Telehealth is gaining momentum in the domain of healthcare technologies. New applications emerge on a daily basis to improve patient outcomes, ensure better patient experience, enhance patient information security, and provide medical businesses with a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, organizations often make faults while launching telemedicine software, which does not allow them to benefit from such solutions. In this material, we will describe the most common challenges associated with the development of telehealth applications and explain how healthcare providers can solve them.
Growth of telehealth market in 2012-2022 (Source: Grand View Research)
Avoiding excessive expenses
The launch of a telehealth app that provides a broad range of functionalities and ensures high quality is inevitably associated with significant expenses. A recent report has revealed that the development of a mobile telemedical application may cost healthcare providers up to $425,000. One of the main reasons leading to such immense expenses is that healthcare providers frequently lack technical expertise required for choosing the most cost-efficient solutions. A limited technical knowledge is also one of the most significant barriers to telehealth because it leads medical organizations to mistakes with scaling and optimizing their software. Even though such faults may initially seem to be insignificant, they may cause immense expenses when there appears a necessity to modernize the existing software or scale it up.
It may seem that hiring experienced technology professionals is the most relevant solution when it comes to reducing the cost of telemedicine. After all, credible experts can bring fresh insight into the project and help healthcare providers save money. Unfortunately, building a full-fledged team of software development specialists and arranging their cooperation is also a very challenging and costly task.
Outsourcing to experienced software development companies becomes an increasingly popular trend among healthcare providers. It allows reducing the cost of telemedicine projects by more than 50%. At least, such an approach presupposes that the formation of a team and the recruitment process will be organized on a technology partner’s side. Credible software development companies can take the full charge of diverse stages of the software development lifecycle and provide the most cost-efficient technology solutions for the clients. It goes both about choosing an inexpensive stack for the software development lifecycle and about enforcing the client’s project with ideas and insights that allow saving costs.
Scaling your software
Scaling is one of the most common issues faced by organizations that aim to embrace the potential of software development, and the healthcare industry is not an exception. You may launch a top-notch medical information app oriented on a specific number of users, but, in some time, your user base may grow dramatically. The situation with the outbreak of COVID-19 is a vivid example of how there may appear an unprecedented growth in demand for medical services. In such a situation, your product can just fail to cope with the growing data loads.
A healthcare provider that wants to avoid scaling barriers to telehealth while launching an application has to ensure the product’s scalability during the initial stages of its development. A relevant solution is to rely on software development specialists that apply the most appropriate technological stack in order to deliver products that can be easily scaled up or down. While outsourcing the development of your telemedicine application to an experienced company, you receive highly-scalable software and may get a reliable partner that will handle all post-launch stages, such as application optimization and modernization.
Ensuring patient information security
Information security is one of the most important points about telemedicine apps. Healthcare providers that apply software that works with clients’ private health information (PHI) are HIPAA-compliant. Telemedicine HIPAA compliance means that even minor issues with data protection can lead such organizations to significant fines. Ensuring secure telehealth proves to be a challenging task. Secure user verification protocols and complex data encryption are essential, but they are not enough to protect your application from potential data leaks. There are many more steps that have to be taken in order to ensure the complete telemedicine HIPAA compliance.
Top-notch security of your medical information app requires you to establish multiple telemedicine security safeguards that may be challenging to implement. Another essential point is to avoid common mistakes, such the lack of the adequate understanding of security or the reliance on outdated standards for storing healthcare information. You also have to make sure that software development specialists that work on your telemedicine application adhere to all confidentiality and data protection requirements.
Traditionally, the process of developing telemedicine security safeguards is composed of three consecutive steps:
- preliminary risk assessment;
- elimination of the identified security threats;
- security maintenance.
Many medical companies handle those steps by outsourcing the development of a product to an ISO-certified technology partner. A reputable software development company will create a HIPAA-compliant product that can be used for secure storage of PHI. Also, such a technology partner will grant you confidentiality of all private information, which is also a significant benefit in terms of secure telehealth.
Design thinking in healthcare
One of the most significant points about telemedicine apps is that they are often oriented on both healthcare practitioners and patients. As long as such people interact with telehealth applications for healthcare differently, they require distinctive custom interfaces. A company that launches apps in the medical field has to consider the requirements of both user categories to create convenient in use designs with appropriate functionalities.
An organization interested in telemedicine app development has to take into account specific peculiarities of user categories. For example, if particular telehealth mobile apps are created for senior citizens, patient centricity requires the developer to consider the fact that they may feel uncomfortable with digital technologies. It means that the interface of such an application has to be as simple in use as it is possible.
When it comes to creating a top-quality UI/UX design for telehealth applications, experience is what really matters. Professionals with a proven record of successfully designed apps know all the underlying principles and challenges associated with design thinking in health care and patient centricity. It is also valuable to arrange a comprehensive step-by-step process that consists of collecting user requirements, thorough analysis and planning, and implementing the design. While hiring a UI/UX designer with experience in working on apps in the medical field or outsourcing this stage of the software development lifecycle to a reputable technology company, you get an additional guarantee that your design will meet the expectations of its users.
Ensuring customizability and functionality
Another essential aspect of a healthcare app is to provide relevant functionality that will fulfill all the requirements of the users. It goes both about providing an appropriate connection of doctors and patients and about integrating functions that will enhance the product’s relevance. For example, a healthcare practitioner may require telemedicine software platforms to have analytical functions. There has to be an option of customizing the analysis in accordance with their requirements. A top-quality telemedicine information software should also be flexible enough to adapt to unstable workflows and complex requests.
Finally, a patient-centric design of a telehealth app for doctors requires considering that different patients may have distinctive conditions and disorders. Top-quality healthcare interfaces allow patients to customize them according to one’s profile, concerns, and health condition. Such matters should be considered during the stage of preliminary design of telemedicine software.
A tried and trusted choice is to refer to the consultation of professionals. A credible technology partner will help a healthcare provider to anticipate the needs of end-users and technically appropriate the product to their requirements. Another valuable point that can be implemented with the help of a technology expert is leaving a telehealth application open to further optimization and modernization. A dynamic product will adapt to new requirements, while its functionalities will be expanded once it is required.
Telemedicine software platforms are becoming a must for healthcare companies that want to stay competitive in the market. Unfortunately, the development of such software brings multiple telehealth issues, such as challenges with cost, scalability, security, relevant UI/UX design, customizability. A tried and trusted solution for most challenges of telehealth is referring to experienced software development specialists. Outsourcing becomes increasingly popular because it allows finding a dedicated team of developers with a proven record of web, desktop, and mobile telemedical projects at affordable prices.
Binariks is a company with an outstanding reputation in the market of telemedicine app development. We provide a broad range of services to SMBs and enterprises operating in the healthcare market. Make sure to check our portfolio for more specific information on our expertise. If you are looking for a cutting-edge medical application but are afraid of significant challenges of telehealth, we provide you a helping hand. Contact us to discuss your project and start gaining a competitive edge in the healthcare industry.