The healthcare industry is changing incredibly fast. The adoption of new technologies here is high, and the telemedicine niche is what has been booming for the last few years. Back in 2019, the US telemedicine market amounted to about $50 billion, but by the end of 2023, it’s projected to reach as much as $194 billion. And the market growth will only continue.
In this regard, many investors and startup owners wonder how to make a telemedicine app that will live up to their expectations and bring profit. Let’s find out what telemedicine applications for healthcare are, what features they should have, and what the development steps are.
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Table of contentWhat is a Telemedicine Application?Key Reasons to Develop a Telemedicine App: Unlocking the PotentialFeatures of a Telemedicine App: Patient’s PartFeatures of a Telemedicine App: Doctor’s PartStrategies for Successful Development of a Telemedicine ApplicationPitfalls and How to Avoid Them When Developing a Telemedicine ApplicationCost of Developing a Telemedicine AppTelemedicine Mobile App Monetization ModelsDevelop a Telemedicine Application with WeelorumFinal ThoughtsFAQ
What is a Telemedicine Application?
Let’s start our telemedicine app development guide with some definitions. Many confuse telemedicine and telehealth concepts. Let’s learn a bit about both so we never mix them up:
- Telemedicine. Telemedicine apps are focused exclusively on direct patient care, delivered via the Internet with the help of telemedicine solutions. Telemedicine services are also called remote clinical services.
- Telehealth. In their turn, telehealth apps refer to a much broader range of healthcare-related activities, including educational, administrative, and other non-clinical services.
Telemedicine may be regarded as a subset of telehealth, as it represents a more narrow definition.
The main types of telemedicine app development solutions are as follows:
- Live Video Conferencing Apps
These telemedicine app development solutions are 100% focused on remote real-time interactions between providers and patients.
- Asynchronous video or Store-and-Forward Apps
These apps do not focus on real-time interaction between providers and patients. Instead, a healthcare specialist accesses a recorded medical history, evaluates the case, and provides services without talking to the patient in real time.
- Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
With these types of telemedicine software, assigned providers can monitor a patient’s vital signs, conditions, and overall health state.
- Mobile Health (mHealth)
Such solutions allow for self-monitoring of health with the help of fitness trackers and similar devices. They are suitable for tracking outbreaks or managing chronic conditions.
Key Reasons to Develop a Telemedicine App: Unlocking the Potential
Telemedicine has many advantages, as was proven during the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s see in detail the benefits of telemedicine mobile app development:
The demand for telemedicine services is steadily growing. More and more patients prefer clinics where they don’t have to go in person and still receive good medical care. Accordingly, the amount of profit generated by such solutions is also growing. The global remote patient monitoring market is expected to reach $32.3 billion by 2027.
Significant Time Savings
Patients don’t have to spend time commuting or waiting in lines. They can get fast primary care and referrals for tests for a more in-depth conversation with a profile specialist.
Location Independent Consultations
Telemedicine provides the opportunity to receive a consultation from a professional, regardless of where the doctors and patients are located. For example, a resident with mental health issues from a distant city can consult with a specialist from a clinic in a larger city that specializes in their case.
Telemedicine reduces and redistributes the workload of medical staff, allowing them to spend more time with patients. It helps to organize and store all medical records, appointments, tests, and diagnoses.
Because of the ease of access to this kind of service and electronic health records, clinics can increase the number of their clients significantly and consult them from anywhere in the country and even the world. Now, patients give preference to clinics with remote screening and counseling services.
Telemedicine technologies help improve the overall quality of life of the patient. In addition, it helps in the adaptation of people with low mobility or with disabilities who can get basic medical care on an equal footing with others.
Features of a Telemedicine App: Patient’s Part
Let’s take a look at the patient-centered features of developing a telemedicine app.
Signup and Setting Up a Personal Account
Telemedicine software has to deal with sensitive patient information, so registering and setting up a personal account is due. Customization capabilities may also come in handy here.
Search and Filters
A telemedicine app may have an array of available providers, a library with guidelines, a vast number of functionalities, etc. Also, integrating some navigation, search, and filter options is what would only add to the patient experience.
