Telemedicine App Development: Challenges, Features & Innovations 
A telemedicine program is currently present in almost half of all U.S hospitals. Such solutions offer a lot of benefits, allowing medical facilities to streamline operations, reduce costs and doctors workload, and improve healthcare services.
According to a report by Statista, the telemedicine market size will reach $41.2 billion by 2020.
If you are looking in the direction of telemedicine app development, this guide will provide you with in-depth insights. The article covers a number of important points, allowing to explore the sphere of telehealth applications.
- market state of telemedicine platforms
- differences between the main types of telemedicine apps
- benefits that telemedicine app development can bring
- technologies and features of a telemedicine app
- how to build a telemedicine software
- key challenges of telemedicine app development
- the cost to create a telemedicine app
- revenue streams for telemedicine applications
Why Invest in Telemedicine App Development Today
- In 2014, the global telemedicine technologies market, including telemedicine software, hardware, and services was valued at $17.8 billion
- Around 74% of the U.S. patients would use telehealth services
- 74% of millennials prefer telehealth visits to in-person doctor exams
- Telemedicine can reduce the cost of doctor visits by 10-15%
- Over the five years prior to 2019, telemedicine had grown by 44%
The outbreak of COVID-19 surged the popularity of telemedicine solutions significantly.
According to research by McKinsey, consumer adoption of telehealth services has jumped to 49% in 2020 from 11% in 2019
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Main Types of Telemedicine Apps
- Interactive telemedicine app
This is the most popular type of telemedicine solution and the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about such solutions. Applications of this type allow for phone and video calls between patients and doctors for remote doctor consultations. The main benefit of such telemedicine software is the ability to get in contact with a specialist who is not available in your area. Usually, such apps are used with the following aims:
- Follow-up consultation for newly released patients
- Neuropsychology and mental therapy
- Nursing consultations
- Pharmaceutical consultations
A lot of features can be integrated inside such applications, including the ability to call a doctor for a home visit.
- IoT telemedicine software
The Internet of Things is a sphere of smart interconnected devices that collect and exchange information. Integrated with telehealth apps, such devices are used for remote patient monitoring. For example, smart devices can measure heart rate, blood pressure, level of sugar, and other clinical parameters used to monitor the state of health. Records are then automatically transferred to a telemedicine app, allowing a patient and a doctor to monitor any changes in the patient’s state of health. Such solutions are especially beneficial for patients with chronic diseases.
- Store-and-forward telemedicine apps
The use of telemedicine solutions doesn’t always include video conferencing. Patients can record some data on a photo or video and sent it to a doctor for examination. For example, patients can take photos of the results of medical examinations or even take a photo of their wounds, etc. Such telemedicine applications don’t require a patient and a doctor to be available at the same time, increasing the efficiency of such digital products.
Telemedicine App Development Benefits
Trying to find out how to start a telehealth business, you are probably wondering about the benefits of building your own telemedicine app. Let’s investigate which benefits telemedicine app development can bring to both patients and medical businesses.
1. Unlimited access to medical services
The main benefit of telemedicine software is access to healthcare services from any location in the world. The problem is especially persistent in distant rural areas where you can witness the lack of healthcare personnel. With a telemedicine app, anyone can get access to doctors regardless of the physical location.
2. Reduced cost
Telemedicine software brings along another important benefit: cost saving. As patients get medical assistance remotely and without personal hospital visits, you can save money on the rent and run of working space. Thus, doctors can consult their patients from homes.
3. Time-efficient medical care
Situations, when you need to visit a few medical specialists, might turn into countless hours spent in waiting rooms. With telemedicine applications for healthcare, it is possible to get a consultation without leaving your home or in the middle of your lunch break.
4. Progressive EHR
Telemedicine software can be used for electronic healthcare records management. Medical staff can access data without the need to find paper records.
5. Patient management and monitoring
With telemedicine applications, it’s possible to organize efficient management of patients, control of consultations, prescriptions, and so on.
