Developing a Telemedicine Application
One of the main problems of mankind is that it keeps growing. Growing population causes shortages of all types of resources: mineral resources such as oil, gas, ores etc., water, flora and fauna, as more people need more everything to live.
The forecasts also show that population increase will result in a lack of professional doctors, especially in remote or rural locations. Actually, even today we can face this problem trying to make an appointment with a doctor – sometimes, you need to wait as long as over a month to see your doctor.
Insufficient number of healthcare professionals will consequently lead to an increasing number of people living with undiagnosed diseases, lacking proper treatment. Seems like a promo of some post-apocalyptic movie where doctors are hunted for and kept in custody for ages, doesn’t it?
But no need to have so big worries as there is such a thing as telemedicine.
Telehealth involves the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It allows long distance patient/clinician contact and care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring and remote admissions. Telemedicine is sometimes used synonymously, or is used in a more limited sense to describe remote clinical services such as diagnosis and monitoring. When rural settings, lack of transport, lack of mobility (i.e. In the elderly or disabled), decreased funding or lack of staffing restrict access to care, telehealth can bridge the gap. (Wikipedia)
With the IT/Telecom industry on the rise, telemedicine is a solution to provide the population with the needed healthcare services, as telehealth software will certainly make even the most remote locations reachable for healthcare providers as over half of the planet’s population is now ‘connected’, i.e. has smartphones or other portable communication devices with the Internet connectivity.
Moreover, telemedicine helps not only patients but healthcare providers as well, in particular it helps small and understaffed hospitals maintain a high level of healthcare service through connecting to large clinics and getting advice from their experienced doctors.
Even certain surgeries can now be conducted by a team members of which can be located in various locations: a surgeon, an assistant, and a surgical nurse in the surgery room, and other doctors attending the procedure over the video conference.
All these factors, supported by the mentioned improvements of the ITdomain, result in an obvious growth of telehealth and telemedicine market. The report by the Research & Markets states that this industry is expected to pass $50 bln in the next 5 years, as the industry is now supported by a strong growth of mobile and web telemedicine apps.
As seen from the picture above, only in the US the telemedicine market jumped almost 10 times in just 6 years, from $200 mln to approx. $2 bln. Same thing occurred to the number of patients who used telehealth way of healthcare service. The global figures generally repeat the trend.
All this virtually shouts that telemedicine and adjacent services will be a tasty pie everyone would want to bite in the nearest time. But there is still some time to claim a small but very profitable piece of place on it… We have conducted our small analysis and compiled this post to let readers learn about telemedicine app development, cost of telehealth app development, and how creating telehealth app can help to become a part of the promising and quickly developing market.
Benefits of Creating a Telemedicine App of Your Own
Though the telehealth industry is rising and has a lot of dedicated software densely packed with features and functions, benefits of a telemedicine app that is made to an individual order can be huge and become one of the main drivers of the app owner’s business success.
Let’s see why one can opt for building an own app for telemedicine instead of picking one of already existing solutions.
The most relevant answer to the above question is that existing software may not have those functions or features you see added to your projected iPhone telemedicine app or Android telemedicine app. Moreover, it can host a bunch of those you don’t need at all. Additionally, there can be an awesome telehealth app for iphone both patients and doctors love to use but this can be missing for Android or other platforms.
Starting telemedicine app that is custom-made can benefit caregivers through opening to them an absolutely new business model, i.e. both independent medical practitioners and clinics/hospitals get a new source of income with the telehealth doctor app. It means that they attract new customers (patients) who for some reasons are not able or do not want to come for an in-person visit. The patients can live somewhere very far or even be on a business trip abroad but anyway be able to ‘visit’ their doctors, undergo medical exam, and get appropriate prescriptions. In one word, telehealth mobile app, developed with adherence to the Good Medical Practice requirements and hosting a flexibly configured set of functions, ensures availability of healthcare.
Another feature that makes it worth to create own telemedicine app is improved patient management and monitoring. Better follow-up, better prescriptions management, better disease course monitoring, better everything, virtually.
Telehealth mobile app installed on a doctor’s phone helps the healthcare specialist manage their time more efficiently and avoid work overloads.
For independent practitioners and clinics, the use of telemedicine software eases their administrative operations as built-in automation features will respond for all the routine form filling and document handling, freeing the doctors’ time for purely healthcare tasks.
And, the key benefit of telehealth for healthcare institutions and doctors is better patient engagement and increased patient satisfaction. Reduced waiting time, more focused doctors, no need to go to the hospital, increased electronic security make the patients have a better experience with the healthcare service. This leads to more loyal patients and, respectively, increased revenues for caregivers.
Key Features of a Mobile Telemedicine Application
Telehealth mobile app can have a lot of different features and functions which vary based on the area of application, platform and many other factors. However, there is a set of basic, or key, functions that must be implemented in each and every telemedicine mobile app if the app owner wants it to be successful for the business and useful for doctors and patients.
This is a very important feature for both doctors and patients, as the doctors can search for patients’ past medical conditions and provide a more accurate diagnosis in a remote mode, and the patients may choose the best doctors to get the best treatment.
Scheduling and Booking
Thanks to this feature patients get connected with doctors for a medical check. The patients can check whether their doctors have available timeframes and if yes, then book this time for the consultation. In case of a need, the patients can easily cancel the meeting from within the app. From the doctor’s standpoint, this feature can improve time management and be always aware of all appointments and cancellations if any.
This feature results of the above one as it sends notifications to both doctor’s and patient’s phones about the scheduled video visit, letting both sides not miss the appointment. It can also be configured to remind patients about drug intake times as certain medications require exact intake timing to have proper effect.
