People’s consumption of healthcare services has been influenced by post-pandemic realities. After experiencing the benefits of the remote format, according to Mckinsey, more than 40% of surveyed consumers said they would continue to use telehealth after the lockdowns. Thus, telemedicine software development is an excellent investment.
Furthermore, global circumstances increase the demand for online healthcare services. Telehealth websites and mobile apps are beneficial for modern people. Instead of scheduling an appointment with a doctor, waiting in a long line, or risking exposure, they can schedule an appointment with a therapist and receive care in a few clicks.
Telemedicine software solutions will also benefit doctors and hospitals. Private medical practitioners will no longer need to rent office space, and healthcare facilities will be able to reduce the number of hospitalizations. Furthermore, both parties gain a powerful channel for distributing their services.
However, telemedicine software has unique characteristics that you should be aware of. So here’s a comprehensive guide to developing telehealth software. We’ll review how to build a telemedicine platform, key features, and monetization strategies.
1. So, What is Telemedicine?
Instead of in-person visits, Telemedicine uses electronic communication technologies and software to track and treat patients. Simply put, Telemedicine is a method of providing medical care to patients over the internet. Its primary goal is to offer people on-demand access to various medical services while reducing doctors’ workload. Telehealth or Telemedicine software solutions allow patients to contact their doctors from afar at any time, and healthcare practitioners can better manage their resources and attract new patients without incurring high costs.
1.2. Overview of the Telemedicine Market
The telemedicine market is currently at its peak of success, with many optimistic predictions. In 2021, the global telemedicine market was worth $72.7 billion, and it is expected to grow to $168.4 billion by 2026. The reason for this is that virtual care delivery is a reaction to social distancing demands that have been implemented in many countries. Furthermore, Telemedicine enables healthcare providers to communicate with patients more effectively and provide better solutions to their health concerns.
1.3. Technologies Behind Telehealth / Telemedicine Software
- Conferencing via video – Sometimes, patients already know what their symptoms mean and want the diagnosis confirmed. Users can receive virtual consultations via the camera of mobile devices, desktop computers, or web applications, thanks to advances in audiovisual technology. Instead of standing in line, they can schedule an online consultation with a doctor.
- Store-and-Forward – This functionality allows recording, storing, and transmitting patients’ medical records to various healthcare professionals at another location to create a treatment plan without requiring an in-person visit. It’s also great to examine visible symptoms like bruises using photos.
- RPM – Remote patient monitoring (RPM) refers to using cloud computing technology to collect patient-generated data and transmit it to doctors. RPM solutions aim to detect symptoms early and provide medical assistance to patients remotely.
2. Strategies for Monetization
Without funding, no project idea will last long. The most common method of monetizing your platform is to charge patients a fee each time they pay for a visit. The cost of a consultation will vary depending on its length and the doctors’ specialties. For example, the Doctor on Demand service deducts 25% from transition fees, and patients pay $75 for a 15-minute consultation with a physician. When it comes to medical establishments, it is common practice to take a certain percentage to hospitals each month for each employee who uses the software. Again, the Doctor on Demand platform charges a monthly fee of $1 per specialist.
Other revenue models for telehealth software development are listed below.
- Annual subscription – Patients pay a yearly fee and are charged for any medical care they receive.
- Monthly charge – According to this model, patients and providers pay monthly fees to use the software.
- Franchising – If your market is saturated, consider shifting your emphasis and franchising your system to other countries.
- A fee per minute – This approach necessitates charging patients a per-minute fee for doctor consultations.
3. Telemedicine Technology Trends
The majority of current development trends can be beneficial to the development of telehealth software. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data, and other technologies will help improve healthcare delivery. Let’s take a quick look at the most popular technological solutions.
- Artificial Intelligence – AI-powered chatbots are designed to provide patients with immediate care. They can consult with patients about their symptoms and send the record to their doctors for treatment planning if necessary. Chatbots can also answer questions about physician schedules, competency, and other topics. According to research from Accenture, hospitals using AI-based apps can save around $150 billion annually.