7. Time management for doctors
With super busy schedules, doctors can be overwhelmed by the number of patients. Telemedicine app development can help address the problem by allowing the administrative staff to control the workload of doctors. On the other hand, push notifications and in-app schedules don’t allow doctors to miss an appointment.
8. Streamlining administrative tasks
Telemedicine solutions can be used for the efficient administration of medical establishments. Without a need to fill out forms and documentation, doctors can spend more time working directly with patients.
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Technologies Used in Telemedicine App Development
- Artificial intelligence – robust chatbots are the main use of AI in a telemedicine app. Since doctors can’t always be online, chatbots based on artificial intelligence can take on a part of essential work, like building the doctor’s schedule, answering basic questions, etc. Other possible areas of AI implementation are language processing, voice recognition, and machine learning, which combined create a supercharged experience in healthcare services.
- Big Data – the industry of telehealth apps generates a lot of data that can be further used in healthcare. The implementation of big data allows to process the gathered information to optimize services, provide better treatment and diagnostics, for medical research, etc.
- IoT – the Internet of Things is another technology widely used by telehealth mobile apps. This technology unites the use of different gadgets and solutions, including but not limited to tablets, smart watches, cameras, medical trackers, etc. These can be used to monitor vital medical conditions for a more precise diagnosis and treatment.
- Blockchain – the main use of this technology is the prevention of data loss and its protection. The data is stored in distributed ledgers that prevent data tampering.
Telemedicine Platform Features for Patients
- Registration – patients should be able to sign up and sign in via mobile number, email, or social network. Since telemedicine solutions deal with a lot of sensitive and confidential information, it’s important to provide a high level of protection. One of the possible solutions is the use of two-factor authentication via phone, SMS, etc.
- Patient account – since patients need to provide their personal information, a user account should allow them to quickly fill out all the necessary forms. Just remember that users don’t like to spend a lot of time on such tasks, therefore, it might be a good idea to limit the number of compulsory fields.
- Search – robust search system should help patients to find specialists. You can implement the search by keywords and main criteria like specialization, location, rating, etc.
- Appointments and calendar – this feature is directly related to the similar feature for doctors. Patients need to have the ability to create appointments with doctors based on doctor availability. You need to provide them with functionality that also helps to edit, postpone or cancel appointments and to view the calendar with all planned doctor consultations.
- Communication tools – since telemedicine software provides remote consultations with medical specialists, patients should have the ability to communicate with them. Based on the type of telemedicine app you are going to develop, you can add a built-in chat, video and voice calls, photo-based consultations, etc.
- Geolocation – patients should be able to connect with practitioners based on their location. This feature can be implemented with the help of Google Maps or similar technologies.
- In-app payment – integration of payment gateways like Braintree, Stripe, PayPal will allow patients to pay for consultations inside your telehealth app. As a bonus feature, you can provide them with access to the whole history of their transactions within your application.
- Notifications – this is a must-have feature that you should definitely include in telemedicine app development. With the help of push notifications, you can remind patients about appointments and notify about any changes in their schedules.
- Ratings & reviews – this feature is important for ensuring a high level of telemedicine services. Patients need to have the ability to rate doctors and provide their reviews. This information will help other patients to choose doctors with the best reputation.
- Medications reminders – the telemedicine app can remind patients about the need to take medications or to make timely refills of pills.
- Navigation – you can help patients to find your hospital by providing route direction inside your application.
- Insurance plan – it is possible to integrate telemedicine software with insurance providers so that patients could use their insurance for medical consultations.
- Cloud data storage – this feature can be used to store and manage EHRs, view attacked images, import, and export digital files.
Telemedicine Apps Features for Doctors
- Doctor profile – doctors need to specify their specialization, provide information regarding experience, education, add their licenses, and even set up working hours.
- Scheduling and calendar – at this section of telemedicine applications, doctors should be able to set their availability, view requests for medical consultation, and have access to the schedule of all appointments.
