Telemedicine apps are making a huge difference in healthcare service delivery. Do you plan to build a telemedicine app? Read on, as we explain the steps you will need to follow.
1. Assemble a small leadership team
Start by forming a small team to initiate, define, and plan the project. You should have a project manager (PM) to lead this team. You need a software architect, furthermore, you need a few business analysts.
The PM should kick off the project with consistent support from stakeholders. You need the PM to lead the project definition and planning.
You need business analysts to gather, analyze, and document business requirements. The software architect needs to formulate the technical solutions for the project. You also need the architect to define the non-functional requirements (NFRs).
2. Study a prominent telemedicine app for reference
You might already have thought about the type of telemedicine app to build. Study the market to analyze similar telemedicine apps from competitors to give you direction and ideas.
Let’s take the example of an app to facilitate online consultation with a doctor. You might want the following:
- Your users will create an account and describe their medical conditions.
- The app will keep the information private and secure.
- It will search for suitable doctors, and it will allow users to schedule appointments.
- Users will have a video consultation with a doctor.
- Users will pay for the consultation.
- They will receive prescriptions and recommendations for lab tests.
Study the Doctor on Demand app to see what we mean. Analyze the kind of features it offers, furthermore, check out its strengths and limitations.
3. Decide on your telemedicine app features and the project scope
You need the business analysts to interview the business stakeholders to gather the functional requirements. The kind of telehealth services you plan to offer influences these requirements.
Examples of functional requirements in a full-fledged telemedicine app
Take the example of an app like Doctor on Demand. You should offer the following features for patients:
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- User account creation;
- User authentication;
- Search for healthcare facilities nearby;
- Manage appointments;
- Push notifications and in-app messages;
- Consultations over secure video calls;
- Payment gateway integration;
- Review and rate the doctor and the healthcare provider.
You might offer the following features for healthcare professionals:
- Administrative panel;
- Secure integration with electronic health records (EHR) telehealth software;
- In-app messages and push notifications;
- Manage appointments;
- Manage prescriptions and recommendations for lab tests.
Choose features in line with the kind of telemedicine services you want to offer.
Regulatory requirements for telemedicine applications
You need the app to comply with applicable healthcare regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Take care of other applicable telemedicine regulations too.
Furthermore, you need to ensure compliance with privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Check the additional data security regulatory compliance requirements in your country.
Documenting and managing requirements
Business analysts should thoroughly document the business requirements. The architect needs to study the industry benchmarks and document the non-functional requirements (NFRs) like scalability, performance, maintainability, etc.
You need the PM to implement requirements including your review and approval processes. The PM should implement a change management process too.
Finalizing the project scope
Decide on the telemedicine software development project scope. You will likely offer a telemedicine mobile app in addition to a web app. Decide the target platform for the mobile telemedicine app, e.g., Android, and iOS. Choose between offering native mobile apps vs cross-platform apps.
Note: Native mobile apps deliver better user experience, performance, and security than cross-platform apps. However, you can keep the telemedicine app development costs down by creating a cross-platform app.
Deciding on the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) features
You might choose to launch an MVP first. An MVP is a fully functional product, however, it has fewer features than the final product.
You can create an MVP quickly that can give you user feedback. This helps to gauge the market viability of your business idea. If you plan to launch an MVP for the proposed telehealth platform, include the important features in it.
4. Choose the right technology stack for telemedicine app development
You need to choose the right tech stack based on the features you offer. Check out our recommendations:
If you want a managed cloud services provider (MCSP) like AWS to take care of the cloud infrastructure, you can use an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform. AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is an example.
PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) providers go a step further. They manage the cloud infrastructure, operating systems, middleware, runtime environment, and services like a database. You can focus on app development. PaaS platforms like AWS Elastic Beanstalk expedite the web app development process.
You can use an MBaaS (Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service) platform to expedite the mobile telemedicine app development process. MBaaS platforms like AWS Amplify manage the cloud infrastructure and persistent storage. You can easily implement capabilities like user management, push notifications, etc. MBaaS platforms make it easy to develop and manage the mobile backend.
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Choose the type of cloud platform based on your requirements. You can explore several MCSPs like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.
