How to Build a Telemedicine App for the Telemedicine Sector – Features, Tech Stack & Costs

February 24, 2023

By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
MesaBizz a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Data Titan, Sofvue, LLC and the author

Telemedicine refers to the use of technology, such as videoconferencing, mobile applications, and other forms of telecommunication, to provide healthcare services remotely. It allows healthcare providers to diagnose, treat, and monitor patients from a distance, without the need for in-person visits.

Telemedicine can be used for a wide range of healthcare services, such as consultations, follow-up appointments, chronic disease management, mental health services, and more. It can be particularly useful for patients who live in rural or remote areas, have mobility or transportation issues, or have difficulty accessing traditional healthcare services.

The use of telemedicine has become more common in recent years, especially with the increased availability of technology and the need for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, telemedicine has its own unique set of challenges, such as ensuring patient privacy and security, and ensuring that patients receive the same level of care as they would in an in-person visit.

Consider this. Major players are already in the space. “One Medical”, a company recently acquired by Amazon, already has over 20 “virtual” locations. Now owned by Amazon, many believe it’s only a matter of months before patients can schedule and receive a medical visit over their computer or mobile session, have the doctor fill out a prescription and have the prescription filled and send to your doorstep…maybe in the same day.  

Another example is Live Health Online. Founded in 2006 by Dr. Ido Schoenberg and his brother, Roy, the company has continued rapid growth over the past 16 years. In 2018, the company partnered with Anthem, one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers. The online company operates in all 50 states and it is seen as a model for other telemedicine and health insurance providers to follow.

What is a Telemedicine App?

Telemedicine applications provide a convenient and accessible way for patients to receive medical care and improve access to healthcare. In addition to the benefits you mentioned, telemedicine applications can also help reduce the spread of infectious diseases by enabling patients to receive medical care remotely. They can also be particularly helpful for patients who live in rural or remote areas, have mobility or transportation issues, or have difficulty accessing traditional healthcare services.

Telemedicine applications can include a variety of features, such as:

◾ Video consultations
◾ Messaging
◾ File sharing
◾ Electronic prescriptions.

They can be used for a wide range of medical specialties, including primary care, mental health, dermatology, and more. Overall, telemedicine applications have the potential to transform healthcare delivery and improve patient outcomes.

Why Create a Telemedicine App?

For patients:

1. Reduced wait times: Telemedicine can eliminate the need to travel to a doctor's office or hospital, which can reduce wait times and help patients receive care more quickly.

2. Lower costs: Telemedicine visits are often less expensive than in-person visits, as they do not require the same overhead costs, such as staffing and facility expenses.

3. Improved health outcomes: Telemedicine can help patients manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, by providing remote monitoring and support.

For doctors:

1. Increased efficiency: Telemedicine can help doctors see more patients in less time, as they do not have to spend as much time on administrative tasks or traveling to different locations.

2. Improved work-life balance: Telemedicine can allow doctors to work remotely and have more flexibility in their schedules, which can help improve their work-life balance.

3. Reduced risk of exposure to infectious diseases: Telemedicine can help reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, by enabling doctors to provide care remotely.

Features of a Telemedicine App

While the exact features of your app will differ greatly based on the services you offer, here are a few key features that a telemedicine might offer.

Features of the Customer Side of the Telemedicine App

Customers should be able to use the app as conveniently as possible. Thus, it should offer the following.

Secure Messaging System: A secure messaging system is a common feature in telemedicine apps that allows patients to communicate directly with their healthcare providers through a secure and private messaging platform. Secure messaging is an important aspect of telemedicine, as it allows patients to receive medical advice, ask questions, and provide updates on their health outside of scheduled appointments.

Real-time video connection: Live video consultations are a key feature of many telemedicine apps that allow patients to connect with healthcare providers face-to-face using video conferencing technology. Video consultations offer several advantages over traditional in-person visits, such as increased convenience, reduced costs, and improved access to care.

Remote lab tests: This is another feature of some telemedicine apps that allows patients to have lab tests performed from the comfort of their own homes. Remote lab testing can be a convenient and accessible way for patients to receive medical care, as it eliminates the need to visit a hospital or other medical facility for testing.

Appointment scheduling: Allowing patients to schedule appointments with their preferred healthcare providers is a common feature in telemedicine apps. This feature can provide patients with greater flexibility and control over their healthcare, allowing them to choose a time and date for their appointment that works best for them. This can also help ensure that patients receive care from a healthcare provider that they know and trust.

Chat history: Having a history of past conversations in a telemedicine app is a useful feature that can help patients and healthcare providers to refer back to previous discussions and track the progress of a patient's care over time. This feature can be particularly helpful for patients who have chronic conditions or ongoing health concerns that require ongoing monitoring and follow-up.

Privacy: Ensuring the privacy and security of patient information is a critical component of any telemedicine app. Patients expect that their personal and medical information will be kept private and secure, and it is the responsibility of the app developer and healthcare providers to ensure that this is the case.

Prescription refills: The ability to refill prescriptions through a telemedicine app is a feature that can save patients time and effort. This feature allows patients to order and refill prescriptions directly from their healthcare providers without having to make a trip to the pharmacy. This can be particularly helpful for patients with chronic conditions who need to refill their medications regularly.

Electronic health record: The scope of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is well beyond this article. That said, the ability to store medical history in a telemedicine app is a useful feature that can help patients manage their healthcare more effectively. By storing medical history on their phones, patients can easily access their health information and share it with healthcare providers when needed. This can help ensure that healthcare providers have access to up-to-date and accurate information, which can be critical for making informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment.

