How to Build A Telehealth App: Features, Steps and Strategy

HOW TO BUILD A TELEHEALTH APP

DEVELOPMENT
ARTEM BARMIN
Co-founder at Freshcode
The TeleHealth market is expanding at 22% CAGR and is expected to exceed $300 billion in 2028. However, the influx of investors and big league players makes the market highly competitive and untenable for most small startups.

How to develop the Telehealth app, what are the key features and pitfalls, how to find the right niche and monetize your product? Let's talk about it in this article!

1. TELEHEALTH PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE

Before we talk about how to start a Telehealth business, let's discuss the five stages of the Telemedicine application's lifecycle:

1. Idea validation and MVP development. Market research and analysis, competitor study, and niche evaluation are necessary at the project's onset. All the data collected should be used to define the MVP requirements and keep the development on schedule for a speedy launch.

2. Initial launch and feedback aggregation. Mobile or web app launch should be followed by a detailed user feedback analysis. Common complaints and errors should be fixed first to ensure early adopters continue using the app. Feature suggestions should be aggregated and added to a list of potential future updates.

3. Marketing and sales campaign. Ideally combined with the launch stage of the life cycle, marketing, and sales campaigns should focus on reducing the cost of attracting new customers, extending customer lifetime value, as well as enhancing user retention and utilization rates.

4. Scale-up or pivot. Once the company achieves product-market fit, the choice lies between scaling the solution to allow for a larger number of users and new features and pivoting the business towards a more profitable niche. Both routes may require extensive investment and additional development.

5. Ongoing monitoring and updates. To ensure the existing customers are happy and to attract new users, the team must keep a close eye on user feedback and introduce changes and updates to mitigate dissatisfaction. Additional upgrades may become necessary when new regulations come into effect.
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2. STEp #1: MVP DEVELOPMENT

Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) is the cheapest and fastest way to validate the idea and learn whether there's a market need for the solution. Most Telemedicine startups, like Babylon or Amwell, started with an MVP.

In Agile methodologies, Telehealth app development is usually divided into several steps:

1. Project discovery and estimation. At this stage, the tech team will learn everything you're willing to share about the project, create a comprehensive list of requirements, and estimate the time and resources necessary to complete the MVP. You will receive a system requirement specification (SRS) and a timeframe and budget estimates. At this stage, you can decide which of the features to develop first and which should wait for future upgrades.

2. Architecture design and technology stack selection. Considering your requirements and the chosen platform (web, desktop, iOS, or Android), the CTO or Tech Lead will suggest the most suitable frameworks, libraries, languages, and approaches for your project. They will also design the app's foundation to withstand the projected user load and scale up when necessary.

3. UI/UX wireframes and interactive prototype design. In keeping with user-centered design trends, the design team will provide you with a set of interface wireframes for an initial UI evaluation. Once you agree on user flows and journeys through the app, you will also get an interactive prototype to let you experience user interactions with the app first-hand.

4. MVP development and testing. The software engineers will work on your project along with designers and fulfill the functional and non-functional requirements. Every sprint will result in a new update and demo to keep you apprised of the development progress. Unless the team runs into trouble or you change requirements on the go, the project should be finished and ready for launch within the estimated timeframe.
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        3. Features Your Telehealth App Needs

        You will define the full feature set for your Telemedicine app once you're done with the project's discovery phase and finish the SRS. However, an MVP should prioritize core functionality above all the bells and whistles you may be tempted to include.

        To help you set your priorities straight, we've analyzed the most successful Telehealth startups and came up with a list of only five core features your MVP can't go without:
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        Our team will help you achieve all business goals

        4. How to Monetize TeleHealth App

        Most startups commit to a single TeleHealth business model, either B2B or B2C (D2C). The former provides services to businesses, like medical centers or private practices, as well as corporate clients looking for medical support for their employees. The latter provide services directly to the customers or patients.

        B2B solutions usually see a higher utilization rate, as an employer or an insurance company covers the Telehealth cost. Patients are more likely to use a medical app if they don't have to pay from their own pockets. As a result, the B2B business model does not require extensive marketing efforts to attract end-users, even if finding the early adopters among businesses may be more challenging than signing up new patients.

        While B2B TeleHealth companies like Teladoc are seen as the market leaders, B2C players will likely turn the tide in the coming years as people become more personally accountable for their health. However, B2C startups still need to focus their efforts on regulatory compliance, especially when dealing with personal data storage and handling.

        Regardless of the business model, TeleHealth solutions come with a variety of monetization options, including:

        1. Per-minute charges. Properly priced per-minute charges may bring in more revenue than subscription plans, and they work well for attracting early adopters for B2C companies.

        2. Subscription plans. Monthly, quarterly and annual plans support the revenue stream and keep the customers using the app.

        3. In-app purchases. One-time purchases work best for intermittent services or urgent support. They can be combined with other monetization strategies as upsales.

        Wheel is one example of a successful Telehealth monetization strategy. It enables clinics to create proprietary online solutions without wasting time on development. Alternatively, Wheel cooperates with employers that wish to build Telehealth solutions into their benefits structure.

        The startup raised $50 million to further develop a white label Telemedicine platform. Considering the company's revenue skyrocketed from $3.3 million in Q4'20 to $42 million in Q1'21 with a customer retention rate of 90%, it is no surprise similar startups are popping up. Daily, yet another white label Telehealth platform, raised $15 million in a recent investment round, while the clinic digitization platform, Memora Health, raised $10.5 million.

        5. Differentiation Is Key to Success

        The influx of investors and big league players makes the market highly competitive and untenable for most small startups. Some teams are taking the easy road of offering Telehealth as a service. Others prefer diving into tighter niches that host a fewer number of competitors.

        Some niches are still sparse enough for small startups to thrive and succeed. These include targeted support for specific population groups or patient types, like students or older patients who have trouble dealing with technology. Chronic patients make up another significant target audience, considering six out of ten Americans suffer at least one chronic condition.

        Anyway, achieving Product/Market fit is crucial for every medical care startup. Interviewing potential customers and industry stakeholders, testing product-market fit with a minimum viable offering, and using feedback to validate ideas are vital steps for digital health startups. Let's take a couple of topical examples.

        Cecelia Health, NYC-based diabetes and other chronic disease management company, called a 'pioneer in providing telehealth and chronic disease management services', closed a $13m Series B financing round in 2020. It has emerged as a leader in using technology-enabled digital tools and has provided over a million remote patient interactions.

        According to FinSMEs report, Cecelia Health will leverage the next funding to deliver a Virtual Clinic offering "CGM training, education on medication adherence and lifestyle and behavior change, mental health screening and counseling".

        Another NYC- and Dublin-based company, LetsGetChecked, providing end-to-end at-home lab testing, closed a $30m Series B financing round in 2019. Today (compared to July 2021) its value breaks the $1bn 'unicorn' barrier following $150m.

        All in all, selecting a viable niche business including all pre-processes is your first point in the to-do list before developing a full-fledged product. You'll get a clearer focus on key goals and strategies, as well as better chances to find raise funding.


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        6. Takeaway

        The Telemedicine market is booming, and now is high time for building a Telehealth app and joining the race for the patient. There are plenty of monetization opportunities for B2B and B2C business models, and the investors are showing steady support for companies offering end-user solutions and white-label platforms.

        If you decide to join the fray, start with an MVP development and keep the core features to a minimum to validate the idea fast and cheaply. And once you receive initial customer feedback, the next steps will become clear.
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