Telemedicine-The way to a healthy future
According to a Statista report, the telemedicine market is expected to reach $40 billion by 2021. Telemedicine app development is an emerging area with huge development potential as it enables patients and doctors to collaborate over distances with the use of technology. It is highly important for people living in rural areas, who have limited access to medical assistance.
Challenges to telemedicine app development
Following areas present significant hurdles:
1) Healthcare is normally resistant to change as Governments and complex legal requirements are involved.
2) Donor agencies also play a role, as they need to ensure that their funds are spent in a transparent manner.
3) Patients, especially those above 50 years of age, are not well versed with technology usage and are reluctant to adopt telemedicine.
4) Information privacy is a key concern as patients feel their information may be leaked out, thereby causing distress.
5) Patients value trust in their relationship with doctors and want face-to-face meetings as a starting point.
Benefits of telemedicine app development
1) C2Solutions shared a report where it was identified that 75% hospital visits are of routine nature and can be handled through mobile or video call. The commute to and fro from clinic/hospital facility can be easily avoided.
2) Due to increasing healthcare requirements, many countries face a dearth of qualified physicians/doctors and have to suffer long waiting lines. The doctors are also stressed due to heavy workload and a middle ground is required.
3) The 75% patients who have routine problems can easily benefit from physicians advice through telemedicine. They can do this from the comfort of their homes and the Doctors’ time can be freed up for crucial patients.
Process of telemedicine app development
How do you start building a telemedicine app from scratch and which resources do you need to consult. These questions are answered by a step-by-step procedure:
Idea evaluation is the basis of this process because requirements must be crystal clear from a development standpoint. The idea should be viable, therefore you should know why you want to develop a telemedicine app and what is your target market. The key stages are:
1. Perform business analysis
Customer analysis is the next stage, as you need know who will buy your product. This is the target market and their needs/preferences need to be identified preferably through structured surveys etc.
2. Market research and competitor analysis
Market leaders need to be researched to understand their price and offering. Their ratings, strengths and weaknesses need to be analyzed, to get a better idea of how your app would perform.
3. Create a unique value proposition
Me-too strategy rarely works in a highly competitive market and you need to understand your value proposition. Some important features could be:
a) Chat quality
Patients and doctors need to have access to a seamless chat experience. They will be reluctant to use the telemedicine app if chat quality is not up to the mark.
b) Privacy concerns
The database must have high level of encryption as patients’ health and financial data needs to be secured. Credit card information etc. may be stored on your database and any breach would have disastrous consequences. Trust building is an integral issue.
c) Doctor information
In order to build patient confidence, the Doctor’s qualification, experience etc. should be visible in app. Patients may also be advised to visit doctors (if available in same city) for the first time, to build trust. Services like Uber may be engaged to offer a discount for such visits, which will build app loyalty.
4. Prototype creation, testing and results
The prototype cannot be rushed to get an early entry into business. An app with basic features should be targeted and access given to a few users to test and provide feedback. The next stage is to build a high-fidelity prototype with all required features.
5. Identifying marketing channels
Heavy advertisements on different channels is outdated. You need to understand where your target market resides and how they ask questions. You need to focus on major social media platforms and reach out to them. Collecting information about target market’s characteristics will help reach them in best manner.
Telemedicine app development is a rising business avenue and familiarity with legal requirements and emerging technologies is necessary. Knowing your customer and offering valuable solutions for their health problems is the key to success.