Many people use their smartphones for almost everything—entertainment, finances, work, and even education. With that, it’s just logical to see how health care has become available through a mobile application. It’s being used to deliver telemedicine or telehealth services, which are blanket terms for using electronic communication to provide medical information and services to improve a patient’s health. (5)
Many companies are looking into developing an application that users can use on different devices to virtually accommodate patients who need health care. However, it will take research, expertise, time, and funding to create a truly efficient app. While it’s good to start somewhere, referring to a detailed guide to developing a telemedicine app would be very helpful in streamlining the process.
If you need some tips for developing a telemedicine app on top of a step-by-step procedure, you could use the following:
1. Know the costs
Developing any mobile application requires funding, and the amount varies depending on the kind of app you’re creating. Several factors affect the overall costs of developing an app. One of which is the operating system—you have to determine whether you’re making it for iOS or Android. On the one hand, iOS apps are much easier and more affordable to develop, while Android apps will take three times as much longer to build. This means that an Android application will cost you more. (2)
Another factor you need to consider when it comes to funding is the team you need to form to develop the application. A project manager, coder, QA engineer, and IU/UX designer are some of the professionals you’ll have to work with to create an app. Depending on the project, you might have to pay fees by the hour or per project. Usually, the more difficult and complex the application, the longer the process will take. Overall, you might be looking at as much as USD$150,000 for the wages of these people. (2)
For something as important as health care, a more meticulous app would help patients. For instance, patients need to be directed to the right healthcare professional through the app. With this in mind, the application has to promote intuitive navigation for easy usage. But it should also be programmed correctly to process telehealth clinical tools and electronic records together to match the patient with the proper medical solutions. (5)
Telemedicine apps might cost a fortune, but they’re a good investment, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in 2019, only 12% of consumers in the United States were aware that telemedicine is available. But this number rose to 60% after post-COVID survey results showed that more people believed that consulting with doctors online will be more prevalent in the years to come. (4)
2. Specify what the application can offer
Users might want to look for specific services when using a telemedicine application, similar to how a hospital or medical facility offers varied services in different clinical departments. It’s important to consider the specific branches of medicine your company covers, such as pediatrics, internal medicine, physiatry, or more, so you can build on creating a systematic way to provide these services through the app.
One of the biggest telemedicine companies that houses various specialists developed an app which provides different types of healthcare services. Recently, stocks for this app and company shot up due to the need of telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic. And so, they have gained USD$600 million for providing hospitals with a platform on telemedicine. (3)
Meanwhile, it’s good to take note that this app started way back in 2002, which means that they’ve had a lot of time to grow, expand, and improve their application over the years. Nonetheless, not every telemedicine app needs to encompass every branch. As a developer, it’s best to focus on the services your clinic or organization offers, as well as on the quality of your application by working on providing and processing these services effectively. (3)
3. Research the necessary features
Good application design is one thing, but it’s nothing without the features. For telemedicine, it’s important to equip the system with tools similar to what patients use in an actual clinic or hospital when seeking medical attention. This will help mimic or even improve the process they usually go through when booking a consultation with a doctor or scheduling a certain lab test or treatment. With navigable features, users will acquire the health care they need and become more familiar with the virtual system and the processes, making your app efficient and user-friendly.
Features such as patient records, online pharmacy, booking of appointments, communication tools, and more should also be organized on the application. When developing a telemedicine app, it’s ideal to provide everything a patient needs in one place. From scheduling an appointment with a doctor, getting electronic copies of medical records and prescriptions to buying medicines and tracking health status—when patients find everything they need in your app, they’ll most likely rely on it for health care.
Other helpful features include profile creation, symptom checker, prescription tracker, audio and visual conferencing, remote appointment setting, geolocation, communication, electronic medical records, and more. It would also be extremely helpful to make a web version of the application, so it could also be accessible on browsers when they use a laptop, computer, or other devices aside from mobile phones.
Nevertheless, it’s still worth anticipating new changes in technology and healthcare trends. It will be necessary to keep track of these innovations and discoveries and study feedback from the app’s users to improve your telemedicine app continuously.
The world is changing rapidly, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that leading organizations, especially those in health care, need to find ways to bridge the gap to provide the necessary health services to patients all over the world. Many medical companies, hospitals, health maintenance organizations, and clinics have become successful in launching their telemedicine apps over the years. Moreover, studies have shown that more people have become interested and knowledgeable about telehealth because of the pandemic. (1)
Coming up with your own is definitely doable with the right knowledge and effort, but keep in mind that developing an app is only half the work because maintaining it takes continuous research and investment. It should be able to keep up with the latest technological innovations and medical discoveries. Keep in mind that telemedicine’s benefits could change how patients get their medical needs. All in all, the main purpose of developing a telemedicine app is to deliver care and safety to patients in the most convenient way.
- “Telemedicine Market – Growth, Trends, Covid-19 Impact, And Forecasts,” https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/global-telemedicine-market-industry
- “The Real Costs of Building a Mobile App for iOS and Android,” https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288027
- “Top 5 Telemedicine Companies for 2021,” https://www.investopedia.com/articles/insights/120316/top-5-companies-telemedicine.asp
- “Ericsson: Drones, Telemedicine Will Rise in the Post-COVID World,” https://sea.pcmag.com/how-to-work-from-home/37346/ericsson-drones-telemedicine-will-rise-in-the-post-covid-world
- “Telehealth,’ https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMsr1503323