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Pandemic outbreak has greatly changed habitual course of life and business to ‘on-line mode’, triggering shift of healthcare industry to telemedicine platform development. eHealth services became a must-have in terms of pandemic attracting more attention to IoT, AI, big data, blockchain, machine learning, and telemedicine mobile apps.
In this article, OpenGeeksLab reveals key points of telemedicine software platform development illustrated with our own telehealth project example.
Global telemedicine app market experiences rapid rise and expansion, triggered by coronavirus pandemic. The demand for telehealth solutions grows, as people worldwide prefer digital healthcare services as a more secure substitute to regular consultation. By 2022, the number of online therapist consultations is about to double reaching over 80 million per year in the US alone.
Even before COVID-19 outbreak, in 2019, telemedicine industry was top funded digital health category with $1,76 billion of investments, and amounted $45 billion revenue worldwide by the end of the year. The present conditions will contribute to market rapid development with expected CAGR of 15.1% that opens even more perspectives for startups and investors.
Telemedicine applications offer a wide range of benefits for patients and healthcare providers.
Digital platform development makes medicine available and accessible for varied groups irrespective of their demographics and background. Telemedicine solutions offer beneficial terms for people from remote areas or people with special needs making healthcare services more convenient and cost-effective.
Healthcare providers adopting telemedicine app development significantly improve working conditions and boost productivity. Telemedicine platform usage allows introducing profound client monitoring and medical record management reducing administrative routine. Besides, providing digital services on platform spares time to examine more cases and get additional revenue, even if they do not leave home for work.
Before developing a telemedicine app, an entrepreneur should properly evaluate his/her initial concept to make it successful in the future. Evaluation process usually involves several stages helping in understanding idea’s basic advantages and disadvantages, its viability, and core functionality the app must provide.
Besides, working on open source telemedicine platform development, one must consider different types of telehealth apps. The most common application kinds include interactive telemedicine app (ensures direct doctor-patient connection via preferred medium), IoT-based telemedicine app (connects smart medical devices with telemedicine apps to support remote patient monitoring), and store-and-forward telemedicine app (operates downloadable photo/video content providing non-live doctor-patient interaction).
Business analytics stands among top issues influencing successful product launch. Conducting business analysis, one determines the demand for the idea and outlines target audience of the project. Analytical data also help in defining key problems target audience has, building productive business strategy, and providing telemedicine solutions to tackle them. Business analysis commonly covers project planning and budget estimation.
Profound market research is a must before app project development, as it shows whether your platform idea is competitive or not. Researching case studies of market leaders and current industry trends, you get necessary field information to promote your telemedicine app.
Competitor analysis is another important stage before actual app development, as it allows you to learn from other’s mistakes. Analyzing their strengths and weaknesses improves your business model emphasizing its positive sides and avoiding possible pitfalls.
Unique user experience appears among key priorities while telemedicine software development. Copying market-leading services or trendy apps, one cannot reach success and build positive brand image. Customers choose original apps, as they have already established credibility important in health and medicine spheres.
To develop a telemedicine platform, one must not only take into account current industry trends but create a unique value proposition that will attract and retain customers. Offering exclusive telemedicine features often increases app’s chances on market and makes it visible among competitor platforms.
Legal issues stand among top priorities while telemedicine app development, as telehealth platforms usually deal with user ‘sensitive information’.
Before telemedicine app development, an entrepreneur must make sure his/her project is compatible with local digital healthcare-related laws. The majority of telemedicine applications fall under standard regulatory guidelines like HIPAA or GDPR, as they collect and process user personal data. They may include either PHI (private healthcare information) or general info that is used to improve app’s productivity.
HIPAA regulates the use of customer’s personal info in the US, while GDPR operates across Europe. In case of violations, local authorities can impose civic or criminal penalties onto service distributors.
Apart from HIPAA, GDPR, and others, there exist general security guidelines that should be strictly kept while telemedicine app development, as apps often store private user data on servers. User’s sensitive information is generally used by telemedicine platforms within electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR). These digital records contain healthcare connected details like general medical history, test results, prescribed medications, and user demographics.
To protect data, developers must use certified frameworks, follow latest security guidelines, and rely on trusted servers while backend building. Using security protocols, like SSL, and transferring information in encrypted form help keeping user data safe as well.
Creating a high-quality telemedicine software platform is vital if you struggle for effective market reputation and high retention rate. Most common techniques of checking up your app’s quality include platform prototyping, testing, and getting feedback.
LFP (low-fidelity prototype) and HFP (high-fidelity prototype) help better understand basic principles of app work and correct mistakes on earlier development stages. LFP allows testing future app’s functionality, tracking cause and affecting relationships between active elements, and defining problematic sectors that must be fixed or removed. Developing LFP, developers avoid restarting project from scratch if the final product does not meet client’s expectations. Creating HFP includes UX design ensuring more precise testing output.
User feedback shapes smooth custom telemedicine platform development. Involving target audience representatives during testing process enhances chances in covering peculiar customer needs by your telemedicine solution.
Secure user authentication is a must-have feature for telemedicine platform development. It may be implemented via mobile phone number/e-mail or integrated with social media accounts. In either case, multi-factor or biometric verification is preferable.
