Cost of Telemedicine System: Is It a Worthy Investment?
Telemedicine continues to be one of the fastest-growing trends in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2020 study by CivicScience, more patients are adopting online technology. In December 2019, only 8% of adults in the United States reported that they’ve had a telemedicine appointment. In comparison, the percentage rose to 29% in May 2020.
Statistics from Research 2 Guidance say that the telemedicine market is growing steadily and will soon explode. It is even predicted to reach $175 billion by 2026. However, the average telemedicine software cost can go up to $370,000. It’s an extremely expensive investment, but why is that?
In this article, we will discuss the various factors that contribute to the final cost of a telemedicine software implementation. They will include online clouds, video conferencing, Electronic Health Records (EHR) integrations, and cybersecurity.
Why You Should Consider Telemedicine Software As an Opportunity
A recent study in the United States examined 7 million patients and their electronic medical records across 22 health systems. It revealed that since 2019, there has been an increase of 300% in the usage of telehealth, and this increase has been consistent across all age groups.
Simultaneously, in-person visits have decreased dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following graph summarises the top ten reasons for telehealth visits, organized by diagnosis and specialties.
The largest niche for telehealth appointments was for patients who were seeking assistance with anxiety and depression. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, in-person office visits have decreased by 22%, while telehealth has accounted for 54% of all anxiety and depression-related visits.
According to these statistics, telehealth accounts for at least 25% of all medical appointments. This percentage will continue to grow as more psychiatry care and small, private hospitals adopt online technology to cut costs and increase revenue.
Additionally, recent EHR data indicates that telehealth accounted for 69% of all medical visits in April 2020. It has since decreased to 21%, but it still remains significantly higher than it was before the pandemic.
While it is obvious that telemedicine will account for a significant portion of total medical visits. The certain niches will begin to use telemedicine software as a necessary tool, is it worth the investment?
Telehealth implementation can save costs with faster data processing, efficient staff management, and time optimization. The total cost ownership (TCO) may also be lower than if hospitals were managed traditionally.
Cost of Telemedicine App For Startups Or Small Healthcare Providers
If you want to start thinking about developing your own telemedicine solution, you first should consider conducting market research and business analysis.
The telemedicine market requires a great deal of details that must be included in the final solution. If you miss important details that your competitors have, your solution may fail. Moreover, you have to understand what can make your patients switch telemedicine solutions.
Before any software development starts, we offer our discovery packages to hospitals, product companies, and startups to determine the product’s market fit. This package is divided into three stages:
During the discovery stage, you will learn whether or not your solution will fit the telehealth market. Our business analysts will discuss your requirements and correlate them to the current state of the market. To be more precise, they will:
- Create doctors’ and patients’ profiles and conduct research to determine their needs.
- Analyze market data to ascertain the market size and the potential market share for your product.
- Conduct a thorough competitor analysis to find out which healthcare institutions benefited from telemedicine solutions.
- Identify the key features of your future telemedicine software.
- Create an economic plan to find out how you could monetize your telehealth application.
- Plan the budget, profit and loss statement, revenue streams, and provide estimates for project implementation.
The discovery stage usually takes three to six weeks and costs approximately $10,000. Once completed, you will receive a go-to-market strategy plan, a timeline for key development stages, and a detailed understanding of how your application will operate.
Proof Of Concept
This stage includes the creation of a basic solution. We will design your solution and collect feedback from your healthcare employees, institutional partners, and potential customers. At the conclusion of this stage, you will have a better understanding of your solution, and we will be able to begin development.
This process usually takes two weeks to complete and costs at least $12,000.You may, however, choose to skip this step as it is not mandatory.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development
Developing an MVP will provide you with a working prototype of your app. This stage will include:
- A complete, ready-to-implement design that includes all necessary features.
- Software architecture.
- An application that can be tested by people.
- Project documentation.
Having an MVP enables you to evaluate your solution and determine what enhancements or modifications are necessary. This stage is considered to be an early step of development.
The development of an MVP typically takes up two six weeks and costs at least $15,000. If you choose to proceed with your app development, you will save both time and money by already having the first step of development completed. You will spend less on quality assurance testing, training, and hardware purchases.
Basic Telemedicine App Development Cost
Developing a telemedicine application requires extensive analysis and a deep understanding of your organization. The more that you know about your pains, gaps, and problems, the faster that you can get your first evaluation.
The final cost of developing a telemedicine app heavily depends on the number of features that your business requires. Additionally, you should keep in mind that you’ll need a solution that works for both the web and mobile as well as the creation of multiple databases.
The telehealth implementation cost for a basic solution ranges from $15,000 to $150,000. It depends on multiple factors like the size of your team, number of integrations, availability of branches, and features. It will include:
- Applications for iOS, Android, or Web.
- Basic features such as appointment management, text chats, video calls, and personal profiles.
- Basic search features.
Hidden Expenses For Telemedicine Startup Costs
Apart from the cost of your software system, you could face extra costs when you implement telemedicine services. These include:
Medical Device or Features Integration
Telemedicine startup costs often incur additional expenses with setting up connectivity with portable devices or integrating additional medical features with APIS. Common devices that can be integrated may include a digital telescope, examination camera, or ENT scope. For each addition, you may pay between $5,000 and $10,000.
