According to Statista, telemedicine market size is anticipated to gain $41.2 billion by 2021. It is a subset of telehealth providing a two-way communication between doctors and patients using audio/video technology. Since the emergence of this trend, it has attracted million registered users and really experienced a big boom.
Basically, what can we do within a telemedicine app?
- Telemedicine apps function on smartphones, tablets. Users download and register (for the first time using) or log in to the system.
- Next, patients can alternatively opt for symptoms or consultants. From then, they can schedule a video call via the app using the built-in calendar.
- Payment is processed before or after the video consultation depending on policies.
- During the video consultation, a doctor communicates with the patient regarding health conditions, recommends treatment, advises lab tests to run, prescribes and schedules for next checkups if needed.
- Most common illnesses including: general ailments (cold, flu, fever, sore throat, UTI, eye issues, ear infections, STD), mothers and babies care, aesthetic.
A win-win solution for both parties!
Telemedicine development bridges the gap between patients and doctors while bringing benefits for both sides.
- Convenient and time efficient: instead of waiting in line at the hospital to have a consultation with a doctor, now patients can schedule an online appointment for remote medical help. Research 2 Guidance reveals that 53% of patients are interested in remote doctors visits or already participate in the scheme.
- Accessible to medical record: telemedicine apps record patients’ journey from the beginning, hence, all of their health results are easily accessible to retrieve the information.
- Increase satisfaction: Massachusetts General Hospital disclosed that 79% of patients are more satisfied when scheduling a telemedicine follow-up visit than arranging an in-person one. Besides, 62% agreed that virtual quality bore no difference than offline visits, even some claimed higher satisfaction.
- Flexibility: heavy workload is one of the reasons causing depression in doctors (researched by Doctor on Demand). Using telemedicine apps allow doctors to arrange their own schedule based on their availability, leading to a work – life balance.
- Less red tape: thanks to the technology, data is automatically sent to servers that store and connect them to a CRM saving doctors tons of time from filing paperwork. Hence, less administrative tasks mean more productivity.
- Extra revenue: telemedicine apps allow medical consultants to generate more income thanks to after-hour care, having more online appointments with patients rather than offline face-to-face at hospitals. More patients means more revenues.
Top 4 technologies used in telemedicines
- Artificial intelligence truly brings a new experience in healthcare service. It powers language processing, chat bots, voice recognition and other features to help patients before doctors step in.
- Block chain: as there is a huge amount of confidential medical data stored and transferred, block chain comes to protect the safety of these information from being hacked or stolen.
- Big data: every single detail about a patient’s health history is generated and processed. This technology allows doctors to access that information easily to run diagnoses, and give better treatments based on each individual’s needs.
- IoT: this is a combination of medical hardware and software with an aim of providing a better healthcare. IoT contributes to vitals tracking, diagnosis, treatment suggestions and more.
What must-have features inside telemedicine apps?
Above necessary features are prerequisites for telemedicine apps to function. However, some extra features can be added to boost the effectiveness and customer experiences:
For patients app:
- Personalised dashboard: each patient can customise their board to observe treatment progress or take note for their treatment.
- Medical tracking: in this hustle and bustle life, taking meds is something often forgotten. Based on that fact, medical tracking is developed to remind patients to take medicines and obtain refills if needed.
- Emergency call: in emergency situations, users can open the app and call directly to the emergency center.
- Cloud data storage: besides EMR, other documents like lab test results, X-ray images, etc can be stored and exported or imported in the PDF format.
For doctors app
- Consulting session recording: it would be great for doctors to record, save and watch the video with patients again. These files can be useful to track treatment progress and later reference for the next check-up.
- Pharmacy databases: the app should be linked with drug stores’ portfolio. After the doctor prescribes, the prescription will be sent directly to the pharmacy and medicines are delivered to patients.
Process of telemedicine app development
Challenges in telemedicine app development
- Design: UX/UI design is quite a challenge as user experience and user interface in a doctor app are different from those in a patient app. Despite the difference, both apps’ design must be highly functional, clear and easy to navigate. Designers should stand from users/doctors’ perspectives to produce a layout and control features that work effectively.
- Security: Users might be concerned about their medical information protection as those are quite sensitive and confidential. Therefore, to protect information from being hacked/stolen, it is vital to implement multiple-factor authentication and data encryption. Not only do these solutions protect data, they also leverage the security level of the app.
- Back-end infrastructure: There are some other third party services including pharmacy, hospitals, clinics which can be integrated into the current management system to upgrade the functionality. It is important to study their document and their fit for the current system.
The future potentials of telemedicine
The birth of telemedicine apps has improved the lives of patients and doctors with attractive benefits and advantages. However, the development of telemedicine is not a merely simple consultation service between patients and specialists. It is anticipated to become a hub where the connection between doctors and patients is upgraded to a closer and highly interactive relationship. It is quite common sense that the app is only useful when someone has health issues and needs consultation from doctors. However, telemedicine apps potentially become indispensable in our daily lives. It aims to take care of general health and wellness of users by reminding of taking medicines, setting up diet plans and tracking health progress. Hence, not only people with health problems but healthy ones can use the telemedicine app as well. The app can contribute as a reliable source where users can ask for advice regarding medicine types, beneficial food and drink, exercises, etc. The development of this trend has far more potential and benefits which are going to be deployed in the future. Medical services are promised to be effectively enhanced thanks to the establishment of this technology.