Usually, if a person wants to get in touch with a doctor, they need to make an appointment and visit the doctor. Well, this was the past.
Today, most of the people in the world are under a complete lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Since people cannot leave their homes at such times, it has become even more difficult for people to get in touch with a doctor. There are new med-tech solutions that are being employed to help patients get easier access to medical services.
These solutions are called telehealth apps, and they are administering medical services to patients and improving the quality of treatment they receive. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the definition of telehealth is the usage of electronic information and telecommunications technologies in providing healthcare treatment. It also refers to the use of these technologies in the fields of medical education and clinical data management.
Telemedicine aims to empower both patients and their healthcare providers. Its applications include video medical consultations, remote monitoring, telehealth nursing, remote physical, and psychiatry therapy. It has the potential to become one of the most integral parts of the healthcare industry. If it is applied correctly, it can be very beneficial for the industry as a whole. This is supported by the most recent Global Market Insights report.
The report states that the global telemedicine market will expand from $38.3 billion to $130.5 billion by 2025. Many participants were surveyed to study the adoption rate of such technologies, 70.5% said that they are investing in telemedicine app development. This number was only 54% in 2014. The rate at which the industry is adopting telemedicine software is a reliable indicator that it is going to be the next frontier in medical care.
There is widespread unavailability of professional healthcare service providers in the world. This creates a distance barrier, which is one of the biggest challenges that the healthcare industry faces. Many people have to travel long distances to get quality healthcare services. Sometimes, people even have to travel across countries to get treatment.
Telemedicine app development solutions have developed several solutions to ensure that the distance barrier is overcome. Several applications have been developed to ensure that patients can get video medical consultations in a short duration. These applications are making healthcare services more accessible.
Another important that they are performing is increasing the relevance of healthcare. The ability to get a medical professional’s consultation instantly from the comfort of your home is the most substantial advantage of telemedicine apps.
Telemedicine has vastly improved both the quality and the availability of healthcare services. As a result, patients now have access to more personalized treatments. They can reach the best doctors via video and make appointments from the comfort of their homes.
The technology is not only beneficial for patients, but it also helps doctors. Medical professionals now have access to better-suited platforms to manage data. They also have access to a better network that helps them leverage the expertise of other medical professionals.
Therefore, the efficiency of medicine is considerably increased. It helps doctors save time spent on each task. Hence, they can provide better treatment to more patients.
The use of telehealth apps is a much more cost-effective solution compared to traditional methods of administering healthcare. The most significant factor that helps in cutting costs is the fact that patients no longer have to physically go to the doctor to get treated. Video consultation is a much more convenient solution for both the patient and the doctor.
It is also less expensive than having to make trips to the hospital each time. A video consultation option in a healthcare service also helps save the salary paid to the receptionist. A common question many people ask is, “What is telemedicine?”. The answer to this question is that telemedicine is the most effective healthcare solution that allows patients to get better treatment without paying more.
The advent of telemedicine has also played a crucial role in increasing the frontiers in the healthcare industry. Everything from performing new studies, research, and development in the medical field are easier than before. Even the training and education of medical students are now more accessible, thanks to video-conferencing.
Many technologies can be used to develop a telemedicine app. The core of a telehealth app is usually developed in either Android or iOS. When it comes to web apps, they are built on React Native and Nodes programming languages along with WebRTC technology. Here are the best suitable technology stacks that can be used telemedicine app development:
This is a technology that enables mobile applications and performs the function of a web browser. It uses simple application programming interfaces to communicate in real-time.
These technologies store the patient’s details and medical history. Doctors can later retrieve this information. It acts as a digital version of a patient’s record.
This technology functions as an automated telephony system. It allows computers to interact with humans with the use of voice and DTMF tones.
Cloud solutions help with the exchange, management, and storage of data in the cloud.
Health-tracking platforms from Android and iOS can be integrated with telemedicine apps. This can be used to transfer data between patients, doctors and devices.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers services that allow customers to work with sensitive information as regulated under the HIPAA act. It can be used to build applications that store, process, and transmit ePHI. AWS is consistent with all of HIPAA’s privacy and security obligations. With AWS you do not have to worry about data privacy due to its strong elements of security and compliance with HIPAA regulations. Mindbowser has extensive experience in using AWS to build Healthcare applications.
Artificial Intelligence is one of the most useful technologies in telehealth. It can be used for a variety of applications such as:
Chatbots answers any of the patient’s questions in the most straightforward manner. This step is usually followed by booking an appointment with the doctor.
AI combined with ML algorithms can thoroughly study a patient’s case via a video conferencing software. Therefore, it continually improves diagnostic abilities.
AI can automate simple tasks and thus, reduce the amount of work that the doctor has to do.
VR technologies have entirely revolutionized communication interfaces by making it more interactive. The telehealth industry has greatly benefited from this as it has made surgeries, and medical training significantly more manageable.
The concept of AR is quite similar to VR, and the two are often used together. It has allowed doctors to perform surgery by merely watching a 3D video. This can enable an intercontinental team to work together on urgent cases.
Online searches made by voice assistants are also AI-based. It allows patients to schedule appointments and ask questions during a consultation.
These are some of the challenges that you may need to overcome during your telemedicine app development project:
In the medical field, many professionals are often under the false impression that ePHI (Electronic Protected Health Information) can be directly communicated between the patient and the doctor. However, various factors such as the channel of communication used are of primary importance when it comes to communication of ePHI. To be deemed HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant, medical professionals must adhere to rigorous standards.
The compliance guidelines of telemedicine are present in the HIPAA Security Rule. It stipulates that:
In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the number of patients availing telehealth services has significantly increased. As a result, the healthcare industry has been under extreme pressure. Therefore, few exceptions under HIPAA are made to aid healthcare providers. HIPAA’s Notification of Enforcement Discretion applies to all HIPAA-covered health care providers.
The notification also does not put any limitation on the patients they serve with telehealth. Under this rule, covered health care providers will not be subject to violations of HIPAA Privacy and Security. They are also not subject to any violation of the Breach Notification Rule in good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide health emergency.
However, this new notification does not affect the application of HIPAA Rules to areas other than telehealth during this emergency.
It is essential to integrate certain features that draw more customers to your app, increase its reach, and ensure its success. Here are some features that you must have in your telemedicine app:
The development of a telehealth app is a very complicated process and involves a lot of challenges. However, by following the above tips, you can ensure the success of your app. These apps not only bring profits for the developers, but they are also beneficial to the users.
The real value of a medical app is quantified by its ability to impact people’s health positively. You can also increase the success of your app by consulting with a professional team. Check out Mindbowser offerings in Healthcare here.