The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of remote health monitoring, brought attention to telemedicine app development, and increased demand for healthtech in general. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global telemedicine market is expected to experience a 25.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2023 and 2027. In other words, the healthcare industry will move toward remote service provision and automation to get next-level patient experience.
Many startups are looking to build telehealth solutions. So, developing the entire custom telemedicine app from scratch is out of the question. But, this is when Minimum Viable Product (MVP) comes into the picture. Let’s learn more about it and look at the development of the telehealth app MVP.
What Is an App MVP?
The latest data indicates that about 90% of startups fail. Yet, knowing this fact does not paint a clear picture. For our article, it is crucial to point out that about 70% of startup failures are related to the product itself (see Fig.1).
As you can see, product-related failures originate from poor quality, mistiming, cost issues, regulatory challenges, and failure to meet market needs. At this point, to protect a company from product-related failure, one of the most prominent and crucial things you can do is build an MVP and test the product before you spend all the money on development.
In a nutshell, to understand what MVP is, consider the following – it is a minimum form of the product that can be tested and evaluated per market, users, and competitors. In short, in any form of app development, including healthcare app MVP development, the approach allows you to create the simplest iteration of your product to test it against various factors and conditions. With every MVP, you should follow a build-measure-learn process. Getting the basic model, it can take from 3 months up to a year, depending on the process’s complexity.
As a result, MVP development is an essential part of making your startup or SME to avoid failing. Testing the product helps identify the pain points you can address to make sure when the app hits the market, the user experience will be top-notch. Keeping that in mind, let’s talk more about the reasons for building MVP for healthcare app MVP development.
Why Build an MVP for Remote Health Monitoring?
In short, you need MVP to test your app before introducing it to the market and target audience. Whether you plan to experiment with AI in telehealth or try innovative predictive algorithms for the first time does not matter. It is vital to test the basic model to evaluate its ups and downs in practice. At this point, the key objective of the healthcare app MVP is to get a functional product offering immediate value in the context of cost minimization.
As a result, MVP plays a central role in healthcare application development and shows whether you need to proceed with the product to market or adjust it to avoid failure.
What is Custom Telemedicine App Development?
After learning more about MVP and its role, the next part of the equation correlates to the telemedicine phenomenon. As we mentioned, there is a growing demand for health app development, and telehealth is the core of it. More and more companies want to know how to build a telemedicine app to provide a better patient experience and profit from that. The global telemedicine market revenue is booming (see Fig.2).
Yet, what is telemedicine in particular? Simply put, this is an innovative method of healthcare service provision. It is rooted in digital tech, allowing a remote patient-doctor connection. Thus, a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform is an excellent alternative for in-person checkups and hospital stays. And the telehealth platform MVP is a direct way of getting some notable benefits.
Benefits and Challenges of Telemedicine App MVP Development
To get a clear picture of telehealth software development, you need to understand whether its benefits outweigh its drawbacks. To do that, let’s explore both sides of the coin.
Starting with the bright side, the telehealth platform MVP can potentially provide the following pros:
Accessibility of Care
One of the key benefits a telehealth platform MVP can offer is better access to care. Notably, remote care delivered through digital channels allows for meeting patient needs without geographical boundaries. It all can be especially beneficial for people living in remote areas.
Telemedicine app development is a great way to lower costs for patients and healthcare providers. Respectively, you do not need to conduct an in-person appointment, which means less time is needed for the commute. Besides, the approach helps save costs because having a digital appointment is cheaper than paying for in-hospital services.
Simple and Direct Communication
While face-to-face interaction is considered the best way of communication, and nothing can replace a real-life doctor appointment, it is not feasible to handle all these needed interactions. In turn, with a digital approach, a patient can simply use an app to get an answer to a quick inquiry or book a video call appointment.
Straightforward Data Management
Healthcare app MVP grants more accessible data management capabilities. With the arrival of Big data services and further implementation of new instances of how the technology is used in healthcare, there are more excellent opportunities to use data for a better patient experience. With new data storage and management practices in mHealth, everyone involved in handling patient data can do it more effectively.
Lower Risk of Hospital-Based Infections
Finally, remote health monitoring is much safer than in-person care. That proved to be highly beneficial during times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying at home and getting medical advice online eliminates the chance of getting or transmitting infections.
As a result, the above benefits are brought forward when you deal with telemedicine. Yet, while there are definite upsides, as mentioned previously, one cannot avoid specific challenges, something we will discuss further.
Any industry dealing with digital innovation faces similar challenges. However, for healthcare, the downsides can be even more remarkable because patient data and patient health are involved. So, these are the challenges of developing an MVP for a custom telemedicine app to consider:
The introduction of any new technology should be accompanied by compliance with existing regulations. Besides, even stricter rules are applied for products working with sensitive data. For instance, you must comply with HIPAA to get your hands on video conferencing software adopted in healthcare. A particular checklist is needed to ensure your product hits the market. The same is true for telemedicine. Meeting the requirements of HIPAA and GDPR can be challenging and thorough.
