Telemedicine software development ( guide 2021 )

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Why create a telemedicine app

Why create a telemedicine app

How does telemedicine work?

The goal of telemedicine is to facilitate the interaction of the doctor with the patient.
Contacting the patient at a distance, the doctor conducts a survey about the patient's condition. If necessary, the patient and the doctor can switch to video communication. This will allow you to visually assess the patient's condition, its severity, and give recommendations for further action. All this is possible thanks to the creation of a number of functionalities and distinctive features in applications that attract various patients to certain online clinics.
The most popular interactions with patient telemedicine at the moment are:
  • Patient consultation on various diseases at an early stage of the disease;
  • Consultation of a patient that, due to geographical and other remote reasons, cannot visit the required specialist;
  • Consultation of young parents on childcare and first aid courses for infants;
  • Consultation of pregnant women in the early stages of pregnancy detection;
  • Consultation of the elderly and disabled in the prevention or initial treatment of the necessary ailment;
  • Selection of the necessary medical tests and procedures necessary for the patient;
  • Issuance of electronic prescriptions for medications necessary for the patient;
  • Pandemic health marks.
And many other medical services, which are improved through remote interaction and software updates every day.

How a telemedicine app makes money

How Make money

Earnings for the clinic through the telemedicine application can be carried out in three directions:
  • The patients. By opening the application, the client can select the required specialist, make an appointment and then he pays the cost of the doctor's service. Reception can take place by appointment or immediately after payment. The payment can occur according to several criteria:
  1. Direct payment according to the “patient-doctor” scheme before the start of the appointment;
  2. The patient pays for the appointment in advance at a scheduled meeting on a specific date and time;
  3. The patient pays for medical services through the patient's insurance company for a number of services or all medical services;
  4. Payment for the doctor's services by subscribing to the telemedicine application, which allows the client to pay for all the services offered by the clinic at once and use them gradually over a certain period of time (this method is often used by online clinics of psychological and psychiatric care).
The creators of telemedicine software can implement several types of payment for the client, thereby increasing the possibility of making a profit for the clinic.
  • Cooperation with pharmacies. The clinic can create a separate category in the “Pharmacy” application, where the patient can purchase all the necessary medicines according to the prescribed prescription. A percentage of the income from sales of medicines goes to the clinic, which decided to implement this function in the application. Delivery of medicines is carried out by a cooperating pharmacy, freeing the telemedicine clinic from additional logistics costs.
  • Advertising. This type of earnings makes it possible to launch ads on the basis of the application, which organizes additional income for the clinic and expands the interest of patients in the recommended goods / services.
However, in the case of placing advertisements, any TV clinic needs to study the laws on advertising. After all, the clinic cannot place some types of advertising on its platform. The creation and observance of such laws is due to the fact that people tend to trust advertisements located on medical platforms and subconsciously classify the product offered to them as “healthy”. If the goods are not in reality, then the clinic may be accused of fraud. That is why, when creating ad units, a TV clinic needs to study advertising legislation or consult a lawyer.
Latest trends for a telemedicine app

Latest Trends for Telemedicine Applications

These trends were created on the basis of the first experiences of the telemedicine clinic and now they are already necessary tools to which the patients of online clinics are accustomed:
  • Simple interface for clear interaction between patient and doctor with the application;
  • Availability of mobile and PC software versions;
  • The presence of a payment gateway for paying for doctor's services without leaving the application;
  • Automatic adjustment of the best resolution of devices for communication between doctor and patient;
  • The ability to keep a medical history of regular customers and supplement it with additional information;
  • Collecting statistics for the application in the following criteria:
  1. Attendance;
  2. Switching to different tabs by the patient;
  3. Customer satisfaction information.
Appointment planning for the doctor and patient in a format convenient for all parties; The ability to conduct a dialogue in the chat; Pop-up reminders for patient and doctor about upcoming appointment times.

