There’s an App for That: Creating a Telehealth App

there's an app for that

In today’s world where everyone is constantly on their mobile devices, app developers have created apps for just about everything. No matter what you need, there’s an app for that somewhere out there. Probably more than one. there's an app for that

And, that’s part of the problem if you’re an app developer or a company with an idea for a new app (or one that’s already out there). It’s really hard to think of an app that doesn’t already exist out there (if I hear one more pitch for a new dining app to compete with GrubHub, I’m gonna throw up), but there are lots of ways you can make an existing app better by adding features consumers want. Or you can build an app for a space without a ton of competition, such as a telemedicine app.

Suppose you go home on a Friday night with terrible stomach pain. How would you react? Bear the discomfort till Monday morning. This is what may happen in a world without platforms for on-demand medical care. Using telemedicine, you may schedule an appointment, talk to a doctor, get a bill, and even pay for the service all from the comfort of your own home. This post is for you if you’re thinking about creating a doctor-on-demand smartphone application.

There’s an app for that-Telemedicine

What exactly is telemedicine?

The pandemic showed us that healthcare providers can do a lot to alleviate symptoms without the need to physically examine a patient. In fact, during the pandemic, as governments eased regulations covering telemedicine, the use of telemedicine increased by 15X and it will continue to be an integral part of the healthcare environment for the foreseeable future. From providing mental health visits to preventative care to answering questions, telemedicine is here to stay. In a recent study, 50% of patients preferred a telemedicine visit to a more traditional visit in the provider’s office and 50% would leave a provider if they don’t offer telemedicine.

Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to use information technology to provide information and a related set of virtual services. Unless there are urgent indications that need an in-person examination, the ultimate objective of telemedicine is to make it possible to effectively evaluate, diagnose, and treat a patient from a distance. Basically, the following are the most frequent telemedicine use cases:

  • Live, interactive online consultations
  • Online check-ins
  • Remote health surveillance
  • Discussion and sharing of test findings
  • Prescription for medication or renewal of a prescription

The emergence of inexpensive home testing tools, wearables, and testing kits means providers can effectively treat patients with the same confidence they do through routine office visits. As a consequence, in certain cases, patients may be able to obtain the necessary medical treatment without having to leave the comfort of their homes. As a consequence, going to the hospital for a diagnostic and treatment is no longer necessary in certain situations. Healthcare experts may now treat patients remotely thanks to telemedicine technology like PC and smartphone apps.

telehealth apps

The state of the app market

Before thinking about developing an app to deliver telemedicine, you should reach out to a company such as https://trembit.com/industries/telemedicine-app-development.html that knows the ins and outs of this market. Also, consult the legal issues in your justification and organizations like the American Medical Association to thoroughly understand the rules, ethics, and other factors governing telemedicine, since this market is much more restrictive than, say, building another food delivery app.

Then, read the last section of this post covering the marketing of apps, as competing in a crowded market, even if you’re just worried about developing the app, is a serious issue.

A step-by-step guide to creating telehealth software

Let’s now go into more specifics regarding how to construct a telemedicine platform. The primary phases are the same as the stages that are common to any progressive software development lifecycle.

Planning

Even if telehealth software is highly sought-after and well-liked worldwide, you must create it for a particular target market. Examine your company’s objectives, resources (financial and people), schedule, and key performance indicators (KPIs) throughout the planning stage. Additionally, take into account all laws and regulations governing healthcare products.

If you’re building on telemedicine app development, they likely have some of this information ready but if your plan is to build something for a smaller medical office, you might need to do the research yourself to understand what features patients expect, how to ensure the security of the data as HIPPA rules are very stringent, how to link the physician’s systems to the telemedicine portal, and the level of tech readiness among patients. For instance, a physician seeing elderly patients might have some challenges in reaching his/her patients with a complex app, so something that’s simple, with large fonts might work best.

Also, explore what other apps do.

Research

Because engineers and users may have different perspectives on the product, the discovery phase is essential for the creation of telemedicine apps. As a result, you must determine via market research what functionality your prospective audience requires. Based on the results, your business analysts will create the optimal project idea.

Designing UI/UX

To design user journeys, identify the key user situations (such as texting a doctor in an online chat, starting a conference to discuss a patient’s condition, etc.) and key features. Create a prototype of the app to illustrate how it will seem after it is finished. You’ll find a host of solutions for prototyping that allow you to create and test alternatives without having to write code, so they’re cheaper and faster.

a/b testing
Image courtesy of Optimizely

After iteration with engineers, physicians, and patients, the prototype acts as a  tool to guide development.

Product creation

To make a usable product, you must code, design the final version, and include API. This is the most expensive, most time-consuming, and most difficult part of the app development process. AI offers some hope of shortening the development time and reducing the cost.

Testing

Before releasing the software, have QA engineers test it and fix any flaws. They will thoroughly test each component before compiling a problem report and returning it to software developers for correction. This stage is essential for the final product’s quality.

Then, you’re ready to test the app with real patients before releasing it widely to everyone. These beta testers provide feedback to the engineers so they can fix the problems before mass distribution.

Marketing

Marketing the product is challenging as consumers are reluctant to add another app to their crowded mobile devices and it’s even harder to get them to use the app, as you can see below.

usage of mobile apps
Image courtesy of Buildfire

How much does developing a telemedicine app cost?

You should take into account the following:

  • The product’s complexity, including the technology used, the number of features, etc.
  • Accelerating the development process is also a significant element since it increases the budget.
  • The size of your development team, the caliber of its workers, the pay scale, and the recruiting strategy.
  • Making it a shelf app or creating a unique app is important, as is taking an MVP or a completely finished software into consideration.

Pricing for telemedicine app development typically begins at $40,000 for a basic application on a single platform with a few integrated capabilities. The cost for more sophisticated items might go as high as $80,000. Depending on the number of technologies used and the team, top-notch bespoke telemedicine applications may cost $200,000 or more.

Conclusion

A web-based telehealth platform or mobile app’s creation is a substantial effort with numerous inherent challenges, including GDPR and HIPAA compliance, market research, designing the ideal user interface, and others. The main competitors are facing resistance from the newcomers, billions of dollars are being invested in startups, and there are reputable software development providers to support them.

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