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How to develop a telemedicine application in 2022. Trends, cost, solutions

September 05, 2022

12 minutes read

Telemedicine applications are becoming more and more popular and essential in healthcare. Knowing how to create a telemedicine app is beyond the scope of other app development efforts. To develop these solutions, you must pay attention to design, regulatory requirements, and more.

The digitalization of medicine is an important achievement of IT. Through this process, people can get help related to their health online. During a pandemic, this opportunity is especially in demand because, on the one hand, it helps to reduce the workload on doctors. On the other hand, it reduces queues in the corridors of medical institutions. The functionality of medical applications is not limited to online consultations. The field of MHealth (mobile health) is very diverse. According to Statista, about 47,000 mobile health apps were available on the Google Play Store in the third quarter of 2020.

What is the telehealth app?

Mobile applications are a new way of interacting with reality, which people have successfully adapted. We shop applications, find out the news, study, communicate and spend our free time.

Very soon, receiving medical care through a smartphone will become the same routine. And to choose yours from competing applications, you need to make a product that meets the target audience’s needs.

MHealth applications for medical centers can be divided into two broad categories: client and internal applications. Please, read it before going to how to develop a telemedicine app part.

Client applications are all software that allows the user to interact with the doctor. Here are some client applications for clinics:

Brand application of the clinic. These applications are portable copies of clinics: they can find the schedule, make appointments, consult, and store medical records. An application that makes the doctor respond to the patient in real-time creates a close connection with users and increases their loyalty.

Health scanner app. These apps help you map your health based on outside data: research, blood test results, and intelligent device readings.

Application for transcribing and storing test results. Medical laboratories also use applications to give patients quick access to test results. There is no need to send SMS notifications or visit the laboratory: you need to have a password to your account in the mobile application, and you will always be informed about your health issues.

Internal applications are a channel designed to administer clinics and communicate with doctors. Such products can perform different tasks:

  1. Help applications for doctors are knowledge base applications. They can store any valuable information for the doctor in daily practice or scientific research.
  2. Applications for staff. Such applications help to maintain internal communication between clinic doctors and consult with colleagues from related fields about specific diseases of patients.
  3. Clinic control applications. These applications perform various tasks of clinic administration. They can be linked to web services that fully automate clinics’ work.

Why is telemedicine app development so popular?

Knowing how to develop a telemedicine app is not just about creating a digital presence for practices or medical services. Telemedicine applications are critical medical tools that are applied in many sectors.

The target audience of telemedicine applications is almost all segments of the population with Internet access.

As 2020 has shown, telemedicine and remote healthcare can be needed by everyone under certain circumstances. However, beyond the limitations of the pandemic, there are many use cases for telemedicine.

Elderly care is one prominent use case. Many older people receive care at home. Because of their age and condition, it can be challenging to visit doctors for regular checkups. Telemedicine provides these patients with a safe and convenient alternative.

The same is true for people with disabilities. Physical disabilities make it difficult not just to travel to work but visit a doctor as well. Some people with immune compromises may also wish to limit their exposure to crowded places as much as possible, turning to telemedicine instead.

Finally, visually impaired people are a potentially significant target audience for these telemedicine solutions. Addressing this space will require careful consideration of UX/UI.

Telemedicine application developers seeking to serve such communities fully must integrate features such as screen reader support, adjustable font sizes, and more to make the user experience as smooth as possible for these users.

How to ensure that telehealth video conferencing is HIPAA-compliant?

One of the most critical challenges in developing a telemedicine app is adhering to telehealth regulations. In most countries, some oversight of telemedicine is required. The rules, however, vary from one region to another or from one country to another.

Anyone developing a telemedicine solution should work with their team to ensure that the application complies with state or federal requirements.

Telehealth regulations may include several aspects of telemedicine, including but not limited to:

  • How are the meetings conducted
  • Patient Privacy
  • How electronic medical records are transferred
  • How data is stored

Consideration of the confidentiality and privacy of patient data is paramount in all of these endeavors.

What are the key features of the successful telehealth app?

