6000% – that is how much the use of telemedicine shot up during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of the many transformations that Covid-19 set in motion, the ones in the healthcare industry are remarkable. In three months, ten years’ worth of progress has been made in this traditionally slow-growing industry. The pandemic has helped to accomplish what was long-overdue. By acting as a transformer, Covid-19 has set healthcare services moving at a new pace.
We have witnessed telemedicine app development gain considerable momentum in this period. From what we see, the future seems bright for the telemedicine sector. In this blog, we plan to explore the world of telemedicine and discuss its benefits, features, technologies, and much more!
The term telemedicine literally translates to “healing at a distance”. According to World Health Organization (WHO), telemedicine is defined as
“The delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.”
In simple terms, it means an approach to connect patients and healthcare providers in a digital environment using advanced technologies. It enables patients and healthcare providers to interact virtually without any location or time restrictions.
It is mostly achieved through mobile and web apps, which are called telemedicine apps. And telemedicine app development refers to the process of building these apps. Such apps enable patients to get better care and healthcare providers to offer their services to more people.
The working of telemedicine apps is quite simple and straightforward. It follows the traditional approach to doctor consultation but sets it in a digital realm.
This is a general flow of telemedicine apps’ working. In today’s scenario, where mobile apps are important for businesses, digital healthcare solutions are becoming a prominent choice of healthcare service providers like hospitals and clinics.
Good health is something that everyone aspires to have. So, innovations that focus on delivering better healthcare services will always find value among people. In our present healthcare crisis, telemedicine apps fill a lot of gaps through the services they offer. How beneficial are these apps? Let’s take a look.
With telemedicine apps, checking up with patients, following up on consultations, or monitoring conditions is simple and hassle-free. Further, electronic health records ensure that patient information is available to doctors for easy access at any time, which helps to improve the diagnosis and care. It also gives patients options to reach out to doctors in urgent times, making it a life-saving tool in instances.
According to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), there is an uneven distribution of physicals in rural and urban areas. The patient to physician ratio in rural areas is 10000:39, whereas, in urban areas, it is 10000:53. So clearly, rural areas have a shortage of healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine apps can be of great benefit for people in rural locations. If they have a smartphone and an internet connection, they can consult doctors. They don’t have to rely on physical healthcare facilities in their locality. Also, it is possible to consult specialists in other countries through telemedicine apps without any travel or extra expenses.
One of the most frustrating parts of consulting doctors is having to wait for hours for your turn. And if you have to take some tests and see other specialists, it could take forever. Telemedicine apps are blessings in this regard. You don’t have to spend hours waiting in line or travelling to hospitals. Just book appointments from your phone at your convenient time and consult the doctor easily. In fact, telemedicine apps have brought down the time a patient spends in availing healthcare services by 56%!
The costs associated with healthcare services are pretty high. Much of it can be attributed to the fact that the doctors need a physical working space like hospitals/clinics and its maintenance requires expense. However, with healthcare app development, doctors can offer their services without the need for a physical space.
This is beneficial for self-employed doctors as they can practice independently with minimum investment. And for clinics, it helps to increase customer flow as consultation is convenient and time-effective, thus improving the revenue. The patients may also enjoy the benefit of lower consultation fees.
Statistics state that around 15% of doctors suffer from burnout and depression. There is a scarcity of physicians in general, and it affects the workload of active doctors. They work 60-80 hours a week with no proper organization or management. Telemedicine apps are a way for them to achieve better work-life balance. By employing the app features, they can utilize their time effectively and consult from the comfort of their homes.
Paperworks is important in hospitals. Since they are a necessary aspect of healthcare services, it’s impossible to avoid them. We all would have gone through the frustrating process of repeating our personal information multiple times and filling several forms in hospitals. A simple solution to this problem is to create a mobile app. Telemedicine apps bring digitization and automation into these processes. This improves efficiency and eliminates headaches.
Although telemedicine applications have many benefits, it doesn’t attract investors to delve into it as much as it should. Mostly, this is because the healthcare industry has strict guidelines, which introduces several challenges. What are the challenges that must be addressed, we shall see in this section.
A typical telemedicine app development process includes the development of three parts, which are different but interrelated. These are the patient app, doctor app, and admin panel. So what are the features to implement in these three parts? Let’s see one by one.
Telemedicine apps are less of a software and more of a service. Hence, it must include features that bring convenience to patients and provide them a satisfactory consultation experience. So, the patient side of the app should include:
The features that must be included in the telemedicine app for doctors are not entirely different from that of patients’ apps. Some features are quite similar in nature, while some are especially needed for the doctor side alone. Let us take a look at these features.
Apart from the doctor app and patient app, the mobile app development services must also develop the admin panel, which is an essential aspect of telemedicine app development. It is used by admin officials to manage the overall process and working of the telemedicine apps. The must-have features for the admin panel are:
Telemedicine app development is a process that requires careful planning and strategizing. Since it is related to people’s health, no amount of carelessness can be accepted during the development process. So, a well-defined step-by-step development process is generally followed by mobile app development companies while building telemedicine applications. Here, we will discuss the steps to follow from business analysis to app launching.
