Itching to bridge the gap between doctors and patients with mobile technology? Have a unique idea but don’t know where to start? This article focuses on the three most characteristic aspects of telemedicine app development: biz dev, security, and a feature list.
What is telehealth, anyway?
Telehealth, or as it’s sometimes also called, telemedicine, is a distinct category of digital medical assistance. It often works as an extension of regular healthcare. Patients who use telemedicine can conveniently receive preliminary advice without ever leaving their apartment. Furthermore, they can book a follow-up visit to a doctor of their choice. However, it seems like telehealth might replace the need for in-person consultations in the future entirely. The possibilities of mobile health services are certainly growing. Telemedicine is being used to assist with patient observation or to quickly bring a practitioner within reach in a situation that would otherwise be impossible. Think late-night panic attacks or monitoring the conditions of an infectious disease that requires quarantine. In such cases, the swiftness and accessibility of mobile devices come to the rescue. It’s a win-win for doctors and patients alike.
What does it take to bring a telehealth app idea to life?
At first, you must discover all the hidden aspects of your idea. How does it fit into the current mobile landscape? What is it going to look like?
The first stage in any development is usually reserved to identify what you are going to face for the good part of the next half a year or so. It all begins with gauging user demand. To follow through with this, you will inevitably touch on what your competitors are offering to meet it. Business analysis helps you discover the below-the-surface needs of your audience.
It is difficult to understate the importance of doing your homework on this one. What comes out is a detailed backlog of potential features and milestones that is going to help you put your plan in perspective. You might want to canvas your operations area so that you have all the aspects of development covered. These include:
- What is your target audience?
- What is your USP?
- What resources do you have?
- How much does it cost to turn this into an app?
- How do you plan to receive the revenue?
After carefully examining every syllable and number of your business plan, think about whether you want to embark on this adventure. If you do, make the call. Let’s get the engines started.
Begins the work of simultaneously organizing the many facets of your app and making prototypes. You will need a clear-cut purpose, a content plan, design, and tech specs to get going.
Thinking about all the exciting features and aspects of helping people with your telehealth application might turn your attention away from the technicalities. Fear not, you have no chance to miss them. Since this is a telemedicine project, it will most likely have an external server. It is paramount to keep an eye on the secure storage of user data. This is the health information we are talking about. That means serious business. All the medical records, private conversations with practitioners, sensitive information… Your users’ trust and safety depend on how seriously you take this. As well as your company’s legal standing. If nobody cared for privacy, we would all be using Skype to talk to our doctors and receive diagnoses. That platform simply doesn’t require protected health information to be encrypted.
What regulations are out there?
It largely depends on who your users are. There’s the infamous HIPAA in the US (they also have CCPA), then there’s GDPR in the EU, PIPEDA in Canada, and others where applicable per country. What doesn’t change is the fact that you need to put security on top of your list.
Now that we’re talking about technicalities, what is your platform, anyway?
Do you have your sights on iPhones, since they make up a larger user base in the United States? Or perhaps it’s their customers’ paying capabilities? Regardless, to truly touch a wide user base of a diverse population and their doctors, you might want to think about a multi-platform solution. In the case of a feature-rich application with an expansive backend for practitioners to manage everything, it might do you well to allow for a desktop version. Anyway, your tech stacks depend on what your app is. Thus, it is a good idea to create an MVP.
- What to expect from a telehealth app?
Patients and doctors have different needs. Let’s examine how your MVP might cater to both.
For doctors and patients alike:
- User profile management
- Appointment schedule overview and management
- Texting and video-calling
- Texting the support team
- Scoring an appointment with a professional
- Paying for the services online
- Reimbursements or insurances management
- Unlocking features
- Maintaining health records
- Tracing transaction history
Texting and video-calling
Telehealth relies heavily on the secure, low-latency connection between users and professional help through video or instant messaging. People don’t notice it when it’s perfect. Even more, with recent development in AI, it is getting more and more reliable to let a chatbot identify symptoms. Artificial intelligence is sure to grow its involvement in telemedicine in the coming years, seeing as it is already a huge player in healthcare and fighting COVID-19.
This side of interaction is usually simpler for the patient, but any doctor would highly appreciate a convenient way to not get lost either.
How does all of this flow and look?
To create a stable and continuously usable product, it must present the user with clear information about what they need at any given moment and give them an understandable way to achieve their task. When making a telehealth app, in particular, the focus is on accessibility and clarity, as well as an atmosphere of trust and security. Design should be a well-deserved part of your budget.
After your MVP development is over, the testing doesn’t stop. Market tests and adaptations spawn new features in your backlog that are going to take your app from unique but basic to well-done and successful. You should track the latest developments in technology around your space so that you are ready to integrate AI, VR, AR, blockchain, and IoT when they fit the needs of your customers. A full cycle of healthcare app development showed in this guide also follows through with the maintenance and, of course, marketing to properly bring your idea to the world. Keep an eye on every step from the very validation stage to the wrap-up and you are sure to be much more well-equipped to dive into telehealth app development.