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Telemedicine App Development Challenges

Healthcare is witnessing a transformational change, from patient care delivered in clinics towards on-demand healthcare accessible, anytime, anywhere using different channels and platforms. Telemedicine app solutions are helping make a paradigm shift—with actionable insights, automation, innovative products and services, and modern infrastructure driving better outcomes.

It is important to join forces and partner with a telemedicine app development company to provide virtual care services.

Understanding the Differences between Telehealth & Telemedicine

Given the constantly changing and dynamic nature of the healthcare industry, there are new developments in the closely connected field of telemedicine, mHealth, telehealth, and digital health. While it is hard to define the terms in absence of a clear concept, telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle difference between the two. It is important to understand the differences.

What is Telemedicine

It Involves the use of chats, phone/online calls, video conferences to seamlessly connect doctors with patients from one location to another. The apps for appointment bookings, examinations, and imaging transcripts provide an effective alternative to face-to-face or in-person meetings. This helps doctors and patients be safe in pandemic conditions and/or increases the reach of medical services for rural/hard-to-reach areas.

Telemedicine applications connect healthcare providers and patients virtually. Whether it is consultation or follow-up, physicians can easily access patient history and diagnose for a wide range of appointments.

Benefits of Telemedicine

  • Reduced wait times for appointments.
  • Quicker access to high-demand clinical specialists.
  • Reduced ER trips, reducing costs for hospitals and patients worth thousands of dollars per clinical encounter.
  • Improved convenience of care for patients with no need to meet their provider for routine visits in person.
  • Save on travel costs and reduced overhead for both clinical care providers and patients.
  • Improved access for patients in distant or rural locations
  • Improved clinical outcomes.
  • Reduced in-office patient no-shows.

What is Telehealth

An all-encompassing and broader term using communication technologies both for clinical and non-clinical services such as provider training staff, administrative meetings, medical education, training staff, hospital management conferences, as well as support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

Types of Telehealth

  • “Live video (synchronous): Live, two-way interaction between a person (patient, caregiver, or provider) and a provider using audiovisual telecommunications technology.
  • Store-and-forward (asynchronous): Transmission of recorded health history to a practitioner for evaluation outside of a real-time or live interaction.
  • Remote patient monitoring (RPM): Personal health and medical data collection in one location electronically transmitted to a provider to track healthcare data for a patient once released to home or a care facility, minimizing readmission rates.
  • Mobile health (mHealth): Health care and public health practice and education using mobile devices ranging from targeted text messages to alerts about pandemics.

Technology and digital forces can quickly accelerate across the healthcare industry, and portions of healthcare will be virtualized. The impact will be profound with the result geared towards a user-centric model and empowered consumers.

Challenges in Telemedicine Application Development:

The convenience of being able to communicate with healthcare organizations as well as directly with patients is exploding across the industry. However, the ability to do this securely, and in a HIPAA compliant way is challenging and requires significant investment by application makers. While researching the space, I came across some well-made HIPAA-compliant chat applications.

Data Security

Privacy and data security are of paramount role in telemedicine app development. Furthermore, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) makes app development a daunting task since these policies require stringent security measures and any negligence or violation can result in serious consequences.

The HIPAA provides a standard framework for the protection of individuals’ medical records in healthcare systems including telemedicine, which makes compliance to HIPAA security a fundamental obligation. Telemedicine app collecting, storing, or transmitting protected health information (PHI) is regulated by HIPAA rules. Exchange of information between different entities related to medical records, billing information, health insurance involves HIPAA compliance. In such scenarios, when data is transferred encryption is important. Always, provide highly encrypted and secure video conferencing and communication services.

Here are other laws about data protection and privacy

  • GDPR: General data protection law across Europe, encompassing all internet technologies working with personal client data.
  • CCPA: Data privacy law for the State of California.
  • PIPEDA: Personal information protection and electronic document exchange policy for Canada.

Back-end Infrastructure

Backend infrastructure consists of technologies, cloud servers, software architecture, and third-party components are some of the most vital components of telemedicine application. It plays a critical role in security implementation, payment processing, speed, and better control over the application. Equally important is to choose protocols for transmission, databases, network type, bandwidth, and more. It is important to keep scalability and security in mind for cloud servers.

UI/UX Implementation

The success of the app is concentrated around its intuitiveness and ease of use. Telemedicine app development provides one of the biggest challenges in creating UI/UX for patients, doctors, and different stakeholders. Every user will have a different technical capability, functionality, and user interface. Poor user experience and functionality will alienate users. In such cases, it is important to understand different behavior patterns to engage users.

Training & Development

Resistance from within healthcare organizations and training comes across as a major challenge. Both clinicians and patients require proper training and the additional burden falls on healthcare providers. They will need to establish training and information broadcast for different groups of users, involving additional costs.

The best way to address this issue is to formulate guidelines and design training methods. A great deal rests on the UX of the developed platform to eliminate a major part of the training burden.

Scalability

Telemedicine app development is not just about being feature-rich, but also about scalability. Many healthcare providers have witnessed a surge in demand and a sudden spike in users due to pandemics. In such cases, it is important to ensure scalability to cope with the situation.

Best Practice of Telemedicine App Development

  • User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
  • Compatible across platforms
  • Seamless performance during peak traffic times
  • Exceptional app security
  • Highly scalable, flexible, and adaptable to current market changes
  • Integrate seamlessly with your business processes
  • Strengthen customer engagement
  • Enhance customer loyalty

Emerging Technologies in Telemedicine Application Development

  • AI-powered chatbots
    With the rise of Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and AI chatbots, the initial patient interaction will be done through artificial intelligence involving asking frequently asked questions when specialists healthcare providers are not available. Routine processes will be automated to improve efficiency.
  • Internet of Medical Things
    Connected devices such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, wearable devices can consistently provide patient information. IoMT combined with big data analytics will help anticipate health trends to improve efficiencies.
  • Blockchain
    Blockchain will provide a secure ledger to store transactions and conversation history from the telemedicine platform giving the layer of security.

How Much Does it Cost for Telemedicine App Development?

Well, the answer to this question involves different factors. Telemedicine app development depends on factors such as complexity of features, timeline, platforms targeted, technical expertise of the development team, API integration, and much more.

Remember, the complexity of apps is directly proportional to the cost of telemedicine app development.

Finally

Telemedicine apps are not a fad and not going away. In fact, the demand for such applications will continue to increase in wake of the pandemic and beyond. Telemedicine app development solutions can help healthcare organizations improve patient care.


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