Would we see the rise of telemedicine if not for the pandemic? It’s hard to say. But one thing is clear: telemedicine is here to stay. It is tapping ongoing issues today that need to be tapped, from accessibility to the healthcare inequality gap.
According to Fortune Business Insight, back in 2019, the telemedicine market volume amounted to $61.4 billion. Now it promises to reach $559.52 billion by 2027. Having your platform for the provision of medical services is not just important but vital.
So let’s start from the beginning. What is telemedicine, and how to make a telemedicine app?
What is the telemedicine app, and how it works
Telemedicine is the remote provision of medical services using digital technologies, including applications.
Many people interested in how to build a telehealth app need to understand the difference between telemedicine and telehealth. Both belong to the health IT category but differ in capabilities.
Telehealth platforms cover a more comprehensive range of services.
These include telemedicine, education, telepharmaceuticals, and other non-clinical services eligible for remote delivery.
Telemedicine focuses on clinical applications. There are several modes of medical services available through telemedicine apps:
|Mode type||What is it?||When is it used?|
|Video conferencing||An interactive mode for remote viewing of patients in real-time.||Initial examination and medical history record, diagnosis confirmation, post-traumatic rehabilitation monitoring, and psychotherapy.|
|Consultation||A mode for providing treatment recommendations in voice, text, or asynchronous video format (when data is recorded and transmitted in advance).||Adjusting the treatment plan, advising on medication, prescribing tests, and monitoring after hospital discharge.|
|Prescription issuance||A mode for issuing electronic prescriptions.||Prescribing home care prescription drugs based on the patient’s electronic medical history and examination results.|
Here’s how the application works: the patient creates an account, searches for a doctor based on symptoms, pays for services after consultation, and receives receipts.
The application can be universal or specialized. A universal application is, in fact, a marketplace with the services of various doctors, usually self-employed. A specialized application belongs to the clinic.
The benefits of telemedicine apps, proven by practical application, are hard to overestimate for doctors and patients.
Why build a telemedicine platform: benefits for doctors and patients
Providing medical care through the app benefits everyone: patients have free access to healthcare, and doctors can effectively manage their time.
Here’s how telemedicine apps improve medical businesses’ outcomes:
- Data centralization and monitoring. The application has a monitoring system and a database: all patient health information gets kept in the electronic record format (EHR). Access to EHR improves treatment efficiency and reduces the risk of medical errors.
- Schedule optimization. Industry statistics indicate that 20% of doctors work 60-80 hours weekly. Moreover, 15% of doctors admit they are susceptible to depression, so their working capacity decreases.
- Telemedicine helps in time management and workload distribution.
- Automation of administrative processes. By building a telemedicine business app, doctors can automate workflows, minimize filing reports, and maintain medical records routinely.
- Service quality assurance. With remote services, doctors can spend more time on each patient and prescribe treatment faster, positively impacting the quality of the services.
About 60% noted telemedicine’s effectiveness in serving patients from cities, suburbs, and villages. Almost 70% of specialists expressed a desire to expand the use of telemedicine in their practice.
Here’s how telemedicine apps improve patients’ convenience:
- Search for specialized professionals. Patients can search for doctors all over the world. Telemedicine services are beneficial when no specialists in the patient’s city of residence are available, and treatment is urgently needed.
- Comprehensive home treatment. The doctor assesses the patient’s condition, prescribes examinations, and makes prescriptions. The results of the SingleCare survey for January 2021 have shown that 69% of patients use telemedicine to treat common illnesses (flu, colds, allergies) and 44% for chronic ones.
- Scheduled examinations and health monitoring. More than 65% of patients are remotely monitored after hospitalization, and about 35% must undergo annual examinations. Telemedicine saves time on trips to the clinic and waiting in line.
- Access to medical data. Patients can view their medical records saved in electronic documents and send them to specialized specialists and family members using the application.
The same SingleCare survey shows that 78% of patients are satisfied with telemedicine services. At the same time, 42% of respondents noted that they saved time, and 36% said that the online meeting was successful.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the healthcare industry is now in high demand in the mobile app development market.
Top features of the telemedicine apps in 2023
Features for a doctor app
Features for a doctor appointment scheduling app include personalized calendar integration, appointment reminders, and automated appointment confirmations. Additionally, the app should offer remote scheduling for telehealth visits, provide a secure patient portal, and allow for easy management of patient records.
The “total package” app should be able to accept payments and integrate with billing systems and offer a way to book recurring appointments with patient profiles. Finally, the app should provide physicians with analytics and reporting tools to help them understand patient trends and make better decisions.
Let’s take a closer look at the main doctor app features
- Doctor’s profile: a doctor’s registration with an indication of specialization, competencies, and experience.
- Calendar: scheduling online meetings, monitoring the schedule, and changing the schedule following current requests.
- Access to the database (EHR): view electronic medical records to obtain complete information about the patient.
- Communication channels: communication with patients using text messages, voice calls, or video sessions.
- Document exchange: prescribing prescription drugs and issuing referrals for examinations.
- Payment management: receiving payment for services through the built-in payment gateway with automatic sending of receipts.