The components used in a telemedicine solution may vary from one application to another and depend on the needs of the practice or healthcare facility. Typically, each application will contain some core components, including:

  • Video conference
  • Payment interface
  • Notifications
  • Registration
  • Electronic medical record keeping

Let’s take a closer look at each one to explore what they do and how they can improve the overall functionality of a telemedicine application.

Videoconferencing

High-quality video conferencing is at the heart of many telemedicine solutions.

The quality of this component is vital for many reasons, not the least of which is that the doctor must hear the patient provide proper medical care.

Audio glitches and dropped calls can pose serious problems, especially when telehealth involves psychotherapy that requires consistent and clear communication.

When developing a telemedicine application, consider integrating the following features:

  • sharing and recording functions
  • reliable streaming software
  • convenient login options
  • interactive voice response
  • Multipoint control units

Regarding video conferencing solutions that can be integrated into a telemedicine application, the current market for third-party video conferencing solutions offers many opportunities.

Patient registration and file management

Registering patients and maintaining their files is a complex and time-consuming undertaking for medical practice.

Registration, in particular, is a problem for many patients.

Thus, a telemedicine application’s digital recording and file management can reduce many stressors in practice.

Incorporating these features into a telemedicine solution can reduce work time and improve overall patient care.

EHR integration

Electronic health records are another essential component of telemedicine applications.

Electronic medical records help doctors to provide quality care. They are also required by patients to access biometric data, and lab and test results.

As previously stated, EHR/EMR data must be secured as a part of a telehealth solution.

In many countries, patients’ privacy is at the heart of many of the rules set in the healthcare industry.

Given the importance of protecting patient data, many healthcare facilities and businesses may already have existing EHR management applications.

Ideally, the telemedicine application will integrate with these existing solutions to provide the most streamlined response to the needs of the telemedicine provider without introducing unnecessary complexity or new risks to patient data.

Payment interface

Telemedicine applications also often include payment interfaces to facilitate patient billing and payment processing.

These components may include collecting and managing expenses, analyzing billing, and generating billing reports. Popular third-party payment solutions such as Stripe or PayPal can also be used to simplify patient reconciliation.

How to develop a telemedicine app?

You have to consider many nuances when creating a mobile application. We have compiled a list of essential steps to help you go the right way and avoid many mistakes.

Determine the tasks that the application will solve. Highlight the application’s primary purpose, conduct a market analysis, and see which niches are most in need of mobile products. Determine what problems the application will solve and why it will be helpful.

Remember that creating a clone of an existing application is a road to nowhere. Therefore, it is crucial that your product stands out from the competition and provides some new opportunities.

Define the target audience. Understanding the target group of you your app is an equally important step. When analyzing the market of a region, it is crucial to identify demographic segments, consider its geographical features, and understand the preferences and problems of potential users. The application must cover the target audience’s needs; otherwise, it will fail.

Select an application type. Marketing research will help you determine what kind of application can be most needed in a particular region. Make the market research carefully. It lets you know what users need, and you can create an application that will not be in demand.

Develop a business plan. If you want to reduce risks and get more chances to attract investments, you need to draw up a business plan. Include all the vital information:

  • USP (unique selling proposition)
  • Problem analysis and market analysis
  • Marketing strategy
  • Financial part (startup costs, revenue model)

Consider UI/UX design. An attractive design is essential for any application, but the visual part is not the only thing to consider. You must combine a user-friendly and good-looking interface with functionality and ease of use to provide a good user experience.

Application design should be consistent and intuitive; its purpose is to lead the user to the endpoint smoothly. The design should be user-friendly; the fewer interaction points it has, the more quality experience users will get.

Start developing the application. All the essential points have been taken into account and worked out. Now you can start creating. We recommend starting with an MVP. It will contain only the main features, but you will get the opportunity to evaluate the product’s viability with minimal investment.

Related: Hire dedicated development team: the ultimate guide for businesses

How much will you pay for the development of a telemedicine application?