It is a very useful feature providing both sides with an access to the patient’s record anytime and from any location. The doctors can inquire for the patients’ medical records to see the anamnesis and improve the diagnosis, while the patients can check the whole tree of their health history.
Another great feature that improves the overall patient experiences. The doctors can send absolutely legal drug prescriptions to the patients via the app or through any supported external app such as email, SMS, Skype etc. Moreover, the telehealth mobile app is capable of storing all of such ePrescriptions is a single place ensuring an easy access to them for reporting or other needs at a later date.
Protected In-App Calls (both Voice and Video) and Secure Chat
Patients need to contact their doctors in a secure way, be it an ordinary voice call or video call for better understanding of the symptoms. Secure in-app chat helps both sides quickly reach out to each other to share some photos, notes etc. or discuss any issues and questions that can arise.
Secure payment gateway is a must for patients as they are so able to pay for a specialist’s consultation without any additional efforts, using various payment options such as Paypal, bank cards etc. They are also able to see all their transactions in a single place, what is very useful for budget control.
It is a very important feature as it helps patients see how other patients rate certain healthcare specialists. Everyone wants to get the best quality for their money, for sure. And this option provides a tool to find and contract the best doctors.
This feature is mostly needed in the United States, as the federal and state laws there require patients to connect to healthcare specialists in their home/residence states. Having this feature implemented, a telemedicine mobile app shows locations of the specialists on the map thus ensuring the law requirements are met.
Technology Stack of Telemedicine App Development
DIGIS has analyzed cases of the top telehealth apps in terms of their technology stack and come to the conclusion that despite all telemedicine apps, be it an iOS telemedicine app or Android telehealth app, are different, they are all built with the use of the following technologies:
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Telehealth industry now sees a great deal of AI/ML implementations to create high quality telemedicine apps. These cases include various chatbots that perform some of the initial routines and free doctor’s time for really important things. AI/ML also help improve understanding in case of some speech disorders in patients.
Blockchain technology is marching on the planet as it is the most popular security enabling platform. Since patient health data is private and cannot be disclosed, telemedicine apps must provide for 100% security of such data. Blockchain prevents data leaks and losses and ensures their secure storage to meet HIPAA and GDRP requirements.
Healthcare means tons of papers and documents sometimes stored at different locations on different servers and devices. Without proper searching, filtering and processing features, it would be a complete mess to find something in this document universe. Big Data algorithms help collect and process data from multiple sources and let healthcare specialists improve diagnostics, save time and, respectively, reduce operational costs.
Last but not least technology on our short least, which contributes a lot to implementing a successful telehealth doctor mobile app or telemedicine patient app. It is because there are so many external healthcare accessories now such as smartwatches, smartbands, HR sensors, blood sugar monitors etc. with the connectivity to smartphones, laptops and other devices, All these accessories collect patient’s vitals that further need to be processed and analyzed by healthcare specialists. IoT is here to help as it enables all these devices work in a single loop and communicate between each other. This capability ensures an improved accuracy of medical exam results and, consequently, an improved accuracy of diagnoses.
DIGIS feels very joyful that we have successful cases in our portfolio where we implemented these technologies, especially in our custom software developed for the healthcare industry. Check out our case studies to see the confirmation.
Telemedicine App Development Cost
This is a very individual thing, we tell, as the final cost of your telemedicine app will depend on its type, available budget, and the development mode.
It is important to explain at the very beginning that value of a mobile telemedicine app on its own can be as low as almost nothing. Mobile telemedicine apps are parts of their respective telemedicine platforms, each of which consists of a patient app (installed on patient phones), a doctor app (deployed on doctor phones or laptops), and a comprehensive admin panel to connect both sides together.
Therefore, calculating an approximate budget for your telemedicine app development, you need to think about how to link it to other components of the platform. You need to choose the right SDK and APIs for the development as it will affect the overall cost of the project.
Another aspect to be accounted for is whether your telemedicine app will be cross-platform or it will run on some certain sole platform like iOS, Android etc.
One more essential thing to consider is integration with different medical sensors, accessories etc. It is very important as telemedicine iPhone app may integrated with those healthcare wearables which are not supported by Android telehealth software, and vice versa.
Planning your budget for the telemedicine app development project, be sure to make a consideration for the choice of development partner, especially the location. Why? Because developers charge differently at different locations. Below is the picture showing how different the rates can be.
Rough calculations show that telemedicine app development cost can start from $75,000 and go as high as $500,000 or above. The main driver of the price is technical complexity, number of external integrations, and the choice of software development agency. Be sure to anticipate all these factors before starting the project.
What is obvious for us and for everyone else is that Telemedicine and Telehealth is growing. All attributes show that this growth will be steady and will continue, at least in the next 5-10 years.
With that being said, this market is seen as a very good option to find the right niche for your business and reach so-desired success.
What is needed to be done to find the right way how to make a telemedicine app is to elaborate a clear vision of the app future, i.e. how it will be used, who will use it, what it will need to do and so on.
Another box to check is to look for a reliable development partner with a proven past experience in the domain.
Never start with implementing another Teledoc, start with an MVP to test and validate your business idea: in case it is a fail, you won’t go bankrupt and lose only a fixed amount of your financial resources, and in case it shows success, you can painlessly scale it up to a needed level or to a new state/country.If you already have more or less clear idea but not sure what to start from, reach out to DIGIS and use our extensive domain experience to get answers to your questions. We don’t give vain promises, we give guarantees. If we see that your idea is not viable, you’ll learn it not after the app going live but prior to requirements collection, and so you will have your money safe.