Besides, considering the growing number of cybersecurity in healthcare, the need for compliance is as high as ever (see Fig.3). So, you should consider compliance a fundamental challenge with the telehealth platform MVP you must overcome.
Innovation can be challenging since it is often hard for healthcare professionals and medical staff to accept the new realities of working with digital tools. Besides, telehealth’s data automation can be a massive leap from paper to electronic medical records, which entails a steep learning curve. Finally, potential data security issues arise when people find it challenging to adapt to digital transformation.
In such a context, compliance and resistance to digital transformation are two key challenges the healthcare app MVP brings. You need to understand how to deal with these issues in advance. Otherwise, you will eventually face problems you cannot handle. For instance, it is unreasonable to adopt cloud computing if your employees still work with paper documents. You need to prepare them for transition first.
Telemedicine Platform and EHR
As a separate yet related matter, we should discuss the link between Electronic Health Records (EHR) and telemedicine. It is indicated that over 95% of healthcare professionals in the United States use an EHR platform (see Fig.4).
At this point, when developing an EHR platform along with a custom telemedicine app, you need both to be linked. In a nutshell, the integration of telehealth into EHR offers several distinct advantages:
- Automated healthcare data strategy. With telemedicine and EHR integration, healthcare providers do not need to enter the same data twice. The link between the technologies allows entering digital notes from telehealth visits directly into the patient’s electronic medical records.
- Patient insurance data synchronization. The rising number of insurance companies has started covering telemedicine services. In such a case, integrating the technology with EHR is a great way to verify patient eligibility before an insurance company signs them.
- Provider-patient virtual care experience streamlining. When communicating with a patient via a telemedicine app, a doctor needs to have access to a patient’s medical history. EHR grants such information in several clicks, which makes telehealth visits more effective.
Thus, telemedicine app development has its distinct benefits and challenges. However, as was shown above, integrating the tools with an EHR is an excellent opportunity to make advantages outweigh the challenges and ensure next-level patient experience.
What Are the Best Telemedicine Apps?
After showing what MVP and telemedicine are, as well as indicating the benefits and challenges of the phenomena, it is time to offer a list of examples of what constitutes a good telehealth solution. In the course of telemedicine app MVP development look forward to these products:
Consider the solutions above as examples of successful telehealth mobile apps. Yet, each of the mentioned products developed an MVP to increase the chance of success. So, let’s proceed to the key steps you must follow when dealing with the MVP telehealth platform.
Step-by-Step Guide to Building an MVP for a Custom Telemedicine App
Before plunging into the steps below, you need to determine whether you need to go for the healthcare app MVP in the first place. Essentially, consider these factors:
- A low investment cap
- Desire to minimize financial risks
- Lack of clear idea whether an app will work out in the given market
- Need to validate the idea before further investment
- Calculated risk-taking approach to boost a chance of success
- It is your first healthcare app
If at least one of the factors above applies to your case, give telemedicine app MVP development a go. Now, let’s proceed with the steps needed to do that.
Step 1. Define the Critical Idea behind the Telemedicine App
The first step in creating an MVP for a custom telemedicine app is to define your idea behind the product and align it with current and future objectives. When you have a well-developed idea, it is time to share it with an experienced vendor. After that, the technical partner will help find the most fitting solution to meet the business objectives behind the idea. It is the moment to decide whether you need complex tools like predictive analytics, or Artificial Intelligence (AI). The first step is to evaluate the overall feasibility of the idea behind your custom telemedicine app.
Let’s consider the given MVP model per the first development phase. Essentially, you need to align the idea with some basic app features. Later, during the final stages of development, if the testing of basic features pans out, it is the green light to think about some premium aspects.
Step 2. Explore the Competitors’ Landscape and Go through the Discovery Phase
The next step is all about studying for the competition. It means you must look at the telemedicine apps the rivals put on the market. Pay particular attention to what features in those apps are most loved by users. Competitive analysis is something you should not take with a grain of salt. Yet, keep in mind that you need to look at about ten basic features in the context of healthcare app MVP development.
While conducting a competitive analysis, ensure your vendor is not idle. The software provider chosen during the first step should participate in a discovery phase and present a feasibility study on potential designs, tech stacks, and a roadmap for developing the telehealth platform MVP. Besides, it is time to select one of the APIs. Consider Twilio, Vidyo, and VSee SDK.
Step 3. List Potential Users and Investigate User Behavior Patterns
The third step is listing potential users, actions, and behavior patterns. With mHealth, you can tap into preventive health. It means you need to have a better understanding of what users want. At this point, the step entails going through the telemedicine app MVP development process to establish the product’s feature set through these factors:
- Users. Define those who would use your product in groups.
- User actions. Determine their potential actions in the course of using the product.
- Behavioral patterns or action outcomes. Establish the patterns based on the actions to see the most and least functional features.