Telemedicine app development costs will vary significantly from project to project. It can be assumed that developing a fully functional telemedicine application will require more than 2000 hours of work from several developers.

The development of a telemedicine application usually requires the participation of:

  • at least two front-end developers;
  • at least two back-end developers;
  • UI/UX designer;
  • Project Manager;
  • QA engineer;
  • DevOps engineer;
  • team leader.

The cost of telemedicine app development is thousands of US dollars. However, there are alternatives, including developing solutions that integrate with existing solutions in practice, which can reduce development/back-end time and cost.

VITech’s telehealth application development experts can work with you to design a solution that meets your needs and budget.

How emerging technologies impact telemedicine app

Telemedicine applications of today and tomorrow will use advanced technologies that will further improve their performance and user experience. Each of these can bring real value to a telemedicine application.

AI

Artificial intelligence is at the heart of many of today’s most efficient applications.

In the context of telehealth, AI can support efficient chatbots. These app add-ons are becoming increasingly popular, offering an in-app customer service solution that would be costly if controlled by humans.

AI-powered chatbots in a telehealth app can answer common patient questions, help with billing issues, or even help with scheduling.

Internet of things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extensive devices network that connects end users to the cloud.

In the context of telehealth, IoT can add integration with patient-owned devices that help monitor patient health and status.

For example, a patient may be wearing a fitness tracker that tracks heart rate, which will then feed that data to a telemedicine app for evaluation by a physician.

Additional IoT devices that can add advanced functionality to a telemedicine application include stress meters, scales, and even intelligent dispensers.

Blockchain

As stated above, the security of patient data is of paramount importance in telemedicine applications.

Blockchain technology allows developers to exchange data in an encrypted, secure format to keep patient data private.

Big data and machine learning

Large medical institutions can get valuable information from big data, visible through machine learning. Machine learning is a telemedicine application that can perform the analysis needed to improve healthcare, make more accurate diagnoses, and run more effective research programs by analyzing vast amounts of health data.

Medical institutions can also use machine learning and big data to improve internal practices and more accurately predict patient outcomes.

Related: Healthcare application development trends in 2022

Challenges in telehealth app development

Naturally, not each startup succeeds and becomes popular. According to statistics of a community of failed startup owners, Failory, 90% of all startups (not just medical ones) fail. Let’s see why this is happening.

Bad trade offer

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) should be well crafted, making it clear that the product is worth looking at and using. It’s not enough to say your app is better than other products to promote it. You must convince the user with facts and show that it’s competitive and vital.

The app has been out of sight for a long time

It does not mean you need to release the application as soon as possible. Haste will not lead to anything good. But it would help if you reminded people about your application and said it is in development and will be released soon. Ensure all steps to create and promote a product are completed on time. If you wait too long with the advertising, chances are that your idea will be used by someone else.

Overly complex application

A medical application should improve and simplify the processes associated with patients’ health, not vice versa. Therefore, we advise you to first release the application for beta testing to receive feedback, based on which it will be possible to refine the application based on users’ wishes.

Your business model is not good enough

All startup owners think at first about profit. If you develop the product for your first startup, consider partnering with a successful medical company to build a suitable business model and then negotiate a profit share.

Weak development team

The development should be entrusted to professionals so that the desired coincides with the actual. And it is better to prefer a company over freelancers since cooperation with the latter can be delayed and lead to loss of time and money.

Cooperation with the company also guarantees the safety of your idea since you sign a non-disclosure agreement for all information related to the project. As a rule, freelancers cannot guarantee this.

How VITech can solve your problems in developing applications for telemedicine

Despite their complexity, telemedicine solutions can bring significant benefits to medical practice. Moreover, more and more patients expect them these days, especially after COVID. Luckily, they can provide a good ROI if done right and in the right partnership with a telemedicine app development company.

Medical offices using telemedicine solutions will find that they can better provide patient care, manage their offices, and process bills, for example. These solutions also offer one of the most comprehensive ways to deliver care and support in the digital age.

Contact VITech to find out how working with us can make your work more efficient and innovative. We know how to develop a telemedicine app.

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