Telemedicine App Development: Outlining Costs, Types & Benefits
Let’s break the ice with a shared knowledge:
People dread visiting a medical clinic and oftentimes, not going seems more comfortable than actually meeting the doctor in-person. This statement can’t be more true amidst the current Coronavirus crisis.
Telemedicine app solution aims to solve this particular issue, amongst other things.
With that said, let’s slowly build-up, starting with answering the fundamental question- what exactly is Telemedicine?
But before that, here’s a quick outline of everything that we’ve covered about Telemedicine app development in this article:
- What is Telemedicine?
- What is the difference between Telehealth and Telemedicine?
- What are the benefits of the Telemedicine app?
- What are the disadvantages of the Telemedicine app?
- What are the different types of Telemedicine apps?
- How to develop a Telemedicine App?
- What are the technologies used in the Telemedicine app?
- What are On-Demand Telemedicine app features?
- What are the challenges associated with Telemedicine App Development?
- What is the history of Telemedicine?
- What is the future of the Telemedicine app?
- What are the top 5 Telemedicine Apps for 2020?
- Should you invest in a telemedicine app solution?
What is Telemedicine?
According to WHO, Telemedicine is referred to:
‘delivery of health care services, where patients and providers are separated by distance’.
If we describe it in layman terms, Telemedicine is the practice to establish communication between patients and healthcare providers, using advanced communication tools and services.
The Coronavirus crisis has disrupted the current workflows, upending the landscape of the entire healthcare industry.
As a consequence, Telemedicine app development has already started transforming the healthcare landscape.
But how significant is Telemedicine to the healthcare industry?
Here’s a data-point:
Even before the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, Statista speculated that the telemedicine apps will be a $40B market by 2021.
That number alone is an indication of a rising demand for telemedicine app development in the healthcare sector.
However, since healthcare can’t be risked or delayed, healthcare practitioners are actively searching for telemedicine app solutions that’d allow them to provide remote medical assistance to the growing number of patients.
And that’s what we offer here at Signity Solutions (more on that later!). But if you’re in a hurry, schedule a free consultation slot with our telemedicine software experts.
As more people adopt new technologies to monitor their well-being, the demand and need for telemedicine app is bound to go through the roof.
But before we move ahead, let’s highlight a subtle yet crucial difference.
What is the difference between Telehealth and Telemedicine?
A majority of people, even healthcare professionals use ‘Telemedicine’ and ‘telehealth’ interchangeably. This isn’t surprising, for both these areas cater to similar services.
However, the subtle yet crucial differentiation between them is that Telemedicine is a subset of Telehealth.
What does that mean?
Here’s an infographic that clearly states this difference:
Telehealth is a broad umbrella that covers all the healthcare services, including medical education, patient monitoring, and more using telecommunication technology.
Here’s the technical terminology for all the tech nerds:
According to HealthIT.gov, Telehealth is ‘the utilization of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health education, public health and health administration’.
Telemedicine, on the other hand, includes only the clinical services that healthcare professionals extend to patients remotely via telecommunication tools and other information technologies.
With that out of the way, let’s discuss the telemedicine app advantages for your business:
What are the benefits of the Telemedicine App?
Good health is one aspiration we all share in common.
This statement is especially true today, courtesy of the Coronavirus crisis.
But even if it wasn’t an ongoing crisis, health is always considered amongst the primary needs of a human being- and that’s a fact we all studied in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Telemedicine app, as if by choice or necessity, fulfills the current gap by;
- Enabling remote doctor consultations,
- promoting medical efficiency,
- and assessing the health conditions of critical patients either affected by the nCov virus or suffering from chronic illnesses.
That said, let’s shed some light on telemedicine app benefits for your healthcare enterprise.
1. Widespread availability
An NHRA study clearly states that there’s a shortage of healthcare personnel.
Here an estimated ratio of doctors per 100,000 people in Rural and Urban areas respectively:
Rural: 39 physicians and Urban: 54 physicians
A telemedicine app solution enables the doctors to extend their medical expertise to areas with no/less access to physicians and decent medical care- promoting widespread healthcare access and ultimately, saving more lives.
2. Saves healthcare costs
The United States, albeit a developed country, spends over $2.9 Trillion on Healthcare every year- with this number climbing up on a steep curve.
What’s interesting though, is the fact that $200B of these costs are avoidable!
Telemedicine App solutions, if and when implemented right, eliminate problems like medication non-adherence and unnecessary ER visits- saving doctors’ visits and indirect operational costs.
3. Enhanced healthcare quality
In a general healthcare system, extended care usually ends with the patient walking out of the ER.
