How to build a telemedicine app?

Health consciousness is on the rise because of the COVID situation, fitness obsessions, and the popularity of the self-care idea. Current trends create a favorable environment for the development of telemedicine. New technologies such as AI and big data allow for automation and a major improvement in remote diagnostics, real-time health data, and customer experience.

One thing is definitely certain - there is a growing need for telemedicine apps. Here’s how to start and develop a telemedicine app for iOS and Android.

Table of contents
  1. What is telemedicine?
  2. Five trends of healthcare you need to know before developing a telemedicine app
  3. Benefits of telemedicine and why it’s our future
  4. Top three successful telemedicine apps
  5. What features should a telemedicine app have?
  6. How much does it cost to build a telemedicine app?
  7. How to monetize your telemedicine app?
  8. Summing up

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine or telehealth is a medical practice that uses modern technologies to provide online and long-distance patient support. Telemedicine isn’t new. In fact, it has been used to provide healthcare services to patients for 50+ years.

How to develop a telemedicine app - Group of doctors
Photo by Luis Melendez / Unsplash

The first attempts of telehealth were made in the 1940s when doctors tried to give advice via telephone. And in 1959, clinicians at the University of Nebraska used a two-way TV connection to provide video consultations.
But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic when everything changed and telemedicine software development has become a primary goal for healthcare companies. Due to the pandemic, more and more healthcare institutions try to provide remote healthcare services to patients.

Statista predicted that the telemedicine market will grow up to $41.2 billion by 2021. But take into account that the report was made before the worldwide lockdown. Nevertheless, today is a high time to invest in telehealth app development since there is ever-growing demand and low supply.

You may be also interested in: How much does it cost to build a doctor appointment app

Five trends of healthcare you need to know before developing a telemedicine app

With new developments in software, robotics, and even drone technology, healthcare is changing. New technologies introduce easier and faster healthcare for everyone regardless of location. Here are the top five emerging trends of the healthcare industry that you need to know before going in for telemedicine app development.

Digitalization of biomarkers

Digital biomarkers are health data points tracked by specific digital devices. They help to measure blood pressure, heart rate, sleep quality, physical activity, or even glucose levels. Thanks to a wide range of smartphones and wearables, doctors can access new sources of information to predict health risks or assess health.

To make use of collected data, specialists need custom-built software solutions. The following apps allow for using all data sources and leverage them for valuable health insights. Have you ever thought that even Instagram can provide valuable insight into a patient’s habits and lifestyle?

Developing apps for telemedicine- Glove up! (IG: @clay.banks)
Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

Digital treatment

What if digital apps can improve a patient’s health? Imagine that mobile apps are clinically tested and prescribed by a doctor like a drug. That’s digital treatment or digital therapeutics.

Sometimes they are called digiceuticals. The following apps undergo lots of efficacy test run by regulators and get a clinical validation. So digiceuticals are prescribed along with traditional drugs not instead of them. Nowadays, mobile apps are used to help patients with asthma, chronic pain, or ADHD.

Digital clinical trials

Clinical trials are the most expensive thing in the healthcare industry. Except for being expensive, they are also hard to organize and conduct. Participants can drop out, and your clinical recruiters are geographically-bound.

Thanks to wearables and smartphones, all necessary behavioral data can be easily collected and even remotely. Such apps open up new possibilities for researchers.

Increased patient engagement

It’s common knowledge that emotions can influence health. Patients with greater engagement are said to get better sooner by:

  • Combining traditional treatment with mobile apps
  • Using specific apps that help patients get a full treatment
  • Streamlining doctor-patient communication
  • Automating scheduling
  • Notifying patients about upcoming visits or drugs

Mobile app development for hospitals - Doctor Holding Cell Phone. Cell phones and other kinds of mobile devices and communications technologies are of increasing importance in the delivery of health care. Photographer Daniel Sone
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

Value-based healthcare

When it comes to a value-based healthcare system, all healthcare providers are compensated based on patient outcomes. Many governments are lobbying the following idea to look for better reimbursement models for the healthcare industry.