Business analysis is the process wherein you identify your target market, buyer personas and build a strategy to cater to their problems. It is the first step to planning. By understanding the target audience and knowing the competitors, you will be able to provide a unique value proposition with your telemedicine app that can attract an audience. In this step, you clearly identify the purpose of the app and create a solid business plan.
Your telemedicine app can cater to particular healthcare services (like ophthalmology, dermatology) or specific client types (like children, older adults). It can also target clinics, private hospitals, government hospitals, healthcare specialists, etc. All of these must be decided based on business analysis.
With the inputs from the analysis stage, you move on to creating the app’s UI and UX design. A good UI UX design is important to create an appeal and implement ease of usage to the audience. The app’s layout, navigation, interface, etc., depends on the app’s functional requirements and potential user personas. It is important to remember that the focus should be on simplifying the consultation process.
Next comes the development stage, which includes early planning, coding, and testing. For telemedicine apps, it is always good to create an MVP with basic features first. This will help to reduce the time to market, understand users’ interests, scale the application further as required, and save your business from losses.
With the numerous benefits that API development offers, integrating APIs into your app will aid your development process positively. APIs for integrating video calls, chats, etc., can really help to simplify coding. In this stage, you can also integrate various technologies that you want to implement in your telemedicine app.
To ensure that the telemedicine app you have developed is of high quality and functions properly, extensive testing must be done. It takes care of the app performance, finds bugs, if any, and confirms the flawless working of the app. It further checks if the app adheres to the regulations specified by the respective government for healthcare solutions. Ideally, in a QA process, regular testing happens after each sprint. Then, in the end, there is a final test and also a stress test before release.
The final step to telemedicine app development is app launching. Depending on the client’s requirements, the app goes live on Google Playstore, Apple Appstore, or both. Along with the launching, you must also start the app marketing campaign. Promote your app through advertising channels to your target audience and get people to download and use the app. Even post-launch, the mobile app developers should provide maintenance support.
Healthcare has always welcomed new technologies with open arms. The implementation of cutting-edge technologies has played a tremendous role in the growth of the healthcare industry. It has made possible the enactment of life-changing innovations. Here we will go through the mobile app development trends that find applications in telemedicine solutions.
A technology that plays a major role in pushing telemedicine apps beyond its boundaries is IoT. With wearable devices, fitness trackers, etc., constantly monitoring patients’ health status, body vitals, and real-time medical condition is no longer an impossible task. This allows doctors to remotely monitor patients and provide urgent care if required.
AI is transforming several industries, and telemedicine apps are not a stranger to it. It is playing a major role in creating a better healthcare experience for both doctors and patients. AI finds use in diagnostics, prevention, and communication. A popular example of AI is chatbots that help to answer users’ queries and provide information about doctor schedules, consultation, etc.
The healthcare sector deals with a lot of data. Gathering, storing, and retrieving data when necessary is one of the most important parts of healthcare services. Cloud storage is a beneficial technology that aids in achieving this without the restrictions and cost of on-premise storage solutions. Cloud-based health record systems help to access data whenever required and improve the quality of care immensely.
Communication between doctors and patients through voice and video channels is the backbone of telemedicine applications. However, it raises a crucial concern of security. What if the data leaks into unwanted hands? How can maximum security be ensured? The answer is blockchain technology. It encrypts the user data and ensures that no possible breaching can occur.
We talked about the large amount of information that healthcare services have to deal with on a daily basis. Analyzing this information helps the healthcare providers to give better care and accurate diagnosis. Big data plays a crucial role in processing the information, identifying patterns, conducting research, and forming conclusions. Thus, this technology is a big contributor to the development of innovative telemedicine app models.
For mobile applications, giving a rounded figure as the final cost is quite challenging. This is because app development depends on several factors, and the cost is unique to each app. In the case of telemedicine app development, the cost depends on the concept, the functionalities and features, the development approach, and the development team. Apps with basic features cost less, and as advanced features are implemented, cost also goes up.
On average, we can say that developing a telemedicine app takes around 1000-1200 hours. If we take an hourly charge of $50-$80/hour, we can say that the cost to develop a mobile app comes to $50,000 to $100,000. If you cut down on app features, you can reduce the cost. Similarly, if you want a feature-rich solution, the cost may go further high.
Telemedicine has gone from being a future prospect to current reality. Investing in telemedicine app development is a brilliant decision at this time, considering how it may become the future of medicine in the coming years. But it brings a question, how to choose the right company. Hiring telemedicine app developers require considerable research and planning. You can either choose in-house app development or outsource app development. Both come with their own merits and demerits. But, the bottom line is that the company should be reliable and trustworthy.
Mindster is a mobile app development company with credible experience in developing apps for the healthcare industry. We have been partners in the development of several on-demand doctor solutions, doctor booking apps, etc. We have excellent knowledge about the healthcare sector and its trends. Further, our years of experience working on hundreds of mobile applications makes us experts in what we do. Do we look like we fit your needs? We would love to hear from you; get in touch with us!
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