How to Develop a Telemedicine App: A Comprehensive Guide

20 min read
Oct 04, 2021
How to Develop a Telemedicine App: A Comprehensive Guide
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Brief Market Overview of Telehealth App Development

Over the years, there has been a gradual but consistent shift towards remote service delivery, including telehealth, which has coincided with the rise in the adoption of smartphones. The World Health Organisation, for more than a decade ago, has recognised the need for telehealth services across the globe.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic came and accelerated this growth several times over, causing many more providers to build a telemedicine platform to meet rising demands. Now, almost everyone with a smartphone has one telehealth app or the other. Most major telehealth apps recorded growth surges as COVID-19 came to take the scene. In between rising infection rates and social distancing rules, it is not hard to see why most people turned towards telehealth platforms.

The global market for building a telehealth app is expected to grow to $55.6 billion by 2025, up from $25.4 billion in 2020. Telehealth presents new opportunities to solve health care problems for people around the world. We have previously written on how to make a medical app. However, this article offers a detailed guide on how to build telemedicine apps.

lets find out how to build telemedicine app

Why Should You Build a Telemedicine App?

Even if you know how to build telemedicine apps since there are opportunities in the field, what precise opportunities exist? More importantly, what problems would you be solving when you create a telemedicine app and add yours to the suite of existing telemedicine apps.

Make a telehealth app to adapt to pandemic lifestyle

In various significant ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our work and lifestyle. Expert predictions show that pandemic trends such as remote working are not likely to go away even when the pandemic is over. With more people turning towards remote experiences, building a telehealth app puts one in pole position to solve healthcare problems for the future human society.

we are short of masks mem

Make a telehealth app to contribute to transforming global healthcare

The Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) focuses on good health and well-being, particularly by achieving universal health coverage. The fastest way to achieve this is by providing telehealth services such as when a visionary founder tries to build a telemedicine app, particularly for people in remote and rural areas who may lack access to amenities. Building a telehealth app now puts your firm at the forefront of global welfare transformation.

Make a telehealth app to help people save costs on healthcare

Telemedicine app development is cheaper than building a full-fledged hospital. So, if your goal is to provide better healthcare for more people, the most affordable route is to discover how to build telemedicine apps. That’s because it reduces costs for everyone involved including patients, physicians, and investors.

healthcare is expensive

Of course, hospitals are not going away at all. However, the preventive healthcare that telemedicine app development enables saves the lives of many people before they even reach a hospital or clinic.

Examples of a Telemedicine App

Many investors and founders have been involved in different projects to build a telemedicine app. This list contains some of the most popular apps in this space as various providers embark on projects to build a telemedicine platform. You can learn from these examples to create a telemedicine app that addresses unique needs.

Drugs.com

The makers of Drugs.com tried to build a telemedicine platform for looking up information about drugs, medication usage, side effects, and drug interactions. People also use the platform to maintain their personal prescription records. Information provided in the app can help users take their medications responsibly.

drugs logo

MDLIVE

MDLIVE is an app that allows users to talk to doctors on demand. From the app, users can schedule appointments with certified physicians and psychiatrists as well as other specialists such as dermatologists. The app lists a number of non-emergency conditions and behavioural health issues that physicians and psychiatrists on its platform are equipped to treat and provide prescriptions for.

Teladoc

This is another example of how to build a telemedicine platform that connects patients to certified doctors for virtual diagnoses, prescriptions, and treatment. Users can access the services of other healthcare professionals such as nurses, nutritionists, dermatologists, and other specialists on Teladoc. The app collects information on the medical history of each user at sign up so that the doctors may provide guided treatment.

Teladoc

Ada

Ada sets itself apart from many other medical apps by incorporating artificial intelligence in how to build a telemedicine platform. The app itself is for helping users to check their symptoms and find possible causes for their issues before booking an appointment. The AI of Ada has been trained by experienced doctors so that users may gain helpful insights into their health and body.

Lemonaid

Lemonaid is another popular medical app for booking appointments with doctors for personalised healthcare delivery. It provides a wide range of medical services up to home delivery for prescription medication. It has a clinical team that comprises physicians, pharmacists, and nurses.

Lemonaid

K Health

K Health is an example of how to make a telehealth app that’s AI-powered. However, its core offerings still revolve around allowing users to schedule doctor visits on demand. This covers services such as primary care, urgent care, mental health, and paediatrics.

Ovia Health

Some providers build a telemedicine platform for delivering comprehensive family health management; an example is Ovia Health. That means it places special emphasis on children’s health, women’s health, maternity, parental wellbeing, and the likes. The app can be accessed by individuals, family plans, and even employers.

