients)
- The type of platform
- Available features
- Hosting options
- Implementation scope
Generally, the more your telehealth software can do – including the more features it has, the higher number of users, greater platform integration needs – the more expensive it will be.
Telehealth Software Cost of Hosting
Hosting will have the largest impact on telehealth software costs.
Generally, cloud-based options require a very low initial investment with recurring monthly fees. Onsite hosting has a high initial cost with reduced long term costs.
Cloud hosting is the preferred option for most medical facilities. All software and information is stored online and accessed by logging in from any computer or device, eliminating several implementation steps.
Web based software comes with many time and money-saving benefits, such as:
- No on-site server installation
- No software downloads
- No software licensing fees
- Increased flexibility
- Immediate video conferencing abilities without setup
- Simple to scale with your growing needs
Although they’re hosted online, cloud-based options are just as secure as onsite hosting. They’re all HIPAA compliant and use data encryption to protect the information as it’s transmitted.
Cloud-based telehealth software is generally billed monthly and can be charged either as a flat rate or per user.
Depending on the features you need, cloud-based telehealth software can range from under $30-$300+ per month per user to well into the thousands. Although it can get pricey per month, you won’t have to worry about initial hardware investments or maintenance fees.
Onsite hosting is when all software and information is stored on onsite servers. This type of hosting requires a strong IT infrastructure, complete with servers and hardware.
All software needs to be downloaded to onsite computers, which also requires additional licensing fees that can be quite expensive. Despite its expense and limitations, onsite hosting offers more control over your health systems.
The true expense for onsite telehealth software is in the initial investment. Servers, network devices, computers, and licensing fees can cost into the tens of thousands of dollars for even small to medium-sized healthcare facilities, and they all need to be in place before you can start using your telehealth software.
Onsite options are better for large facilities with the IT infrastructure and tech support teams to handle the additional maintenance and management.
As mentioned previously, the cost of telemedicine monthly fees will depend on the features you need. You can find telehealth software with features to support just about any need, no matter how unique.
Some low cost telehealth software offer both free and paid versions. Common features that they can provide include:
- Simple, easy-to-use interfaces
- Live chats via text or video with a healthcare provider
- No downloads
- Patients don’t need to create a login
Naturally, the free version offers limited features but will still allow healthcare professionals to treat patients virtually.
More expensive cloud-based software can come with advanced features for more streamlined telemedicine services, including:
- Virtual exams
- Virtual waiting rooms
- Medical billing
- Online prescriptions
There are hundreds of software options to choose from. In addition to the above, telehealth platforms can include a range of different features, such as:
- Online chat functions to increase patient engagement
- Store-and-forward options
- EMR integrations
- Real time reporting and analytics
- Device integrations
- And more
Find the option that best supports your needs and goals to ensure that your telemedicine program enhances patient care.
Additional Telehealth Costs
Once you’ve found the telehealth software of your choice, there are some additional costs you might need to consider to strengthen your telehealth program.
While most telehealth software works with standard computer hardware, you might want to upgrade your microphones, cameras, and speakers to support a better experience for both patients and medical providers.
Telehealth is all about the details. If doctors can’t see patients because of a fuzzy image or the microphone keeps cutting in and out while patients are explaining their ailments during a virtual visit, it’s not going to be a beneficial experience for anyone.
Prices for telehealth hardware can range anywhere from $100 for quality microphones and external cameras to up to $30,000 for an all-in-one, top-of-the-line telemedicine system.
To properly examine a patient, doctors need medical devices. How do you take a patient’s vitals during a telehealth visit? Standard stethoscopes don’t work on computer screens.
Luckily, there’s a wide array of specialized equipment designed to suit any specialty, including:
- Digital telescopes
- Vital sign monitors
- Digital otoscopes
- Digital stethoscopes
- Exam cameras for high-definition, up-close inspections
- ENT scopes
- And much more
Healthcare providers can use these tools to take detailed information from the patients virtually to provide a higher level of care. Like any medical equipment, these devices can be expensive, ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per device.
Telehealth software isn’t always easy to use, and the only way to provide effective patient care is to understand the system. Proper training allows your staff to utilize every feature your telehealth software has to offer.
Many telehealth consulting and support services offer user training to teach medical professionals how to use the software, and technical training to instruct IT personnel on how to maintain and manage the system.
Training can range anywhere from $200 to $2,000 and beyond, depending on the number of people you need to train, the complexity of the system, and the type of equipment involved.
Finding the Right Telehealth Software For Your Clinic
With countless software and feature combinations available, it can be a daunting task to find the right telehealth software for your practice.
If you need help finding and implementing the perfect telehealth software solution – or simply don’t have time to research the options – the experts at True North are here to help.
We have over 14 years of experience helping medical professionals perfect their IT infrastructure by identifying, implementing, and managing the ideal IT solutions for their unique business needs.
Using our extensive experience, we’ll also provide comprehensive user training and long-term support for all your telehealth solutions. From decision-making to implementation, we’ll be with you every step of the way.
Ready to provide exceptional patient care with an effective telehealth solution built for your business? Contact the IT professionals at True North to get started.