In recent years the telemedicine market has grown significantly: in 2019 the market size was around $50 billion, and by the end of 2023 it will reach $194.1 billion. Among the main factors that are pushing the growth of telemedicine are the pandemic crisis, development of the digital technologies, and the overall cost-effectiveness that this industry offers.
For example, in the US the in-person visit to a doctor costs two times more compared to a virtual visit to the same specialist.
As the market evolves more companies appear looking for investment opportunities. This, in turn, is helping to drive the appearance of new telehealth products and services.
In today's blog, we'll explain how to make a telemedicine application for healthcare, discuss the main technologies that are used for telehealth app development, and show how to pick the right software development partner for your project.
What Technology to Choose For Creating a Telemedicine App
Artificial intelligence opens up a list of the most popular technologies used in telemedicine. In fact, it is largely due to AI that today we have an e-health market. It was artificial intelligence that helped the e-health industry become something more than just basic consultations via FaceTime or WhatsApp.
AI aids healthcare professionals by making their work more efficient and accurate. It helps to streamline the medical data gathering process and allows specialists to derive insights from medical data much faster.
Artificial Intelligence also assists patients by showing them how to correctly collect data — which angle to choose when taking a photo picture or assess whether the quality of a photo (or video clip) taken by a patient is enough for a doctor to diagnose an illness.
To sum up, this technology drastically reduces the number of mundane tasks that healthcare professionals do regularly and shortens the time needed to generate correct decisions.
We all probably are familiar with the term Internet of Things. The healthcare industry, however, has forged another one, and it is the Internet of Medical Things which encompasses all the equipment and digital services used for ongoing monitoring of a patient's health.
In other words, these are portable medical devices and machines that can 'communicate' with each other as well as wirelessly send data to the cloud storage where all patient records are kept. This means that information about blood pressure, weight, glucose levels, and results of cardiac monitoring becomes easily accessible for healthcare professionals regardless of their time of day or geo location.
Into this category also fall IoMT wearables, such as biosensory devices and physiological sensors used to monitor different health parameters — pulse oximetry, body temperature, EKG, EEG, etc.
Alongside AI, Big Data technologies remain the backbone of the e-health industry. Big data algorithms, tools, and techniques allow professionals to retrieve information that is important for decision-making from the large chunks of data.
Such a change in data assessment approach allowed the healthcare industry to move from the disease-centric model (where we treat disease in its broader sense) to the patient-centric model (where we treat disease as a specific condition with specific symptoms inherent to a specific patient). In other words, professionals now get to see a bigger, more accurate picture, but on a micro level.
For digital products, the integration of proper security techniques and strategies has always been of higher importance. But for healthcare it reaches the level of the utmost priority since here we deal with patient data.
Blockchain is known for being one of the most secure ways of storing information. Thanks to its architecture it allows secure encryption and sharing of medical records, giving confidence to all parties involved in the process that sensitive information won't be compromised or stolen.
Technologies we use at Lunk.tech for the telemedicine products
In addition to the well-known technologies used in telehealth app development and described above, here are some others we use at Lunka.tech when creating digital products for healthcare.
Swift is a programming language used for the development of mobile products on the iOS platform. It has a simple yet modern syntax which allows easing the coding process significantly, and as a result, speeds up project completion.
Among other advantages of this language are concise code structure that is easy to read, support of dynamic libraries, and a large community that directly supports the development of the technology.
Reach out to our team if you're interested in swift app development services, and we'll answer all your questions regarding making a teledoctor app (or any other type of product) using this technology.
Django is a Python-based web framework that allows for the fast development of websites. Thanks to the flexible development environment it offers, you can create almost any website or web app with it.
This means that Django basically suits any kind of project. Aside from that, Django is very versatile, secure, and has strong community support.
Looking for Django development services? Simply contact us to discuss your project!
Firebase is a Google-backed app development platform used for the creation of iOS and Android apps. It consists of several services and APIs that allow developers to create high-quality apps.
The main advantages of using Firebase for telehealth app development are secure hosting, higher accessibility, Google Analytics integration, advanced capabilities for app testing, and bug fixing.
For more information on how to get started with firebase app development, contact our managers.
7 Steps in Telemedicine App Development Process
1. Analyze your target market
This is the very first step that companies should carry out when thinking of creating an application for telemedicine. Here you need to study your niche, i.e. its audience size and any competitors that are already present.
First of all, try to identify:
- Who are your potential clients?
- Where do they live?
- What do they like?
- What telehealth apps do they already use and why?
The more accurate information you acquire the more user-oriented application you'll develop.
Once you're done with that, study your competition and try to understand how other companies approach their telehealth products. What functionality they offer and how they deliver it to the end customer (UI/UX), what features their products lack, what makes their product stand out, and so on.
2. Outline app's core features
All app features normally fall into one of two groups: core or secondary.
The core features are those that form the so-called 'unique-selling point' of your app. This functionality is responsible for tackling the main problem for your target audience and is a reason why a user installed your app on their device in the first place.
The secondary features are those that do not influence the business model of the app very much or at all and are added primarily for supporting (or enhancing) the core functionality.
When building a telehealth mobile app we recommend focusing on the core functionality first. This way you'll be able to concentrate more precisely on solving a particular problem or pain point of your potential users, and won't spread your attention between minor improvements (that can send your project budget through the roof by the way.)
3. Decide on the app's monetization model
Every mobile product has to generate profit. Otherwise, there is no way for it to evolve, attract new users, and simply stay on the market. When choosing how to monetize your app it's necessary to match your project needs with the expectations of the audience and implement a model that will be most convenient to them.