Telehealth Platform License
Another telehealth cost would be your license. However, you can buy a telehealth platform license without paying a monthly fee. If you do, expect to pay approximately $1,500 per patient site for a software-based route without a remote provider. For hardware-based video conferencing, it can cost approximately $10,000 per patient site.
This cost will increase as the number of remote provider sites increase, but you can choose to build your own telehealth platform that is scalable for your requirements.
Communication Platform and Video Conferencing
You may choose to create a portal with a single capability or multiple capabilities with patient consultation hosting. You might even decide to develop the ability to aggregate and relay mobile medical device data.
Depending on your choices and the scope of your project, software-based conferencing can cost between $1,000 to $1,500 per patient site while hardware-based can cost between $7,000 to $10,000 per site. The price will continue to increase with the addition of each remote provider.
Additionally, you should consider any existing systems in your facility and determine if they can be integrated with your communication platform.
Telemedicine Equipment Costs
Some examples of hardware packaging that telemedicine software require are cases, carts, and wall mounts. You should focus on how well the equipment fulfills your needs, but also keep in mind that aesthetics are important as well.
It is strongly advised that you look for modular packaging that allows for easy configuration with multiple specialties. If you have a long-term care facility or school, you may want to consider an all-in-one telemedicine system.
These systems start at $20,000, but you could pay as much as $30,000.
Telemedicine Support on Mobile Devices
Support costs for mobile health app development can vary significantly. You could be paying a couple of hundred dollars per month or as much as $10,000. It is entirely dependent on whether you are developing a simple app for a small user base or a complex app that serves an entire hospital or clinical network.
You should take approximately two to three weeks to train your employees on the new software. During training, you should demonstrate how the solution works, explain its integration capabilities, and test the entire process together. You should also consider conducting tests with patients
These training programs can range from $200 to $2,000 per location. It will largely depend on the complexity of your solution, the number of users, additional installations, and technical training for IT staff.
Consult your state’s medical board or attorney for information on telemedicine compliance laws. You can also check American Telemedicine Association’s website to examine what is and is not allowed in your state. Certain states will allow virtual visits with patients from any location while others require the patient to visit a medical facility.
To get a better understanding of your state’s laws, you may need to find a local lawyer who can outline your implementation rights.
How much does it cost to implement telemedicine?
If you want to add additional functionality or create a more complex app, be ready to spend more money. A telemedicine software cost can exceed $300,000 if you choose a highly complex and feature-rich solution. On the other hand, you can get a solution for $50,000. The final cost strongly depends on your needs, sizing, and capabilities.
Please note that this price includes a patient app, a doctor app, and an administration panel for a single platform (iOS or Android) at $50 per hour (which is the average development rate in Ukraine). The process for development can vary between three to six months.
Usually, companies require several types of applications: web and mobile. Those, accordingly, divided into several packages:
- Web Application
- Mobile Application
- Doctor’s & patient’s app
- Patient’s app only
- Doctor’s web app & patient’s web and mobile apps
The following table provides the average time and telemedicine platform costs for a Doctor’s & patient’s app combination:
|Feature||Average hours for either web or mobile app||Cost|
|Final Cost & Time Spent||1267||$62600|
Pro Tip: telemedicine solutions must have an innovative idea and service as hardware and software can only support the technological aspect of your app. As a result, a considerable amount of your resources should be spent on defining and developing this innovative solution.
Our Areas of Expertise
- Mobile applications.
- Video conferencing.
- Virtual and augmented reality technologies.
Wearables devices that share data with healthcare service providers. This may include the patient’s body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and physical activity.
Softermii is a proficient healthcare software development company that has aced multiple healthcare-related projects. There's HIPAA Video, for example, a new web-based doctor-patient video-meeting platform. The platform provides a highly functional environment for physicians and their clients to take part in remote consultations. A WebRTC-based solution features a versatile dashboard for client management by clinic staff along with unified record keeping.
Another solution we’re proud of is MedRealTime. MedReal Time is a cutting-edge medical software consisting of a web and mHealth booking & telecommunication platforms transforming the way we get healthcare treatment before.
The platform allows patients to get better access to medicine from anywhere & anytime and have the opportunity to choose the needed specialist based on his experience, skills, and patients' reviews.
Although, Softermii creates custom video conferencing solutions that fully integrate with each clients' business communications infrastructure. Our recent development is a fully customizable VidRTC engine.
The engine simplifies and accelerates building video-based products and integrating video conferencing into telemedicine websites and apps.
Cost Savings And Earnings From Virtual Care
According to some estimates, the United States could save up to $4.28 billion per year on healthcare costs by expanding virtual care solutions. In addition, reports predict that by 2027, the global market for mobile health apps will reach $312 billion. As a result, many have jumped at the chance to join this rapidly growing market.
If you need a customized, secure, HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform, we can help. Our software development team has extensive experience building telehealth platforms from the ground up, such as HIPAA Video and MedRealTime, as well as expertise in developing in a variety of medical fields.
Contact us for a free consultation on health tech software development and discover how to build a reliable platform for your users. We will also delve into the benefits and considerations to build vs to buy a telemedicine platform.