Push notifications: Keeping users informed of important healthcare-related information is an important feature of many telemedicine apps. These apps can help patients stay organized and informed about their healthcare needs, which can help them manage their health more effectively.

Payment gateway: A payment gateway is a required feature of a telemedicine app that allows patients to make payments for healthcare services directly through the app. Payment gateway integration can provide patients with a convenient and secure way to pay for their healthcare services, including doctor's fees, medications, and other medical expenses.

Ratings and reviews: allowing users to rate their experience is a useful feature of a telemedicine app that can help healthcare providers identify areas for improvement and ensure that the app is meeting the needs of its users. User ratings can provide valuable feedback on the app's functionality, ease of use, and overall customer service, which can be used to make improvements and address any issues or concerns.

Physician Benefits of Using a Telemedicine App

Clinic management tools are important features of a telemedicine app that can help healthcare providers manage their patients more effectively. These tools can include a variety of features and functionalities, such as:

1. Medical record management: Telemedicine apps can include tools for managing patient medical records, including the ability to view and update patient information, track medications and treatment plans, and store test results and other diagnostic data.

2. Patient management: Healthcare providers can use telemedicine apps to manage patient appointments, track patient progress, and communicate with patients directly through the app.

3. Automated appointment scheduling: Telemedicine apps can include automated appointment scheduling features that allow patients to schedule appointments directly through the app, based on the provider's availability.

4. Laboratory results: Telemedicine apps can provide access to laboratory results and other diagnostic data, making it easier for healthcare providers to diagnose and treat patients.

5. Documenting patient care: Telemedicine apps can allow healthcare providers to document patient care using photos, videos, voice notes, and other types of multimedia, which can be stored in the patient's medical record for future reference.

Technology Stack of Telemedicine App Development

There are many different programming languages, frameworks, and third-party tools that can be used to develop a telemedicine app. The specific tech stack that is used will depend on a variety of factors, including the features and functionalities of the app, the skill set of the development team, and the development timeline.

Some common programming languages, frameworks, and third-party tools that are used to develop telemedicine apps include:

Programming languages: Popular programming languages for telemedicine app development include Java, Swift, and Kotlin.

Cross-platform app development frameworks: Cross-platform frameworks such as React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter can be used to develop apps for both iOS and Android platforms.

Video conferencing APIs: Video conferencing APIs such as WebRTC, Twilio, and Agora can be integrated into telemedicine apps to enable video consultations.

Cloud storage and database technologies: Cloud storage and database technologies such as AWS, Firebase, and MongoDB can be used to store and manage patient data and medical records.

Payment gateways: Payment gateway APIs such as Stripe and Braintree can be used to enable secure and convenient payment processing within the app.

Overall, the tech stack that is chosen will depend on the specific requirements and objectives of the telemedicine app, as well as the expertise and preferences of the development team.

Advanced Technologies

Artificial intelligence: AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be a useful tool in the development of telemedicine apps, providing several benefits to both patients and healthcare providers. One of the main advantages of AI in telemedicine is its ability to analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns and trends that can help healthcare providers make more informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment.

Internet of Things (IoT):  IoT (Internet of Things) devices can be used in conjunction with telemedicine apps to monitor patient health and provide more effective care. IoT devices such as wearables can provide healthcare providers with real-time data on a patient's vital signs, physical activity, and other health metrics. This information can be used to identify potential health risks or changes in a patient's condition, allowing healthcare providers to intervene early and provide timely treatment.

Big data: Big data and AI can be used to analyze patient histories and develop personalized treatment plans that are tailored to each patient's individual needs. This is particularly important for patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, as their treatment plans often need to be adjusted over time in response to changes in their health.

Deep learning: Deep learning technology can be a valuable tool in the analysis of medical images and the identification of patterns that may indicate certain diseases or conditions. By using advanced algorithms and neural networks, deep learning models can analyze large amounts of medical imaging data and identify abnormalities that may be difficult or impossible for human healthcare providers to detect.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Telemedicine App?

The cost of developing a telemedicine app can vary significantly based on a variety of factors, including the app's features and functionality, the platform for which it will be built, the complexity of the project, and the development team's experience and expertise. Some of the key cost factors that will need to be considered when developing a telemedicine app include:

1. App development platform: The platform on which the app will be developed (iOS, Android, or both) can impact the overall cost of development.

2. App design and features: The complexity of the app's design and the features that will be included will also impact the cost of development.

3. Development team experience: The experience and expertise of the development team will also play a role in determining the cost of development.

4. Ongoing maintenance and support costs: It's important to factor in ongoing maintenance and support costs associated with keeping the app up-to-date and addressing any issues that arise.

5. Marketing expenses: Finally, marketing expenses will need to be considered when promoting the app and attracting new users.

How Can MesaBizz Help You Create a Telemedicine App?

MesaBizz is located right here in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, and we have an extensive background in the medical space developing medical software, including telemedicine apps. As an award winning company across multiple states, we have the architects, analysts, engineers and programming teams to help your company develop the most state-of-the-art application, whether SaaS, CRM, ERP, mobile or a combination of them all.

For more information, or to schedule a meeting over a cup of coffee, give us a call at 623-845-2747.

You may also like to read: The First Three Steps that must be Followed when Starting any Mobile App Project


Source:  One Medical; citation date: 02-23-2023

Source:  Live Health Online; citation date: 02-23-2023

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