The State of Digital Healthcare in 2021 - Current Trends and Possibilities
|
9 min read

The State of Digital Healthcare in 2021 – Current Trends and Possibilities

E-health is becoming a massive trend in software development and other industries. Its rapid growth is now additionally accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s not the only reason why it is that way. Constant innovation in the technology sector means we want new solutions, convenient tools and access to products and services from any place at any time. That also includes health, as often reimbursed healthcare is imperfect and has multiple issues, including long waiting lines, shortage of good specialists and facilities in locations that are not available equally to all citizens.

Table of contents

  1. State of telemedicine in 2021
  2. Trends that accelerate the e-health sector
  3. How to create a digital product dedicated to telemedicine?
  4. Conclusion

Private startups and enterprises create more and more digital products dedicated to healthcare. Big insurance companies are not afraid to invest in them, as they see an opportunity to offer an attractive alternative to public health services. Observing current telemedicine trends is a must for business-oriented people that want to build functional and secure medical software.

How much does it cost to create a professional e-health solution? What should be included in it? Why should this industry be worth your attention?

State of telemedicine in 2021

To say COVID-19 changed the situation regarding remote healthcare is like saying nothing. It had an enormous impact on doctors, patients, hospitals and business owners. But it’s not like it created the demand for telemedicine. The concept was tested for years and was slowly introduced in places around the world.

We are lucky to live in times when a pandemic means we can survive by ordering groceries online and contacting doctors via video chat. The main challenge was quite evident. How to handle people that are not infected but still need medical attention? The presence of the coronavirus doesn’t mean all other illnesses decided to disappear. But facilities couldn’t manage a massive outbreak of a new disease while still taking patients with ordinary cold.

So the technology that was already explored needed to be quickly developed and adjusted to the new needs of all involved parties. This tendency is presented in surveys and research conducted in the middle of 2020. The biggest one by McKinsey and Company proved that a need for remote healthcare solutions significantly increased. 76% of consumers claimed they wanted to use e-health products and services. Facilities had to operate from 50 to even 175 times more remote visits than before and their interest in the implementation of telemedicine grew by almost 60%. The authors of the research also claim that approximately 20% of medicine-related activities could be digitalized.

This shows the massive potential of telemedicine nowadays. Startup owners and big enterprises alike, providing robust solutions compliant with adequate regulations, can become market leaders and give their clients valuable tools for improved e-healthcare. To do that, they need to know precisely what are the market tendencies and which direction is worth going when preparing a telemedicine product or service.

Trends that accelerate the e-health sector

What should be considered by aspiring telemed pioneers if they want to conquer the market with their services? Let’s begin with constant digitalization and innovations appearing every few months. If you think that mobile apps revolutionized the world of medical software, think about artificial intelligence, robots and wearable devices that made it even more advanced and capable. You shouldn’t underestimate the power of new technologies.

Computing algorithms, for example, machine learning, are a chance to create even more advanced telemedicine solutions – for example, remote diagnostics, early cancer cell detection, preparing individual treatments based on the patient’s overall condition. The possibilities are countless. If you want to outrun the competition with your e-health business, you need to think visionary.

Another thing we should remember is efficiency. All groups concerned, including patients, doctors and hospitals, desire it on so many different levels. More people want to lower their environmental impact. Medical facilities and experts want to cure people as fast as it’s possible. Everyone wants to save money. In times of crisis, the latter is even more crucial.

Patients that can stay at home and contact their doctor remotely don’t need to use cars or public transport. They save time and don’t have to leave work to meet with the doctor during inconvenient hours.

Moreover, according to a study conducted by Health Leaders: “Diverting patients from emergency departments with telemedicine can save more than $1,500 per visit.” That’s because most cases can be solved outside emergency rooms, with straightforward audio or video consultation. Every time a hospital or other medical facility avoids such visits, they save tons of resources.

In general, people look for telemed solutions that save their time and money, have less influence on the environment, are convenient and effective at the same time. Remote healthcare becomes mainstream because our habits and needs change. And in the future, it will become standard for many.

