Hackernoon logoWhy Telehealth and Wellness Apps Are Worth Developing in 2021 by@sandra-parker

Why Telehealth and Wellness Apps Are Worth Developing in 2021

Sandra Parker Hacker Noon profile picture

@sandra-parkerSandra Parker

Head of BizDev at QArea. Software Development & QA company

We are living in the era of online everything, so there’s no wonder that healthcare is expanding to the digital space as well. While patients enjoy fast and accessible healthcare services, businesses view healthcare software development as a great opportunity to generate revenue.

The global pandemic added to the quick rise of telehealth applications and wellness apps in general; more than ever before people want to take care of themselves with all the available tools out there.

Today, I’m exploring the niche of telehealth and wellness applications development including their functionality, trends, and benefits for the industry.

Telehealth and Healthcare Software Statistics

  • In 2019, the telemedicine global market reached $45 billion in value.
  • By 2026, the telehealth sector is expected to grow by $175 billion.
  • The total number of telehealth patients has grown by more than 6.5 million in five years (2013-2018). This number continues to grow.
  • North America is the biggest market for telehealth globally.
  • 90% of physicians actively use their smartphones for work.
  • The number of healthcare-related applications has almost doubled in the last five years.
  • 62% of smartphone users utilize their devices to search for information about their symptoms or health conditions.
  • Hospitals that offer branded healthcare apps demonstrate higher satisfaction ratings among their patients.

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/static/img/research/north-america-healthcare-mobile-applications-market.png

Reasons Behind The Telehealth and Wellness Apps Popularity

Mobile healthcare (often referred to as telehealth or mHealth) is the use of telecommunication tools to provide distant patient care.

This includes calls, video conferencing, data storage and processing, file exchange, calendar for appointments scheduling, and even an online payment system.

While medical software development attracts companies with continuous revenue, it’s the sincere user interest that makes this industry sector go round. Below is a list of reasons why modern people value healthcare software development services so highly:

  • Interest that stays for life. Beyond question, we all want to prolong our well-being as long as possible, and that’s exactly what healthcare applications are promising to assist us in. From an app that reminds you to stay hydrated during the day to more complex solutions for prescription management and chronic symptoms tracking, the benefit of such applications speaks for itself. Add to this the fact that there are hundreds of conditions that require ongoing management, and you’ll get just as many healthcare software ideas to launch.
  • High accessibility. The essence of telehealth is that it allows practitioners to care for patients remotely. This opens up a ton of opportunities for people who have limited access to quality healthcare, like citizens of developing countries, patients with low mobility, field workers, etc.
  • Commitment to the moment. Custom medical software makes healthcare distribution almost instant, and not just because it substitutes paperwork with digital data processing. It also lets people fill in a questionnaire instead of initial check-up at the hospital (that comes after you schedule an appointment and wait for it God knows how long) and many other time-consuming things like prescription renewal, getting lab results, etc.
  • Redistribution of healthcare resources. The lack of resources in healthcare is a huge issue that both government and medical device software development companies are trying to solve. Things like reduced stay-in time, faster patient care delivery, cross-hospital communication for more even patient allocation became possible because of well-made healthcare CRM systems and client-facing applications.
  • Cost reduction. Since mHealth positively affects the working environments in healthcare facilities and helps in saving up resources, it didn’t take long to start showing the financial benefits for patients as well. Insurance companies are also taking a new look at the telemedicine practices promoting it on the federal level due to its remarkable cost-effectiveness.
  • Awareness scale-up. Let’s face it, by this point we all are pretty addicted to using our smartphones. That’s why it is so important to load them with applications that do more than just entertain us. Custom healthcare software development companies contribute greatly to raising awareness of many serious conditions by notifying their users on annual check-ups and other things that should be done regularly.