Medscape

Admittedly, almost all the apps on this list focus on consumers and patients. However, this is one medical app that’s built for providers. Medscape tried to make a telehealth app that provides physicians and other healthcare professionals with medical news, updates, guidelines, and other key information that enables them to deliver better healthcare to their patients by staying on top of the latest happenings in their fields.

Medscape

WebMD

Popular healthcare and medical information publisher, WebMD boasts of a suite of medical apps designed to improve people’s wellbeing in various ways. The main WebMD app is a symptom checker, doctor directory, medication reminder, drug interaction checker, and many more all rolled into one. However, WebMD has other apps for specific purposes such as pregnancy management, baby health, allergies, etc.

Doctor on Demand

Doctor on Demand is another popular app for scheduling virtual healthcare appointments with doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and other medical specialists. The services cover urgent care, behavioural health, preventive health, chronic care, and so on. Users simply need to provide their medical history and select a healthcare provider.

Doctor on Demand

Top 7 Benefits of Building a Telehealth App

Building a telehealth app has immense benefits for patients, physicians, specialists, and the general public. To make a telehealth app, acknowledging these benefits gives your production process a sense of purpose. Moreover, the benefits to create a telemedicine app are enough motivation.

No need to take time off work or important activities

Before the days of telehealth services, patients often had to take the day off work whenever they had a doctor’s appointment. This is often due to the long wait times at the doctor’s office. The actual meeting with the doctor may only last a few minutes but patients often had to wait hours.

telemedicine app development can save patient's time

Now, by building a telehealth app to solve this challenge, people don’t have to abandon work, meetings, or any important activity to see the doctor. They can schedule virtual doctor visits in between breaks. More so, with 24/7 services, physicians are reachable at any time that’s convenient for the patient.

Create a telemedicine app to provide care for dependents

If you have dependents in your care who need medical attention, such as children and the elderly, transporting them to the doctor’s office can be a lot of hassle. It’s made even worse if they are treating a chronic condition that requires them to see the doctor frequently.

However, what solves this is to build a telemedicine app. In the particular case of dependents, some telehealth apps provide specific family healthcare services that help a parent to manage the health of, say, all their children when providers build a telemedicine platform that is comprehensive.

Create a telemedicine app to expand access to specialists

Seeing physicians who are general practicians is quite easy, relative to seeing specialists, who are much less available. Sometimes, the specialist a person needs may not be within the person’s vicinity, increasing the risks of that person’s problems worsening before they get the care they require.

telehealth app development can help to get healthcare faster

However, telehealth has broken down access to these specialists. Also, how to build telemedicine apps is to provide special access to psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, dermatologists, paediatricians, gynaecologists, and so on.

Create a telemedicine app for Preventive Health and Better Wellbeing

How to build telemedicine apps is not limited to seeing a doctor when you are sick. Many of them build a telemedicine platform that’s comprehensive for managing your health and wellbeing. Access to this level of preventive healthcare is unprecedented in human history. By building a telehealth app, people can access important information that helps them to keep their body and mind in a good shape. The virtual doctors also help by providing guided lifestyle management so as to avoid serious health conditions.

wait for a doctor too long mem

Create a telemedicine app Expanded access to healthcare

On a societal level, telehealth app development closes the gaps in healthcare access by expanding the opportunities for people to reach physicians. In the United States, for instance, 85% of people own a smartphone.

Therefore, even people who reside in remote areas without physical access to adequate healthcare can simply pull out their smartphones and speak with a doctor or get any information they need about their health status when you build a telemedicine app for them. This has reduced cases of no-shows from patients. This is why you make a telehealth app.

Create a telemedicine app for improved patient education

There are many things that healthcare providers wished their patients (and the general public) knew, but they don’t. However, via telehealth app development, these experts can have genuine interactions and supply information to patients that will improve their overall wellbeing. More so, since patients provide their medical history, these guidelines can be tailored according to each person’s unique conditions and situation.

Create a telehealth platform to Improve Clinical Workflow

Another major motivation to make a telehealth app is how it digitises patient information and medical records. In the past, these records were maintained via paper documents stored in folders. That was a cumbersome process that left patient records highly vulnerable.

Now, healthcare establishments maintain secure servers to manage and protect patient records. This improves the overall clinical workflow. For instance, if you switch from one provider to another, your previous provider can simply transfer your files over the cloud, within minutes. This is highly invaluable for accessing urgent care.