How to create a digital product dedicated to telemedicine?

When working with renowned e-health brands winning industry awards and receiving funding, it’s always about creating legally compliant software, with professional and eye-catching design and features that patients and doctors demand.

Here are a few things worth considering when creating a telemed startup or a new remote healthcare product.

How much does it cost to develop a telemedicine app?

Talking about the financial side of any software development project is rather rare. That’s because every client is different, so it is impossible to estimate a generic project and tell people: “This is how much it will cost”. Too many factors can influence the final price.

Still, explaining what these factors are and what is their impact on the actual budget can be extremely helpful. Business owners need to know that if they have an internal system, backend development takes less time and is a bit cheaper. If they want to build everything from scratch, the cost increases. Native apps are more expensive, but they offer robustness and can utilize smartphone features like GPS or camera. On the other hand, cross-platform frameworks can be used to quickly create a mobile app for two operating systems which saves money.

Telemedicine solutions need to meet strict HIPAA standards (in the US) and/or GDPR (in Europe) compliance. That means more security measures implemented into the software, which of course, requires a bigger budget. Features like video calls, integration with external medical systems (electronic prescriptions, test results), booking appointments and payment gates take much more time during the development phase and need to be thoroughly tested. It’s another factor that can significantly grow the cost of the project.

The cost of telemedicine apps is a complex subject with many different variables to consider. But knowing more about them allows business owners to more or less plan their budget and be prepared for changes in the project.

Specific design principles for e-health solutions

There are digital products that can go crazy with creative visuals and bold elements. Telemedicine is not necessarily falling into that category. Of course, you should invite best practices and modern trends into your software’s design, but be careful. Why?

First of all, remote healthcare products and services have a broad target audience. This means they need to be quite universal and easy to use. Interfaces with a lot of fireworks, counter-intuitive placements and bright colors might be difficult to navigate for people with disabilities and older users. And we all need medical attention from time to time.

It’s better to bet on classic shapes, user-friendly illustrations and colors associated with health and wellbeing. Functionalities should be easy to find and access. Hire a company that has a seasoned UX/UI design team. They will know what should be implemented and what is redundant.

Telemed challenges to watch out for

Although e-health is now praised and claimed to be one of the most rapidly growing industries, you should know it has its challenges. Like in every relatively new business sector, some things need to be settled and best practices need to be established. What should you know about before you create a new company or add a medical solution to your enterprise’s portfolio?

Constant changes are normal at the beginning. E-health is still expanding and new solutions are introduced continuously. Before they are standardized, some time will pass. That’s an opportunity for innovators, but it’s also a risk. There will be failures, but it’s not a reason to give up. A well-prepared strategy with a lot of testing (PoC, MVP, customer feedback) can make the development process smoother and prevent the final result from being incompatible with users’ expectations.

COVID-19 gave remote healthcare momentum, but what will happen when it’s all over? It is predicted that it still will be a prominent niche. Business owners that understand their customers will thrive even post-pandemic. They just have to deliver convenient features, high-quality service and customer support.

This issue is on a wider spectrum of e-health problems. Some people still don’t believe that a video call can be helpful when they are sick. Patients want personal attention. They feel cared for when a doctor really sees their symptoms and examines them. The main task for telemedicine providers here is to offer a product or service that will be comprehensive, detailed and won’t position itself as a substitute to regular medical appointments but rather as an alternative and supplement for them.

If you keep all that in mind, you will more likely conquer obstacles and succeed in telemedicine.

Conclusion

There is a lot of nuances in the e-health sector, but we can say without a doubt that it’s a niche worth investing in. From our perspective, building digital solutions like web and mobile apps, websites and internal systems is a great way to support healthcare systems around the world. We’ve met multiple business owners that created skyrocketing telemedicine services and products. We are proud to be a part of their success stories.

If you want to read more about telemedicine, we invite you to check out our blog, where we share tons of useful knowledge about software development for e-health. We’ve also published an ebook about the future of telemedicine. Download it if you want to run a business dedicated to remote healthcare and need practical information on all crucial subjects.