Native mobile development
Use Java for native Android development. Many developers use this secure, performant, powerful, popular, and developer-friendly programming language for native Android development.
You can use Swift for native iOS development. Apple prefers this modern programming language. Swift offers powerful features, performance, security, and productivity.
API development and databases
You should use the REST (Representational State Transfer) standard for API development. RESTful API development is a well-established practice.
Use either MySQL or PostgreSQL if you need an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System). Both are highly popular open-source SQL databases.
You can use either MongoDB or Apache Cassandra if you need a NoSQL database. Both of these open-source NoSQL databases offer scalability and performance.
Other cutting-edge technologies like AI, ML, IoMT, etc.
Will you offer features that use technologies like AI (artificial intelligence) or ML (machine learning)? You can use Python for AI/ML development. This open-source language is highly popular with AI/ML developers since it offers excellent libraries like Scikit-learn.
Many use cases in the healthcare business utilize modern technologies like IoT (Internet of Things) and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Remote patient monitoring is just one example. If you plan to offer IoT or IoMT-powered features, then you can use either C or Java.
Health data like patients’ medical history and electronic health records represent sensitive information. You need to implement robust data security mechanisms, which include encryption, to protect this data. Use AES-256 encryption standard. It’s one of the most secure encryption standards.
3rd party APIs and SDKs
You could use a few 3rd party APIs and SDKs in the telemedicine app development process:
- Apple Push Notification service (APNS);
- Firebase cloud messaging;
- Google Maps;
- Stripe for payment processing;
- Wowza developer APIs and SDKs for live streaming.
Development, testing, and DevOps tools
You could use the following tools for telemedicine app development:
- Postman for API development and testing;
- Android Studio for native Android development;
- Espresso for Android testing;
- Xcode for native iOS development;
- XCTest for iOS testing.
You can use DevOps tools offered by the cloud provider you choose.
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5. Plan the telehealth app development project
You need the PM to create a comprehensive project plan. It should cover all relevant aspects, e.g.:
- Software development methodology;
- Phases, tasks, and dependencies;
- Project schedule;
- Effort and cost estimates;
- Hiring plan;
- Risk management;
- Issue management;
- Quality management;
- Communication management.
6. Hire a telemedicine software development team
You need to build a complete development team now. Hire competent people in the following roles:
- UI designers;
- Web developers;
- Android developers;
- iOS developers;
- DevOps engineers.
Hire programmers for AI/ML and IoMT development if you offer features using these technologies.
While you might think of hiring from freelance platforms, we don’t recommend that. You will find it hard to execute a successful telemedicine app development project using part-time freelancers.
Telemedicine app development requires full-time, competent, experienced, and motivated developers. Hire them from a trustworthy hybrid software development company like DevTeam.Space.
7. Execute the telemedicine application development tasks
You need the PM to effectively lead the execution of development tasks. These are as follows:
- UI design;
- API development;
- Front-end web development;
- Back-end web development;
- Native Android development;
- Native iOS development;
- Implementing application security mechanisms;
- Code review;
- Publishing the apps to the app stores;
- Post-deployment support.
The PM needs to diligently monitor the telehealth app development process. You need the PM to effectively control the project.
8. Evaluate the telemedicine app development project and take the next steps
Is your new telemedicine app successful? Monitor the important product management KPIs to assess that. These are as follows:
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT);
- Retention rate;
- Conversion rate;
- Customer lifetime value;
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC);
- The number of support tickets;
- Daily active users (DAUs);
- Monthly active users (MAUs);
- Bounce rate;
- Monthly recurring revenue (MRR);
- The average revenue per user (ARPU);
- Net Promoter Score (NPS);
- Churn rate.
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The top telehealth apps are MDLIVE, Lemonaid, LiveHealth, PlushCare, Doctor on Demand, Amwell, Talkspace, Teladoc, BCBSM Online, and Spruce.
Telemedicine has a highly promising market. Market research reports project handsome growth in this market. E.g., a MarketsandMarkets report estimates that the global telemedicine market will reach $285.7 billion by 2027. The report estimates a CAGR of 26.6% between 2022 and 2027.
The most important software technologies in telemedicine are AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), big data, blockchain, and IoMT (Internet of Medical Things).