- Internet of Things – Connecting IoT sensors to various mobile devices will improve health condition monitoring, diagnosis, prescription adherence, and more. Patients, for example, can track temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and other attributes using wearables and other medical devices and send the results to their therapists for further analysis.
- Augmented Reality (AR) – AR technology will allow for the multidimensional visualization of healthcare data. For example, detecting disease using image recognition can assist doctors in diagnosing patients with real-time screening analysis that is as accurate as expert analysis.
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4. Types Of Telemedicine Software?
The primary goal of telemedicine software development is to provide an appropriate environment for physician-patient relationships. Telehealth software solutions are commonly classified into four types:
- Urgent care on demand – Digitalization benefits emergency care the most. According to studies from Mckinsey, approximately 20% of emergency care provided in healthcare facilities can be delivered online. To build a custom telemedicine app of this type, you’ll need to include video and audio support, Google calendar integration, schedule-related features, document management, and EHR integration.
- Care that is pre-planned – This type is used for a patient checkup following an in-person visit. The doctor treats the patient in accordance with their treatment plan. If users have treatment-related questions, they can send text or voice messages to the physician (e.g., drug schedule, result monitoring, etc.).
- Mental assistance – These days, such software is gaining popularity because many people suffer from physical and psychological exhaustion. They enable you to provide mental health services to users in the comfort of their own homes, making them feel safe and secure.
- Self-care technology – Numerous self-care applications are available, but only a few offer professional support to patients. This software allows users to monitor their health, such as blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level, or the number of pills they need to take. Such platforms have demonstrated their effectiveness in treating chronic health conditions such as asthma and cardiac failure. Such solutions, however, are linked to IoT devices.
5. Telehealth Software Development’s Technical Aspects
So, how do you actually create Telemedicine Software? Whatever healthcare solutions you choose, all telehealth platforms include the patient’s and doctor’s perspectives. The features required for each role are listed below.
5.1. Features of Telemedicine Software for Patient Registration
First and foremost, there is the sign-in feature. Because telemedicine applications contain sensitive information, the registration process should adhere to EHR integration standards and allow for document uploads. Patients can sign up via email, mobile phone, or third-party services like Facebook. To ensure data security, two-step authentication via SMS or email is essential. Furthermore, it is critical to include data privacy agreements that are visible on the main screen.
Following registration, a user should be able to add personal information such as name, age, gender, personal preferences, location, and the ability to synchronize with existing hospital records. The user’s EHR is required information in the profile. This information allows physicians to evaluate a patient’s medical conditions and examine their therapeutic history. Patients can schedule appointments with doctors.
This is an essential feature in the development of telemedicine software. Remember that video and audio should be of high quality so doctors can see the symptoms and correctly diagnose the patient. Furthermore, data transfer speed may vary depending on the user’s connection, so your software must adjust the video quality automatically to provide flawless information delivery. RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) and WebRTC are two streaming protocols that can be used for this purpose (Web Real-Time Communication).
Messaging via text
Minor issues like a runny nose or cough do not necessitate a video call. Instead, patients may text a doctor for advice. This option allows physicians to respond in their spare time without interfering with other patients. Users can also attach photos and files for visual cues. Twilio is an excellent tool for implementing live chat.
This feature will allow patients to monitor and manage their doctor’s appointments. Users should be able to see the physician’s available time, schedule meetings, and cancel their appointments. Users receive a confirmation email or text message once the appointment is approved. If you’re creating a telemedicine app, use the Google Calendar API to integrate Google Calendar. As a result, patients can reschedule meetings and see the doctor’s available time slots directly on the calendar.
Aside from calendar notifications, users can receive custom notifications for monthly visits, prescription renewals, and physician queries. Furthermore, they will assist you in informing your customers of future updates.
Patients should be able to leave feedback about their doctor visits. Include a rating system that allows users to rate the doctor (for example, on a scale of one to five) and leave a comment. Physicians can monitor their performance and, if necessary, improve the quality of their service based on user feedback. Furthermore, reviews from other customers will assist users in making more informed decisions and locating trustworthy specialists.