Features for a patient’s app
Features of a doctor appointment scheduling app for patients include being able to quickly and easily schedule appointments, view upcoming appointments, receive reminders, and view past visits history. This is all in addition to being able to contact the doctor’s office directly from the app. Furthermore, patients should also be able to connect with their care team through the app and receive notifications about health tips and other important updates. The must-have features for the patients are:
- Registration: creating an account for storing personal information and signing in with 2-Step Verification.
- Health Records: Medical records (EHR) that are hidden for third parties.
- Calendar: Appointment management that uses synchronization with Google Calendar and notifications.
- Geolocation: Tracking medical and pharmaceutical facilities nearby.
- Search: selection of specialists by profile, location, language, or rating.
- Communication channels: video (RTMP, WebRTC), chat, or voice.
- Payments: transactions through built-in gateways, for example, PayPal, Stripe, or Braintree.
- Rating: evaluating the quality of service through the built-in feedback system.
How to build a telemedicine platform: 4 stages
The telemedicine app software development process can be divided into 4 stages.
- Project potential assessment and business analysis. Competitors are analyzed, the target audience is determined, and user characters, User Story, and Customer Journey Map are created.
- Study of software requirements. The requirements for the telemedicine application, industry regulations (HIPAA, HITECH, etc.), and standards to be followed are defined.
- Function prioritization. A set of valuable functions for business users (doctors) and target audiences (patients) is being compiled.
It is crucial to create a minimum viable product (MVP) with the main features to test your idea in real life and validate that there is demand for it. Only after being able to sell MVP is it worth investing in further development and improvement.
We come across cases when founders don`t get enough interest from a market to their MVP, and instead of accepting it and switching to working on another idea, they invest tons of resources into developing some extra features to make this product more appealing. It is a core mistake as if the big idea isn`t successful, no additional functionality will improve it. So, MVP is needed to ensure you are moving in the right direction.Anton KumechkoProject Manager, Glorium Technologies
Planning and architecture design
- Planning: reproducing the basic logic of the application, distributing functionality across screens, and setting up logical connections between screens to ensure a high-quality user experience. It is executed based on custom scripts and a client path.
- Design: rendering all screens and graphic interface elements (buttons, logos, icons, fonts, and animations) based on the brand book to form user-friendly application logic.
Development and testing
- Development: building architecture, data exchange structures, organizing a database, developing server scripts, creating an admin panel, deploying and configuring logging systems, the layout of screens and animations, setting up logic, implementing API functionality, and adapting to Android and iOS platforms.
- Testing and bug fixing: detection of bugs and inconsistencies, elimination using Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and Bug Fixing methods.
Certification and launch
- Certification: adaptation of software to state standards and norms. For example, HIPAA in the US, 1995/46/EC (data protection), and 2002/58/EC/IEC 62304 (electronic data privacy) in Europe, the general regulation of the GDPR.
- Deployment: placing a finished application in the App Store, Google Play, and Microsoft Store.
|Technology||How is it used?||What is the result?|
|AI||Automating the interaction with the application and improving the user experience.||Natural language processing and speech recognition technology.|
|Internet of Things||Connection of intelligent wearable devices (fitness trackers, Thermal Stress Meters, etc.), which collect data about the patient’s condition and transmit it to the doctor.||Remote patient monitoring, reminders about medication intake, emergency prevention.|
|Big data||Collecting and analyzing many electronic medical records.||Making accurate diagnoses, conducting examinations, prescribing medications and drawing up individual treatment plans.|
|Blockchain||Storing medical data on secure servers and exchanging files in an encrypted format over distributed networks.||Guarantee of 100% confidentiality.|
The number and specificity of modern technologies implemented in the application are one of the factors that determine the final development cost.
How much does it cost to build a telehealth app?
It is easy to calculate the cost of software development if you know the approximate time to complete the project. To find out how long it takes to develop an application for Android and iOS, you need to estimate the timing of the stages roughly.
To calculate the cost of telemedicine solution development, it is required to estimate what experts to involve and how much time each of them is to spend. So, the budget depends on the complexity of a project.
Clarification of the client’s request and rough estimations of resources needed is done during the initial phase of implementing a project, which is discovery, when we define requirements for the future solution, determine the solution plan, technical team composition, and product details. After it is done, we provide rough budget estimates so that a client can understand the lower and upper bounds of the cost.
Within the project implementation, a client gets a detailed report with the precise cost of work done on a monthly basis.Anna VoznaClient Success Manager, Glorium Technologies
The final cost depends on many factors: the complexity of the functionality, the scale of the project, the technology stack, and the developer’s location. You don’t want to fall for the low prices – picking the right vendor right away will help you avoid double work and keep costs low.
If you are looking for a reliable provider to make your telemedicine app, choose one with experience in the field, familiar with the specific requirements and technical aspects of developing a telemedicine app. This includes understanding the various regulations and standards that must be followed and the security protocols necessary to protect patient data.
Glorium Technologies is well-versed in the latest trends and technologies related to telemedicine – contact us today and find out how to build an app that will help you get ahead of the competition.