Telemedicine App Development: How to Make a Telehealth App or Site
Content:
  • 1. ✅ Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Develop a Telemedicine App
  • 2. ⚙️ Top Features of a Telemedicine Platform
  • 3. 🔐 How to Ensure Security in Your Telemedicine App
  • 4. 🚀 Tech Stack for Telemedicine Software Development
  • 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 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 poor healthcare systems. It’s either low-quality or isn’t available in the first place. In some countries, people have to go visit a doctor in the next 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. This shows that telemedicine is not only needed but also has a high demand.

    Especially now, when the COVID-19 pandemic is raging, many people prefer getting medical care from their own home, so they don’t have to unnecessarily risk their health. The same thing goes for doctors — they provide medical care remotely which mitigates the risk of getting or contracting 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 app or website 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 App

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

    But firstly, we recommend watching this video to better understand how important telemedicine has become over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic:

    Let's see what benefits can telemedicine software development bring you!



    Reach a wider audience safely 👫

    We are all used to the fact that to see a doctor, we have to schedule an appointment in a governmental or private medical institution. And normally, we go somewhere close to our home or at least somewhere in our city.

    However, with telemedicine, geolocation doesn’t play a significant role anymore. You can reach a wider audience and provide medical services right from your app to those who can’t get it otherwise because of living far from the hospital.

    More importantly, if a person gets a contagious virus, they won’t have to go to a hospital, and thus, the risk of contracting it to other people or doctors will be pretty close to zero.

    remote-care
    To provide remote medical healthcare services you need to develop a telemedicine app (image by Yarik Zinkof)

    Especially after the COVID-19 spread all over the world, such remote medical care is popular and very much needed like never before.

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

    Moreover, there is a strong social aspect here. People who live in suburban or rural areas happen to be more exposed to poor healthcare systems — they either can’t get to the hospital in a short amount of time or can’t afford it in the first place.

    So, telemedicine allows them to get appropriate medical care without having to spend money to get to the hospital and to be able 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 or doctor’s office, then spend quite a lot of time in line despite the fact that you have an appointment. Oh, and if you need to see different specialists on the same day - that 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 your appointment, and see the next doctor just a couple of minutes after your previous online visit.

    Doctors can benefit from providing their services via an app as well. Normally, they work under 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 less time and with less hassle; their mental health and “sustainability” will also improve. 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. However, in the healthcare industry, it’s of high importance to safely store all patients’ history, their diagnoses, medical prescriptions, and other health information.

    diagnosis
    Diagnosis history is an important part of telehealth apps (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 on your 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 actual hospital — many issues can’t be treated online. However, it significantly reduces costs and allows one to do some primary care via an app.

    Moreover, there is a lot less paperwork — almost everything can be digitized. It does not only cut costs by reducing paper use for documentation, doctor-patient agreements, and prescriptions but also allows you to focus on actual tasks and profit increase.



    ⚙️ Top Features of a Telemedicine Platform

    In this section, we will take a look at the basic and special features of telemedicine platforms. It will help you to get a better vision of what app features you may need for telemedicine app development.

    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 had decided not to separate them.

    However, we had divided the features into two different types: those for both doctors and patients (common features) and those only for doctors or only for patients.

    Here are some features you can implement 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 web or mobile 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 for patients.

    sign_up
    When developing a telemedicine app, pay attention that you follow all the HIPAA compliance guidelines (image by Andrew Horuzhii)

    You can either ask for details after doctors and patients sign up or choose to ask for basic details (e.g. email or phone number, name, and specializations) right at the start — either way, they will have to provide some details since telemedicine is quite a serious business to run which requires responsibility. You need different details for different categories. Except for basic info like name and email/phone number, you also need to collect more detailed info such as:

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



    # 2: Home Screen 📊

    Type: Common Feature

    Home Screen is the first thing users see in telehealth apps. So it has to be useful and convenient yet not overloaded.

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

    For Doctors

    dashboard
    During your telemedicine app development make sure that healthcare providers have as good user experience as any patient (image by Arek Borysiuk)

    Home Screen for doctors may display:

    • Revenue.