It’s a boon for patients but a real bane for healthcare providers creating significant pressure on medical and pharmaceutical companies. Companies will have to show that their drugs or treatment really work well. And doing that will require not only additional sets of tests but multiple metrics, large volumes of collected data, etc.

Benefits of telemedicine and why it’s our future

The benefits of telemedicine for patients are obvious. Just think about how many times you were too busy to visit a doctor? For some patients, even a slight cough may result in pneumonia. Thanks to telemedicine, lots of such troubles can be easily dealt with or avoided. Patients can just call a doctor while having lunch without visiting the hospital.

And when it comes to patients with chronic diseases, telehealth is a real boon. Taking into account the latest research, telehealth helped decrease the mortality rate among patients with chronic heart diseases. And moreover, telehealth is cheaper than seeing a doctor in person.

How to develop a telemedicine app for Android - Doctor with a tablet
Photo by Tom Claes / Unsplash

Telemedicine is also beneficial for hospitals in several ways 🔽

When patients get the possibility to consult with doctors remotely, there will be a significant decrease in hospital load as well as queues. Doctors will be able to spend more time with patients who come to the hospital and need direct help. For healthcare companies, telehealth also means an additional source of revenue.

Moreover, doctors will be able to continue their work even when they can’t be at the hospital (the following comes in handy in terms of the global pandemic). Along with new possibilities, telemedicine can bring up more patients. People are likely to take care of their health more when it doesn’t mean extra commuting.

What does a telemedicine app mean?

For healthcare institutions For patients
Less hospital load Time and cost-efficient
More patients Ready for use anywhere and anytime
Remote work Personalized
Extra source of revenue Easier/Faster access
Do you need to build a telemedicine app for your hospital? Contact us to get a free evaluation of your project. We can develop an iOS, Android, and Web app solution to help your clinic go digital.

Top three successful telemedicine apps

Testing existing telehealth apps is a good idea before launching your own app. You should never skip the research stage. Here are the top five successful telemedicine apps that you need to know about before going in for software development.

Zocdoc

zocdoc

Zocdoc is a mobile app that helps patients find and book top-rated doctors for video calls or office visits. Zocdoc can find the nearest doctor, schedule an appointment, send reminders, etc.

The app is free for patients. Moreover, Zocdoc can also check patient insurance and make sure that the doctor takes it. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Doctor On Demand

doctor-on-demand-

Doctor On Demand gives access to a wide range of doctors available for face-to-face video consultations. To use the app, it’s not obligatory to have insurance. Patients always see the cost before the consultation.

From physicians to psychiatrists, the app has everything patients may need. Doctors can also access your vitals such as blood pressure and temperature, thanks to integrating with Apple’s Health Kit.

Video sessions with doctors are as efficient as if you’d come to the hospital. Doctors perform the exam, check the patient’s history, and recommend treatment. One more thing to mention, the app is free for patients.

HealthTap

Health-tap

HealthTap provides users 24/7 access to US board-certified doctors. Unlike the two apps mentioned above, patients need to pay $10 a month to use HealthTap.

With the app, users can call doctors with video, get treatment, and order lab tests. After the online visits, patients get easy-to-follow instructions and reminders to help stay on track.

What features should a telemedicine app have?

You need to develop two apps, i.e. a patient app and a doctor app. They’ll have different functionality. While developing a telemedicine app, consider adding the following features to your MVP 🔽

Must-have features for patients

Sign in

Users need secure and private accounts where they can share their sensitive information, including sex, age, and insurance.

Search and filters

Patients may need to find a particular doctor or necessary specialist, and without a search feature, it’ll be hardly possible. You can implement several search filters such as geolocation or reviews.

Video calls

A mobile telemedicine app needs video calls. They connect patients and doctors. Video calls are like live communication. There is no need to come to the hospital to meet a doctor face-to-face. However, you have to ensure the highest security standards while developing an app with video calls. And when it comes to telehealth apps, you need to use HIPAA-compliant solutions.

