Telemedicine Platform Development: How to Make a Telehealth App or Site
Content:
  • 1. ✅ Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Develop a Telemedicine Application
  • 2. ⚙️ Top Features of a Telemedicine Platform
  • 3. 🔐 How to Ensure Your Telemedicine App’s Security
  • 4. 🚀 Tech Stack to Add to Your Telemedicine Platform
  • 5. 💰 How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Telemedicine Platform?
  • 6. 💡 Takeaways
  • Cover image by Anastasia

    Nowadays healthcare is developing rapidly: millions of dollars are invested in research and the progress is made every day. The global telemedicine market is expected to reach $175.5 million by 2026.

    Despite this, many countryside regions and third-world countries are suffering from the poor healthcare system. It’s either of low-quality or isn’t available nearby. In some countries, people have to visit a doctor in a bigger city just to get a prescription.

    telemedicine
    Telemedicine app (image by Anastasia)

    Telemedicine is the solution to the problem. 89% of patients are willing to use telemedicine and accept it as a sufficient form of medical care. It shows us that telemedicine is not only needed but desired by people as well.

    Especially now, when the COVID-pandemic is raging, many people would prefer to get medical care from their own homes and don’t unnecessarily risk their health. The same thing for doctors — they provide medical care remotely which mitigates the risk of getting a virus.

    So now it’s easier than ever to develop a telemedicine platform and take off right from the start.

    If you are interested in how to build a telemedicine platform for doctors and patients but don’t know where to begin — we got you. Follow us to the next section!



    ✅ Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Develop a Telemedicine Application

    Before we get into details of telemedicine app development, why don’t we take a quick look at the benefits the telemedicine platform can bring you.

    But firstly, we would recommend watching this video to better understand how important telemedicine is during COVID-pandemic:



    Reach a wider audience safely 👫

    We all are used to taking it as a fact that to see a doctor we have to schedule an appointment in a governmental or private medical institution. Normally, we go somewhere near our home or in our city at least.

    Speaking of telemedicine, the geolocation doesn’t play a significant role anymore. You can reach a wider audience and provide medical services from your app to those who couldn’t get it without the platform because of being far from the hospital.

    More importantly, if a person is infected by a virus and contagious, they won’t have to go to a hospital. Thus, the risk of getting other people or a doctor infected gets negated.

    remote-care
    Remote medical care (image by Yarik Zinkof)

    Especially now, when COVID-19 is all over the world, such remote medical care is popular as never before.

    With a telemedicine platform, people can see a doctor fastly and easily with almost no hassle. Besides, they have an opportunity to choose a better or more suitable doctor for them since the list of doctors is huge.

    Moreover, there is a strong social aspect here. People who live in countryside areas happen to be more exposed to a poor healthcare system influence — they either can’t get to the hospital in a short time or can’t afford it.

    Thus, telemedicine allows them to get appropriate medical care without spending money on the road to the hospital and to get it in case of an emergency.



    Improve time-efficiency 🕘

    We all know how time-consuming doctor visits can be. First, you need to make it to the hospital, then spend quite a lot of time in the line. And what if you need to see different specialists on the same day. It can take ages.

    What’s good about telemedicine is that everything is done remotely: you don’t have to wait, you can fill in the questionnaire before the appointment, and see the next doctor a couple of minutes after your previous online-visit.

    Doctors benefit from providing their services via an app as well. They constantly work under the huge pressure of working hours overloads. By building a telemedicine application for healthcare, you allow doctors to have better control over their working hours and improve their efficiency.

    Thus, doctors can examine more patients in a shorter time, and with less hassle. It will improve doctors’ mental health and sustainability. And we all know the rule: the healthier the doctor is, the healthier the patients are.



    Keep medical record easier 📥

    This part of running a business is often underestimated by owners. But in healthcare, it’s of high importance to safely store all patients’ history and their diagnoses, medical prescriptions, and documentation.

    diagnosis
    Diagnosis history (image by RD UX/UI)

    A telemedicine platform is just the ticket for this purpose. It’s not only easy to collect medical data but to transfer it to other doctors as long as it doesn’t break the Patient Privacy Policy.

    By collecting medical data, you contribute to research, help develop new treatments, and know more about different diagnoses. Consequently, you improve doctors’ knowledge and skills — the payment increases and the credibility becomes better.

    Most importantly, you improve the quality of medical care you provide via platform since it’s easier to access and store data.



    Cut costs ❎

    This one speaks for itself — online means cost-effective in the long run.

