As digital transformation gains traction at exponential levels, top-notch innovative solutions are taking root in almost all industries, including healthcare as one of the most affected segments. The outbreak of COVID-19 forced medical institutions to embrace Telemedicine App Development as an alternative way of providing healthcare services aimed at limiting the exposure of coronavirus. Telemedicine Apps with doctor-on-demand features have found a great use among hospitals, physicians, patients, and the medical community as a whole.
According to CNBC, telehealth visits are booming as doctors and patients embrace distancing amid the corona crisis.
Custom telemedicine apps have already become a must-have for medical organizations not only due to the pandemic crisis, but also its useful doctor-on-demand functionalities that significantly increase access to healthcare services in areas with medical care shortages, as well as enable clinicians to better and easier manage patients.
COVID-19 has caused a massive acceleration in the use of telehealth. Consumer adoption has skyrocketed, from 11 percent of US consumers using telehealth in 2019 to 46 percent of consumers now using telehealth to replace cancelled healthcare visits
The telemedicine app development is demonstrating an impressive rise. Statista’s report shows that, in six years, the global telemedicine market will grow almost four times. That means that entrepreneurs have recognized the advantages of doctor-on-demand apps for both doctors and patients and started to massively embrace telemedicine solutions.
Doctors on Demand: Telehealth and Telemedicine apps
Although the terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine” are often used interchangeably, they are not absolute synonyms. Telehealth refers to a broad field of medical solutions that are based on telecommunication technologies, whereas telemedicine apps embraces only clinical services employing the use of electronic communications and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit.
Examples of telehealth apps:
- Personal health apps for self-management
- Personal health records apps
- Public health apps
- Video-conferencing platforms for medical education
Examples of telemedicine apps
- Remote monitoring apps
- Doctor-patient collaboration apps
CNBC states that, by the end of 2020, telemedicine visits could reach 1 billion.
Types of telemedicine apps
Interactive telemedicine app development refers to a collaboration app that uses audio and video signals in order to connect users for a consultation. Such telemedicine apps provide follow-ups after a patient is discharged from a hospital, pharmaceutical consultations, virtual doctor visits, and monitoring of rehabilitation processes.
Interactive telemedicine covers such medical fields as Teleradiology, Telepsychiatry, Teledermatology, Teleophtalmology, Telenephrology, Teleobstetics, Teleoncology, Telepathology, and Telerehabiliation.
Internet of Things, abbreviated as IoT, is a network of interrelated objects, devices, and sensors that are able to interact with each other and exchange huge sets of data over the internet. As the IoT devices have become widespread, advanced IoT solutions have found their use not only in the entertainment segment, but also in the medical context.
According to Accenture, the use of wearable devices shifts from fitness trackers towards health management with telemedicine gaining a new level in remote health monitoring.
MarketsandMarkets reports that due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, by 2021, the IoT global market is expected to increase from current USD 150 billion to USD 243 billion, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.7%.
IoT-powered devices can be applied for measuring blood pressure, levels of sugar, heart rate, and other health conditions. The obtained data that are automatically synced with an app or added to the existed medical records manually by the patient, are made available for doctors.
Read more about IoT solutions in the time of COVID-19.
Store-and-forward telemedicine apps refer to a secured platform, that allows patients and doctors or medical providers located afield to forward and share medical data, such as lab results or medical records. Store-and-forward telemedicine is asynchronous. It is aimed at collecting clinical information, including records about blood pressure, levels of sugar, heart rate etc. for a subsequent electronic transfer for evaluation. In addition, audio, video and image content taken by patients can be stored and then sent to their physicians- for further analysis.
Telemedicine App Development: Features and Functionalities
The sign-in function allows users to add their personal accounts to the telemedicine platform. As a result, a telemedicine apps store a lot of personal data such as contact information, that must be properly secured. Patients can register themselves via email or with the help of third party vendors, for instance Google or Facebook. A two-step-authentication using SMS or email is also available.
- Profile Management
After the signing in, a user creates a personal account, which are intuitively managed by its owner and easily viewed by physicians. The profile owner solely decides which information to share or keep private.
- Search with Filters
As the telemedicine app development mostly offers a vast spectrum of services and doctors for consultations, advanced search functions help the users to easily navigate in the platform. In order to find the most suitable option, a patient can apply a wide set of filters, such as medical specialty, gender, language.
- Calendar Management
The in-app calendar enables users to better manage appointments. Patients can view available time in doctors’ calendars, make appointments and reschedule meetings. Surely, before any changes are applied, they they to be approved by the chosen medical worker. Moreover, the telemedicine app calendar can be synced with Google Calendars.
- Video Meetings
Scheduling meetings allows users to communicate virtually using cameras. The telemedicine meetings can be patient-to-doctors to obtain medical care and doctors-to-doctors for professional advice. Video communication allows to get needed help in real time without leaving a convenient location.
