The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has raised an acute need for telemedicine software solutions worldwide. For those unfamiliar with the term, telemedicine is an app-based technology that helps patients from a distance. Doctors, health specialists, and patients looking for non-emergency medical help can easily interact over a telemedicine application.
One of the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic is the overwhelming popularity of digital media. Since everyone is expected to stay at home to prevent the spreading of infection, we can see that many businesses have started providing online services that users can access from the comfort of their homes. This shift can be seen in the healthcare industry as well. Many patients are becoming inclined toward telemedicine software, meaning there is a lot of scope for this particular field.
The basic principle behind telemedicine is, why would patients want to spend extra time and effort in getting ready and traveling to the hospital when they can just attend a medical consultation right from their homes? They don’t have to deal with long queues, risk of infection, time obligations, or the like.
It would suffice to say that launching a telemedicine solution at this point in time would be a very lucrative prospect. However, a few things need to be kept in mind before embarking on such an endeavor.
In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about launching a telemedicine application and the various challenges involved in developing it.
The healthcare industry is still developing, and some argue that innovative concepts like telemedicine would help boost this process. Such applications will be able to provide medical attention to patients even in places with no real medical clinics nearby. The convenience and time efficiency linked with these apps have been a major reason for their quick success in the market.
In the early 2000s, telemedicine gained significant popularity but eventually lost impetus because of a lack of interest in patients and the medical community. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our medical systems have been under significant strain. Hospitals and clinics have experienced a significant decrease in patient footfall due to lockdowns, hampering aid to those in need. Telemedicine applications have helped improve this situation to a great extent. Through such applications, patients and doctors are provided with an alternative means of communicating. This also helps patients with unrelated ailments, such as diabetes, to get care despite lockdowns.
With an easy data handling capacity, these apps also provide an infallible platform for patient record management. In fact, The latest Global Market Insights report states that the global telemedicine market will expand from its present $38.3 billion to $130.5 billion valuation by 2025. What does this mean for entrepreneurs and anyone looking to invest in this market? More people will opt for telemedicine because of its many benefits. As the number of people availing of telemedicine healthcare services increases, more money can be made by associating with this sector.
Once you have decided to take the leap of faith and invest in a telemedicine product, you might be wondering how to get started. The first thing you will need to finalize would be your application features and offerings.
Prioritization of your app’s features is one of the most important aspects of the development process. If you aren’t sure how to go about this, you can read our article on How to prioritize product features? – Prioritization frameworks and strategies.
Generally, telemedicine apps are incorporated with features like live appointments, schedule integrations, record keeping, video calls, chatbots, prescription handling, health vitals info storage, payments, and many more. Some of the major considerations that you need to take into account during app development are as follows-
Medical professionals have access to critical input of patients in health vitals, payment options, and scheduling routines. This makes it crucial to keep them all in a secure and encrypted platform. EHRs (Electronic health records) should be deposited safely in an app to streamline future health checkups. Take a conscious effort to work on the security concerns of your application. You can incorporate your app with proper checkpoints to handle any data breach or malfunction. The assured security level of telemedicine apps can improve treatments, medical facilities, and patient-doctor interaction.
AI and chatbots have been gaining popularity since the dawn of the digitalization era. Adding AI technology to your app can make it more secure and reliable. Additionally, chatbot integration can ensure that no patient feels unattended. Live chat, giving answers to patients’ queries, and providing solutions in real-time with chatbot integration could really help improve the efficiency of your app.
Users can get extremely infuriated if their health check-ups and doctor interactions get interrupted. Save your patients from these interferences by building a telemedicine software solution focusing on superlative performance and functionality. Run various testing rounds to confirm absolute performance and stability. Make maintenance easy and convenient.
Apps developed for the health sector will require associated equipment and devices. By connecting devices like fitness trackers, smartwatches, and wearable devices, doctors will have access to many important patient data. Combining IoMT with big data analytics can help physicians detect trends in data and adjust their treatment plans accordingly.
Blockchain technology can help you securely store all of your patient information in one place. By implementing a blockchain solution, you can access a secure ledger that can store historical transactions and conversation history from the telemedicine platform.
While developing a telemedicine app, there are a few steps that you will typically follow. In this section, we will discuss the various steps and how to go about implementing them.
Do you want to build a web-based telemedicine platform or a mobile-based telemedicine application? If you want a mobile application, do you want to go the native route (two sets of code written for Android and iOS platforms) or cross-platform development (shared codebase that can be deployed across both these platforms? Your needs will majorly impact the development platform you choose, so make the decision carefully. Other factors that could affect this decision would be your budget and time.
User experience and user interface design are crucial aspects of app development. Generally, a designer will need to consider points like-
1) Efficient onboarding – Designing an onboarding process that clearly educates the users on the app’s features will greatly add to the user experience.
2) Usability – This involves design layout, information, content, and other elements that enable users to use the app smoothly.
3) Reducing search effort – Ensure that your users can find what they’re looking for quickly by incorporating keyword search and barcode scanning features.
4) Offering assistance – Provide assistance to your users within the app by integrating various support options like self-serve FAQs and live support through click-to-call buttons or live chats.
If users are happy with their experience, they are more likely to continue using the application. This is why you should ensure that the layout of your telemedicine app is created in accordance with user needs.
Software development in the healthcare industry can be difficult because of the need for greater compliance with regulations. An in-house team for such a task may give you better control over the project, but it comes with its own downfalls. For instance, your team may not have the sufficient experience required to develop an effective application. To ensure success, you can hire an external or outsourced team of developers to help you with solution development.
Quality assurance and testing are crucial phases of the software development life cycle. The telemedicine software must undergo rigorous testing during each sprint, user acceptance, and regression testing before the final deployment. It also needs to undergo stress testing to optimally handle a huge inflow of user onboarding and function.
A software solution will need to be maintained even after deployment. Most applications will require updates to ensure proper functioning from time to time. Make sure that the development partner you hire provides support and maintenance services.
User feedback collected post the app’s deployment can be incorporated into the maintenance stage to ensure that the developed telemedicine app matches perfectly with your practice’s workflow and results in a seamless user experience.
Every major project comes with its set of challenges. The same goes for telemedicine app development. In this section, we will look at some of the major challenges you may encounter during the development process and how to overcome them.
Developing a full-fledged telemedicine app can be costly. Make a detailed framework of your budget, and ensure that you come up with a well-researched plan. Follow a carefully developed development process and manage costs and operations meticulously.
Follow the HIPAA guidelines. Keep your patient’s records confidential and always maintain end-to-end encryption. A secure app with complete HIPAA guidelines will be considered superior to its competitors and ensures safety and security.
Gaining the trust of your users can be extremely difficult. However, it is crucial to do so. This trust can amplify your app’s success to a great extent. Pay attention to your customer’s problems and make them feel valued. Ensure that their data is safe by making your app secure and tamper-proof.
You can hire a development team to help you with these challenges. A team like this would be able to properly navigate through the legal, costs, and security issues involved during app development. Here are some things that you should consider while choosing the development team for your telemedicine app:
A well-developed app with proper functionality and maintenance standards and the implementation of HIPAA guidelines can stand out in the telemedicine market. If you would like any help during the development of your telemedicine application, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts.
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