Video Calling and Audio Consultation
Most patients download telemedicine apps to get a remote consultation. Video and audio calling is the first feature to include if the software is intended to connect providers and their clients.
Some patients prefer to get consulted via chat. Others may need to ask some questions prior to a consultation. Therefore, the option to contact a provider via chat is another must-have feature.
Of course, some appointment management is due to the high-quality service delivery. Appointment scheduling functionality allows for convenient remote consulting with no fuss.
Payment Management System
Hardly a non-profit telemedicine app exists, so integration of a payment system with multiple payment options included is also important.
Clients have a bad habit of dropping software solutions and even scheduled appointments. Develop a telemedicine app that will send appropriate push notifications and enjoy higher client engagement and retention rates.
Reviews and Ratings
It would be difficult for clients to pick a perfect-fit provider without looking at reviews. Leaving the opportunity to rate a medical specialist is always the right call to build the customer’s trust.
Features of a Telemedicine App: Doctor’s Part
The doctor-centered side of a telemedicine app should have some specific functionalities integrated.
Signup and Setting Up a Work Account
Providers must be registered and have the description of their expertise filled out. You may also offer them to indicate their majority, testimonials, services, and more.
A provider should be able to confirm or reject appointment requests so there’s no misunderstanding between parties involved in the treatment process.
Search and Filters
Healthcare providers may have an array of patients they have already consulted. The opportunity to search for a specific client will be incredibly useful for them.
With this functionality, patients may receive their prescriptions and share them with the pharmacy of their choosing to get medications sold to them. But remember, providers should have the legal right to sign prescriptions for their patients.
To deliver treatment, a provider should get access to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR). Healthcare authorities require HIPAA verification to be completed in order to download a particular patient’s EHR.
As a service vendor, a healthcare provider should have access to data from telemedicine apps, such as statistics for consultations delivered, statuses of appointment schedules, the progress of patients’ treatments, and more.
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Strategies for Successful Development of a Telemedicine Application
How do you develop a telemedicine app? Consider following these six phases precisely:
Step 1: Market Research and Ideation
In the first stage, it’s important to conduct solid market, competitor, and target audience research. This will help to select the exact telemedicine application type, its purposes, niche, and more. For example, in the present day, applications that are centered in particular fields, such as psychology, physiology, ophthalmology, etc., are prevalent. They are regarded as more trustworthy compared to general-purpose ones.
Step 2: Planning
In the next stage, you should plan the exact objectives to be achieved, time and money expenses, labor resources required, and more. You may need a vendor’s help for more accurate estimations here.
Step 3: Designing
Then, you create sketches, as well as low-fidelity and high-fidelity design prototypes of the future telemedicine application. It’s important to stick to the standards of UI/UX design and carefully plan the way clients will interact with your software and healthcare providers to guarantee the best user experience.
Step 4: Development
Then goes a design stage, followed by the development of the MVP or a fully-fledged solution. It includes the integration of must-have APIs, payment getaways, etc. During custom telemedicine app development, engineers must ensure trouble-free operation and compliance with all regulatory documents (e.g., HIPAA). Also, at this stage of telemedicine software development, the team implements quality video and audio communication and many other essential functions.
Most often, the following tech stack is chosen for this niche:
- Frontend: Kotlin, Java (Android), Swift (iOS).
- Backend: Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Elixir
- Video conferencing: RTMP, Twilio, WebRTC
- Database: MySQL
- APIs and frameworks: Stripe, EC2, S3
- Security: Multifactor authentication (MFA), AES-256 encryption.
Step 5: Testing and Launching
Then, you should proceed with QA testing to ensure your software solution functions as expected. The stages end with the deployment of the software to the app store.
Step 6: Gathering Medical Providers Team and Monitoring Results of their Work
After launching your app, you require staff that will provide app users’ services. You may recruit certified specialists yourself or allow them to register via your app for free. This way, you will get many willing providers for customer choosing. Consider monitoring their work results to avoid letting less reliable specialists spoil your app’s image.
Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them When Developing a Telemedicine Application
Let’s find out what challenges for developing the telemedicine app you may face.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the US federal civil law that protects the privacy rights of individuals that use healthcare services. It applies to digital software that serves as an intermediary between providers and patients. HIPAA provisions are pretty strict. They impose requirements for handling, hosting, and managing patient data.