Rich telemedicine app features allow medical practitioners to curb this issue, and keep tabs on the patients’ progress- ensuring they’re relatively better in the long run.
But here’s an interesting proposition:
How do doctors follow-up with patients with a telemedicine app?
A telemedicine solution puts radical technologies at the disposal of healthcare professionals. Features like video conferencing to logging critical vital’s of patients, and remote monitoring- a telemedicine solution offers it all.
Telemedicine technologies unlock the potential for an enhanced healthcare infrastructure, whilst encouraging the patients to be careful, and mindful in terms of their health.
4. Better patient engagement
Following up on patients is always a hassle- for it requires adequate systems and processes in place that inflates costs.
Telemedicine app development enables healthcare providers to;
- Check-up on patients,
- Ensure that they are taking the right medications, and
- Are relatively improving as compared to their previous follow-ups.
Not to mention, telemedicine app isn’t a cookie-cutter solution.
Different healthcare providers, according to their desired budget and requirements- can get custom telemedicine app solutions tailored to their business.
That is, you can either opt-in for an extensive remote monitoring system, or get an app with basic voice and video consultations to answer medical queries (if and any) post-discharge.
Let’s discuss Telemedicine app solutions for your Healthcare business, contact us.
5. Efficient time management
As discussed above, there’s a scarcity of doctors and healthcare professionals. This scarcity often results in burnouts and depression.
And that’s not a random shot in the dark. A study by Doctors on Demand highlights the same fact, and attributes extended work hours as one of the biggest contributors.
Telemedicine app solutions, with new and robust technologies, enable healthcare professionals to manage their time efficiently and effectively.
An added benefit?
It enhances the earning potential of medical professionals by allowing them to examine more patients, in relatively less time.
Having discussed the advantages of Telemedicine solutions, let’s shed some light on the disadvantages.
What are the disadvantages of Telemedicine App?
Telemedicine app offers a plethora of benefits to healthcare professionals, but that does not eliminate the subtle disadvantages that come bagged with this transformative technology.
1. Fewer face-to-face interactions
"Digital is for the young" That is to say, telemedicine solutions will appeal to the young, but older adults might find it difficult to adapt.
Another downside is the lack of human connection. Technology can mimic human behavior, but only to an extent.
Despite the extensive advancements in healthcare and technology, there are times when potential outrages can occur and create a domino effect resulting in system failure.
2. Requires technical training
Like any new technology, implementing a custom telemedicine app solution for your business will require you to invest capital, upgrade infrastructure, and add the essential equipment.
However, the upfront cost isn’t fixed, and varies as per a healthcare enterprise’s requirements.
The same fundamentals apply to the training aspect.
If you are investing in telemedicine app development that offers a more extensive, intuitive, inpatient platform- it’d require some additional training which would add to higher costs.
3. Navigating online might be tricky
Healthcare and state policies are in a constant flux, for speculating the spread of diseases isn’t an easy affair. A new trend often demands a new change in state and/or reimbursement policies.
The rising COVID-19 crisis aptly justifies the aforementioned fact.
Furthermore, many healthcare professionals currently employing telemedicine solutions charge a convenience fee, on top of regular consultation (estimated: $35- $125).
Although that’s a nominal amount and studies suggest that patients don’t generally mind paying an additional fee for better convenience- it’s still somewhat disparaging.
4. Implementation might get expensive
Healthcare isn’t cheap, and any healthcare professional/enterprise that adopts a new technology (be it telemedicine) can attest that it requires a huge initial investment.
The answer is simple. New promising technologies require businesses to invest in new equipment, set-up new processes, hire and train staff for technicalities, counter issues, pass bug fixes and whatnot.
Considering these nuances, and tending to minute details often adds up to huge costs.
Though, it’s important to point out that investing in a telemedicine app might seem a little expensive at first, but the ROI over-time far exceeds the initial investment.
With advantages and disadvantages clearly stated, let’s understand the different types of Telemedicine App Solutions.
What are the different types of Telemedicine Apps?
When you decide to invest in a telemedicine app- be it a Whitelabel solution or a custom telemedicine app development- you need to decide the services you’d like to extend remotely.
Depending on certain factors including your healthcare niche, and permissions, there are different types of telemedicine app solutions that could benefit your healthcare business.
1. Interactive Telemedicine
An interactive solution is what comes to mind when a healthcare professional first utters the term ‘Telemedicine’. These solutions, in the simplest sense, lets you extend your medial expertise to patients remotely via an audio or video consultation.
