Developers
September 8, 2020

Telehealth Medicine: An Open Opportunity For Developers

Telehealth medicine represents a significant opportunity for developers.

Telehealth medicine is one of the most important trends in modern medicine. In recent years, it has grown to be a viable alternative to traditional doctor’s visit.

As a result of its soaring popularity, telehealth offers a significant opportunity for developers.

The Rise of Telehealth

Telehealth is defined “as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.”

There are a number of reasons why telehealth has been growing in popularity. One of the primary reasons is convenience. According to a 2017 survey, a telemedicine visit averages 13 to 15 minutes. In contrast, an in-person doctor’s visit averages some two hours.

Telehealth also has the benefit of cost savings and consumer confidence. According to reports, telemedicine copays tend to be in line with regular office visits, if not less. When it comes to consumer confidence, telehealth beats traditional office visits by a wide margin. Reports indicate that telemedicine visits addressed patients' concerns 85% of the time, as opposed to 64% of the time for traditional visits.

It’s easy to see why the telehealth industry was already growing by leaps and bounds going into 2020. Little did anyone know what was on the horizon, or how much the industry would grow even more as a result of a pandemic. As COVID-19 spread across the globe—resulting in people staying away from doctors’ offices and hospitals unless absolutely necessary—telehealth has come into its own. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, “telehealth claim lines increased 4,347% nationally, from 0.17% of medical claim lines in March 2019 to 7.52% in March 2020. (A claim line is an individual service or procedure listed on an insurance claim.)”

As with many changes brought about by the pandemic, it’s a safe bet that telehealth is here to stay, long after the pandemic is nothing more than a distant memory.

Telehealth and Software Development

Thanks to its growing popularity, telehealth represents a major opportunity for software developers. While a number of apps have emerged as early leaders in this field, thanks to its relative youth, there is still a huge opportunity for commercial apps, as well as custom software for individual practices.

To be successful in this field, however, there are a number of important factors to take into consideration.

Privacy & Security

Few things are more important in this field than the privacy of the patients. Patients trust their doctors with the most intimate information, making a privacy or security breach devastating.

In addition, because of the sensitivity of the information being collected, few fields are more heavily regulated than medicine. Despite that, according to the Coker Group, only 21% of respondents to an April 2020 survey had successfully integrated telehealth with their compliance program. Similarly, 38% still had coding or documentation concerns, 30% had cybersecurity concerns and 30% had concerns regarding privacy or HIPAA compliance.

Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing serves as the backbone of many telehealth services. Without the ability to see and interact with the patient virtually, there is often very little a medical professional can do.

To meet the needs of the widest array of users, this requires that the software support the major platforms, such as iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and the web.

Medical Device and Hardware Integration

Another important factor is integration with various medical devices and hardware. This allows the sharing of images, EHRs and EMRs, X-rays, and more.

Appointment and Billing Integration

Appointment and billing integration is another critical element to a successful telehealth practice. As a result, it’s important for software developers to be able to help bridge the gap between new systems and the existing infrastructure practice is using.

Languages In Demand

As a result of the unique needs of the telehealth industry, there are several languages and frameworks in demand.

Java’s cross-platform nature makes it an ideal option for this industry, as does its overall popularity. There is a wealth of available developers, and the language is well-known for having a good combination of performance, features, and security. Java is also a logical choice for any Android apps, along with Kotlin and Scala.

Cross-platform web frameworks—such as Angular, Vue.js, Node.js, React Native, Flutter, Ionic, Xamarin, and others—are an excellent choice and in high demand. These are viable options for both mobile development and web-based applications.

Swift is the gold-standard language for macOS and iOS apps.

WebRTC is another skill in high demand, as it allows audio and video communication via web browsers and mobile applications. It has quickly become the industry standard, supported by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and others. Because it allows communication between peers, it does not require special plugins, giving it a major advantage over older frameworks and video platforms.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that telehealth is here to stay, representing a major opportunity for medical professionals and software developers alike. By focusing on the specific needs of the industry, developers can have job security and plenty of room for future growth.