Besides, while you will likely need an EHR integration, determine how you can do that and choose the platform to work with. Consider these EHR solutions: Nimbo, Luma Health, RXNT, TigerConnect, Vectera, and Updox.
Step 4. Start with the User Interface (UI) Design
When you deal with an idea behind the product, see the feasibility study, and consider user-to-feature correlation, it is time to proceed to product design management. In custom telemedicine app MVP development, you need to have a good UI while also trying to keep costs low. It is a critical issue to resolve because hiring UI designers in North America is costly.
The solution is to outsource the UI development to key offshoring destinations. In such a context, Eastern Europe is the perfect destination. It grants the best cost-to-quality ratio in product development. In addition, to keep the costs of healthcare app MVP low, you must know what type of UI design you need. Consider checking on these aspects:
- MVP can deal without animated features.
- Purchase interface elements like icons and buttons online.
- Consider buying ready-made UI kits.
- Emphasize a balanced view of personalization.
At this point, you can save up to half of the MVP UI development cost. Remember to keep that part simple and try not to overload user attention.
Step 5. Start Telemedicine App MVP Deployment with an Emphasis on a Cross-Platform Approach
The next phase is to start the MVP deployment. Build the basic model with all pre-approved requirements and designs. Consider all the aspects of mobile web development services and how deployment might differ based on the type of healthcare software you develop.
During this stage, one of the critical aspects to consider is the focus on cross-platform MVP. It will be a product that runs on both iOS and Android. This approach is best because your developers will write and use one codebase for different platforms. As a result, it reduces the time and cost of telemedicine app MVP development.
Step 6. Focus on Quality Assurance (QA)
After the MVP is deployed, it is time to test it. Make sure the product works with interruptions, as well as it is secure. The development team will review peer code during this phase, while QA testers will conduct unit testing. Yet, keep in mind that testing is not a one-time deal. You need to adopt it regularly, especially after each given update. Finally, do not forget about stress testing before the MVP’s release. That is vital to ensure it can handle the user influx.
Step 7. Collect Feedback from Users and Think of Updates in Advance
The final step is about learning from user experiences. In a nutshell, MVP is all about how users perceive your product and try it in practice. Collect user feedback and turn it into actionable insights. These can be crucial for boosting the telemedicine app’s usability and features.
With the telehealth platform MVP up and running, you can get user feedback via different channels. For starters, consider these approaches:
- Pop-over surveys
- Feedback buttons
- In-app popups
- App rating prompts
- Embedded surveys
As a golden rule – keep all the surveys concise. Users do not like spending too much time answering questions. Instead, they want to get their hands on the app’s features. Yet, to help meet their needs, you must consider what types of features your MVP will have. That is something we will discuss next.
Key Features for Telemedicine App MVP Development
Healthcare app MVP should have basic features, so you should not include some complicated and hard-to-use aspects. However, considering what telemedicine is all about, your MVP must have these features:
- User profile. This feature displays critical user data along with aspects like scheduled appointments and history of visits.
- Patient panel. This feature includes a list of doctors versus the list of health conditions to help you decide with which healthcare professional to schedule a visit.
- In-app calling. This feature includes a video-calling option, something like Zoom for Healthcare.
- In-app chat. This feature entails a textual mode of communication with a medical provider in case you do not want to use a video-calling tool.
- Geolocation. This feature helps you decide on healthcare professionals in your vicinity. It helps find the hospital near you if an in-person visit is needed after a telehealth session.
- EHR/EMR. This feature grants medical professionals instant access to needed patient data to make diagnoses more accurate.
- Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). This feature is needed for propagating patient self-monitoring. If a patient is pregnant or has some severe ongoing condition, self-monitoring offers constant updates helping a medical professional to prescribe appropriate health-related actions.
- Payment methods. This feature helps deal with all the financial transactions involved. Often, telemedicine services are paid with a credit card, coupons, employee coverage, or insurance.
- Symptom checker. This feature offers the user access to the knowledge base. It allows a person to define their symptoms and suggest a particular medical professional who appeals to them.
- Prescription tracker. This feature helps patients determine when and where to pick up their prescription from a pharmacy.
The basic features make your custom telemedicine app MVP functional enough for people to use it and basic enough to keep it low-cost.
The Bottom Line
Telemedicine will further gain more and more traction. Thus, telehealth app MVP development makes even more sense. You can go through it from start to finish with all you know now. Keep in mind all the challenges the phenomenon presents. Pay close attention to compliance and resistance to digital transformation. Remember to find a good EHR platform and integrate it into your telehealth solution.
If you need to know whether you are on the right track, there are always up-and-running telemedicine solutions to learn from. Get insights from mistakes other companies made during their MVP development. Follow the steps above, and always remember that obstacles are there for you to better your skills and make sure you avoid making the same error in the future. As a result, you will get a custom telemedicine app that provides exceptional user experience and grows your business revenue.