If you're too ill to travel or you live in an area with no nearby health care providers, telemedicine can be a great solution. Remote medical care is increasingly popular today thanks to improved accessibility through mobile devices as well as growing pressure on medical professionals to reduce their operating expenses.
Any software which acts as a substitute for an in-person doctor visit can be considered telemedicine. Within the healthcare industry, telemedicine is commonly described as "providing services to patients by using information and telecommunication technology for non-emergency examinations." Telemedicine apps might permit people to get a video chat consultation, remote checkup, medical diagnosis, or online treatment with help of a click.
In this article, we'll cover different types of and uses for telemedicine apps, some leading apps, and features that must be considered in creating impactful telemedicine software.
Common Types of Telemedicine Apps
The global pandemic has raised awareness of the need for access to regular medical care. In April 2020, a survey showed that 63% of healthcare professionals use telemedicine to provide medicated services.
There are three major ways that providers deliver care to patients via telemedicine.
1. Real-time Interactive Telemedicine
These applications are built with the functionality to replicate in-person checkups. Applications that use any form of real-time communication between patient and healthcare provider fall under this category. Critical aspects of real-time health analysis include:
- Notification systems for taking medications and renewing prescriptions
- Follow-up checkups and remote telenursing
- Pharmaceutical consultation over video call
- Post-discharge condition monitoring
2. Store and Forward
These applications maintain channels for transmitting data (blood reports, X-ray images, biosignals) over the cloud for assessment by a practitioner at any time without an appointment. They also typically include a patient portal for record access. Store and forward apps address health concerns in an asynchronous fashion, as doctors use them to analyze the patient’s information within a defined span of time.
3. Remote Monitoring of Patients
Remote monitoring often consists of evaluating a patient’s clinical condition via self-testing with IoT-based technology. Data regarding chronic conditions is accessed remotely, which is cost effective. These telemedicine apps often include patient portals.
Furthermore, some telemedicine apps include reviews or market rankings for different healthcare providers. User feedback from patients can be accessed via sources like Google or Healthgrades, giving the public a way to vet the quality of different providers.
Major Telemedicine Categories
Most telemedicine apps fall under these general categories:
- Women’s wellbeing and health/fitness apps
- Apps to analyze and monitor chronic states
- Apps for mental health management
- On-demand therapy apps
Below are the most common use cases for providing quality care with telemedicine apps:
|Limit in-office visits||It's easier for people with disabilities to access care. Telemedicine apps eradicate the need to travel for in-person appointments, thus enabling homebound patients to achieve high-end treatment from the comfort of their homes, offices, or any other geographical location 24/7. People can use a search bar or geolocation to find the best available specialists and book an appointment online.|
|Expanded access to specialists||Healthcare centers in a certain area might not have specialists for a particular disease. If you face the need to travel to another location, then that is where telemedicine can help. Through these applications, you can consult the best available experts at flexible rates. This saves time, money, and travel. This also helps patients located in areas with a shortage of clinics and staff.|
|Decelerate the spread of communicable disease||Doctors' offices are often filled with immunocompromised people, so physical visits will affect other patients if one patient is suffering from a contagious illness. Telemedicine helps contain disease by providing sick patients with continuous online monitoring and self-care guidance. Considering the current pandemic, it's critical that we have the option to confine those stricken with the virus to their homes whenever possible.|
|Better monitoring system reduces clinical overhead||These applications securely store records and histories of patients, thus reducing manual toil. They show a patient's existing care profile, which accelerates the process of examination because doctors do not have to re-enter the patient's previous symptoms. EHR reviews often display patient records by date, which facilitates quick decision making.|
|Team base checkup||A remote communication channel is included in some apps to establish a link between primary and professional doctors if they are working as a team for a certain patient's case. Data among multiple team members can be shared via a secure connection.|
Common Telemedicine Apps
The best telemedicine apps in the market include patient care platforms that provide a wide range of virtual services. If you are thinking about designing a telemedicine app, it's useful to look at the options that are already out there for inspiration. It may also be wise to build your app so that it can integrate with one or more of these platforms.
This well-liked app provides 24/7 service with access to board-certified professionals, physicists, surgeons, and psychiatrists from the comfort of any location.
- 15 min. advertised average wait time
- Virtual appointment
- User-friendly interface
- HIPAA Complaint
This is an on-demand application that provides qualified resources to treat almost all mild and chronic diseases.