Patient profile stores personal info (name, demographics, brief overview of medical problems, insurance) and customized settings.
Advanced search tools are of primer importance when developing a telemedicine app. Varied filters showing therapists nearby or sorting specialists according to diverse criteria (specialization, rating, vacant appointment date) ensure positive user experience.
Proper communication channel is a core feature of any telemedicine platform. Doctor-patient interaction can be assured via diverse communication means – telehealth video platform, audio conferencing, in-app messages – either combined in one app or interchangeable.
Rating and reviewing system is an important feedback tool. Evaluating consultations, users help to improve service quality. Feedback also serves as additional criteria for newcomers to choose between different therapists or services. Reviews can help in fixing minor problems in the work of the app itself.
EMR and EHR serve as basis for doctor-patient communication and determine treatment process details. Medical records should be precise and organized to ensure successful platform work.
As a rule, clients pay for doctor-on-demand consultations, thus requiring a convenient and secure way of performing transactions. Payment gateway development allows users easily perform payments without engaging third-party platforms.
Other useful telemedicine software features for patients may include user dashboard, medicines tracking, geolocation/navigation, notifications, health insurance plan, in-app calendar.
Platform account access is provided either by phone number/e-mail or via social media profile with security compliance.
Doctor profile must provide specialized info about education, specialization, experiences, professional achievements/degrees (if any).
Appointment scheduling stands among key features required by therapists, as it organizes working process. With clear schedule, doctors and patients should not additionally connect to agree on appointment time because platform algorithms already manage vacant places.
Proper communication channel is vital, as its quality directly influences the success of treatment provided. Depending on the doctor’s specialization, video, audio, text, or media exchange medium comes in use.
Medical record access is a must-have feature to make a telemedicine app efficient. During treatment, therapists usually use both EHR (to get a general view of patient’s health, study his/her medical history, and check treatment strategies applied by other therapists) and EMR (to track particular case progress), thus providing them increases telemedicine platform’s popularity.
Prescriptions management allows doctors give digital prescriptions valid in any pharmacy across certain locations. The feature is extremely useful in cases one doctor supervises several chronic disease cases, which do not require special attention but have ongoing prescriptions.
Doctor’s version of telemedicine app may also include features like doctor dashboard, analytical tools, medicines database access, payment management, session recording.
COVID-19 pandemic has influenced common way of life around the globe: the majority of market spheres suffered crisis, while medical sector took the brunt. The situation turned extremely hard in countries with weak or already problematic healthcare system.
Algerian healthcare system, especially in remote rural areas, suffered from a shortage of doctors and congestion in hospital emergency departments. This situation became a trigger for our client to invent the idea of Doctro.app – a free telemedicine platform that will become a solution for people from remote areas, seniors, or people with disabilities. Besides, the app reduces interpersonal contacts to slow down coronavirus spread.
Our team was challenged to create a telemedicine platform to examine people with signs or symptoms of coronavirus at the shortest period possible.
To develop an efficient telemedicine solution as soon as several weeks, our team decided on making it simple with key features highlighted. Users are differentiated according to their role on the platform into two groups: doctors and patients, which interact with one another. Doctro.app offers brief overview of COVID-19, its main symptoms, ways of spread, incubation period, and gives advice on how to protect themselves and the other people in times of pandemic.
Patients are required to insert basic info like name, phone number, and photo to create platform profile.
To get consultation, person should fill in request form specifying city, language, field of medicine, and disease details. One can also mark request as urgent in case of emergency.
Depending on processing stage, request status varies between urgent, pending, and finished.
All patients can get virtual therapy via video/audio communication channel.
After consultation, patient can get digital prescription valid in any local pharmacy.
Therapists need to add name, photo, and phone number to start using the platform.
Doctors can overview all the requests on platform and sort them according to status (urgent, pending, finished) if needed.
As in patient’s app version, doctors have video/audio communication tools to provide patients with virtual consultations.
Doctors can give digital prescriptions to patients, track and edit them.
Doctor can redirect patient to another therapist if different specialization is required.
To ensure high quality of services provided, therapists cooperating with our telehealth app must prove their qualification with medical license, checked by admins.
To maintain clear content organization and smooth platform performance, admins can edit homepage information.
To roll out the project on time we have compiled a development team from one project manager, two developers, and one UI/UX designer. Time was our major priority, thus we have developed MVP project with basic needed functionality, providing people of Algeria with ready-made platform solution in two weeks.
To make a telemedicine app our team has applied React Native for frontend and Nest.js for backend development. The platform is currently on its beta testing stage with the full version being released soon after analyzing user feedback.
Our client was eager to create the telemedicine platform where people with different financial capabilities will get equal treatment, thus we made Doctro.app completely non-profit. The app has become an efficient tool helping to examine patients as soon as possible without long queues and delays, to overcome pandemic crisis and save human lives.
Rapid telemedicine platform development is transforming the healthcare industry, making medical care relevant, cost-effective, and easy available for everyone.
Have an idea of an innovative telemedicine service? Do not wait to contribute to industry! Сontact us or schedule a call, and we will bring your eHealth concept to life together.
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