In 2020, the market for telehealth and telemedicine apps, as well as the demand for healthcare and telemedicine app development services, experienced unprecedented growth, which is quite understandable. Massive pandemic lockdowns increased attention to health problems and the fear of spreading a deadly infection created an acute need to provide medical services at a distance.
What can we observe about the state of telemedicine app development now?
The whole world seems to have returned to normal, though we can’t say that the COVID-19 pandemic is fully over. The steep rise in demand for telehealth solutions has slowed down. But the adoption of tech solutions in healthcare is still gaining momentum in many countries.
The growth rate has been truly spectacular, especially in North America. In 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak, the global telemedicine market volume was $41.63 billion. In 2020, it hit $60.9 billion. In 2021, according to recent estimates, the market volume reached the level of over $104.4 billion. The forecasts for the future differ. While some experts believe we will see the market grow up to $272.7 billion, some others are even more optimistic and predict a market volume of over $306 billion.
Remote healthcare services have become more efficient, thanks to innovative telemedicine app features. As a result, we can observe improvements in healthcare management, reduction of medical service costs, and increased patient satisfaction.
A little bit of theory
But before we proceed to a closer overview of telemedicine app development trends, let’s clarify the terminology that may seem a little bit confusing at first glance.
Telehealth: This term describes electronic and telecommunications technologies, tools, and solutions used for providing health care services, as well as health information and education services at a distance.
So is telemedicine just a synonym for telehealth? Definitely not.
Telemedicine: This is an approach or method of delivering healthcare services at a distance with the help of technologies. As a rule, telemedicine is based on videoconferencing.
Telehealth covers a broader range of services than telemedicine and isn’t limited to clinical services.
For example, a consultation between a doctor and a patient is a clinical service that can be described as telemedicine. A video conference between a doctor and medical students doesn’t fit the definition of telemedicine, but it can be referred to as telehealth.
Telemedicine app development in 2022: Technologies and capacities
Quite often our clients ask us what they can do to make a telemedicine app successful in 2022. Though it is very important to choose the right positioning and promotion for your future product, we are absolutely sure that we can start making the first steps towards the app’s success already at the stage of planning and development. And one of the core things that you should start with is a deep analysis of the current telehealth product development trends.
Let’s have a look at the technologies that are widely used to enrich both telehealth and telemedicine apps and that can help your product attract the attention of end-users.
- Videoconferencing and video streaming. The introduction of such features is one of the most popular telemedicine application development trends. Videoconferencing transforms communication between doctors and patients, as well as knowledge sharing between medical experts.
- Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Internet of Medical Things features are used for monitoring chronic diseases and the physical and psychological state of patients, as well as management of medical equipment and clinical infrastructure. The popularity of apps of this type is continuously growing thanks to the development of innovative devices that can perform numerous tasks without any serious effort from the side of users. Nevertheless, increasing security for IoMT is one of the main tasks for developers today as privacy of sensitive data still remains to be one of the most pressing issues related to this category of solutions. We’ve already discussed IoMT solutions in a previously published blog post. If you are interested in learning more, please follow the link.
- AR/VR. VR and AR features typically are used in two ways. First, they ensure a significantly higher accuracy for diagnoses made at a distance. Second, they can offer a completely new experience for medical students and help them learn more efficiently and safely.
- Machine Learning. ML tools are used for enhancing the process of chronic disease treatment, medical data management, and streamlining workflows. ML-powered platforms offer a highly personalized experience to patients and help to increase the quality of services rendered by healthcare establishments.
- Big data. Among other trends of telemedicine application development in 2022, we should mention the use of big data capabilities. As practically every app for telehealth deals with huge volumes of data in form of medical reports, statistics, records, and other documents, it is important to ensure seamless access of apps to reliable databases. Moreover, innovative big data analytics tools contribute to the overall improvement of the quality of treatments and accuracy of diagnostics and, as a result, help to reduce costs.
- Blockchain. The use of blockchain is a growing trend in the telemedicine industry. These technologies allow ensuring immutable, traceable, and secure transactions across the network. Users can be confident that their sensitive data are protected thanks to multiple checks executed by the network. Health records are encoded and stored on the blockchain. And only pre-approved users can get access to them with the help of private keys.
Telehealth product development 2022: What are the key app features?
- A user account that contains main information about a patient;
- A patient panel that shows all scheduled visits, medical history, and treatment data;
- A dashboard/account for doctors where they can see their scheduled appointments with access to patient data, schedule for a day, to-do lists, etc;
- Communication features, which can include chats, in-app calls, and videoconferencing;
- Functionality for conducting and processing payments;
- Electronic Medical Records (EMR) that organize and store all info related to the patient’s health condition, optimizing the doctor’s paperwork;
- Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), which allows patients to share their health conditions with doctors after self-monitoring;
- A Symptom Checker that represents a database of symptoms, helping patients understand their possible diagnoses even before consulting with a doctor;
- A Prescription and Medication Tracker will inform users about when and how they can pick up medications prescribed by their doctor.