    Consider adding this feature to help doctors track their income. This part can display monthly/weekly income or income earned in different months.

    • Today’s appointments.

    This can help doctors manage their time more efficiently and make sure that every single patient on the list gets appropriate treatment.

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

    This feature of telemedicine applications is quite a useful indicator that will allow doctors to understand whether patients are satisfied with the healthcare services they provide or not and help them to 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, allowing them to control their workload at the stage of reviewing patients’ requests.

    • Quick access to clients' history and health records — complaints, questionnaires, etc.

    To provide better services, doctors should be able to see their clients’ history; this part can look like an outpatient e-chart which doctors will be able to access quickly from their dashboard.



    For Patients

    dashboard-for-patients
    The benefits of telehealth app development for patients go much further than just video calls (image by Michal Sambora)

    The same screen but for patients should consist of:

    • A search bar.

    To make the search quicker, you can add a search bar to Home Screen for patients so they can easily find a doctor they need without having to go through the list for a long time.

    • An appointments calendar.

    The calendar can work as a reminder about appointments. We recommend highlighting the dates with a bright color to make sure they stand out.

    • Quick access to main features — lists of doctors, prescriptions, and recommendations, as well as chats with doctors.

    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, for example, miss any medication or messages from their current 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 (e.g. heartbeat, steps per period of time, etc.) about their current state of health.



    # 3: List of Doctors & Filters 🔍

    Type: Features for Patients

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

    list-of-doctors
    A list of healthcare providers is a necessary part of any telemedicine app (image by Rhinoda Team)

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

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

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



    # 4: Questionnaires & Health control 📋

    Type: Common Feature

    Before an appointment nurses usually ask patients to fill in some sheets with questions about their background, basic health indicators, and complaints.

    health-control
    Telemedicine applications often include in-app questionnaires for patients (image by Dinis Bazgutdinоv)

    With telemedicine apps, this process is much easier. Patients just have to open the pre-made file provided by the platform and fill it in from a device. Doctors can then access the file for each of their patients remotely and look through it before the appointment.

    Besides, it can help to track the progress and effectiveness of treatment, change it in case a patient's well-being isn’t improving, 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 feeling of live communication and can help to make the doctor-patient relationship stronger and more trusting.

    video-appointment
    Video conferencing is is an important part of any telemedicine software development (image by Alexander Plyuto 🎲)

    Moreover, it can help doctors see their patients’ external symptoms, in case there are any, and check on their overall well-being (i.e. whether they’re sleepy, pale, dizzy, etc.).

    In therapy sessions, being able to see patients’ emotions and reactions is crucial, so this feature can be quite useful for that purpose, too.



    # 6: Feedback 💬

    Type: Features for Patients

    The reputation of any doctor is critical — knowing about other people’s experiences can prevent a lot of potential issues and ensure that others pick the right doctor for them.

    In online telehealth apps, it’s easier than anywhere else of course. Just leave a comment on the doctor's profile and/or rate them.

    feedback
    Feedback form in a telemedicine mobile app after an appointment (image by Yury Komarovsky)

    It will also be great if you implement some pre-made feedback forms with the most important questions (“Did the doctor ask you about…?”, “Rate the efficiency of your last treatment”, etc.).



    # 7: File Uploading & Downloading 📤

    Type: Common Feature

    More often than not, doctors require their patients to upload pictures of any visible issues that come; for instance, a bruise, a rash, or any other skin problems.

    That is when the file uploading feature could come in handy. Consider this during your own telemedicine app development.

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

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



    # 8: Medical History 📘

    Type: Features for Patients

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

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

    history
    Medical history is one of the essential telemedicine app features (image by Ahmed Mokhtar)

    Doctors should be able to access this information as well so they can provide better treatment having access to important health-related information previously shared by other doctors.



    # 9: Schedule 📅

    Type: Features for Doctors

    Such an essential feature is intended to allow doctors to easily take control of their workload — seeing how many patients there are on a certain day’s agenda, how many new patients are willing to make an appointment, etc.

