March 29, 2024

Building for Healthcare: A Technical Guide to Telemedicine App Development

Elena Pashkovskaya

Technical copywriter

Healthcare

Building for Healthcare: Telemedicine App Development Guide
March 29, 2024

Building for Healthcare: A Technical Guide to Telemedicine App Development

Elena Pashkovskaya

Technical copywriter

Healthcare

Building for Healthcare: Telemedicine App Development Guide

Recent technological advancements are making people's lives easier and vital services — more available. It is also true for the healthcare industry: telemedicine apps allow remote medical consultations, more convenient appointment scheduling, and bring healthcare providers more information about their patients' conditions. Today we’ll expand our knowledge about telemedicine app features and development. Let's roll!

Key Takeaways

  • Telemedicine apps facilitate communication between healthcare professionals and patients, in many cases eliminating the need to go to the doctor's office. Remote consultations are used instead.
  • The benefits of telemedicine app development go beyond commuting costs: patients' personalized approach, real-world data gathering, inclusiveness, and increased engagement contribute to better care and diagnostics.
  • Telemedicine apps must comply with HIPAA (for the USA) and GDPR (for Europe). Regulatory compliance ensures that a patient's health data stays secure, preventing misuse or theft.
  • Accessibility is crucial for successful telemedicine app building. Make your telemedicine app's UI and UX design user-friendly, the language extremely comprehensible, and the visuals appealing and relevant.

What Are Telemedicine Apps

Telemedicine apps allow patients to speak to their doctors remotely from their homes. They are not supposed to replace traditional visits to the doctor but rather work together with standard healthcare practices. The variety of telemedicine mobile apps makes healthcare affordable to wider audiences, reaching them everywhere.

Telemedicine apps allow to:

  • Conduct remote consultations with doctors;
  • Carry out live monitoring of patient's health condition, reacting accordingly in time of emergency;
  • Request or get an extra prescription;
  • 24/7 availability of healthcare providers;
  • Receive diagnosis and treatment plan without leaving home;
  • Set medication reminders and conduct symptoms checks.

A telemedicine app frees patients from commuting to the doctor's office, saving time and making appointments more convenient without disrupting their working schedule. Telemedicine mobile and web app development companies empower healthcare providers to deliver better services and apply a more personalized approach to patients.

Why to Develop a Telemedicine App

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted people's lifestyles around the world. Remote work, distance learning, online shopping… Getting doctor's consultations from home is not an exception to this tendency. A fantastic set of functionalities and advantages underpin the growing demand for telehealth app development, profiting both clinics and patients.

Telemedicine app benefits include reduced costs, personalized care, broader patient coverage, ease of use, increased engagement, and more.

 Benefits for patients:

  • Better access to healthcare: 24/7 support, no geographical barriers, and reduced waiting times are offering patients increasing convenience.
  • Ease of use: telemedicine mobile app development teams always consider smooth user flow and interface simplicity, making the app accessible for patients.
  • Faster care: remote consultations save patients time as well as time for healthcare specialists.
  • Broader coverage: telemedicine is inclusive and targets different ages and social groups in varying residence areas.
  • Increased engagement: patients can easily schedule appointments and set reminders, and they are more likely to contact healthcare providers sooner before their condition deteriorates.

Benefits for healthcare providers:

  • Optimized workflow: telemedicine apps improve business processes, streamline administrative tasks, allow better data access, and eliminate repetitive tasks.
  • Growth opportunities: well-designed telemedicine apps are scalable and flexible, they can adapt to your business's changing needs without sacrificing performance. Expanding your target audience, adding new features or dealing with the increased number of patients — the app can tackle it all.
  • Better care and diagnostics: healthcare analytics, data gathering, IoT technology, and wearable devices help healthcare professionals plan more accurate treatment.
  • Reduced exposure: remote consultations lower doctors' exposure to contagious illnesses, decreasing the chances of disease spreading among the medical staff.
  • Better insurance coverage: insurance companies and health care programs cover care services delivered through telehealth apps. You can develop telemedicine apps with insurance services integration to facilitate payments.
  • Increased healthcare personalization: modern solutions like virtual treatment, smart algorithms, and remote personal health monitoring allow healthcare professionals to customize patients' experiences.

Overall, telemedicine apps are becoming increasingly popular solutions. They offer convenient appointments with healthcare professionals, increased personalization, and better patient care. For businesses, telemedicine mobile app development presents streamlined workflow and full regulatory compliance.

Have a solid business idea for your telemedicine app? Healthcare software dev companies can successfully complete projects of any scope and complexity.

Telemedicine app statistics

Understanding global tendencies with all the facts will help you navigate the telehealth app development world. Here are some curious statistics we want to share with you today.