Custom vs. Off-The-Shelf Telemedicine Apps
If you’re planning to implement a solution for remote healthcare services, it’s reasonable to ask whether it’s better to buy or to realize your own telemedicine app development project. The market offers a wide range of ready-made software for different needs, requirements, and budgets. But is an off-the-shelf solution always the best one?
Let’s analyze these two options by considering the most important parameters you should take into account before making a decision.
If you compare the average cost of developing a telemedicine app with the monthly license fee you will need to pay to a vendor for using a ready-made solution, it may seem more feasible just to buy an app. But if you look at the figures from a more long-term perspective, you will see a very different picture.
Nevertheless, it’s also worth mentioning that for making a decision you need to take into account the size of your organization. If you are looking for a solution for a small medical center, a subscription for a ready-made product can be a much more sensible solution from a financial perspective. But if you want to launch a solution for a big healthcare organization, it is a very different situation and a custom app can be the best choice.
The exact size of investments will greatly depend on the features and functionality of your solution.
If you want to know how much it will cost to develop a telemedicine app in 2022, first you need to approve the requirements, decide what technologies will be used, get a full understanding of the project timeframes and the composition of the team that will work on your solution. Moreover, it is important to know whether you want to build a web app only or you will need to pay for mobile application development services as well. And only after that, you can have a look at the estimations.
However, on average, investments in development from scratch will fully pay off in 5 years.
Features and functionality
When you buy a solution, you often get a lot of features that are useless for you, while some that are more necessary may not be included.
What’s more, a “one-size-fits-all” solution doesn’t always allow any integrations. As a result, you may not have the option to integrate a medical system or any other third-party software you use on a regular basis.
With a custom telehealth/telemedicine app, you can easily avoid such problems by sharing all your requirements with your development team.
Compatibility with your business model
It’s vital to understand whether your telemedicine solution is just a value-added service or a core one that will bring you substantial revenue. In the second situation, it can be risky to rely fully on software provided by a third-party vendor.
Imagine what you may need to do if your vendor decides to stop supporting this app or to quit the market?
With a custom app, you will have more freedom in your decision-making and more stability, as you won’t be a victim of decisions made by others.
There’s no doubt that choosing an off-the-shelf app allows you to start working with it very quickly. Yes, you will have to set up your servers, some parameters and maybe change your workflows. But of course, all these tasks require significantly less time than developing telemedicine software from scratch.
Development usually takes up to six months or even more. However, keep in mind that being patient will get you a solution that 100% meets your requirements and fits into your ongoing business processes.
Maintenance and support
When you use third-party software, that party as a rule supports the app. But based on our experience, we can say that quite often the support services leave much to be desired; after all, the company needs to serve numerous customers at once.
When you order telehealth software development services, your in-house IT team or outsource service provider will be responsible for app support. That means the quality of this individual support is usually significantly higher.
So, what conclusions can we make based on these arguments? A ready-made solution can be cheaper in the short term, and you can start using it significantly faster. However, there are some risks related to your dependence on your vendor and lack of opportunities for customization.
A custom telehealth solution is definitely an investment of time and money, but you will get an app that will fully cover your needs. It can be flexible and scalable enough for your business growth and expansion. Moreover, you are fully responsible for all the decisions related to its use and support.
Our seasoned experts will help analyze your idea more deeply and offer the best solution.
Telemedicine software is one of the fields our team focuses on. One of the projects we are proud of is a cross-platform mobile app for detailed documentation of medical treatment.
The app itself represents an electronic health record. Patients and medical staff can add vital indicators including pulse, weight, pressure, medications taken, and test results. As the app collects all the important details of patient treatment in one place, doctors can quickly and easily study the whole picture and make the right decision based on the provided data. Today the app is available on iOS and Android devices. All medical records are stored in FHIR format.
For more details, please read more about the Patient Diary project on our website.
In our portfolio, there is also another example of a telemedicine project. It’s PRISM Therapy Online, a web application that will help patients find therapists and get consultations online via live chats and video calls. One of the core goals of the solution is to reduce the challenge of finding a suitable professional.
When a user registers on the platform and completes a free online assessment, the app offers a list of 3 potential therapists who have the best skills to deal with the patient’s issues. Then a user needs to choose a doctor as well as one of the available formats of interaction with a specialist: live text chat or video sessions that are organized via the Agora service. After that, a person can book an appointment and make a payment. Quick and secure transactions are ensured thanks to the integration of the Stripe API.
The app offers two types of accounts: client accounts (where users can book or cancel appointments, as well as make payments, and get access to their session history) and therapist accounts (where doctors can see booked sessions, a list of users who have viewed their accounts and a session and earnings history).
At Cogniteq, we are always open to new projects and new ideas. You can rely on us in the field of custom software development, and telehealth is one of the business domains where we’ve gained the richest expertise. We do our best to deeply analyze all trends in telehealth software development to deliver solutions that will bring the highest value to medical establishments and end-users. Contact us and let us explain what we can offer you. Our products will help your business hit new peaks