Here are some use cases where Interactive Telemedicine solutions work best:
- Post-discharge follow-ups,
- CBT and other mental therapies,
- Nursing consultation,
- And post-injury monitoring.
IoT Based Telemedicine
Internet of Things, commonly referred to as IoT, is an industry that’s growing exponentially.
Here’s a data-point to validate our point:
According to Gartner, the market for IoT will grow up to 5.8 Billion endpoints by the end of 2020.
The application of IoT isn’t limited to a particular sector, and is certainly making its way to remote patient monitoring (RPM).
What is RPM?
Remote Patient Monitoring(RPM) is employing the latest technologies to gather, store, and analyze patients’ data outside the healthcare system.
You can customize your telemedicine app to automatically include this data, or allow your patients to manually input crucial data, and updated medical records.
There are several benefits to this; the crucial one is that you’d be aware of the subtle changes, and identify patterns affecting your patients’ health in the long-term.
3. Click and Send Telemedicine App
Telemedicine solutions promises great benefits, but employing all the features can be an expensive affair for individual practitioners, or specific niche healthcare providers such as dermatologists (The niche-category is only for reference purposes).
Though barred from video conferencing features, this category of telemedicine app allows your patients to send forward their issues either recorded on the photo, or video format.
The benefit, you ask?
- Doctors can quickly scrutinize through reports and offer a medical remedy,
- and Patients can save money in terms of consultation charges, and unnecessary ER visits.
How to develop a Telemedicine App?
You can’t go easy on telemedicine app development for it directly correlates with the health of your patients.
To get a custom telemedicine app development, you can connect with our software experts and they’d take you through our telemedicine development process. Not to mention the benefits it translates to your healthcare practice.
However, if you’re seeking to invest in a fully-functional telemedicine app, it’s imperative to highlight the key stages of telemedicine app development followed by our experts:
1. Evaluate you ideas
Any successful application fulfills a pre-defined set of criteria:
The app must be useful,
The app must fulfill customers’ demands,
And the developers must be well-versed with the current hot topics, and costumes needs.
The easiest way to decipher whether or not your telemedicine app fulfills the said criteria is to ask yourself a simple question:
Why do you want to create a telemedicine app?
If you know your ‘why’, you’re ready to progress forward to other processes.
2. Business analysis
Business analysis should be at the core of your telemedicine strategies.
Business analysis, in other words, is identifying your buyers’ persona and drafting a strategy for the identified target auddence.
Identifying your buyers’ persona would help you identify your buyers’ particular problem, and enable you to create a telemedicine app that caters to those particular problems.
Post-launch, you’d be better equipped to sell and promote your app to the desired market (more on that later).
3. Market due diligence
The demand for remote healthcare services is increasing exponentially. To make your telemedicine app stand out, and beat the heat of competition- it’s necessary to conduct the market due diligence.
When searching for your telemedicine app competitors, try to look for:
- Their strengths,
- Proposed prices,
- Marketing platforms,
- And the difference between yours and their prime offerings.
4. Unique value proposition
How’d you expect to grow your healthcare business if your telemedicine app offers nothing different than your competitors?
When developing a telemedicine app, pay attention to your unique selling proposition, and highlight them for it’d give your business a competitive advantage.
5. Prototyping & testing
Before deploying your telemedicine app solution, create a low-fidelity prototype to establish a basic understanding of your app’s wireframe.
What’s a low-fidelity prototype?
According to Adobe, ‘Low-fidelity (lo-fi) prototyping is a quick and easy way to translate high-level design concepts into tangible and testable artifacts’.
In layman terms, an LFP would enable you to test your telemedicine app for bugs, and understand its workings, along with the benefits it offers to your target audience.
6. Choose the right marketing channel
Although simple, people often skip this step. But be aware, this stage is as crucial as evaluating your idea in the pilot stage.
Choosing the right marketing channel radically enhances your app’s profitability by allowing you to market your product to the right demographic, at the right time, and at the right price.
What are the technologies used in Telemedicine?
Even though, Telemedicine app’s infrastructure is built upon the cutting-edge telecommunication and IT tools, it can employ and leverage new-age technologies, including:
Artificial Intelligence is paving its way through all the industries, and for good reasons.
Telemedicine is no foreign to AI. Most telemedicine applications available on the market employ different AI tools, including voice recognition, NLP, and ML to enhance the users’ experience.
At Signity, we bring Robotic Process Automation to telemedicine- enhancing its capabilities tenfolds.
Read this blog to discover, and learn the benefits of Robotic Process Automation for your business.
