Medicine is forging forward with new scientific discoveries, advanced technologies, and innovative treatment methods. Not only new medicines and equipment have emerged, but the way healthcare services are delivered has been immensely changed. In these terms, telemedicine is a real mainstream now. A vast number of people have found telehealth apps very helpful and efficient. Not only telemedicine is an excellent option during the pandemic time but also in the post-pandemic period as its convenience cannot be overestimated. Good prospects of telemedicine have fueled the development of different telemedicine applications. Since this is a hot topic now, we cannot help but discuss it in detail.
What is a Telemedicine App?
Telemedicine apps are software enabling remote healthcare service delivery, efficient health state tracking, and accurate diagnosing. Using telemedicine apps at any time anyone can easily reach out to physicians, psychiatrists, and other healthcare specialists via laptops or mobile devices. Efficient communication between doctors and patients is provided by means of video calls, chats, audio messaging, telephone calls, etc.
The idea behind telemedicine is not to replace traditional medicine but to complement it. A telemedicine app is a way to go if you need to:
Get consultation and understand if a physical appointment is needed;
Get medicine prescription and renew prescription;
Treat minor health issues;
Monitor health state of people having chronic diseases;
Exchange and discuss test results;
Check and monitor the efficiency of prescribed treatment.
Telemedicine applications are a great way to deliver professional healthcare services remotely unless there are urgent symptoms that require an in-person examination.
Telemedicine apps are especially helpful for seniors, disabled persons, people living in remote areas, busy people being not able to visit a doctor during normal business hours, travelers who may forget their medications, and others. Among common people, telemedicine applications are also very popular due to an opportunity to get professional medical advisement not leaving the comfort of their homes.
Brief Overview of the Telemedicine Market
To substantiate the statement about the promise of telemedicine app development, we offer to go into the current state of the global telehealth and telemedicine market.
According to MarketsandMarkets it is anticipated to reach 87.8 billion dollars in 2022 and 285.7 billion dollars by 2027 while growing at a CAGR of 26.6%.
The main triggers of the market growth are the shortage of healthcare professionals, advancements in telecommunication, numerous benefits of telehealth, and a great number of people with chronic diseases, senior citizens, and medically underserved areas.
Benefits of Telemedicine Apps
Telemedicine solutions give an opportunity to efficiently manage numerous aspects of healthcare services due to advanced telecommunication technologies. Therefore, healthcare providers and patients can reap multiple benefits from using them. Let’s consider some of these benefits:
People can take advantage of professional healthcare consultations even being in remote areas or areas facing a shortage of experienced healthcare professionals.
People can get in touch with a doctor from the comfort of their homes and whenever there is a need for consultation. Doctors are available 24/7.
Rich talent pool
A decent telemedicine app provides a rich choice of doctors with varied specializations. People can filter out those who meet their requirements and study their profiles in detail to choose the one who has the appropriate expertise and great track record.
Lower risk of getting infected
Using telemedicine apps people can get a medical consultation staying at home without traveling across the whole city and standing in a queue waiting for an appointment. This decreases the risk to get injected or inject others.
Remote patient monitoring
With telemedicine apps, healthcare specialists can control the health state of home-care and discharged patients as well as those having chronic conditions. They monitor vitals and track the efficiency of a prescribed treatment tweaking it if needed.
Using telemedicine apps, people save time and transportation expenses. Healthcare providers, in turn, can increase revenue due to the ability to serve a larger number of patients.
Effective time management
Telemedicine apps give an opportunity to book and cancel appointments online. Doctors and patients get notified about all changes and can efficiently plan their daily activities. Moreover, app users can also get notified about new time slots and reschedule appointments.
As a rule, integration with an EHR system is a must for telemedicine apps. In such a way doctors can access medical records with a single click and update them. Consequently, doctors can quickly serve patients and treat them in a better way.
Telemedicine apps enable efficient communication. Doctors can consult patients online and securely share their health data or test results with other practitioners whose experience can help to make an accurate diagnosis or assign the right treatment.
You have got acquainted with the main advantages of telemedicine apps, but the lists can be considerably extended. Numerous benefits make such applications irreplaceable today.
Types of Telemedicine Apps
We can differentiate a few types of telemedicine applications:
Real-time interaction applications
These applications enable real-time communication between healthcare specialists and patients by means of video calls. These conferences are similar to usual live doctor consultations. In such a way patients can quickly get professional medical advice being at any corner of the world. Telemedicine apps of this type are the most sought-after.
Remote patient monitoring applications
Telemedicine applications of this type help monitor the health state of patients at high risk by allowing healthcare professionals to track patients’ activities and vitals remotely with the help of wearables and IoT-based sensors.
Remote patient monitoring applications are especially helpful for people who suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, etc., and require ongoing monitoring. These apps collect health data and quickly send it to healthcare specialists for a check. Thus, it is possible to quickly define critical changes in a health state and take timely measures.
A store-and-forward application is a telemedicine app for doctors as it enables secure sharing of patients’ health information with radiologists, physicians, cardiologists, or any other healthcare specialists in order to make an accurate diagnosis or prescribe an efficient treatment. So the primary goal of such apps is to enable smooth communication and secure data sharing between healthcare specialists.