Must-have Features of Telemedicine App Development

It is not easy to build a telemedicine app. There are several considerations to be made. However, we have tried to narrow all the factors down to a few must-have features.

Medical History Management

It is important to create a telehealth platform that collects and stores various patient records smartly and securely. This requires a secure database and server. So, there must be some serious work taking place on the backend of the app. Various datasets are stored, from appointment schedules to prescription information.

All of this data must be stored securely, kept private between the patient and their physician, and transferable according to the patient’s instructions. That’s why security is important as you create a telehealth platform.

confidential user information

Secure Authentication and Encryption

Security and privacy are very important in how to build telemedicine apps, given that they store very sensitive data that malicious characters would love to get hold of. Features such as multi-factor authentication and biometric identification (face recognition, fingerprint, etc.) should be provided to raise the bar of security in the app. Also, strong encryption (preferably AES 256-bit encryption level) is necessary to implement the highest level of data protection.

Appointment booking and reminders

A telemedicine app is mainly used for finding doctors and scheduling visits. So, of course, there must be a calendar function that allows patients to fix visits through an intuitive booking process. To create a telehealth platform, the calendar function must be designed intuitively to make consideration for the tight schedules of specialists. There should also be an alert function that sends patients and doctors automatic reminders whenever their appointment is due or almost due.

Prescription Management

When you build a telemedicine app, physicians need to be able to monitor their patients to determine if they are faithful to their medication regimen. In the same vein, patients need a system that notifies them whenever it is time to use their prescription. Hence, when you create a telehealth platform, there must be a comprehensive prescription management function for both sides, complete with considerations for allergies, drug interactions, and so on.

Video and Audio Communication

This is inevitable for telemedicine app development. The video feature is particularly important because physicians need to be able to visually monitor a patient’s condition in order to make the correct diagnosis. So, the video quality must be high (low latency too) and communication must be secure.

telemedicine can be very convenient

Search

Of course, to find physicians, there must be a search feature included as you build a telemedicine app. As you create a telehealth platform, this search feature must be robust in order to accommodate various requirements as defined by the multiple filters available. That is, users should be able to search using keywords such as location, specialisation, rating, and so on.

Payment feature

Most telemedicine apps charge a small fee for access to their services. However, you can access some apps for free if you have healthcare insurance in place. Nevertheless, it is important to incorporate payment API gateways from reliable platforms such as Stripe, PayPal, Square, etc. in order to manage payments seamlessly and securely. Also, users should be able to access their transaction history.

first paycheck mem

Analytics

This is mainly a server-side feature that allows people on the admin panel to analyse big data and use this data to improve their services. Analytics data can also be used to assess individual physicians to determine if they are providing an adequate level of service. However, such analytics should be done without compromising the privacy of users.

The Architecture of Telehealth App Development

This section describes the various tools and technologies that you can use to build a viable tech stack for your app. It covers different tools according to the different prominent features that a telemedicine application would have.

Backend

Laravel PHP: Laravel is a framework based on PHP that promotes expressive syntax. It uses the MVC (model-view-controller) architecture. The benefits of Laravel in telemedicine app development include intuitive authentication and data security, seamless data sharing and interoperability, integrations, traffic management, etc.

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Node.js: Node.js is one of the most powerful backend frameworks available. More so, even though it is a predominantly backend technology, it can be used for full-stack development, thereby maximising resources. The Node.js runtime is event-driven and asynchronous, making it so versatile that scaling the app up or down becomes very seamless and intuitive as you create a telehealth platform.

Frontend

React: React is a component-based, declarative, open-source framework for frontend development. It is appreciated for its speed, flexibility, high performance, and ease of use. However, perhaps its biggest benefit is that it provides flawless integration when you create a telehealth platform for mobile operating systems via React Native.

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VueJS: VueJS is a JavaScript framework that is primed for progressiveness. That means it is a versatile framework that supports incremental adoption for perceptive scalability. It is also a very lightweight framework, even while retaining rich functionality.

Mobile development

Flutter: Flutter is Google’s SDK for building cross-platform mobile apps from a single codebase. Though relatively recent, it has soared in popularity compared with existing giants such as React Native and Xamarin.

React Native: this is another powerful tool for building cross-platform native apps for mobile devices. Its integration with ReactJS makes the toolkit even more powerful in how to build telemedicine apps.

Notifications

Twilio: Twilio is a customer engagement platform with useful APIs that you can embed in your code for notifications, HTTP basic authentication and SMS alerts.

Payments

PayPal: PayPal needs no introduction. Its powerful API makes payments easy to collect and manage. It also uses secure authentication standards (OAuth) in order to protect financial records.