Storing medical records in paper format is anything but a nuisance. Not only there’s a possibility of loss by theft, there are several other factors that could disrupt the medical processes.
Implementing blockchains with Telemedicine enables your healthcare enterprise to create, store, send, and access medical records and data securely.
As discussed in the previous section, the application of IoT can exponentially increase the benefits of telemedicine applications.
The integration of telemedicine hardware, with smart IoT software skills like tracking vitals, prognosis suggestion, and medicine adherence will only add to a better healthcare ecosystem, through-and-through.
Now that we have discussed different technologies involved with Telemedicine, let’s access the functionality used in the Telemedicine app to connect doctors with patients.
These features are collectively categorized and referred to as ‘On-Demand Telemedicine App Solutions’.
What are the On-Demand Telemedicine App features?
As a rule of thumb, a telemedicine app constitutes three different components:
For a better understanding, let’s explore these components and highlight their specific users’ needs, starting with,
1. Doctor’s App
Telemedicine Doctor’s App enables the doctors to,
- List and Profile Doctors,
- Authenticate Services,
- Schedule Appointments,Share Prescriptions,
- Record Video Sessions,
- Instant Payment Collection, and more.
2. Patient’s App
Telemedicine Patient’s App enables and aids your patients to/with,
- Easy Registration
- Filter Medical Issues,
- Browse Doctors’ Catalog,
- Schedule Appointment,
- Get Video/Audio/Text Consultation,
- Cloud Storage for storing reports, recording communications, and more.
3. Admin’s Panel
Through the admin panel, the healthcare professional can perform the following activities:
- Manage Users,
- Access Analytics Dashboard,
- Overview Patients’ Medical Records,
- Review User Management,
- Get Detailed User-Based Insights, and more.
What are the challenges associated with Telemedicine App Development?
Implementing new technologies often introduces a business to a set of new challenges, and it’s no different with Telemedicine app development.
Despite hundreds of telemedicine app advantages, this new healthcare technology needs to overcome certain barriers. And not just physicians, patients too pose concern when asked to use a telemedicine solution.
In this section, we’d like to highlight the key challenges you’re likely to face during telemedicine app development:
Design & development
When creating a mobile-web application, you’ve to take care of a few key factors including logic, navigation, layout, functionality, and more.
Also, it’s important to point out that the UI and UX for the doctor’s and patient’s telemedicine app differ, making it necessary to study telemedicine documentations, refer to prevalent industry designs, and check compatibility with your existing systems upfront.
Generally, a physician’s license permits a healthcare practitioner to conduct practice and provide healthcare services across the state lines. But extending medical services across states or countries, is an entirely different ballgame.
Being a physician, if you’re planning to offer medical services across states, you might need to apply for a physician’s license that allows you the permit to practice across states and borders- which is both time consuming, and expensive.
We’ll just leave this data-point here:
The WFA predicts Digital Ad fraud will become the biggest market for organized crime by 2025, worth $50 billion!
Telemedicine app primarily levies telecommunication technologies, but the fact stated above clearly states that not all digital mediums of communications are safe.
This bugs not only the healthcare professionals, but the patients employing telemedicine solutions for remote medical assistance.
Although, with smart telemedicine app implementation, you can easily overcome these security concerns. Here are a few measures that your healthcare clinic can employ:
- Employ biometrics to access the app,
- Use multi-device authorization, and
- Leverage end-to-end encryption protocols.
Since telemedicine apps connect the doctors with patients and deal with critical issues- it needs to comply with several regulatory and medical standards.
Here listed are the regulations(country-specific) that telemedicine apps need to comply with, to be functional, and provide value to patients.
Telemedicine app must comply with HIPAA regulations in the USA.
When in Canada, a telemedicine app must comply with PIPEDA.
Similarly in Europe, your telemedicine solution must follow the Data Protection Directive 1995/46/EC and the e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC/ IEC 62304.
Now, you might wonder- what are these regulations?
Without getting into technicalities, consider them as the Gold International standards for medical processing app- such as Telemedicine.
Well, that was pretty much everything you need to know about Telemedicine App.
But wouldn’t it be better if we’d take a moment to reflect upon the Telemedicine’s history, and identify the promises it offers to the healthcare sector in the near future?
What is the history of Telemedicine?
Telemedicine has started to gain attention quite recently, but the technology itself isn’t anything new.
In fact, it dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries, with some hospitals trying and testing rudimentary measures to reach patients in the remote location.
Telemedicine in 19th Century
Consider it this way:
With the onset of telecommunication technologies like Radio, Telemedicine was birthed.