- Communication – based on the type of app, you need to implement features for direct patient-doctor communication. Possible solutions include one-to-one messages, voice and video calls.
- HER access – during consultations, doctors need to check patients’ healthcare records stored within an app or hospital database.
- Medical prescriptions – doctors should be able to place prescriptions within your application. This feature is great for patients with chronic diseases who need to regularly buy some medicine. Thanks to its implementation during telemedicine app development, they could get the prescribed medications without physical hospital visits.
- Sessions recording – the recording of audio and video consultations might be very helpful for psychiatrists and other doctors. Such records can be viewed in the future to track the progress of treatment.
- Dashboard and analytics – there are a number of ways in which you can implement this feature.
- Pharmacy information – integration with the database of drug stores to provide doctors with information on available medications, etc.
How to Build Telemedicine Software
At Addevice, the process of telemedicine app development is divided into 7 main steps. Each stem has its own substages with specialists responsible for each.
Let’s take a look at a detailed breakdown of each stage.
1. Analysis and planning
We start telemedicine app development with project analysis and planning. This stage involved close cooperation of our team with the client, during which we identify the following points:
- Challenges of our client
- The best solutions for the challenges
- The best timeline and budget for the project
The main goal of this stage is to create a basic telemedicine app development project plan. Our clients get an overview of all works and resources that will be involved in the development and make the decision regarding future work with our company.
Key deliverables: plans alignment, project timeline, cost estimation
2. Project requirements
After our client decides to work with Addevice, our team moves on to the next stage of telemedicine app development. During this stage, we work on the identification of the following points:
- The target audience for the future telemedicine app
- Which problems the telemedicine software will solve
- Technical specifications and possible APIs integrations
- Security and privacy issues
The main goal of this stage is to get a full overview of the project that our team will be working on together with the client and the alignment of the assigned team with project requirements.
Key deliverables: contract agreement with details like timing, cost, and requirements.
3. Prototyping and design
At this stage, the actual work on your telemedicine project starts. During this stage, designers draft wireframes that define in-app user flow and interactions. The main goal is to create a prototype that will provide a great user experience. After the interface layout is finalized with our client, designers move on to the creation of an app’s user interface. At the end of this stage, we deliver an app design concept.
Key deliverables: UX wireframes, UI design, telemedicine app concept
This is the main stage of telemedicine app development, during which our developers are working on the functionality of your telemedicine software. Based on the agreement with our client, it is either possible to develop the first version of a telehealth app to test the idea or to create a platform with robust functionality.
Key deliverables: the first working version of an app or full-fledged telemedicine platform.
5. Testing and QA
This is a mandatory stage of the development process. Quality assurance engineers thoroughly test the whole functionality of an app to ensure a high quality of code, performance, and smooth user experience.
Key deliverables: telemedicine app ready for deployment
Once the telemedicine app development stage is finalized, it is time to launch a new product to the market. Based on project requirements, our team can provide the client with the app’s source code or manage the entire process and publish your telemedicine app on relevant app stores.
Key deliverables: telemedicine software on app stores
7. Ongoing development and support
Once your app had been successfully launched to the market, the process of telemedicine app development continues. The main requirement for staying competitive is to provide regular app updates and improvements in functionality. Based on the analytics data that you collect after the app launch, together with our client, we plan for further updates and releases.
Key deliverables: app updates, guaranteed performance, and timely functionality improvements.
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Telemedicine App Development Project: Challenges & Considerations
Note: You can circumvent any challenges with the help of an experienced Healthcare Mobile App Development Company.
Let’s investigate the main possible problems and identify the best solutions.
Telemedicine applications deal with personal and confidential information. As a result, such applications should take care of the security and protection of the stored and processed healthcare records. An important stage of telemedicine app development should be dedicated to security matters and finding ways of how to provide data protection.