Advanced features

Additional application features

The development of technologies does not stand still, therefore, in addition to all of the above functions, we can note new additional features that have already been created for telemedicine software:
  • Integration with medical equipment. This function allows the doctor to see the results of the patient examination on medical equipment. This makes it possible to make more accurate diagnoses and see the progress in treatment.
  • Integration with fitness / health gadgets. The information that modern fitness gadgets record on a smartphone: bracelets, sneakers and others, can allow a doctor to see general physical activity and give his recommendations on this matter.
  • Billing integration. This feature allows you to see and track the payment of a patient's medical bill, as well as provide electronic receipts, which automatically go to the clinic's accounting records

Best examples of a telemedicine app

The best features in the telemedicine application

For a doctor:
  • The application of the telemedicine application allows you to provide fast medical assistance at the request of the patient, wherever he is, by conducting examination and questioning in real time.
  • The physician can expedite the provision of assistance to the patient by issuing electronic prescriptions and electronic referrals for tests.
  • Thanks to the electronic medical history, the doctor can familiarize himself with the client's past diagnoses, diagnose more quickly and determine the necessary treatment.
  • Payment for medical services takes place in a safe mode, which allows the specialist not to worry about receiving payment from the patient.
For the patient:
  • The app gives patients the ability to get help exactly when they need it.
  • With in-app patient information and conferencing and video chat capabilities, specialists can communicate directly with the patient, conduct visual examinations, and provide timely treatment.
  • This communication saves time and money for the patient.
  • The client can study the information about the doctor and see the history of his illness, understanding whether his treatment is effective or not.

A technology stack for a telemedicine app

Technology stack for telemedicine application

Telemedicine platforms typically use mobile and web applications.
  • Mobile applications run on Android and iOS platforms familiar to many developers. To create them, you must use the following programming languages: Mobile applications run on Android and iOS platforms familiar to many developers. To create them, you must use the following programming languages: Android = Java; Kotlin. iOS = Swift.
  • Telemedicine web applications often require the use of:
  1. React Native
  2. Nodes
  3. Laravel
  4. Node.js
  5. React, React Native
However, the use of these applications is often impossible without the integration of additional tools that make telemedicine work easier and more active. We are talking about tools such as:
  1. AI (Artificial Intelligence). This technology makes it possible to apply the following tools to facilitate telemedicine, such as: Chat bots; Automation of entering specialist notes into EMR; Improvements in diagnostics due to the database and its AI replenishment.
  2. WebRTC. This tool helps you create and use chats, voice messages and real-time video calls within the application, making it easy for patient and doctor to communicate. Also WebRTC organizes a staging database.
  3. EMR and EHR. These systems are electronic medical records of patients that provide instant access to medical history and other information for the doctor. Their creation is often based on Rails, GraphQL, etc. They allow not only to study information about the patient, but also to add new data obtained during the appointment.
  4. Cloud services. These services store all the information that happens in the software and support its operation in terms of exchanging, managing and retrieving data.
  5. IVR. This technology provides an automated telephony system that allows subscribers to interact using voice and DTMF signals.
  6. Elastic search. Allows you to navigate the application and quickly find the necessary information for any user. Its creation in the application is effective in that it allows you to set up access to the search for the required specialist, information about doctors, sort specialists by reviews and find additional information about the application.
  7. Geolocation. The Google Geolocation API allows you to get data about the patient's location. If unforeseen circumstances occur at the appointment, the doctor can inform the ambulance colleagues where to arrive and what happened to the patient. Also, this function was created so that doctors can prescribe tests and prescribe referrals to patients in the nearest hospitals for effective treatment. For telemedicine applications that distribute prescription drugs, geolocation allows the drug to be delivered directly to the patient at a more precise location.
  8. Twilio - Voice notifications and messages. This feature helps improve voice prompts and appointment reminders for patients and doctors.
  9. Safe payment. This function allows you to make transparent payments and link them to the system of applications such as Paypal, Paytm, GooglePay, banking applications and other payment systems. These payment gateways not only facilitate interaction, but also provide a complete description of the payment history for the patient, doctor and teleclinic.
  10. Integration with health tracking apps. Examples of such applications are Google Fit, Apple HealthKit, applications connected to fitness bracelets and shoes, etc. The creation of integrations with these applications will allow you to replenish the patient's history with data on his physical activity, heart rate, sleep and other parameters that the doctor can rely on in order to give more accurate recommendations and advice on treatment.
All these additional functions allow the application to obtain the total amount of information and make the telemedicine work as efficiently as possible.