    Of course, it doesn’t replace an offline hospital — many issues can’t be treated online. However, it significantly reduces costs and allows to do some primary care via an app.

    What is more, there will be less paperwork — almost everything can be digitalized. It will not only cut costs by reducing paper use for documentation, doctor-patient agreements, and prescriptions but allow you to focus on actual tasks and profit increase as well.



    ⚙️ Top Features of a Telemedicine Platform

    In this section, we will take a look at the basic and special features of telemedicine platforms.

    You should take into account that any telehealth platform can be web- or mobile-based. All features listed can be adapted for both types of platforms so we decided not to separate them.

    Though, we divided features into two different types: common and for doctors and patients separately.

    Here are the features to make your platform viable and stay ahead of the competition.



    # 1: Sign Up & Profiles 🔐

    Type: Common Feature

    This feature is something that almost every app has. However, to build a telemedicine platform for doctors you need to consider a few details.

    First, you need to divide your Sign Up into two categories: for doctors and patients.

    sign_up
    Sign Up in a telemedicine app (image by Andrew Horuzhii)

    You can ask for details after they sign-up or for basic ones (email or phone number, name, and specializations) right at the start — either way they will have to provide them since telemedicine is quite a responsible business to run. For different categories, you would need different details. Except for basic info like name and email/phone number, you’ll also need to collect more detailed info:

    👩‍⚕️ For doctors 🤒 For Patients
    ID card Sex, age
    Diplomas & certificates Body dimensions (weight, height) — it’s important for prescriptions
    Work experience Any special details about their health — allergies, lactose intolerance, diabetes, etc
    Insurance (if they have one)



    # 2: Home Screen 📊

    Type: Common Feature

    Home Screen is the first thing users see in your app. So it has to be useful and convenient but not overloaded.

    Bear in mind, Home Screen for patients and doctors should be different.

    For Doctors

    dashboard
    Doctor’s dashboard (image by Arek Borysiuk)

    Home Screen for doctors may display:

    • Revenue.

    Consider adding this feature to help doctors track their income. It can be a monthly or weekly income, or an income for different months.

    • Today’s appointment.

    This one can help doctors with managing their time and make sure that every single patient on the list gets appropriate treatment.

    Read Also Tips & Tricks: Doctor Appointment app Development
    • Rating.

    This feature is quite a useful indicator that will allow doctors to understand whether patients are satisfied with the services they provide or not and give better medical care in the future.

    • New patients.

    The list of new patients is intended to let doctors know how many people are willing to see them in the nearest future and control their workload right at the stage of reviewing patients’ requests.

    • Quick access to the client’s history — complaints, questionnaires, etc.

    To provide better services doctors should be able to see the client’s history — it’s like an outpatient e-chart — quickly from their dashboard.



    For Patients

    dashboard-for-patients
    Patient’s dashboard (image by Michal Sambora)

    The same screen but for patients should consist of:

    • Search bar.

    To make the search quicker it’s a good idea to add a search bar to the Home Screen for patients so that they can easily find a doctor they need without going too far on the list.

    • Appointments calendar.

    The calendar can work as a reminder for appointments. We would recommend highlighting the dates with any bright color to make sure that they’re flashy.

    • Quick access to main features — list top of doctors, prescriptions, and recommendations, chat with a doctor.

    Such a feature is needed to be able to get the most important information right after users open the app so that they don’t miss any medication or messages from their attending physician.

    • Health & Movement indicators

    It’s an additional feature that you could use to stand out. Provide patients with activity trackers and give them superficial information (heartbeat, steps per period of time, etc.) about their current state of health.



    # 3: List of Doctors & Filters 🔍

    Type: Feature for Patients

    Patients should be able to see a list of all doctors with their name, specialization, average rating, and the price for the visit. To make the search faster you can add categories of doctors’ specialization like in this picture.

    list-of-doctors
    List of doctors (image by Rhinoda Team)

    When pressing on the “Make an appointment” button (which should be added near each doctor’s name as well), they need to be provided with all necessary details and their potential doctor: other patients’ comments, doctors’ education, experience, free dates along with the time.

    It’s a good idea to add search filters to make search results as precise as possible. They can be:

    • by specialization;
    • by price;
    • by available dates;
    • by location.



    # 4: Questionnaires & Health control 📋

    Type: Common Feature

    Before the appointment nurses usually ask patients to fill in some sheets with questions about the patient's background, basic health indicators, and complaints.

    health-control
    Health control (image by Dinis Bazgutdinоv)

    On telemedicine platforms, it gets much easier. Just open the premade file and fill it in from a device. The doctor can access the file remotely and look it through before the appointment.