- Local legislations
Regulatory standards make telehealth a very challenging sphere. In the USA, all mobile applications that deal that patient information must be HIPAA compliant. Each country has its own set of regulations and legislations. For example, in the USA you need to abide by the requirements of HIPAA, HITECH Act, CCPA, and NIST. Canada has PIPEDA. The European Union has GDPR and NIS.
INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW HEALTHCARE APP DEVELOPMENT DEALS WITH REGULATIONS?
Our team prepared an article uncovering the secrets behind successful healthcare mobile app development. You will learn the main steps of medical app development, key features, and technical aspects. Check the guide:
- Technical infrastructure
Because of the specifications of the telehealth sphere, you should be very careful with the integration of third-party services. Before you integrate something into your telemedicine software, study their documentation to ensure their compliance with regulations.
- Lack of trust
Lack of patient trust might become another huge challenge in telemedicine app development. To ensure patients that they can entrust their health into the hands of your doctors, you need to provide the guarantee of their professionalism, social evidence in the forms of reviews, etc.
- Hiring a reliable telemedicine app development company
Finding a company that will help with the creation of your telemedicine app is as important as the features and tech stack. There are a few possible options that you can choose: hire an in-house development team, hire freelancers, or find an app development outsourcing company with the needed specialization.
Working with an outsourcing company is more advantageous for a business thanks to the lower development cost, access to a wide pool of talents, no bureaucracy of the hiring process, and much more.
You can start your research with such platforms as Clutch, the Manifest, GoogleFirms, etc., that list the best telemedicine software companies.
- Number of years on the market
- Availability of required talent
- Relevant experience in telemedicine app development
- Clients reviews and ratings
INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW TO OUTSOURCE TELEMEDICINE APP DEVELOPMENT?
Our team prepared a detailed guide explaining the benefits of mobile app development outsourcing in 2021, how to find the best vendor, and circumvent possible challenges. Check the guide:
Telemedicine App Development Cost
Before you start looking for a development vendor, you need to understand an approximate budget that might be required for telemedicine app development.
The cost of app development depends on the number of factors, including the location to which you outsource app development, the functionality you want to include, and the business model you are accustomed to working with.
Working with an offshore development company might be the most cost-effective approach to telemedicine app development.
After you decide to create telemedicine software, be ready to spend $60,000-$110,000+ for the first version of your application (single platform – iOS or Android).
If you decide to add even more features or expand to new platforms, the cost of the telemedicine system will rise accordingly. The development of a complex telemedicine app will cost $240,000 for a single app version.
Do you want to know how software development companies calculate the cost of app development?
We have an article explaining the main processes that underlie development, how app features influence timeline and cost, and how you can calculate the price of app creation yourself. Check it out:
Monetization Strategies for Telemedicine Apps
- Consultation payment – this model can be implemented in different ways with a payment for a consultation, payment based on the consultation duration, etc.
- Membership/subscription – doctors and/or patients can pay a monthly subscription fee to have access to your solution.
- Franchising – you can offer your solution on a foreign market by selling a franchise.
- SaaS – it is possible to offer your telemedicine platform to other medical institutions for payment.
Do you want to know how free apps make money?
We created an article explaining the main monetization approaches in detail. Be sure to check for in-depth insight into the best approaches to mobile app monetization:
Addevice’s Experience in Telemedicine App Development
- Artificial Intelligence – analyzes patient information and generates predictions and possible diagnosis.
- FDI approval – the app collects data from thermometers, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, etc.
- AI messaging – sends useful information and recommendations to patients automatically.
- Start with identifying your target audience – companies or patients who will be interested in your application.
- Come up with a unique selling proposition – how your telemedicine software will be different from competitors.
- Decide on the basic and advanced functionality – come up with features that will help the app meet all your business requirements.
- Find a reliable software development vendor – choose a company based on client reviews, relevant experience, availability of needed specialists, etc.
- Allocate resources – decide how much money you will need to spend on development, promotions, and app support.
- Create business objectives – decide on key metrics to track and measure the results of your work.