- Text Chat
The chat function allows patients to approach doctors via text messages rather than by scheduling virtual doctor visits. The one-to-one texting can be an effective way for on-going communication. Text messages are well suited for cases when a patient needs advice about drugs or changes in nutrition. Moreover, users can exchange images and documents, such as lab results, X-rays etc.
A doctor on demand app will send users notifications, reminding them about appointments or informing about occurred changes. Additionally, doctors can be notified about the emergency state of their patients.
- Payment System
A telemedicine app can use various payment models. Be it a freemium pattern, a subscription model or a fee approach, app owners can effectively monetize offered services, reducing the cost of real-life consultations.
Payment models of doctor-on-demand apps
Freemium is a type of pricing model that offers customers both complementary and extra-cost services. An app provides basic services for free for the user to try, however, offering more advanced services or additional features at a premium.
The subscription-based approach is a business model that charges users a recurring fee — monthly or yearly — to access a platform services.
The fee business model refers to a fee charge for a particular service, for instance, paying for one performed medical consultation.
- Pharmacy Database
A telemedicine app contains a wide pharmacy database, which is regularly updated. The doctor on demand app allows users to contact directly with drug stores, so that they can receive current information regarding the availability of necessary medicines.
- Cloud Data Storage
With Cloud-powered data storage, owners can store all data securely in the cloud, making them sharable and easily accessible across various devices.
- Dashboards and Advanced Analytics
Telemedicine apps can provide a real-time data analysis based on numerous internal and external sources. The extracted information is then visualized in an interactive way through charts, diagrams, and graphics.
Read more about Data Analysis in the Medical Context.
Development of a Telemedicine App
A telemedicine app requires three main components: a camera, a microphone and custom software. The doctor-on-demand software is used for connecting users by providing them with needed tools to ensure communication. A camera is applied for video conferencing and a microphone for audio exchange.
The telemedicine app development can be divided into three main phases: research, development, and quality assurance. These stages are typical for any software development, however, telemedicine software has its specificities.
Each year, the number of mobile app downloads steadily increases. In 2017, around178 billion apps were downloaded. In 2022 that number is projected to grow by 45 percent and reach 258 billion.
The Research Stage
The research stage includes a business analysis of the market and the main competitors. It is at this stage that the target audience, app objectives, project plan and budget are to be defined. Based on the project goals, the development team plans the software architecture, UI/UX design, front-end and back-end development.
The Development Stage
This stage covers the actual working out and coding of a telemdicine app. The development stage includes various processes, such as establishing the development environment, writing various parts of the code, and preliminary testing of the app.
The Quality Assurance Stage
The QA stage is aimed at ensuring the high-end quality of the final version of a telemedicine app. The QA testing helps to make applications stable, usable, and secure. This stage covers UX testing, functional testing, performance testing, security testing, and device&platform testing.
Read more about UX design.
Examples of Telemedicine Apps
MDLIVE is a telemedicine app that provides medical services remotely. The app offers patients and self-insured employees access to board-certified doctors, pediatricians and licensed therapists. With a total funding of $73.6M, MDLIVE provides treatment for most common medical fields, as well as behavioral health issues. The app utilizes a cloud-based Virtual Medicine Office software platform, which makes it possible for patients, medical professionals and health employees to collaborate securely via voice, video, and chat functions.
Uber for Medical Services by Softengi
Softengi has developed «Uber for medical services» an advanced telemedicine app that provides a medical specialists database. Telemedicine consultations are carried out by transmitting medical information through secure telecommunication channels. The information includes the patient’s history, special medical data that can be collected and transferred from the patient’s house to a remote telemedicine center for further processing by specialists.By applying various filters users can easily find a needed medical professional and get an online video or audio consultation.
Read more about Uber for Medical Services
Doxy me is a telehealth solution used by over 500,000 health professionals. The app is designed to host appointments virtually, providing peer-to-peer video platform to match patients with health professionals. The company claims that it hosts about 250,000 video sessions a month. The solution is HIPAA compliant and offers secure video conferencing features.
Babylon Health offers a telemedicine app, which allows to perform remote consultations with doctors and health care professionals via text and video messaging. According to Forbes, Babylon Health digital healthcare app is valued at $2 billion.AI-powered, the Babylon solution offers a mobile consultation service providing real-time appointment booking
Our AI has been designed around doctor’s brain to provide accessible healthcare for millions in the palm of their hands. It can understand and recognize the unique way that humans express their symptoms. Using this knowledge, combined with a patient’s medical history and current symptoms, it provides information on possible medical conditions and common treatments.Babylon Health
As the coronavirus continues to spread, telemedicine app development with its ability to provide remote medical collaboration attracts a lot of attention. An alternative to traditional medicine, a telemedicine app allows patients to get needed consultations with chosen doctors virtually via video or audio conferencing. Furthermore, top-notch technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things extend the capabilities of telemedicine software, making it smarter and more helpful to its users. Telemedicine with its restrictions in comparison with in-person visits cannot replace traditional healthcare services. However, Softengi believes in a successful convergence of traditional medicine and telehealth innovations.