    Besides, it really helps to track the progress and effectiveness of treatment, change it in case a patient's well-being gets worse, and keep medical records for research.



    # 5: Video & Audio Calls 📞

    Type: Common Feature

    This feature is essential for building a telemedicine video application. It creates a live communication feeling and helps to make the doctor-patient relationship more trusting.

    video-appointment
    Video appointment (image by Alexander Plyuto 🎲)

    Moreover, it helps a doctor to see a patient’s external symptoms and their well-being (whether they’re sleepy, pale, dizzy, etc.).

    If it is a therapist appointment, then emotions, reactions of a patient, and faces of both doctor and patient play one the most crucial roles.



    # 6: Feedback 💬

    Type: Feature for Patients

    The reputation of any doctor is critical — knowing about other people’s experiences can prevent a lot of troubles or ensure to choose this or that doctor.

    In online apps, it’s easier than anywhere else. Just leave a comment on a doctor's profile or rate them.

    feedback
    Feedback form after an appointment (image by Yury Komarovsky)

    It would be great if you implement some premade feedback forms with the most important questions (“Did the doctor ask you about…?”, “Rate the efficiency of a treatment”, etc.).



    # 7: File Uploading & Downloading 📤

    Type: Common Feature

    A doctor may need their patients to upload a picture of their rash on a hand, for instance. Or to take a photo of their bruise.

    Some patients may want to print out their X-Ray scans, prescriptions, diagnoses, and so on.

    That is when the file uploading feature could come in handy.

    camera
    Camera in a telemedicine app (image by Filip Justić)

    For this purpose, you can ask your users for camera permission so that they can use it right in your app.



    # 8: Medical History 📘

    Type: Feature for Patients

    Patients should be able to access their current and previous diagnoses and prescriptions.

    The reason is pretty obvious — to be aware of what’s happening to the body and recall the information a doctor said during an appointment.

    history
    Medical history (image by Ahmed Mokhtar)

    Doctors should be able to access this information as well to provide better treatment taking into account previous occasions and details that popped up while seeing another doctor.



    # 9: Schedule 📅

    Type: Feature for Doctors

    Such an essential feature is intended to allow doctors to take control of their workload easily — see how many patients are on today’s agenda, how many new patients are willing to make an appointment.



    # 10: Chats 💭

    Type: Common Feature

    In case of an emergency or some additional questions, patients should have an opportunity to reach out to their doctor. And chats work perfectly for such a need.

    chat
    Chat in a telemedicine app (image by Arjun Singh)

    It can also be useful for explaining any tests or scans a patient did so that everything is as clear as possible.

    Consider adding “Smart Response” as an additional function to make the use of your app time-efficient for both doctor and patient.



    # 11: Customer Support 🤝

    Type: Common Feature

    In case something from a technical side goes wrong, customer support should be there to help.

    We would recommend implementing AI (chatbots) programmed to answer the most common questions or to offer an email/messenger connection to ask an additional question that is not on the list.

    Customer support service should:

    • Be quick.
    • Offer 24/7 phone support in case of an emergency.
    • Provide a list of contacts (email, messengers, etc.).



    # 12: Payment Gateway 💲

    Type: Common Feature

    To make the doctor-patient partnership easy and secure use a great Payment Gateway for all in-app transactions. By great we mean:

    • It’s consistent with device and OS types.
    • Most popular payment options are available (Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal).
    • Works fast and without delays.
    • Secure.
    Read Also How To Choose and Integrate a Mobile App Payment Gateway?



    # 13: Push-Notifications 🔔

    Type: Common Feature

    Push-notifications can be useful for everybody: business owners, doctors, and patients.

    Business owners can increase revenue by sending personalized offers.

    Doctors can get new messages from patients notifications, reminders about appointments (this one should be able to be customized. “Remind N min before the appointment”, etc.).

    Patients can get reminders for appointments as well. Besides, it’s not excessive to offer reminders for taking pills, test results, and so on.



    🔐 How to Ensure Your Telemedicine App’s Security

    We know how important it is to trust your doctor — everybody feels the need for his information to be secure and stay private.

    On a telemedicine platform, to make your users’ personal information and business data completely secure you should follow the following steps.



    Security Measures You Can Implement 🔑

    # 1: Data Encryption

    Nowadays frauds and hackers can use stolen data for blackmailing, manipulations, reselling, and many other harmful things for both businesses and users.

    One of the best things you can do to prevent data leakage is encryption for transmitting and storing.