Team structure

Team structure

The team for creating a telemedicine application should be composed of experienced programmers who have knowledge and experience in developing various applications. So, following from the experience of the “Exceed Team” development, the team is built on the basis of the following stages of creating such a project:
  1. Planning software architecture. This function is built by specialists on the basis of business data, which was selected by a client who wants to create a telemedicine application. This is where the formation of what functions are needed in the application, and which will be superfluous; what wishes the client has for the program developers, etc.
  2. Early planning of the application. The team of developers of the program describes exactly what manipulations they need to do to establish the work of the described project and in what time frame.
  3. Development of the first version of the application. You can call this stage “pen breakdown”, when the work of the already created application capabilities is being studied, but the general plan has not yet been completed.
  4. Quality assurance and application test. This point is pre-final, when the application passes various tests and all possible problems are identified before putting it into operation.
  5. Delivery of the application and launching its work. The application is ready and able to withstand the influx of users and easily carry out all the functions created in it.
A team with a variety of experience and programming languages is capable of providing all these stages. Such teams are assembled on the basis of the "Exceed Team" over the years of work in the company and the creation of many software in various fields.

Market analysis for a telemedicine app

Market analysis for telemedicine application

To create an optimal application that meets the needs of a doctor and a patient, it is necessary to collect business data, which is built on the basis of information about the market analysis of the created telemedicine applications. In connection with the current situation of the pandemic, there has been a "jump" in the number of visits to doctors through telemedicine, since it is:
  • safely;
  • remotely;
  • inexpensive.
Therefore, the first point reflecting the need to develop an application for telemedicine by a clinic is as follows:
  • The gradual transition gave way to a sharp influx of users to telemedicine doctors, which allowed a larger number of patients to appreciate the convenience of such a service.
Another important point that revealed the massive appeal of people to telemedicine is the ability to contact various specialists without wasting time and not delaying the identification of diseases. Many people began to turn to doctors for the purpose of consultation, expanding their requests for the composition of doctors involved in telemedicine:
  • In the future, an increase in the variety of applications of telemedicine is predicted, which expands its functionality and the frequency of people 'visits.
An increasing category of citizens is resorting to telemedicine, realizing its convenience and budget, which erases the framework of patient segmentation into those who turn to telemedicine and those who do not. But new categories of segmentation appear: age, gender, frequency of visits, treatment progress, etc.
  • With increased segmentation, patients will have more information about the effectiveness of telemedicine, which will attract even more patients.
Since telemedicine solves problems in the health sector, which could not be solved for a long time due to the factor of distance and the inaccessibility of certain places of residence of people. This means that this industry can count on government support.
  • Telemedicine solves the problems of the state on equal provision of medical care throughout the country (even to the most remote corners). This can act as a guarantor of support for this business sector.
All four arguments make it clear that this industry of business and healthcare has great potential. Thus, the creation of a telemedicine application is an excellent business solution, especially for those clinics that have a shortage of visiting people due to local reasons. So, this gives a reason to reflect another argument for such a business decision:
  • Telemedicine will make it possible to establish income for those clinics that experience a deficit in patient attendance due to geographic and other reasons.
Thus, all that remains to be done for those wishing to create telemedicine software is to take into account the global standards of medical care and turn to an experienced team of programmers.

