Mar 09 , 2018

OpenTeleHealth

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OpenTelehealth : Opensource Software in Healthcare Series – 4

 

  • Name: OpenTelehealth
  • Category: Open source telemedicine platform
  • Programming Language: Javascipt
  • Major user(s): Danish national standard in healthcare IT, Aarhus University Hospital.

 

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Overview

As a relatively new concept, telemedicine is a healthcare delivery mode that functions completely in the digital realm, and as such, there exists a huge variety of software and hardware products intended to enhance these patient-provider interactions. OpenTeleHealth is one solution that is providing an open source option for telemedicine engagement.

The company started as a national project in Denmark and was fully funded by the Danish government. While the platform itself is open source, it is offered commercially as an affordable and secure cloud-based service. The company’s vision is to be adopted by institutions around the globe in order to securely provide their service, which functions as a screening tool, a remote monitoring device, daily monitoring for chronic conditions that require continuous management (e.g. diabetes, COPD), and general screenings in refugee camps. The platform has been adopted as part of the Danish national standards in healthcare IT.

OpenTeleHealth consists of a web portal with panes for the clinician to initiate interactions, by chat or video, and to review and edit patient data. There is also a reference app for the patient, which allows them to access information related to capturing measurements and describing symptoms. Its open interface allows apps to be built externally and integrated into OpenTeleHealth and it permits EMR/EHR systems and users the ability to access data and push information into the platform.

[Read About OpenMRS: https://blueehr.com/blogs/openice/ ]

Pros

The biggest benefit in using OpenTeleHealth is that it can expand the geographical reach of providers and perform many of the functions necessary for in-home care. This allows for great financial savings by keeping patients in their homes longer and it allows for physicians to see more patients. One study that looked at use of OpenTeleHealth with COPD patients found a 53% reduction of re-admissions annually, an 18% reduction of bed days per re-admission and a 49% reduction of outpatient days.[i]

The application seems to be quite easy to use, with most patients reporting that they have very little difficulty while collecting data or during the virtual meeting itself. They also tended to feel more informed and empowered in their own medical choices, leading to very high patient satisfaction.

Cons

Unlike most open source solutions, OpenTeleHealth is a cloud-based service, and as such, the service is provided for a fee, although it is customizable in a way that will allow users to integrate it within their existing network.

Another major concern that exists with using any telemedicine software are the competing regulations and confusing reimbursement policies. Different regions or states may have different requirements that would require research in order to maintain compliance and licensing requirements. There is also very little uniformity in how reimbursement for patient services is made, which can be frustrating.

The Future

Telemedicine has been around for the past couple of decades, but right now the technology is finally catching up with the theoretical concepts in a meaningful way. In the past, there were technological limitations that were often frustrating and required a huge learning curve. With the progress that has been made to limit these obstacles, there will likely be a huge increase in the demand for telemedicine and telehealth options. With OpenTeleHealth’s official presence in Denmark, as well as steady funding, the company is in a good position to grow quickly.

[Read About OpenMRS: https://blueehr.com/blogs/openmrs-opensource-software/ ]

[i]Return of investment. (n.d.). OpenTeleHealth.

Summary
OpenTelehealth : Opensource Software in Healthcare Series - 4
Article Name
OpenTelehealth : Opensource Software in Healthcare Series - 4
Description
OpenTeleHealth is a opensource solution, which was started as a national project in denmark that provided an open source option for telemedicine engagement.
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ZH Healthcare
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