    Taking into account that a big part of doctors’ appointments will be done via video calling it’s of high importance to pay attention to encryption at this stage.

    encryption
    Encryption (image by Parham Marandi)

    Thus, even if a third party gets access to your app’s information they wouldn’t be able to decrypt it.

    End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is what many businesses use to encrypt the in-app communication and transactions from hackers, the government, and even from the facilitating company as well.

    So if you’re considering implementing encryption to your telemedicine software we would recommend paying attention to the E2EE.



    # 2: Proper Data Storing

    The way you store medical data plays a significant role. It’s easier to exploit data from a server that is overloaded. Here are two main tips you can follow to store it securely and minimize the risks:

    • Don’t keep unnecessary information.

    It can be tests or scan results that aren’t relevant anymore, information about patients that’s no longer used, any duplicates of documents, and so on.

    This approach will reduce the server load and make managing & maintaining the platform easier.

    • Keep data restricted & protected.

    This one may seem obvious — not everybody has access to the information. However, it’s essential to limit the number of employees who have it to certain data.

    That means the access shouldn’t be unlimited — it’s not necessary for an accountant to be able to enter the files with prescriptions.

    Besides, all server storages have to be under the protection of secure firewalls, systems of passwords, and authentications.



    # 3: Educating Your Doctors

    The doctor-patient relationship is one of the most crucial parts of the successful treatment of a disease. Thus, they have to be aware of all details of treating patients online, be responsible for patient’s privacy and data protection.

    Moreover, each app is unique and has special features or the way they function. Doctors should be informed of how each of them works and how to behave in order to protect a patient’s data.

    But not only patients and businesses are interested in the data being private. At the end of the day, patients are doctors’ reputation and their responsibility — if something goes wrong the doctor is the one who the patient will talk to at first.

    All mentioned above proves to us that privacy & security is something that everybody using or working with an app is interested in. Basically, security has to be on top — it’s the key to success.



    Regulations 📚

    Sure thing that medical apps are nothing different from medical offline institutions when talking about compliance with various medical and data security regulations. A few of the most popular ones are:

    1. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a privacy and security law of the European Union relevant to any institution or business that works with information related to the EU citizens.
    2. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a regulation for US businesses that requires healthcare institutions and businesses, and their associates to develop and follow methods that ensure the security and confidentiality of patients’ data when it is received, transferred, shared, or handled.
    3. PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection And Electronic Documents Act) is a Canadian federal privacy law intended to govern the use and collection of personal information in a way that complies with the right of privacy of individuals.
    Read Also How to Make Sure Your App or Website is HIPAA, PIPEDA & GDPR Compliant



    🚀 Tech Stack to Add to Your Telemedicine Platform

    To make your app more convenient to use you could implement different APIs and SDKs for telemedicine app. Here is the list:

    • Symptom Checker API is indented to provide help in identifying what diseases a patient might have. Based on this info, your app with the implemented API will determine the most appropriate doctors for further consultations.
    • SimplyBook.me API implements an automated appointment scheduler.
    • BetterDoctor API can be used to add doctor data into the healthcare project.
    • To provide your users with a fully flexible communication cloud platform consider implementing Vonage API.
    • For managing payments, we would recommend implementing Stripe and Braintree SDKs since they’re secure and fast.



    💰 How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Telemedicine Platform?

    In this section, we’ll provide you with a rough estimate of telemedicine platform costs.

    By rough we mean that they may differ depending on your platform’s structure, various technologies, and integrations.

    Our estimations use an average rate for Eastern Europe of $45/hour, however, your development team can take more or less which surely changes the estimate.

    Thus, the rough cost to develop a telemedicine platform is between $24,000-$36,000. Don’t forget, it’s a rough estimate. Number of features, needed technologies & integrations, as well as hourly rate of your development team change your expenditures.



    💡 Takeaways

    Now you fully understand what main steps you should take to develop a web-based telemedicine system or mobile telehealth application and how you can benefit from it.

    Especially now, during COVID-pandemic, it’s hard not to see how life-saving telemedicine is. Getting medical care remotely helps to “flatten the curve” and prevent new outbreaks.

    To sum up, to develop a telemedicine platform you should:

    • Decide on whether it should be web- or mobile-based.
    • Choose the features you want to see on your platform.
    • Check all security regulations your platform has to comply with.
    • Find a Tech Partner and start your development journey.

    If you have any questions left don’t hesitate to drop us a line! Or you can tell us about your idea and we’ll see how we can help!

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