With the Covid-19 pandemic turning lives and livelihoods upside down, it is little wonder that the healthcare industry itself is reeling under tremendous pressure. Not only are patients hesitant to visit doctors, but healthcare professionals also need to be safeguarded. This is where there is a growing need for a Telemedicine App for practices.
What is a Telemedicine App?
A Telemedicine App is an application that brings patients and healthcare providers together electronically. This eliminates the need to physically meet and is, therefore, a safer way to consult in addition to various other advantages for example telehealth cost is significantly lower than traditional healthcare costs in some areas.
How To Develop A Successful Telemedicine App – A Comprehensive Guide
In this article, we will cover the benefits of a Telemedicine app for both patients and healthcare providers. We will also look at:
- Steps needed to develop a Telemedicine App
- Key Telemedicine App features and functionalities that are needed
- Advanced features that will help build the best Telemedicine App for doctors and patients
- Technology stack suited to develop a Telemedicine App
- How much it costs to implement Telehealth
Benefits of Telemedicine App :
A telemedicine app offers benefits for both patients and healthcare providers. Let us first look at benefits to the patients:
1) Telemedicine Apps are safer in today’s COVID world
2) No cost or time for transport
3) No need to take time off work
4) Access to Specialists on Demand
5) Lower costs of consultation
6) No need to find an alternate child or elder care
A well-delivered app for telemedicine does not just benefit patients, but all healthcare providers. Here are some of them:
1) Better and more efficient ways of remotely monitoring Patients’ health
2) It is safer even for healthcare providers in a COVID situation
3) Reaches more patients who would not traditionally have access to care easily
4) Reduces overheads in a practice
5) Streamlines workflow allowing healthcare providers to focus on what they do best: healing!
6) No special software or hardware needed to access features
Steps needed to develop a Telemedicine App
The steps needed to create a Telemedicine App can broadly be divided into two stages: Discovery and Development. The discovery stage is about putting the research and framework in place so that the vision of the app you are trying to create is crystal clear. Then comes the development stage which is about actually executing the vision into reality. Each of these stages has multiple steps under them. Let us now take a quick look at what those steps are:
The different steps that make up the Discovery stage are:
1) Business Analysis – This involves not only market and competitor analysis but also defining the telemedicine app features, functionality, and the system logic behind them.
2) Software Architecture Planning – This step is again about planning, but more focussed on the software itself typically done by a system architect
3) UX/UI design – As always, it is the end design that matters, and there could be many a slip between the cup and the lip. In this step, all interface, navigation, app layout, etc is created based on the telehealth features that will be needed. This would have been defined in the previous steps.
4) Project Management – All complex projects need to be managed systematically and telemedicine app development is no different. A project manager gets involved and oversees all these aspects.
The development stage is all about delivering the ideas that have been elaborated and crystallized in the discovery stage. This also has different steps involved. They are:
1) Early Planning – This is about making sure everything is in place before diving into the development process.
2) Development – This is where the actual telemedicine app development takes place.
3) Quality Assurance and UAT testing– This is the final step but without it, the app itself risks failure. This is where the whole exercise is tested and the app performance and functioning is ensured.
Key Telemedicine App features and functionalities that are needed
While looking at how to develop a telemedicine platform, one needs to think about the features from both a patient’s and a healthcare provider’s perspectives. Here are some of the must-have features and functionalities for the app.
Advanced features that will help build the best Telemedicine App for doctors and their patients
When thinking of how to develop a telemedicine system that really serves doctors better, the best telemedicine platforms have some advanced features worth considering. Some of these could be:
- Providing Navigation services to the practice
- Insurance plan integration
- Medicine and prescription reminders
- Cloud Data Storage
While including these could slightly increase the cost of developing the telemedicine app, they would definitely make a better one.
Technology stack suited to develop a Telemedicine App
With technology taking over, it is no surprise that multiple technologies can be use. Therefore, when thinking of how to develop a telemedicine platform, it helps to keep these technologies in mind.
- Artificial Intelligence
- Big Data
However, to develop a complete telemedicine system, you need to keep multiple factors in mind. Let us break down the technology stack to look at which technologies are applicable across different functions.
Technologies for Front-end development
- React Native, ReactJS, VueJS, and NextJS are top frameworks to consider.
- Netlify, Vercel, and AWS S3 for deployment.
- Ant Design and Bootstrap for design and prototyping.
Technologies for Back-end development
NodeJS, Ruby on Rails, NestJS or ExpressJS for backend development.
Other Technologies and Tools
- Elastic search and Algolia for a flexible search function.
- AWS SES and SendGrid email marketing.
- Google Maps for geolocation and GPS tracking
- Firebase Cloud and Twilio for cloud-based messaging
How much it costs to implement Telehealth
When looking at telemedicine costs and its development, there are various factors to consider before arriving at the exact numbers. As explained above, there are multiple factors to consider when developing the app. Each of these factors contributes to cost. However, keeping a broad framework in mind it could cost close to anywhere between $50,000 to $110,000. This is keeping in mind basic functionality. When one factor in advanced features, it could go significantly upwards of $200,000 to $300,000, especially when it is going to be across both Android and iOS.
Telemedicine has in recent times gained a lot of traction. The arrival of COVID and everything that came with it pushed the adoption of telemedicine into an even higher gear. Technology has made complete virtual healthcare practices possible, making healthcare accessible like never before.
However, telemedicine apps need to not only take user adoption into consideration but also legalities for the particular area they want to operate in. In addition, there are a few limitations that need to be planne around as well.
Having said that, it is a wonderful time to start investing in technology and start reaping the benefits.