TagsTelehealthDevelopersSoftware Development
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersSeptember 8, 2020
Telehealth Medicine: An Open Opportunity For Developers
Telehealth medicine represents a significant opportunity for developers.

Telehealth medicine is one of the most important trends in modern medicine. In recent years, it has grown to be a viable alternative to traditional doctor’s visit.

As a result of its soaring popularity, telehealth offers a significant opportunity for developers.

The Rise of Telehealth

Telehealth is defined “as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.”

There are a number of reasons why telehealth has been growing in popularity. One of the primary reasons is convenience. According to a 2017 survey, a telemedicine visit averages 13 to 15 minutes. In contrast, an in-person doctor’s visit averages some two hours.

Telehealth also has the benefit of cost savings and consumer confidence. According to reports, telemedicine copays tend to be in line with regular office visits, if not less. When it comes to consumer confidence, telehealth beats traditional office visits by a wide margin. Reports indicate that telemedicine visits addressed patients' concerns 85% of the time, as opposed to 64% of the time for traditional visits.

It’s easy to see why the telehealth industry was already growing by leaps and bounds going into 2020. Little did anyone know what was on the horizon, or how much the industry would grow even more as a result of a pandemic. As COVID-19 spread across the globe—resulting in people staying away from doctors’ offices and hospitals unless absolutely necessary—telehealth has come into its own. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, “telehealth claim lines increased 4,347% nationally, from 0.17% of medical claim lines in March 2019 to 7.52% in March 2020. (A claim line is an individual service or procedure listed on an insurance claim.)”

As with many changes brought about by the pandemic, it’s a safe bet that telehealth is here to stay, long after the pandemic is nothing more than a distant memory.

Telehealth and Software Development

Thanks to its growing popularity, telehealth represents a major opportunity for software developers. While a number of apps have emerged as early leaders in this field, thanks to its relative youth, there is still a huge opportunity for commercial apps, as well as custom software for individual practices.

To be successful in this field, however, there are a number of important factors to take into consideration.

Privacy & Security

Few things are more important in this field than the privacy of the patients. Patients trust their doctors with the most intimate information, making a privacy or security breach devastating.

In addition, because of the sensitivity of the information being collected, few fields are more heavily regulated than medicine. Despite that, according to the Coker Group, only 21% of respondents to an April 2020 survey had successfully integrated telehealth with their compliance program. Similarly, 38% still had coding or documentation concerns, 30% had cybersecurity concerns and 30% had concerns regarding privacy or HIPAA compliance.

Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing serves as the backbone of many telehealth services. Without the ability to see and interact with the patient virtually, there is often very little a medical professional can do.

To meet the needs of the widest array of users, this requires that the software support the major platforms, such as iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and the web.

Medical Device and Hardware Integration

Another important factor is integration with various medical devices and hardware. This allows the sharing of images, EHRs and EMRs, X-rays, and more.

Appointment and Billing Integration

Appointment and billing integration is another critical element to a successful telehealth practice. As a result, it’s important for software developers to be able to help bridge the gap between new systems and the existing infrastructure practice is using.

Languages In Demand

As a result of the unique needs of the telehealth industry, there are several languages and frameworks in demand.

Java’s cross-platform nature makes it an ideal option for this industry, as does its overall popularity. There is a wealth of available developers, and the language is well-known for having a good combination of performance, features, and security. Java is also a logical choice for any Android apps, along with Kotlin and Scala.

Cross-platform web frameworks—such as Angular, Vue.js, Node.js, React Native, Flutter, Ionic, Xamarin, and others—are an excellent choice and in high demand. These are viable options for both mobile development and web-based applications.

Swift is the gold-standard language for macOS and iOS apps.

WebRTC is another skill in high demand, as it allows audio and video communication via web browsers and mobile applications. It has quickly become the industry standard, supported by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and others. Because it allows communication between peers, it does not require special plugins, giving it a major advantage over older frameworks and video platforms.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that telehealth is here to stay, representing a major opportunity for medical professionals and software developers alike. By focusing on the specific needs of the industry, developers can have job security and plenty of room for future growth.

Telehealth
Developers
Software Development
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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