Payment system

In case a patient needs to pay for the service provided, there has to be a payment gateway. You just need to use an appropriate API to allow your users to pay for the services.

Review

After the video call, users will be able to leave reviews and rate doctors. And patients are likely to read reviews before scheduling their appointment.

Notifications

Send notification to your users about the upcoming events or reminders to take a pill. Users will definitely thank you for sending reminders!

Telemedicine app development - Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
Photo by Solen Feyissa / Unsplash

Must-have features for doctors

Workspace for doctors

It’ll be a central part of your telemedicine app. Here doctors can check the information about patients, drug prescriptions, and their schedule.

Appointment manager

Once a patient finds a doctor, one needs to book and schedule a video call. Along with booking, patients need to share information about their health conditions as well as their medical records. And the app has to automatically manage time slots, collect the information, and show the available time slots.

Once a doctor receives an appointment request, one has to approve or decline it. And once approved, the app needs to book a time slot and notify a patient about the upcoming visit.

In-app messages

That’s a good idea to allow patients and doctors to exchange messages without leaving your app. Sometimes they need to exchange prescriptions, lab tests, or x-rays. Since they’re sharing sensitive information, you need to use only HIPAA and GDPR compliant messaging platforms.

Finally, it’s time to find out how much it cost to develop a telemedicine app from scratch with Mova.io 🔽

How much does it cost to build a telemedicine app?

While evaluating how much it’ll take to develop a custom app, you need to remember about app distribution, promotion, and maintenance. The following may take up to 30% of your development budget.

The cost of telehealth app development depends on lots of things, including its platform, concept, functionality, and development vendor. Taking into account that there are lots of variables, you can expect to spend around $60k-$100k for the first version of the app for one platform (Web, iOS, or Android).

If you want some extra features or develop a more complex telemedicine app, get ready to spend more money. For example, a telemedicine app powered by AR or VR technologies may cost up to $240k.

And with Mova.io, you can develop a simple telemedicine app for about XXX. Check out the chart below for more information 🔽

App type Development Time Price
Patient app 2-3 months $10,000 - $14,000
Doctor app 3 months $14,000 - $16,000
Admin Panel 1 month ~$5,000
Total 5-6 months $29,000+

How to monetize your telemedicine app?

There are lots of ways how to earn money off your application, including advertising, subscription plans, sponsorship, crowdfunding, and more. In general, app monetization depends on the app concept and target customer.

One of the most common ways of monetizing your telemedicine app is fees. The following revenue model is similar to Uber’s when a platform receives some percentage from a service.

How to start a telemedcine app - Stethoscope and Laptop Computer
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

Let’s take Doctor On Demand. The following app charges a 25% fee. But you can adjust the rate depending on the consultation specifics, specialization, duration, etc.

All in all, a telemedicine app can generate a pretty penny through the following revenue models 🔽

Pay per consultation

You can charge patients per consultation or per minute. For example, the Tele Doctoral charges $0.08 per minute.

Subscription

Subscription or membership is also a popular revenue model for telemedicine apps. HealthTap users pay $10 a month to get access to telemedicine.

Franchising

You can offer your software to overseas healthcare providers. For example, SkyHealth sells its franchise for around $3k.

Software as a service

Selling an app as a SaaS solution is another popular revenue model for telehealth apps. Let’s take for example, Doctor On Demand. It’s also sold as a SaaS solution to medical establishments. Hospitals need to pay $1 per employee to get access to the Doctor On Demand platform.

Summing up

Telemedicine apps improve the lives of both patients and doctors. Patients can receive medical advice anywhere and anytime on the one hand. And on the other hand, doctors can provide medical treatment to anyone regardless of their location.

Before starting developing a telehealth app, you need to evaluate your business idea, find an appropriate revenue model, and think about what value you’re going to provide your users. Due to the global pandemic, going remote is a must for any business.


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