Payment functionality is critical in the development of telemedicine software. Payment methods such as PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree can be integrated, as can custom payment services or third-party services such as MasterCard or Visa. The primary advantage of payment gateways over third-party providers is that they handle fast, secure transactions and are simple to implement. Suppose you want to create a custom system service. In that case, you must adhere to the most recent data regulation and security protocol. In this case, working with a professional software development company is preferable.
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5.2. Features of Telemedicine Software for Doctors
Some telemedicine app features are also available on the doctor’s side. Some are similar to the patient’s side, while others are not. Let us now consider what features should be implemented by the physician. Some functions are identical to those on the user side, while others are distinct.
Profile of a Doctor
Physicians must also create a profile, including their specialization, qualifications, experience, and other information. Client rates and reviews, as well as shifts, should be included in the profile.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
Before meeting with patients, doctors must be granted access to the patient’s EHR. As a result, they can accurately diagnose their clients’ health conditions. Make sure that physicians cannot download medical files from your database. Both of you will be fined if your phone contains sensitive information.
The development of telehealth software necessitates two-way communication between patients and physicians. Doctors should also be able to text or call patients to inquire about test results, treatment progress, or general well-being. If a planned physical examination is required, the doctor should be allowed to schedule an appointment with the client on their own.w
Exchange of internal data
The doctors may have to refer their patients to a different specialist. They should be able to exchange client information between departments in this case. Your job is to ensure that internal data exchange runs smoothly and securely.
6. What Are Telemedicine Software’s Advantages?
Patients, doctors, and healthcare providers all benefit from telemedicine software. The most common reasons for incorporating telehealth software development are accessibility and seamless delivery of healthcare services. Consider the primary benefits that each party can obtain from your software.
6.1. Advantages for Patient’s Convenience
Patients receive high-quality care at their preferred location. It means there’s no need to make an appointment ahead of time, waste time on the road, or stand in long lines. It is crucial for people living in remote areas without nearby healthcare facilities.
People worldwide can now access healthcare services anytime, from remote-controlled medical robots used to simplify surgery to more basic healthcare apps used to monitor blood pressure. Going even more profound, some healthcare technological solutions will be able to educate people on best practices.
Service cost savings
Telemedicine solutions are less expensive than traditional methods of care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers were compelled to offer packages that included various telehealth services to provide immediate medical care at a reasonable cost.
Increased Revenue for Healthcare Providers
Video meetings save time and money over in-person meetings. Healthcare facilities can save money on rent, administrative costs, sourcing suppliers, and hiring personnel. Furthermore, the study found that telehealth applications cut maintenance costs by 94% on average. Hospitals, on the other hand, will see increased client flow due to patient reduction, allowing them to earn money in the short term.
Improved cross-team collaboration
As telemedicine software is updated, healthcare practitioners can learn new processes and gain sophisticated skills to manage telehealth systems effectively. Furthermore, this intention may encourage employees to attend specialized courses, resulting in improved team collaboration in the future. In fact, personnel miscommunication is responsible for approximately 80% of errors. A well-educated and strong team will assist healthcare institutions in making the most of telemedicine software, thereby improving patient care.
Fewer visits canceled
It irritates clinic staff when patients fail to attend scheduled meetings or cancel or reschedule them at the last minute. According to research, such appointment cancellations cost healthcare providers more than $150 billion annually. Telemedicine software development allows physical meetings to be replaced with virtual ones. Patients’ cancellations will be communicated to doctors via push notifications or in-app calendar notifications. As a result, they can consult with more people without wasting time.
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6.2. Advantages for Doctors Effective time management
According to research, more than 15% of physicians experience work burnout. With in-app schedules and push notifications, better time management and work-life balance will be possible. With a single click, doctors can change their schedules, browse their patients’ medical histories, schedule meetings, and apply for sick days. It will lead to more thorough patient examinations and prescribed care.
Keeping medical records
Doctors can effectively access and store patients’ EHR with custom telemedicine software. It’s difficult to find clients’ records or hand them to other specialists for accurate medical prescriptions in a traditional hospital. Digital solutions will ensure continuous data access and transmission.