Success stories of telemedicine apps

Best Telemedicine Application Examples

For 2020, the top best telemedicine applications were formed, which looks like this:
  • MDLIVE -the app was created not so long ago, but it is very popular in the field of telemedicine. The online clinic was able to achieve this thanks to the quick response to the patient's request (the waiting time for finding the necessary specialist for non-emergency cases takes 15 minutes), as well as the variety of medical staff that is ready to conduct an appointment. One of the most popular features of the software that has come gradually with updates is the ability to contact a psychologist and psychiatrist online. The introduction of these specialties allowed the app to take a leading position and increase profits from online consultations many times over.
  • Lemonaid - when creating this app, the “order from pharmacy " function was developed. So, in addition to providing a quick consultation for a fee through the payment gateway system, the clinic will be able to provide the patient with not only fast and extensive assistance within two hours of admission, but also to make a prescription and instant purchase of medicines in the same application that will be delivered from the Lemonaid pharmacy.
  • LiveHealth Online Mobile - this online clinic helps patients with video calls to consult on various issues: from allergies, to skin rashes; from flu, to digestive problems. A distinctive feature of this telemedicine app is that it provides online courses on breastfeeding and caring for children up to one and three years of age.
  • PlushCare -the creators of this app decided to go even further to be closer to patients. To attend the reception, you must register, enter information about your insurance and choose a convenient time for the reception. So patients can cover part or all of their medical needs thanks to an insurance company, which does not tie their need for medical advice to the availability of money in a particular period of time.
  • Doctor on Demand - this clinic focuses on psychiatrists and psychologists (its functionality includes other doctors, but the distinctive feature of this application is psychological consultations of patients). But unlike the previous application, this clinic, on the contrary, does not require insurance and is ready to provide budget assistance immediately at the request of the client.
  • Amwell: Doctor Visits 24/7 - is a telemedicine app created with the ability to pay for services and insurance, and direct money transfers. Unlike other online clinics, it has an appointment system at a convenient time for the patient, and the function of instant help here and now for urgent issues for an additional fee.
  • Talkspace Therapy & Counseling - this clinic is based only on psychology and psychiatry. It operates on a subscription system. This approach allows patients to send an unlimited number of photos, videos, audio and text messages about their condition to their doctor. The patient is guaranteed to receive a response from the doctor at least once a day, 5 days a week. The subscription system automatically reminds you when the patient is subscribed and what different categories can give the patient.
  • Teladoc -online clinic was created with the expectation of interaction between online and offline treatment. If the patient was observed in a regular clinic, then they can provide their treatment plan to the doctor online, and they will choose with them further actions in terms of continuing treatment. A wide range of specialists and such interaction online and offline, allows the clinic to offer not only convenient and qualified medical care, but also to write prescriptions for necessary medications to a specific patient.
  • BCBSM Online Visits -this app is unique because it is based on Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) health insurance. For patients, this means using all the features of the software for free and requesting help from all the telemedicine specialists offered. This online clinic is designed primarily for patients who cannot reach doctors online or must avoid public places (for example, those who have contracted coronavirus). As an additional bonus, the clinic can request care for your child, which gives additional freedom of action to parents and confidence that their child is in safe hands.
  • Spruce - this telemedicine clinic is a platform that allows both doctors and patients to visit it freely. This ensures that the application is mass-produced. However, to ensure that the personal data of both parties remains secure, the app's creators have placed a system of HIPAA laws in it. This allows you to securely exchange video, photo, text and audio messages between the doctor and the patient, without fear that personal data may go beyond the chat. This system also allows the patient to fill out questionnaires and template data for a rapid health survey, which speeds up getting help from the necessary specialist.
  • Telehealth by SimplePractice - this application is designed in such a way that allows the patient to configure the date and time of entering a video conference (or chat) on health issues of concern to a certain specialist thanks to the calendar system. Next, everything that is necessary after the planned schedule of visiting a specialist: this is the Internet and configured video communication.
  • DocsApp - this application decided to go even further in the field of interaction between telemedicine and a real clinic, allowing the patient to use the following interaction algorithm. When opening the application, the client is asked to create a personal profile and pass a template survey about the state of health, as well as specify which of the proposed specialists they want to visit. After completing this registration, the patient can set a time or immediately contact the doctor they are interested in. In the future, the doctor can not only conduct a survey and visual examination, but also write prescriptions with directions for analysis to the local clinic where the patient lives (or the closest to it). At the end of the appointment, the patient should always write a review about the appointment and the impression of the doctor (in other applications, this is at the request of the client).
  • oladoc - this application is the market leader in the country of creation (Pakistan) and covers a huge audience of users: 25,000 doctors and even more patients. This telemedicine app works on a calendar basis and allows the patient to choose a medical specialist based on their description, reviews, and cost of medical services. Each patient has a personal profile where they see their medical history and can personally track the progress of their treatment, seeing the medical history updated by doctors and answering template questions about their health status on their own.
These apps are at the forefront of patient care in a convenient 24/7 format and a variety of specialists who are ready to conduct online appointments. Each is designed with a unique identity that the clinic uses as an exclusive offer to patients who choose to use their telemedicine software.
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