Similar regulations, such as GDPR, are relevant for applications intended for EU citizens, or PIPEDA, applicable for Canadian citizens. Mobile platforms and software marketplaces may have their own platform-specific requirements regarding information handling.
The crucial point is ensuring software compliance with the imposed regulations to avoid penalties for their violation.
Regulations set requirements regarding data handling, but security measures are equally important. Sensitive patient information should be protected against hacker attacks, and developers should prevent any data leaks. It’s crucial to consider ways in which providers access patient history to avoid the disclosure of information that is not related to a particular treatment case.
Video and Audio Quality
Telemedicine development is all about establishing clear contact between providers and patients. Examination and consultation would not be possible without high-quality conferencing. That’s why video and audio quality that software can support are crucial.
Unfortunately, telemedicine comes with some restrictions that regular medical practices don’t have. A provider cannot make an ultrasound, x-ray, or physical examination. Even if third-party providers can deliver some laboratory services, telemedicine is more appropriate for preventive and maintenance medicine rather than for actual treatment.
Cost of Developing a Telemedicine App
Requirements for telemedicine app development include the collaborative effort of a team consisting of business analysts, one of whom should specialize in medical app regulatory compliance, designers, project managers, developers, and QA testers.
The average price of an IT specialist is about $40 per hour. You need at least a team of five for the quick and successful launch of a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Given that it takes about two to three months to develop, the cost of telemedicine app development may fall somewhere between $50,000-$70,000. However, it is an app with minimum functionality. A fully-fledged application will require at least twice as much time and expense and can go far above $200,000, depending on the number of features required.
Telemedicine Mobile App Monetization Models
When you develop a telemedicine app, you must think in advance about potential ways to monetize it. Let’s look at the main ways of making a profit from telemedicine software:
In this case, you charge users a certain amount for a certain period of use. Quite often, this option is chosen because, in the long term, it can be extremely profitable in this niche.
You can show advertisements to users in exchange for free access to the application. Not the best option for a telemedicine app, as patients will be annoyed to have to see an ad when they need help.
If you focus on a specific niche when developing your software and don’t expect a steady stream of users, you can make a classic paid app. You only have to charge for it once when users buy it, and then they get access to all the features.
You can develop a telemedicine app and create a business based on it. The franchise can then be sold to third-party businesses.
Develop a Telemedicine Application with Weelorum
Meet Weelorum — a vendor of various app development solutions. We’ve been on the market for years, constantly delivering impeccable solutions and solid business outcomes. We are well aware of the pitfalls on the way to a successful app creation in this niche, so you can be confident in the expertise of our telemedicine app development team.
Here are the benefits you should expect by partnering with Weelorum:
- Transparency in the development process.
- The clearness in the communication.
- Careful consideration of your business models.
- Work toward the achievement of your business goals.
- Superior customer support.
- Fair rates with no hidden charges.
Weelorum’s team features the end-to-end process of telemedicine app development. We successfully completed hundreds of projects. Take a look at our portfolio with some detailed case studies.
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Programs to assist healthcare providers and patients are clearly widespread. Yet, the market is not saturated, and there is still room for telemedicine application development. It’s essential to plan the functionalities of your future app carefully so it is both usable and user-friendly. Consider partnering with a dev service provider with niche-specific experts to avoid pitfalls and produce perfectly suitable software.
How do I create a telemedicine app that will succeed in the market?
To succeed on the market, your app should provide a smooth experience and fully cover the needs of patients. Consider adding such functionality as high-quality video and audio calling, live chatting, different payment options, prescription sharing, and others. And don't forget about security measures.
How do I approach telemedicine app development?
First, do market research and plan what type of telemedicine app you want to develop and what functionalities it should have. Then find reliable developers who will implement your idea to life. The last step is constant testing and research to find out how else you can improve your app to provide a better user experience.
How much does it cost to develop a telemedicine app?
Price estimation may vary depending on the technical requirements and region of living of developers and their expertise. Yet, the end cost often falls within the range of $50,000-$200,000.