Healthcare solutions are helpful not only for medical issues but also for automating administrative processes in businesses. Because most back-office functions will be automated, there will be no need to fill out various forms and internal documentation. Breaking down this inefficiency will result in increased profits and better treatment.
7. Challenges In Telemedicine Software Development
As you may have noticed, telehealth software development provides significant advantages to users. However, there are some details you should be aware of, and let’s take a closer look at each.
First and foremost, you must implement all security measures to safeguard personal user data. For this purpose, you can use various telemedicine tools, protocols, and algorithms. Here are some key points to think about:
- Maintain conformity – Ensure that your telemedicine platform meets all regulatory standards, which we’ll review below.
- Encryption – Encrypt your data to lessen the impact of careless data loss and cyber-attacks. AES 128 Bit and SHA 256 are the most widely used standards for telehealth app development.
- Self-assessment – To ensure complete data security, perform self-examination and look for vulnerabilities whenever software is upgraded.
- Patient education is essential – Patients should also be aware of data security standards and include strong passwords, virus protection, and firewalls on medical consultation devices where applicable.
7.2. Compliance with Regulations
Telehealth software solutions must be implemented in accordance with specific regulatory and medical standards because they process personal patient data. These rules are designed to safeguard critical information and prevent cybersecurity breaches in real-time.
Here is a list of country-specific standards with which your telemedicine software must comply.
- HIPAA (United States)
- PIPEDA (Canada)
- IEC 62304 (international)
- DICOM (international standard to manage medical imaging data)
- ICD-10 (international classifications of disease)
- Directive 95/46/EC on Data Protection (Europe)
Your medical application should also meet FHIR and OWASP standards. Furthermore, secure messaging and encrypted data transmission protocols must be used to transfer patients’ EHRs and EMRs within and outside healthcare organizations.
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7.3. Video High Definition
Full HD video is critical in the event of physical harm to patients. Poor video quality can lead to incorrect symptom interpretation and diagnosis. As a result, a good device camera is essential. In some cases, however, invalid code and bandwidth issues may result in poor video quality. Consider an IT vendor who understands how to build a telemedicine system with video chat support and has extensive streaming experience.
8. Process of Developing Telehealth Software
Because it directly affects people’s health, developing this software requires significant responsibility and careful planning. As a telemedicine software development company with experience in the healthcare industry, we’ll go over the steps you should take to create a user-centric app.
Step 1: Planning
You’ve decided to create your own telehealth platform. However, before you choose the right type, platform, or technologies, define the purpose of your future product. In the case of telemedicine apps, it is a benefit you will provide to your potential users. For example, you may wish to create a healthcare solution that includes powerful video conferencing software to facilitate patient-doctor communication, or you may wish to create pharmacy management software to automate pharmacy-related processes, or you may require an all-in-one solution.
When you’ve identified the problem that needs to be solved, it’s time to look at your main competitors and market leaders. Pay attention to their strengths and, more importantly, weak points to determine what you can do better to attract more leads. The following step is to identify your target audience. Again, careful analysis and research will enable you to segment your audience and develop features that meet their expectations and demonstrate demand. In addition, you must consider high-level integrations (for example, with EHR), collect compliance requirements for relevant regulations such as HIPAA, and determine the software license required.
Step 2: The Discovery Phase
Because clients and software engineers may have different visions of required features, the Discovery phase is critical for telehealth software development. At this point, Business Analysts examine your company’s goals and project concept. They create a project specification that includes information about the product, such as features, design, technology stack, number of third-party integrations, and so on. Finally, after all the data has been analyzed, you will be given a final estimate.
Step 3: User Interface/UX Design
UI/UX designers define the core user scenarios (e.g., video meeting setup, prescription renewal), visualize the main features of telemedicine software, and plan convenient customer journeys for all users involved at this stage. Then, they create an app prototype that shows how the platform will look, and perform and what it can do in the future. Finally, appealing user interface elements are created by designers.