    Don't forget that telemedicine software development is not only about patients but also about healthcare providers.



    # 10: Chats 💭

    Type: Common Feature

    In case of an emergency or some additional questions, patients should have the possibility of reaching out to their doctor, and chats are just the thing for that.

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

    Chats can also be quite useful for explaining any test results or scans a patient has gotten done so that everything is as clear as possible.

    Consider adding “Smart Response” as an additional function to make your app time-efficient for both doctors and patients.



    # 11: Customer Support 🤝

    Type: Common Feature

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

    We recommend implementing AI (chatbots) programmed to answer the most common questions or to implement an email/messenger button so users can ask additional questions that are not on the list.

    Customer support service should:

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



    # 12: Payment Gateway 💲

    Type: Common Feature

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

    • It’s consistent with device and OS types.
    • Most popular payment options are available (Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal).
    • It works fast and without delays.
    • It's secure.

    Don't underestimate this part of the telemedicine app development process. Just like medical records, it requires even more attention and security than other telehealth app features.

    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, and reminders about appointments (it should be possible to customize this one. “Remind N min before the appointment”, etc.).

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



    🔐 How to Ensure Security in Your Telemedicine App

    We know how important it is to trust your doctor — everybody feels the need for their information to be secure and stay private. Thus, it's often an important part of telehealth app development.

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



    Security Measures You Can Implement during Telemedicine App Development 🔑

    # 1: Data Encryption

    Nowadays frauds and hackers can use stolen data for blackmailing, manipulating, reselling, and many other harmful things for both businesses and users. We bet you don't want it for your telemedicine mobile or web app.

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

    When developing a telemedicine app, take into account that a big part of doctors’ appointments will be done via video calls it’s of high importance to pay attention to encryption at this stage.

    encryption
    Pay attention to security features during the telemedicine app development process (image by Parham Marandi)

    Even if a third party gets access to your app’s information, they won’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 the facilitating company as well.

    So, if you’re considering implementing encryption into your telemedicine software, we recommend looking more into 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.

    That can include tests or scan results that aren’t relevant anymore, information about patients that’s no longer used, any duplicates of documents, etc.

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

    • Keep data restricted & protected.

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

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

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



    # 3: Educating Your Doctors

    It's not enough just to develop a telehealth web or mobile app. The doctor-patient relationship is one of the most crucial parts of successful disease treatment. Subsequently, doctors have to pay attention to all little details when it comes to treating patients online, and they are responsible for patients’ privacy and data protection.

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

    However, not only patients and businesses are interested in their 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 first.

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



    Regulations 📚

    Medical apps aren’t that different from medical offline institutions when it comes to complying with various medical and data security regulations. In other words, you have to pay attention to some patient data privacy regulations and learn what it means to be GDPR, PIPEDA, or HIPAA compliant:

    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 EU citizens.
    2. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a regulation for US businesses that requires healthcare institutions and businesses, as well as their associates to develop and follow methods that ensure the security and confidentiality of patients’ data when it is received, transferred, shared, or handled. Thus, this regulation directly affects telemedicine solutions.
    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 to privacy of individuals.
    Read Also How to Make Sure Your App or Website is PIPEDA, GDPR & HIPAA Compliant



    🚀 Tech Stack for Telemedicine Software Development

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

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



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

    In this section, we’ll provide you with a rough estimate of telemedicine app development costs. By rough we mean that they may differ depending on your platform’s structure, various technologies, and integrations.

    Our estimations use the average rate for Eastern Europe ($40/hour), however, your development team may take more or less which will surely change the estimation.

    Thus, the rough cost to develop a telemedicine app is between $24,000-$36,000. Don’t forget, it’s a rough estimate.

    The number of features, needed technologies & integrations, as well as an hourly rate of your development team for telemedicine app development services, will likely 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.

    It’s hard not to see how life-saving telemedicine web and mobile apps are. Thus, telemedicine app development is not only socially important but also quite beneficial from the business perspective.

    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.

    Have any questions on telemedicine app development? 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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