- Round-the-clock availability
- Assistance to both insured and uninsured people
- Free medical assessments
- HIPAA complaint.
Using this tool, licensed professionals provide online care for diseases like flu, allergies, bronchitis, and more with a short wait time for users.
- Sample tracking
- Various insurance plans
- Easy data transmission and inventory management
- Past visit record
This app gives patients the option to view a specialist’s rating before booking appointments around the clock.
- Pre-filled form of patient’s information
- Convenient to use
- Fast billing
This app claims to only include specialists who have attended the top 50 medical schools. It provides catered services for a wide variety of diseases, and if a doctor is unable to treat a specific case, then appointments are made for free automatically.
- Provides directories
- Automatic refill of prescription through pharmacy
- Secure communication
- Integration with insurance companies
Building Your Own Custom Telemedicine App
One market forecast shows that the telemedicine market is expected to reach up to $175.5 billion by 2026. There are a number of common reasons why healthcare providers build their own telemedicine apps:
- EMR System: Integrated Electronic Medical Records (EMR) allow doctors to access patient data from a single unit at any time, enabling timely monitoring.
- Additional Revenue: Treating patients outside of working hours at the hospital provides an opportunity to generate more revenue and increase the overall number of patients served.
- Remote Monitoring: Providing patients with IoT health sensors and wearable devices enables doctors to monitor symptoms from remote locations.
- Less Manual Work: Doctors lose a great deal of time by doing manual record keeping for each patient. Through a telemedicine app, they can keep online information and can access it each time with a click on patient’s profile.
- Notification System: Notifications can reduce the number of cancellations and overlooked appointments because professionals are properly notified for their booked appointments.
Telemedicine App Essentials
If you're building a custom remote medicine application, you should consider the following use cases, user types, and features.
- Patient interface
- Doctor interface
- Admin panel and user permissions
- Data analytics and visualization
- Non-provider professionals
Must-have features for most telemedicine apps are mentioned below:
- Profile: Doctors can create a basic profile in the app including their name, specialty, experience, location, rates, and testimonials.
- Scheduling/Calendar/Reminder: Through this feature, doctors set appointments in calendars according to their availability. If any patient wishes to cancel an already booked appointment, they should send a request to the doctor. Doctors can manage or alter schedules as long as they have admin access. Reminders are ping notifications sent to doctors for their booked slots.
- Secure access/storage of record: EMR integration in apps in necessary for doctors to view a patient’s history before starting a consultation (this should be as secure and HIPAA-compliant as possible).
- Communication (in-app chat): Third-party integrations for chat, voice calls, and video sessions are the easiest way to ensure two way communication. This feature is backbone of any telemedicine app.
- e-Prescription: Pharmacy integrations provide a tracker to patients every time a doctor writes a prescription. This tracker guides patients to pick up their medications. It eliminates the need to stand in a long queue, instead letting patients just provide their credentials to a pharmacist and access refills.
- Session Recording - Recorded consultation video tapes can be used for future record or to upload for profile management.
Third Party Integrations/APIs
Telemedicine apps can leverage the newest technologies to differentiate themselves in the market. Incorporating third-party tools like Electronic Health Records and patient management systems is a common integration. However, integrating chatbots and voice control assistance is a forward-looking way to provide a user-friendly interface to any age group.
The use of blockchain technology can enable the verified storage and transfer of data. Adding Firebase cloud messaging and implementing payment gateways are other common ingredients for successful telemedicine app builds.
Utilization of Features
The above-mentioned features should usually be included in custom-built apps to meet the maximum usability requirements. The doctor's profile is an ideal place for patients to verify license/info before booking. Features like calendar, EMR, and EHR add management, flexibility, and security to applications.
Although EMR is a bit complicated and needs experts for execution (which can affect your cost level), it is a core component of most successful telemedicine apps. Integrating chat bots and automated assistance can answer users' basic questions in the event of a doctor’s absence. Moreover, API documents are necessary to look through before integrating third party services. Comprehensive documentation for app usage is beneficial for all users, both from the patient and doctor side. When necessary, make sure that the application is HIPAA-compliant and uses secure record storage.
In a fast-paced competitive environment, the development of customized telemedicine applications is not an easy task. With thorough initial research, however, it is possible to build and app that competes with top-rated solutions in market.
Crowdbotics PMs and developers are highly experienced when it comes to building for the healthcare sector. If you're interested in custom telemedicine development, get in touch with our team of experts today.