Stripe: from scratch, Stripe was built to enable businesses to accept payments easily. Many companies use Stripe integrations to seamlessly manage payments via APIs.

Database

MongoDB: MongoDB is one of the most popular database management tools for mobile apps. It provides a unified API, real-time analytics, unlimited scalability, data as code, and several other functionalities.

MySQL: another renowned tool for managing databases on the backend, MySQL provides in-depth analytics, automation, and scalability via its HeatWave feature.

Cloud functionality

Amazon Web Services: by far the market leader in cloud technology solutions, providing services across cloud storage, server hosting, networking, cloud computing, and so on. Google Cloud: one of the most viable alternatives to AWS is Google Cloud. Google Cloud provides multi-cloud and hybrid cloud services, as well as advanced analytics, work collaboration, security, and database management.

How to Make Money from Telemedicine App Development

Everyone knows that healthcare isn’t cheap; neither is how to develop a telemedicine app. So, unless you are running a charity, you most probably have plans to charge a fee for providing medical services through software. However, the main question is, how do you achieve this?

The two most common monetisation methods for paid apps (in general) are freemium – free to download but in-app purchases required – and premium – payment required for download.

freemium vs premium

Most companies involved in how to build telemedicine apps require users to pay a small fee per visit to the doctor, which allows them to get a diagnosis, prescription, and counselling as required. In this case, users pay on a demand basis. On the other hand, you can also sell the comprehensive range of services on a subscription model, whereby users can pay on a monthly or yearly basis to access the app features.

The former option is cheaper for most users, especially if they simply want case-by-case treatment. However, if your telemedicine app is one that provides holistic health management, a membership plan based on monthly or yearly subscriptions may be the best choice. At this point, you must have discovered that the first option is a freemium model while the second goes the premium route.

However, neither is entirely better or worse than the other. You simply need to discover the perfect monetisation for your own app. You can figure this out by determining what problems your app solves for users, the expectations of your audience base, your buyer persona, etc. These help you discover and launch an optimal monetisation for how to develop a telemedicine app, which in turn helps to maximise service delivery.

5 Steps of the Telemedicine App Development

1. Discovery

The discovery stage consists of the research and ideation process. The purpose of this phase is to determine the objectives of your app and clarify the requirements for the project. As such, a key aspect of the discovery stage is market research. This mainly involves gathering information from the market, especially as it relates to the needs and demands of your target audience.

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However, it includes competitor research too, as that can help you to find a unique proposition to sell your app. Having examined the opportunities in the market environment for your value proposition to thrive, the result of the discovery stage of how to develop a telemedicine app is a detailed roadmap for the project.

2. Hiring Telemedicine App Developers

Now that you are clear about what you want in the process of how to make a telemedicine app, then the next step is to hire professionals, especially if you don’t yet have an in-house team. Of course, you need telemedicine app developers. However, you also need UI/UX designers, product managers, project managers, quality assurance testers, database administrators, etc.

If you don’t yet have a team, hiring individuals one after the other to fill all these roles can be stressful. That’s why we recommend using an agency such as ProCoders to develop a telehealth application for you. By outsourcing your project to us, you no longer have to worry about hiring. Based on the project requirements, we will assemble a team of telemedicine app developers and other professionals to execute your project.

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Here we are talking about outstaff developers, meaning they can help you save money on resources and infrastructure costs. More so, all these professionals are available in our team already. So, your work can get started right away.

3. Development of a Minimum Viable Product

Now that there is a team and the telemedicine app developers have a clear set of goals to take off, the next step is to develop a telehealth application as a minimum viable product. That’s the first iteration of what the app is expected to look and function like. Therefore, it involves smart collaboration between the UX/UI design as well as the development teams.

At this stage of how to develop a telemedicine app, don’t try to cramp all the features into the app. Remember that it’s a minimum viable product. Therefore, the aim is to include only key functionalities that are enough for a typical customer to perform basic actions. Then, in the latter stages of development, you can scale the app functionalities as required.

4. Full Stack Development

This is the actual development stage and the most stressful phase of how to make a telemedicine app. It is important to adopt modern ways to develop a telehealth application such as agile management and test-driven development. Testing the iterations of the app incrementally helps you to build faster and more efficiently. Agile development focuses on functionality in how to make a telemedicine app.

agile mem

Therefore, you can be sure that the final result of the app would come out fully functional and optimised. It requires the collaboration of different telemedicine app developers and other professionals, some of whom may not participate in the full process to develop a telehealth application but are nonetheless important to the eventual result of the project. To fill gaps like this is why ProCoders has a staff augmentation service, in order to scale your team up or down as required during the project.