  1. 44% of physicians surveyed in the United States said they used telemedicine weekly in 2023, and 40% leveraged it daily.
  2. In 2022, 65% of American doctors conducted a quarter of their appointments virtually.
  3. The research shows that video calls are the most comfortable way to communicate with doctors. 56% of respondents who used telemedicine in 2023 preferred it over other options. 46% have chosen audio calls, while only 31% have picked text messaging.
  4. Telemedicine market is expected to reach an estimated $172.44 billion in 2024. Experts predict it will continue to surge, reaching $330.26 billion by 2029.
  5. In 2022, North America dominated the global telehealth market share of 46.32%.

It's no surprise that, with recent technology developments and all the advantages of telemedicine, the telemedicine app market looks promising and is expected to grow. Building a HIPPA-compliant app for patient engagement might be the thing to do in this favorable environment, reaping the benefits for your healthcare organization.

Types of Telemedicine Apps

The healthcare software market offers diverse telemedicine apps, each with a particular specialization and notable features. Let's examine the main types to better understand the domain.

Digital therapy offers remote consultations with doctors via chat and video, allowing users to gather and process information from wearable devices. Digital therapy software is evidence-based and provides medical condition evaluation and treatment.

Telepharmacy is software built to facilitate ordering prescription refills. It allows users to set medication reminders and track adherence to prescribed regimes, improving patient medication compliance.

Remote patient monitoring allows healthcare providers to monitor a patient's medical condition and gather health information while the patient is at home. Remote patient monitoring software reduces the time patients spend in hospitals, allowing patients to recover from home under doctors' supervision. It is often used by seniors to help them control their health status.

Chronic conditions management apps feature scheduling follow-up appointments, routine check-ins, explanation of test or imaging results, and nutrition and fitness counseling. This functionality enables vigilant tracking of symptoms, medication adherence, and lifestyle recommendations.

Mental health and wellness apps offer a convenient way to address mental health therapists. They can include stress-management techniques, mood trackers, guided meditation, etc. Some apps provide personalized recommendations and use some degree of gamification for a more satisfying user experience.

Key Features of a Telemedicine App

The diversity of telemedicine app features is extensive. Today, we will concentrate on the main features a telemedicine application might have. Indeed, you can add more features if you need — the sky's the limit!

According to physicians, the top features of Telemedicine apps are ease of use (92%), accessibility for desktop and mobile (81%), no app download required (71%), the ability to add a family member (56%), no patient portal log-in required (55%), and language support (42%).
Top Features for Telemedicine Apps. Source
  • User's profile: personal accounts for patients and doctors, filled with relevant information;
  • Appointment scheduling: connecting patients' consultation requests to the doctor's calendars.
  • In-app chats and video calls: major communication channels for telemedicine services provision;
  • Payments: integration with payment gateways enables patients to pay for services directly from the app;
  • Notifications: setting reminders about consultations, medication, and prescriptions;
  • Feedback: leaving feedback not only advances the quality of services but also helps other people to choose suitable specialist;
  • Search for doctors: enables to pick a doctor's profile and specialization to schedule a consultation;
  • EHR integration: allows healthcare providers to access a patient's medical history during a consultation;
  • E-prescriptions: in some cases, healthcare providers may be able to prescribe medications through the telemedicine app;
  • Analytics tools: data processing with modern analytical tools helps to uncover valuable insights about patient's health conditions;

Features may vary depending on the project, and additional functionalities, such as VR/AR technologies, group chats, built-in chatbots, or modules for medical assistance, may appear.

Compliance and Security Considerations

Regulatory compliance is the primary concern for business owners and developers regarding telemedicine app development. It centers around data security and privacy and encompasses strict requirements for software development. Let's take a look at the two major ones.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the central US Law that regulates protected health information (PHI) gathering, transmission, use, maintenance, storage, and disposal. HIPAA revolves around three main principles concerning protected health information:

  1. Security: ensures personal health information confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
  2. Privacy: focuses on patient control over their PHI. Patients have the right to access, amend, and request restrictions on using and disclosing their medical records.
  3. Accountability: covered entities are held accountable for complying with HIPAA regulations. It includes having policies and procedures in place, training employees on HIPAA requirements, and responding to patient requests regarding their PHI.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) law that dictates how organizations must handle the personal data of individuals in the EU, regardless of their location. Its fundamental principles are transparency and consent, data subject rights, security, and data breach notification.

Regulatory requirements go beyond the software and include proper documentation development and organizing comprehensive training for healthcare professionals to avoid sharing patients' data.

Overall, your telemedicine app development project must comply with the applicable regulations to prevent risks such as unsecured data transmissions and patient health data leakages.

User Experience & User Interface Design

The key to success in designing the perfect user experience during the telemedicine app development stage lies in understanding the people you want to help. How can you make patients' journeys both intuitive and user-friendly?

UX tips: test before implementation, set straightforward navigation, develop an intuitive interface, and simplify the registration process. UI tips include accessibility, plain language use, and relevant visuals.
  • First, make the registration step as short as possible. A good idea is to decrease the number of screens to three.
  • Second, consider using simple language, as not all of your target audience may be native English speakers. Its term-rich and sophisticated language is especially vital for medical content. Make it understandable even for a child.
  • Third, make an app as easy as possible by developing clear and direct navigation and trying different fonts and button sizes. Test your app on focus groups and get valuable feedback.
  • Another hint is to use healthcare-related visuals in UI design. For example, doctor images, healthcare services, or medical equipment can help users understand the content better. Tips on using apps also contribute to user-friendliness, so do not miss this opportunity.

