The spread of coronavirus has brought drastic changes in the way we live and work. Almost all industry sectors are affected because of lockdowns and social distancing norms. Talking about the healthcare industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has give a rise to the telemedicine concept. Recently, the US Congress has approved an emergency fund of $8.3 billion to tackle a public health threat. Out of which around $500 million is kept exclusively for telehealth services.
The study conducted by eMarketer has revealed that the percentage of respondents who intend to try telemedicine has remarkably increased significantly in recent times as compared to December 2019. Also, the percentage of people who have tried telehealth or telemedicine concept is increased gradually from December 2019 to March 2020. Here is the graph of US adults who have experienced telemedicine.
This trend shows that telemedicine apps are here to stay. Elders or patients who live in remote places do not wish to visit the hospital physically unless there is no choice. Similarly, healthcare service providers also embrace this technology to diagnose their patients without having a risk of infection while saving a lot of time. Simply put, it is beneficial to develop a telemedicine platform. Let’s go through the guide to start a telemedicine business.
Key Steps Involved in Starting Telemedicine Business
Idea or Conceptualization- There is an idea behind any successful enterprise. The idea of creating a telemedicine app focuses on the requirements of patients and physicians alike. Before analyzing the scope of your telemedicine business, it is better to evaluate the market trends and different business models like platform aggregators, specific services, and standalone products. You can choose the most suitable model and make a strategy accordingly.
Scope Analysis- Usually, the telemedicine app development company performs scope analysis. Qualified business analysts research extensively for competitor products, needs of the targeted audience, and available vectors. With this, it is necessary to consider key features, revenue streams, value proposition, marketing channels, and key resources. Simply put, the scope analysis is about to make a complete strategy for your telemedicine platform.
Define Unique Features- The telemedicine app has all the necessary features for patients and doctors. These features are identified on the basis of market trends and features included in the competitor’s app. It is better to identify the strength and weaknesses of the competitor’s apps to come up with a unique and user-friendly app.
Identify Marketing Channel- Once the app gets ready, it should be properly publicized through relevant marketing channels. App promotion should also be included in the strategy.
Must-have Features of Telemedicine Apps
1. For Patients
Registration- This is a simple sign up process using an email ID or social media accounts. Here, a typical two-factor authentication is integrated for ensuring identification security.
Profile Creation- Users or patients can create a profile after registration. It includes all the necessary information like demography, age, gender, etc. for the physician’s reference.
Search and Filter- After creating a profile, app users can search for physicians. Built-in filters and algorithms help patients find the physician as per medical specialty, region, language, rating, etc.
Consultation- This is the biggest benefit of a telemedicine app. After scheduling an appointment, the video conferencing feature will enable the patients to consult the physician as per the given time slot. Video quality should be high enough.
Texting- When face-to-face consultation is not required, the texting feature facilitates patients to ask a quick question to the physician. The good thing about texting is the physician can answer to the patient’s question at any time.
Follow-up- This is one of the most important features for patients. The telemedicine app has a calendar feature to facilitate users to meet with the same physician or reschedule an appointment.
In-app Payment- The in-app payment method enables patients to pay an online consultation fee and other charges.
Usually, telemedicine has three types of workflows- the “Store and Forward” option does not require the physician to meet with the patient, but the patient can send the medical images. The specialist can look at them and respond accordingly. The “Remote Monitoring” option enables physicians to analyze the patient’s health with the help of monitoring devices. The third option is “Real-time Interactive Services” where interactive services are given to the patients in real-time.
2. For Physicians
Apart from profile creation and appointment scheduling, physicians can view EHRs (Electronic Health Records) of multiple patients. They can also text the patient back and forth to stay updated with the health condition. Telemedicine app development also enables physicians to provide digital prescriptions.
Another important feature of the telemedicine app for patients and physicians alike is notifications.
Futuristic technologies like AI, IoT, Big Data, and Blockchain are utilized innovatively in telemedicine app development. The development cost for the telemedicine app solution depends on various factors including necessary features, complexity, technology stack, third-party services, and app design.
In a nutshell, telemedicine platform development can take any healthcare organization to the next level. But then, it is necessary to keep every detail in mind while integrating the key features mentioned here to leverage the benefits of the telemedicine concept.