During World War II, casualties, essential information, need for medical supplies, and general medical knowledge was conveyed over the radio for the general public.
Telemedicine in 20th Century
The first noted telemedicine experience dates back to 1948, where radiologic images of the patients were sent and discussed via telephone between two medical staff.
Then again after a decade, in 1958, physicians at the University of Nebraska transmitted neurological examinations across campus using two interactive television screens.
What started as an interchange of medical information has now metamorphosed into a complex integrated perpetuated care system for patients across the world.
What is the future of Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the future of the healthcare industry.
The growing number of doctors, and the sheer amount of American population currently using telemedicine app solution indicates a rising trend.
If you’re planning to get a telemedicine app for your healthcare clinic, the time couldn’t get any better.
Here’s what our telemedicine software experts speculate for the future of telemedicine apps:
Constant rise curve
Studies state that telemedicine is currently being used by millions of people- including patients and doctors- for better and accessible remote healthcare services.
Courtesy to the Coronavirus situation, the demand for telemedicine app is only going to rise aggressively.
Cross-border medical expertise
With advancements in technology, new functionalities are being introduced to the telemedicine app solutions- making it easier to communicate with doctors across the border.
Though, that is not to say that this isn’t feasible now, it very much is- but the current regulations are too stringent to extend healthcare expertise cross-border.
Related Read: Predictive Analytics: The Future of Healthcare Apps
Scalable & adaptable
Time is the ultimate currency.
In a world where everything is available on fingertips, waiting in long queues, and scheduling appointments is anything but a hassle.
Telemedicine app solutions eliminate this wait time whilst offering greater customized care to patients. Decreased timelines, and increased revenue makes the option of telemedicine app more appealing to both the parties.
What are the top 5 Telemedicine Apps for 2020?
We searched the mobile app sphere for the best telemedicine apps for 2020. Let’s divulge our top 5 honorable mentions:
MD Live is the best telemedicine platform for doctors and healthcare practitioners to extend their medical services in non-emergency situations.
The average wait time to consult a licensed physician registered on MD Live is under 15 minutes.
Google Play Rating: 3.3 Stars | App Store Rating: 4.7
PlushCare features a catalog of doctors from pediatricians to psychiatrists, and general physicians. This particular telemedicine platform is renowned for its intuitive and intelligent insurance friendly user interface.
Google Play Rating: 4.9 | App Store Rating: 4.7
Doxy.Me is a browser-based Telemedicine platform that requires no additional download or configuration from your healthcare clinic. Easy to use, it can be instantly integrated with your existing EHR (Electronic Health Records) or PM (Practice Management).
The free variant is HIPAA Compliant, but the paid-up options, including professional and clinic levels, offer additional security and enhance your online clinic’s encryption.
Doctor on Demand is considered amongst the leading Telemedicine platforms available for both the healthcare clinics and Individual medical practitioners. This particular platform enables you to consult doctors, whether you’re insured or not.
Google Play Rating: 4.7 | App Store Rating: 4.9
Whether you’re searching for a medical solution for an acute problem, a medical emergency, pediatrics, or more- you’d find reliable and certified medical practitioners on Amwell. Amwell is an apt example of an on-demand, remote Telemedicine health solution.
Google Play Rating: 4.3 | App Store Rating: 4.7
Would you like a similar Telemedicine app with exact or rather better functionalities for your clinic or Individual medical practice? Our Telemedicine experts can deliver right on. Get in Touch with us!
Should you invest in a telemedicine solution?
The future of telemedicine apps for the healthcare industry is promising, and these are but a few key highlights- for the list is pretty much inexhaustive.
There are ample ways to monetize a telehealth solution, especially now-for the world is in a dire health crisis, and social distancing is the new normal.
If you run a healthcare clinic and want to prompt health whilst increasing your earning potential- this is the best time to introduce a new telemedicine app into your business.
Why are we stressing on ‘the best time’?
Coronavirus crisis is bad, and is likely to go worse.
What better could be than to extend remote medical services in the time of need?
You call the shots. But be aware, the path is risky, and in a state of constant flux.
Consult us for telemedicine app development, for our team has gained expertise in delivering custom telehealth apps to businesses with varied needs.
If you’re searching for a reliable healthcare app vendor, rest assured, you can trust us with your telehealth app development requirements- for nothing’s more crucial than promoting good health and cultivating success for your healthcare enterprise.
Bottom line, telemedicine is the way to the future.
You can either implement new technologies like this, and RPA to have a competitive-edge, or struggle meeting with the rising demands.
Whatever you choose, be sure to follow it through- for good things take time.