Remember, your audience is not the general public or casual users but a specific audience in a specific niche.
When talking about the e-health market, we recommend startups focus on one of the following app monetization models:
- In-app advertising — the app is free to download and developers generate revenue via ads embedded in the application.
- Freemium — users get a free version of the app with some basic functionalities. In order for them to access some premium (gated) features, they are expected to pay a one-time fee.
- Paid apps — pretty straightforward model where you need to purchase the app from the app store in order to download it.
- Subscription — similar to the paid model except a user is charged a recurring fee each month/quarter/year instead of just a one-time fee.
There are also other monetization models that are geared around in-app purchases or sponsorships, etc., but for various reasons, these might not work well for telemedicine products.
4. Plan budget and associated expenses
All budget expenses should be planned before the actual telemedicine app development starts. In doing so you will avoid situations that can drain your budget dry before getting to the later stages of the development process.
This is also why we advise our clients to plan app functionality ahead as well, to assess the amount of resources needed for its implementation. Aside from the functionality itself, you should also plan for marketing expenses, further app maintenance, as well as testing.
5. Find a reliable software development partner
If you've decided to outsource your telemedicine app, look for a telemedicine app development partner that not only offers relevant technical knowledge but has app development case studies that show the company's prior experience developing healthcare projects.
Pay particular attention to how they handle communication and answer your questions during an interview. Ask them about the main challenges they’ve dealt with when developing an app for telehealth, if they’ve had such experience, and how they managed to overcome those challenges. Ask for contact information of some of their past clients, so you can reach out and get an unbiased opinion about your potential partner.
Risk management is another area that should not be overlooked. Ask software developers about possible risks that can arise during project implementation and how they suggest mitigating them.
If you're talking to professional software developers, they will typically just take you through the entire development process showing the risk-mitigating mechanisms they have for each stage.
For example, they don't move to the coding stage before the client approves UI, or don't start working on UI before the client provides a written brief outlining their vision and expectations regarding the app interface.
6. Come up with MVP
The next big step is the creation of an MVP or a minimum viable product with the MVP app development company you've chosen. This is the first version of your app that features enough functionality (core features) to attract early adopters (first users). Based on their feedback you’ll understand whether your telemedicine app is viable as a product or not.
Coming up with an MVP instead of a fully-fledged app in the first place allows you to proceed with relatively small investments to check if your app has future potential.
After you publish your MVP you basically enter a loop: "gather customer feedback — process it — add changes to a product — gather customer feedback…". In other words you work on new updates and improvements to your product: test code, fix bugs, improve the interface, introduce secondary features, etc., etc.
This stage doesn't have any time limitations and can last as long as your product stays on a market. Or as long as you're willing to support your app.
So, this was a brief guide to the telemedicine app development process. On a case-by-case basis, it can vary, but the entire logic will remain unchanged and as shown above.
Consider Lunka.tech Your Partner
At Lunka.tech we strive to deliver the best software development services to our clients. No matter what niche we're working in, we make sure that we meet client expectations in full and strive to exceed them.
This can be seen in some of our recent healthcare projects, such as our pregnancy mobile app development case study. It showcases a development of a unique app for Bianu that provides nutrition recommendations to women during their pregnancy trimesters. Another one is Сovid-19 app development case study for Match Fit Pass, the world's first app that combines secure ticketing with e-health functionality.
Both projects were successfully delivered on time and within viable budget ranges. The clients were very pleased with the outcomes of our cooperation, leaving our team with 5-star feedback.
Telehealth is a unique market for various reasons. It encompasses a very large group of potential customers that for some reason were 'overlooked' for quite a while. Especially when compared to the gaming app market or social media that started to grow exponentially after the term 'mobile application' was coined.
In recent years the market has experienced an unprecedented boost and will continue to grow in the short- and mid-term perspective. So, if you want to make a telemedicine application for healthcare or build a telehealth video app, and are looking for a software development agency, reach out to Lunka.tech!
For all our new clients we offer a FREE consultation during which our managers will provide all the necessary information on how to develop a telemedicine platform or app, answer questions, and outline a step-by-step implementation plan for your project!
How long does it take to develop a telemedicine app?
The time needed to develop a telemedicine application depends on several factors, such as product complexity, size of the development team, number of platforms that an app is built for, etc. This is why it's hard to give a precise answer to this question. Broadly speaking, however, the creation of a basic MVP takes between three and nine months.
How much does it cost to develop a telemedicine app?
When assessing telemedicine app development сosts it's necessary to consider app functionality, UI/UX design complexity, development approach (in-house or outsource), plus maintenance and marketing expenses. Based on these, the cost to create a telehealth app can sit anywhere between $20,000 and $300,000, depending on whether you're coming up with an MVP or a fully-fledged app. We've dedicated an entire article to this subject, so if you want to know more about how app development budgets are formed, check out: How Much Does It Cost To Build A Telemedicine App.
What would make a successful telehealth app?
For a telehealth app to become successful, it should 1) perfectly fit its market needs, 2) offer a relevant set of features to the target audience, 3) have a user-friendly UI/UX, and 4) have a well-developed marketing strategy. Contact us via the dedicated form to discuss how we can help you develop a telehealth app that meets your goals.
How do I make a telehealth app secure?
There are many policies and strategies that you can include in your app to make it secure, depending on its architecture, components, and how they work together. However, the 'must-have' list of recommendations normally includes adding two-factor authentication, data encryption, using SSL, biometric authentication algorithms, and following the HIPAA guidelines.