Key Features of Telemedicine Apps
Being determined to craft a telemedicine application, one should prepare a list of features that it will have. Remember that an app should be helpful for patients and doctors. Thus, in the first instance, you should thoroughly investigate the expectations of both parties and conduct a comprehensive competitor analysis. In such a way you will be able to develop a powerful application matching the requirements of a target audience. Still, there are certain telemedicine app features that are considered to be paramount:
Taking into account the main purpose of a telemedicine app, it is hardly possible to imagine one without video calls enabling real-time virtual visits. Implementing this functionality, pay attention to the fact that video should have high quality and low latency.
Apart from video calls, it is also reasonable to provide app users with a secure chat. In such a way patients will be able to ask doctors additional questions, clarify some points, and attach files with important information.
A personal account is a must as the app stores a lot of sensitive information. The sign-up process should be simple and quick, An email or telephone number, as well as Facebook or Google, can be used for sign-in. Still, to provide appropriate security it is advised to implement multifactor authorization.
After registration, app users should fill in the form in order to create informative profiles. Patients should provide information on name, surname, age, contact details, etc. Doctors should specify their specialization, experience, current place of work, and others.
Online appointment scheduling
Online appointment scheduling is doubtlessly an essential feature as with its help app users can check doctors’ availability and book, reschedule, and cancel appointments. By the way, Google Calendar integration is a great way to make appointment scheduling even handier.
Doctors should be able to manage appointments by confirming, rejecting, and rescheduling appointments.
Notifications will keep app users updated by reminding them about upcoming appointments and other activities.
Search and filters
Integrate search algorithms and filters to help app users find a doctor with appropriate experience and background.
A dashboard is an essential tool for doctors. It helps to have everything under control, effectively manage daily activities, monitor appointments, and track the treatment of each patient.
This feature allows doctors to create digital prescriptions. With these prescriptions, patients can get medicines and other health services like lab tests. If there is a need, patients should also have an opportunity to request a prescription renewal.
Geolocation is a necessary feature for a telemedicine app due to which patients can connect with the right doctors and find nearby hospitals or the nearest pharmacies where it is possible to pick up prescribed medicines.
Due to payment integration patients can pay for healthcare services right in the app while healthcare providers can quickly receive payments for consultations. Implement only those payment gateways that provide quick and secure transaction processing. Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree are the most commonly used payment gateways.
Electronic Health Records
Doctors should have access to patients' healthcare data to provide an efficient consultation and make an accurate diagnosis. That is why it is essential to integrate an EHR system into your application.
It is reasonable to provide patients with an opportunity to evaluate doctors' services and leave feedback. This way other patients will easily find the most trustworthy doctors. Moreover, it can stir doctors to do their best as well.
Steps of Telemedicine App Development
As with any software product, a telemedicine app is developed through several stages. So, let’s have a quick look at them.
Any project begins with a discovery. A team comes up with an app concept, defines main goals, and draws up all project specifications being a backbone for the subsequent development stages.
On the ground of the project concept and requirements, it is important to prepare a plan of action. A clear roadmap is indeed crucial as it helps not miss out on any detail during telemedicine app development. In these terms, it is important to decide on target platforms, tech stack, team composition, deadlines, monetization plan, etc. Moreover, like any other healthcare application, your telemedicine app is subject to healthcare policies being in force in a particular state. So get through local laws and regularities (e.g. HIPAA, GDPR, PIPEDA, etc.) to make sure that your app is designed in compliance with them.
A prototype of a telemedicine app demonstrates how the real app will look. In such a way it will be possible to reveal mistakes and weaknesses that should be eliminated before the development process is started.
When it comes to telemedicine applications, there is no room for bells and whistles. Clarity, simplicity, and intuitiveness are the key characteristics of an appropriate UI/UX design. All users should understand how the app works on the fly.
At this stage, a team gets down to the implementation of the app functionality. Optionally, you may start with MVP development. It is a great way to get quick feedback from real users, avoid potential losses, and attract investors. Further, your product can be continuously improved as new features will be added and the existing weaknesses will be fixed.
A telemedicine app is a type of software product where bugs are just unacceptable. The highest demands are put forward to apps of this kind. Therefore, all the scope of testing activities should be carried out to provide comprehensive testing. Consistent quality is just what users expect and what can make you a big-league player.
The above-mentioned stages are applicable for the development of any application. That is why we reviewed them in brief.
What is the Cost of Developing the Best Telemedicine Apps?
The price of telemedicine app development is usually prime interest. We are not going to perplex you with certain numbers as the cost can considerably vary. Instead, we would like to draw your attention to aspects making an impact on the development expenses.
The complexity of implemented features;
Supported platforms, devices, browsers;
The elaborateness of integrations;
Team size and proficiency level of team members;
Location of a development team.
The last list item deserves particular attention. For instance, an average hourly rate of a senior developer in the USA is about USD 55, whereas in Eastern Europe it is just about USD 37. So if you are of limited means consider offshore outsourcing.
Telemedicine has dramatically changed the face of healthcare within a short period of time. This niche is considered to be a fertile field. Consequently, telemedicine app development has striking potential. Still, as any healthcare application, the best telemedicine apps are rather complex systems being also subject to state laws and regulations. To take off a telemedicine app should provide a set of features that will make doctors’ and patients’ life easier enabling efficient communication and healthcare service delivery. Beyond this, an app should be reliable, stable, secure, and user-friendly. All in all, every detail should be taken into account in order to get desired results. Therefore, it is advised to cooperate with a reliable telemedicine app development company. Devico is exactly such a company as its team has extensive expertise in the healthcare domain. So feel free to contact us to get more information.