Step 4: Product Development
It is the most critical and challenging aspect of developing a telemedicine platform. It stands for developing the product’s server-side, integrating APIs, and converting an appealing UI design into functional software. It is preferable, to begin with, a minimum viable product (MVP) to test the software concept and launch the app with minimal investment. The core concept of MVP is to create a telemedicine app/software with enough features to attract first users and gather early feedback. Furthermore, once you start making money, you can reinvest in adding advanced features.
Step 5: Testing
The telemedicine platform cannot be deployed without extensive testing. QA engineers conduct multiple tests at this stage to verify the product’s functional requirements, find and fix potential bugs and malfunctions, and ensure software security and regulatory compliance. The results are then entered into the bug report and transferred to software developers for further correction. Before the final client review, QA engineers ensure that all functionality works as expected and meets project requirements.
Step 6: Delivery & Upkeep
After completing all previous telehealth software development stages, it is time to deliver a finished application to customers and stakeholders for testing and feedback. If necessary, you make improvements based on the information gathered. Due to the complexity of telemedicine solutions, it is preferable to continue working with the dedicated development team. They can keep the software running smoothly by adding new features or improving existing ones, fixing bugs, and providing seamless software performance. Furthermore, system security and standard compliance must be checked regularly.
What Is the Price of Telemedicine Software?
The cost of developing telehealth software varies depending on the type of software, the complexity of the features, the design, the integrations, and the rates of software developers. When all of them are considered, the average cost to build a telemedicine platform will range between $150,000 and $250,000+. Unfortunately, no specialists can give you an exact price until they know what functionality you require and what type of Telemedicine app you want to develop.
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Because all telehealth platforms include the patients' and doctors' perspectives, here are the features that each side requires to be able to complete their desired actions:
- Sign-in: To protect the patient's sensitive information
- Profile administration: To allow the user adds more personal information and sync with hospital records.
- Video conference: To assist doctors in diagnosing the patient from their symptoms.
- Text messaging: To allow a user to describe and receive advice from doctors for minor symptoms.
- Scheduling: To let patients monitor and manage their doctor's appointments.
- Notifications: To notify patients regarding their appointments, physical queries, etc.
- Review: To let users rate the services they received.
- Payment: To provide secure and convenient payment methods for users.
- Doctor profile: To let doctors create their profiles with information regarding their specialization, qualifications, etc.
- Electronic Health Records (EHRs): To provide access to patient's medical records for accurate diagnosis.
- Communication: To facilitate two-way communication between doctor-patient via text or call.
- Exchange of internal data: To allow the exchange of client information in case the doctor needs to refer their patient to a different specialist.
There are 6 steps an experienced telemedicine software development company will follow to ensure the delivery of a reliable and useful healthcare app:
- Planning: Define the purpose of your desired product & identify your target audience
- Discovery phase: Business analysts examine your business's goals & project concept to create a project specification.
- UI/UX design: Define user flows, and features and visualize the app's interface.
- Product development: Develop the product's server-side, integrate APIs and convert the UI design into functional software.
- Testing: Conduct multiple tests to verify the product's functions and fix bugs.
- Delivery & upkeep: Deliver the final app and make improvements if required.
Telemedicine software's main goal is to provide patients assess to healthcare services and reduce the workloads for doctors. Telemedicine software may follow one of the revenue models below:
- Consultation session charge - The software charges a patient a fee every time they pay for their consultation.
- Annual subscription - The patient pays a yearly fee and is charged for the medical services they use.
- Monthly charge - Patients and providers are charged monthly fees to use the software.
- Franchising - If your market is saturated, consider franchising your system to other countries.
- A fee per minute - A patient is charged with a per-minute fee for doctor consultations.
Telemedicine software may bring ample benefits, yet there are some serious concerns regarding its development as well.
Because software like this contains a lot of sensitive information about users, it would require top security methods.
Compliance with regulations
Asides from an app's security methods, a business needs to be aware of the regulations their app would have to compliant. Here are some of the country-specific standards that telemedicine software may need to comply with: IEC 62304 (international), DICOM (international standard to manage medical imaging data), Directive 95/46/EC on Data Protection (Europe), HIPAA (US), etc.
High definition videos
The video's quality is extremely important to assist doctors in diagnosing their patient's physical symptoms.