5. Testing, Optimisation, Deployment, Maintenance

These are really four different stages of building a telehealth app lumped into one because once you can get the main development process out of the way, all you have to do is to keep testing and optimising the app until it is ready to be shipped and afterwards keeping up with regular updates and maintenance.

In fact, that’s why it is better to hire dedicated software development team such as ProCoders than picking freelancers. We provide post-deployment support to our clients to ensure that the app continues in a stable form and remains in touch with rapidly changing realities even after going through the process of how to make a telemedicine app.

How Much Does Telehealth App Development Cost?

At the end of the day, in every project concerning how to develop a telemedicine app, the final cost depends on the features of the app, the technologies deployed, the telemedicine app developers employed, the period of development, and so on. Therefore, it may be impossible to give a definite cost right away. Typically, you should prepare estimates based on an expected completion period of three to twelve months.

Costs to develop a telehealth application can be as high as $250,000 if you are building a feature-rich app or as low as $80,000 for a simple application. However, you can have an MVP ready for as little as $25,000. You can contact us for custom estimates based on the specific requirements of your project.

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Ukrainian developers' salaries report

What is most important is that you find cost-optimised options in how to make a telemedicine app. One way to achieve this is by finding telemedicine app developers in countries like Ukraine where the cost to develop a telehealth application is cheap. Take note, though, that that’s not a measure of their quality.

The cost of living in Ukraine is cheap too, so you can hire high-quality telemedicine app developers from the country and rest assured of quality job delivery. Smart decisions like this can make all the difference and help you to spend money on what really matters as you walk through how to make a telemedicine app.

Our Experience in Telehealth App Development

At ProCoders, we have good experience in how to make a telemedicine app using smart methods, tools, and technologies. One good example of ProCoders trying to develop a telehealth application is the building of the app, Dryft. Dryft is a mobile fitness app that allows users to participate in gym sessions at different locations every day. Basically, it makes fitness ‘fun’.

However, beyond that, it includes functionalities to enable users to book fitness equipment. So, this was a major project, integrating a payments system and all. More so, the fact that gym destinations regularly change made this a complex project.

One of the advantages of working with ProCoders in how to make a telemedicine app is that we walk through the discovery stage of your project with you, helping you to select options that maximise efficiency and optimise costs. Therefore, for the Dryft project, we used a tech stack composed of Angular and Ionic.

This decision would lower development costs by 40%. It also cut the development time by 35% since both frameworks shared a codebase. According to Nathaniel Jewell on how to develop a telemedicine app with us, “ProCoders has been the best development firm I’ve worked with.”

F. A. Q.
How do telehealth apps engender improved wellbeing for people?

How to build telemedicine apps is not limited to seeing a doctor when you are sick. Many of them build a telemedicine platform that’s comprehensive for managing your health and wellbeing. Access to this level of preventive healthcare is unprecedented in human history. By building a telehealth app, people can access important information that helps them to keep their body and mind in a good shape. The virtual doctors also help by providing guided lifestyle management so as to avoid serious health conditions.

How do telehealth apps contribute to transforming global healthcare?

The Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) focuses on good health and well-being, particularly by achieving universal health coverage. The fastest way to achieve this is by providing telehealth services such as when a visionary founder tries to build a telemedicine app, particularly for people in remote and rural areas who may lack access to amenities. Building a telehealth app now puts your firm at the forefront of global welfare transformation.

How can you build a functional telehealth application?

It is important to adopt modern ways to develop a telehealth application such as agile management and test-driven development. Testing the iterations of the app incrementally helps you to build faster and more efficiently. Agile development focuses on functionality in how to make a telemedicine app. Therefore, you can be sure that the final result of the app would come out fully functional and optimised.

Conclusion

So far, we have examined various key aspects of telehealth app development. Healthcare is a key area of global concern and humanity needs every help it can get. Therefore, investing in telehealth app development is not likely to go to waste.

However, you still have to adhere to smart standards to develop a telehealth application in order to boost the efficiency and functionality of your app. The process of telemedicine app development is a complex one that a lot of complicated planning. However, it is definitely achievable.

If you are worried about the cost of how to develop a telemedicine app, of course, it can be costly due to the nature of the app, but there are smart cost optimisation strategies everywhere. That includes outsourcing your project to a software development agency such as ProCoders. Talk to ProCoders personnel today to discuss your next telehealth app development project.

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