Outside of a traditional clinical setting, your technology likely isn’t dictated by your employer. So, what should you choose and how can you effectively get yourself setup?
Being a telemedicine provider gives you freedom. Freedom to live where you want, work where and when you want, and hopefully live a fuller more balanced life. It also lets you determine how you want to set up your remote work environment and organize your technology.
To help, we’ve outlined a list of digital health tools designed to increase your telemedicine practice productivity and make your technology work for you. Get organized, communicate effectively, stay secure, and have a little fun while enjoying the flexibility of working for yourself.
Schedule Your Time
Working for yourself gives flexibility, but you’ll still need to commit to time blocks and schedule out your working time. Hopefully, you’ll be able to schedule in more fun activities too. Keep track of it all with a calendar program that works with your chosen devices and time zone trackers for scheduling when you are traveling across the country or overseas.
Google Calendar: for Gmail users, it may be easiest to leverage Google calendar as it imports flights and events based on emails (free)
Apple/iPhone Calendar: for Mac users, Apple’s native calendar app is clean and user-friendly and can integrate with other calendars (free)
Fantastical 2: a Mac app that allows you to verbally create events, create multiple calendars (work vs. play) and can even automatically switch calendars based on where you are located (if I’m at home, trigger play please!) ($4.99)
Time zone tracking
Figure It Out
Figure it Out: a time zone Chrome extension that colorfully displays the time zones you work and play in every time you open a new tab (free)
Zones: an easy-to-use time zone calculator app for your iPhone - you can even look at future times in multiple zones for scheduling ease (free)
Communicate with Ease
While your telemedicine software will provide you with the interface to communicate with patients, outside of work you won’t be as tied to your professional communication channels as you may have been in the past. Maybe you’ll even want to set up a new email account for your new role as an independent telemedicine provider. Keep friends, family, and colleagues in the loop with these great email clients and communication tools.
Gmail: the most popular online email client for a reason - good spam and promotional message filtering, ample storage space, and free to use (free)
Outlook: still a great email option for Microsoft users - can handle larger email attachments than most email clients and is a solid cloud email service (paid as part of Microsoft Office)
ProtonMail: for those concerned with privacy, a secure email client developed by Swiss CERN that offers end-to-end encryption for messages (free)
Note that these are not HIPPA compliant email clients. Typically you won’t need to communicate with patients outside of your telemedicine software service. But just in case, here is a list of HIPPA compliant email services.
Messaging, chat, and calls
WhatsApp: when traveling abroad, you’ll want this messaging app for communicating with calls (even video calls) and texts over wifi (free)
Google Hangouts: again, Google prevails with a great interface for chat and video calling over wifi with the ability to patch in multiple parties for group calls (free)
Browse with Power
For us there is no question, Google Chrome is the browser of choice. Not only is it easy to use and secure, but it also syncs your preferences and bookmarks across devices and is feature-packed with extensions. Extensions add power and functionality to your web browser and there are even some useful extensions available for healthcare providers.
Chrome extensions for healthcare providers
Scripps Health Library Explorer
Retina Medical Search: self-dubbed “ the internet for physicians”, a web browser for healthcare professionals that filters out consumer sites (free)
Scripps Health Library Explorer: a free medical library for searching disease information, treatments, tests, and related symptoms and conditions (free)
HonCode Toolbar: Developed by UN nonprofit Health on the Net Foundation, alerts you to websites that are HON-certified (READ: trustworthy) medical sites so you know what you are stumbling into when conducting online research (free)
Useful Chrome extensions
Ghostery: ad-blocker that speeds up page load time and blocks your browsing history (free)
Momentum: beautiful motivation every time you open a new tab, plus weather in Celsius (free)
EarthView: experience stunning Google Earth imagery with each new tab (free)
Get Out There and Get Online
As a telemedicine provider, you’ve joined the digital nomad workforce. Theoretically, that means you can work from wherever right? Keep up with the latest travel deals and get out there, but stay connected while you’re at it so you can still see patients and pay for all those travel tickets.
WiFi Map: an app that helps you find free wifi wherever you are worldwide, with notes and passwords submitted by users (free)
Workfrom: an app that helps you find places to work remotely, with handy options to filter by quiet spaces, good wifi, open late, private workspaces, and more (free)
Scott’s Cheap Flights: the ultimate in travel deals delivered straight to your inbox - warning, if you’re at all wanderlust-inclined this can be dangerous (free and paid premium options)
Hotel Tonight: find a last-minute cheap or discounted hotel (tonight!) with this app (free)
Stay up-to-date when you are on-the-go with apps and reference tools you can access on your phone. Before practicing telehealth, you may have used your commute to catch up on medical news. Now you can take advantage of time spent at an airport on the way to your next adventure to access one of these resources, network with other medical professionals, and keep your medical knowledge on point.
Medical education and reference
Medscape: Another core medical reference app (free)
VisualDX: The most exhaustive medical image library app (free)
Sermo: social networking app specifically for doctors (free)
Figure1: like an Instagram for doctors, a HIPPA-compliant photo-sharing app to discuss medical cases with visual imagery (free)
Stay Productive, Organized, and Secure
Working for yourself is nice, but it requires a certain level of discipline. Staying organized and productive is the name of the game for efficiently working independently.
If you primarily work from a desktop computer at home or often travel, you’ll want to store important files, documents, and notes in the cloud for access from wherever. Cloud storage can also act as a backup in case your laptop or computer is on the fritz. And password managers keep your logins securely housed in one place. (You’re not just using the SAME login everywhere are you?!) Consider yourself put-together with these tools.
Take a Break Please: an app for Mac that does just that - makes you take a break for a walk, a stretch, or to clear your mind for a few minutes before getting back at it ($0.99)
ToDoist: make to-do lists that you can access from any device and share with others (free with paid options)
Grammarly: an app and Chrome extension that reviews your writing everywhere (word documents, google docs, email, etc.) for proper grammar and spelling - feels like cheating, but just may change your life (free with paid options)
Squid: if you’re an Android user or have a Chromebook, this app lets you take handwritten notes on your device and has lots of cool editing features (free with paid options)
Cloud organization/document management
Evernote: save notes, lists, web pages, pictures, and ideas in this free app that has great search functionality (free with paid options)
Google Drive: document management and cloud storage with 15 GB free; cheap to upgrade for more space (free with paid options)
Dropbox: cloud storage with 2 GB free (free with paid options)
1Password: saves/stores passwords & usernames; works across Mac/PC/Android/iPhone (starts at $2.99/month)
LastPass: a browser extension and mobile app that remembers usernames and passwords and auto-logs in for all your saved websites; you can also use it to save addresses and other notes (starts at $2/month)
Have an app or tool you can’t live without as a telehealth provider? Tell us about it on Instagram!