• Apps
Anahit Ghazaryan February 5th, 2021

What to Know about a Telemedicine App To Keep up With Trends in 2021?

The recent developments in telehealth have indicated important changes within the healthcare industry. New innovative solutions and technology emerge that shape the industry and take it to a new level.

Why is telemedicine gaining traction and how to stay up with the trends? Here is an article to read about telemedicine app development.

We will cover the following topics:

  • What is Telehealth and Why Is It Gaining Popularity?
  • How Can Emerging Technologies Impact Telemedicine App Development?
  • How to Develop a Telemedicine App?
  • Key Features of Telehealth App
  • Requirements to Ensure HIPAA Compliance for Telehealth Video Conferencing.

What is Telehealth and Why is it Gaining Popularity?

Virtual has become a way of life. It doesn’t bypass the health care system. Thus, we have a new term to describe the use of technologies and innovative solutions to support long-distance clinical health care and health administration. And that is telehealth.

Telehealth is gaining traction over a couple of years. Why is it so?

Law

The legislative developments contribute to the expansion of telehealth. Most of the states, including the DC, have private parity laws that require the telehealth services to be covered and reimbursed at the same rate as face to face healthcare visits.

Efficiency

Telehealth can drive efficiency and cut costs on doctors’ visits. It’s a more convenient way both for the patients and the doctors.

Aging population

We witness an aging population and movement is an issue for a lot of people. It is much more convenient for the old aged to use their smartphones and tablets from their home for doctor consultations than to travel a long distance to a doctor’s place.

New technology

New technology is an answer. New smart devices are developed that suggest various handy solutions.

How Can Emerging Technologies Impact Telemedicine App Development?

We talked about emerging technologies. Let’s have a look at how they can impact telemedicine app development in 2021.

Artificial Intelligence

We know that we live in the age of Artificial Intelligence. AI is transforming healthcare in many ways.  Today patients are diagnosed with less human intervention with the help of robots. We also see eldercare-assistive robots that can assist the elderly in various tasks.

IoT

We witness the expansion of IoT. Today, many devices can help patients to measure their blood pressure or pulse rates from home. Thus, there is no need for a visit to a doctor for the initial consultation.

Smart Devices

Smart sensors can collect data and analyze it using complex algorithms. This is done to monitor the state of health of those, particularly, living in remote areas. The data is then shared with healthcare professionals.

Blockchain

Blockchain is a chance for healthcare intuitions to store, transfer medical data securely and helps healthcare researchers to unlock genetic code.

How to Develop a Telemedicine App?

Telemedicine app development in 2021 will not be much different in terms of procedures to follow. However, new technology will affect app development such as smart devices. Below are some basic steps to follow. Let’s go through each of them.

Before we do that, let’s have a look at the telehealth implementation process.

Here are the steps.

Discovery and Planning

This is a stage when the client and the app development company work closely. They perform market research, competitors’ analysis, discover main features and solutions to have advantages over similar products. You need to highlight what makes you different and develop a one-of-a-kind value proposition.

At this stage, the client and the app development company may decide on the cost of the project as well.

Prototyping and Design

After the client and the company come to an agreement on cost, features, and solutions, the actual work on the telemedicine project starts. After the layout is finalized, the designers work on the creation of the app’s user interface.

Testing

Before deploying your app, you need to test it on a small group of people. At this stage, you can solve bug issues and rebuild the app based on feedback. A good MVP is needed to collect and react to the feedback of potential clients.

Marketing

Finally, you need a good marketing strategy. Building the app is not the end of the job. You need to find the right audience. Efficient marketing enhances the app profitability.

Key Features of Telehealth App

Encryption and Security Protocols

Confidentiality is the number one issue when it comes to medicine. The app company needs to develop security and encryption protocols.

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA needs to be integrated into the app to secure electronic communication of healthcare transactions.

Video Conferencing

This feature is a key component of the app. The patient and the doctor should be able to interact through video conferencing as well as an easy messaging system.

Dashboard and analytics

Doctors should have a separate dashboard. Here they can make adjustments to the prescriptions and treatments. The appointments should be possible to manage online. The patients should be able to select an available slot from the doctor’s calendar.

Pharmacy databases

The app may be integrated with pharmacy databases so the patients can view the drug availability online.

Requirements to Ensure HIPAA Compliance for Telehealth Video Conferencing?

Personal health records are protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Here are some requirements to consider to ensure HIPAA compliance.

Person or entity authentication

Strong authenticity is ensured through biometric information and matching passwords. It’s hard to cheat on biometric information like fingerprints or voice commands. Therefore, the app should ensure such options. 

End-to-End Encryption

Does your video-conferencing software use encryption? This is important to eliminate unauthorized access. That is why end-to-end encryption is key for HIPAA compliance.

Routing

Does the video get routed through a server or is it connected to the patient’s device directly? This is another important question to answer. Your video conference must be directly connected to the patient’s device. This also ensures the quality of the connection.

BAAs

Business Associate Agreements (BAAs) are a part of the HIPAA compliance process. When you enter into such an agreement, all information is appropriately safeguarded.

Access Control

We talked about the impermissibility of unauthorized access. But what about their own employees? Do they have access to video conferencing and data? Only those with respective rights should have access to video conferencing according to HIPAA rules.

To ensure that, Role-based Access Control (RBAC) is applied. RBAC classifies users according to roles and privileges to control access in the video conferencing solution. 

Wrapping up

In 2021, telemedicine apps will continue to grow. Traditional app development will continue to prevail. However, new smart devices, AI, IoT, and blockchain will determine the content of the apps as well as their format. The new emerging technologies will account for new possibilities and new niches to be included in the app development.

Today is the best time to invest in telehealth app development because the industry still has space for new players and the demand is growing.

Anahit Ghazaryan

Anahit Ghazaryan is a technology writer and software development consultant at Addevice, a mobile app development company. As an employee of a mobile app development company, I devote most of my time to researching mobile apps and startup trends to create educational content for the company's clients and develop the Addevice brand. Being able to share my knowledge with people looking for valuable information to learn more about app development motivates me and inspires me to create better content. It's a pleasure for me to make the digital world closer to people and work for a company that gives me an opportunity to develop professionally.

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