Remember that your users may have different physical and mental conditions, so ensure that your app can address the needs of diverse user demographics. A good telemedicine app development project recognizes and respects people's diversity and needs.

Technology Stack

The choice of specific technology largely determines the project's cost, development time, and quality, so careful selection is required. You can start by defining the type of software you want to build. Will it be a web app? Or a mobile app? If mobile, will it be native or hybrid? The answers will define the path ahead. So, what are the tech components of telemedicine app development?

Programming languages and frameworks

Swift is a primary technology for iOS telemedicine app development projects. The language offers simplicity and security, allowing developers to understand it easily and detect errors quickly. Kotlin and Java are the languages to choose to develop Android-based telemedicine apps. Java allows writing an app on various platforms and suits for web development, as well as Ruby, JavaScript, Python and others.

Popular development frameworks and toolkits include React Native, Flutter, Ionic, and Xamarin.

Database selection

Database selection is based on characteristics such as scalability abilities and data management. There are several options to choose from. The well-known ones are:

  • MySQL/PostgreSQL: popular relational databases for storing and managing structured data like patient information and appointment details.
  • MongoDB: NoSQL database offering flexibility for storing large amounts of unstructured data like medical images.

Cloud services

Cloud technologies are vital in modern telemedicine app development, offering advantages over traditional on-premise infrastructure. These are scalability, security, compliance, and cost-effectiveness. Cloud services allow data to be stored, accessed, and maintained, making them available on demand. Some popular cloud services are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Integration and interoperability

Integration and interoperability are responsible for free data flow between systems involved in patient care. As telemedicine is closely tied to healthcare providers, integration with existing hospital management systems has become a must-have feature. It removes data silos and facilitates enhanced patient engagement, allowing seamless experience and consultation scheduling.

Interoperability with different Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems improves resource allocation, enhances the quality of care provided, and, for specific EHR systems, allows for centralized billing, creating a financial benefit.

API considerations

Invisible yet essential, APIs are the hidden language enabling most web content and communication between software in today's technology-driven world. Finding the suitable API for your healthcare app requires considering several key factors: how well it integrates with your system, its security measures, adherence to regulations, and user-friendliness for patients and healthcare providers.

Telemedicine App Development Lifecycle

How to develop a telemedicine app? Building telemedicine apps requires hiring a seasoned dev team and using top-notch technologies to deliver the perfect experience for doctors and patients and solid data security. Here are some basic steps in a telemedicine app development project:

  • Planning and requirements gathering includes defining business requirements and target audience, setting goals, analyzing technical requirements, and choosing telemedicine app key features. The initial step provides market and competitor research, tech feasibility validation, and hypothesis testing. Finally, you should identify the project's scale, determine compliance requirements, and define a preliminary budget.
  • The prototyping and design phase describes how you want your app to look. Here, you determine app architecture, user interface, and visual components. The development team prepares mockups and prototypes to give the client and stakeholders an idea of the app's appearance. For telemedicine, delivering the best and most intuitive interface possible is crucial.
  • Development and testing involve ensuring regulatory compliance and security, implementing a rating system, and designing a user-friendly user interface. The testing includes video and audio quality checks and testing of various devices.
  • Deployment and ongoing maintenance involve tuning apps according to users' feedback after the release and continuously checking efficiency and performance. It is vital to issue timely updates for the app, conduct software security audits, and add features if necessary.

Telemedicine App Development Cost

Telemedicine app development costs depend primarily on the project's complexity, features, and development services provider. The approximate initial price for a simple app may start from $10,000 - $50,000 and include application development, product management, and support. Here are points to consider:

Features: besides simple features such as registration, profile management, and video conferencing, some advanced features will influence the final price tag. Introducing AI analytics, chatbots, or AR/VR features will cost more.

Design: smooth user experience costs money. Nevertheless, a seamless interface increases customer retention and user experience.

Platform: web app or mobile, Android, iOS, or both — all these factors contribute to the cost of your telemedicine app development.

Development: the developers' hourly rate and the hours needed for coding will give a clear picture of software development costs.

Maintenance: product maintenance is the key to its successful operation. The development budget should include regular maintenance, support, and upgrading.

Clear project scope and task breakdown are crucial for accurate estimates. Nevertheless, consulting a software development company is the most helpful way to estimate project costs.

Conclusion

Telemedicine app development can bring many benefits to your healthcare company. While it may seem challenging in terms of regulatory compliance and design, it offers much more.

Entrust building a telemedicine app for professionals. NEKLO has well-versed developers and 15+ years of experience in healthcare projects. We provide free consultations, so feel comfortable scheduling a call to discuss your future telemedicine app with the experts.