Your Basic Telehealth App Functionality

The vast majority of all smartphone users are already familiar with how wellness applications look and work, but it’s not always the case with telemedicine software. Below you can find the basic functionality of such an application described:

  • Double-sided interface for patients and practitioners;
  • Personal profiles for different user roles;
  • Electronic medical record (EMR) integration with databases;
  • In-app messaging for instant communication;
  • Online appointment scheduling through calendar;
  • Video conferencing and calls that provide high-quality image resolution and clear sound;
  • Integrated payment processing for easy and secure financial transactions;
  • HIPAA compliance and abidance by other healthcare laws and regulations.

Healthcare Software Development Trends

While for some of us medical software development services still sounds a bit unusual, thousands of people actively use such applications and form industry standards and tendencies through reporting their feedback. Here are the healthcare software development trends that I think will be on the rise in 2021:

1. Customer-Centered Platforms

This trend is mostly related to medical software design. Regardless of what type of product you develop ― a CRM system, fitness application, telemedicine API, etc. ― it’s got to be as user-friendly as possible.

Things like extraordinary design, unusual navigation, and chaotic toolkits should be avoided at all costs, because with health, ease of use always takes over the artistic taste.

Companies that truly care about releasing effective end products seem to have come to an unspoken agreement that the patient always has to come first.

2. Open Content Management System

Content is the essence of any application, and to keep the content production process going is costly and time consuming. An outstanding example of content creation freedom for users was years ago demonstrated by MyFitnessPal ― one of the most popular fitness applications worldwide.

This app allows users to load its databases with their custom content ― in this case, meals with calories and nutrients counted ― that later becomes available for the rest of MyFitnessPal users.

This quickly transformed into a trend that doesn’t seem to decrease any time soon: wellness apps developers are trying to design their apps in a way that would let users contribute to the applications’ databases making them more content-heavy thus more engaging.

3. Accent Shifting to Security and Stability

It’s hard to imagine a more sensitive information to share than a patient record. That’s why cybersecurity should always be a first priority for healthcare software development companies. This applies to both data storage and data transferring.

Software developers nowadays pay extra attention to data transfer protocols that assure stable communication and network safety even with unstable connections. For patients living in the areas with unstable internet coverage, technologies like Bluetooth can be used as an extra option for stable data exchange.

This would be a vivid demonstration of how service stability can be achieved with technologies that have been around for years and still remain valuable under certain circumstances.

4. Cross-Platform Support

Clearly, people should never be deprived of high-quality healthcare applications regardless of the hardware they are using. Telehealth and wellness applications have extremely wide target audiences which cannot be limited to iPhone/Android users.

These days, custom healthcare software developers know that to successfully promote an application, it is a must to make sure it runs equally well on smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

Also, older devices with corresponding versions of operating systems shouldn’t be neglected as well. In any other case, a healthcare app risks to compromise most of its effectiveness.

5. It’s Not About Weight Loss Anymore

Body positivity social movement has penetrated many businesses including fashion, makeup, and of course selfcare programs like wellness and fitness applications. This does not mean that online calorie counters and digital workout assistants ceased to exist, but their marketing strategies have definitely changed.

In 2021, aggressively pushing the idea that thin means beautiful or speaking negatively of corpulent people might cost you a reputation.

6. Pandemic Alert as a Stand-Alone Feature

The fact that we all got tired of talking about COVID-19 doesn’t make this topic any less hyped, especially for healthcare professionals and software providers. This explains why most medicine and wellness app owners rushed to add some sort of pandemic or quarantine alert to their interfaces. After all, a small adding to Corona awareness doesn’t harm anyone, does it?

Summing up

Custom healthcare software development is a profitable niche in the global IT market. The current state of this industry sector holds many opportunities for business owners enthusiastic about healthcare. Working closely with software development providers, I’m noticing the growing interest in wellness, telemedicine, and selfcare applications both for end users and investors.

User demand for these kinds of applications is still on the rise and has not reached its peak. What’s more, over the past 10 months more and more people have become increasingly more comfortable with receiving healthcare services remotely.

Meanwhile, the supply of developers with experience in similar applications isn’t growing as fast. If telehealth and wellness applications is a market in which you want to get a solid foothold, it is important that you begin acting sooner rather than later.

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