If there has been one stream of services that have not attenuated in its magnitude of necessity over time, it has to be medical services. It does not, however, mean that medical services can stay away from the influence of technology. Technology has always been designed to make life convenient for people, and if medical services are one of the conveniences the people can avail, it also can be made better and more efficient through technology.
The Internet has made medical knowledge more available and people are becoming increasingly health-conscious these days. The increase in health consciousness can also be attributed to lifestyle changes and breakthroughs in the field of nutrition and healthcare.
The Millennials and Generation Z have gotten used to the convenience offered by technology. The profitable growth of companies like Uber, Uber Eats, and every other business that delivers services on demand is a resounding testimony to the growing affinity for convenience.
Extending on-demand to medicine
Going by this notion, even medical services need to be made available to people on demand through mobile applications. The growth of mobile penetration, the growing internet speeds, and the way in which information is getting organized because of the internet are all expected to contribute to the growth of medical services on demand.
There are multiple manifestations when it comes to medical services through mobile applications. The portfolio of services includes doctor appointment booking, online consultation, video consultation, and pharmaceutical delivery.
The need for medical apps
Medical apps present users, medical practitioners, and all the entities involved in the medical care ecosystem with a lot of advantages. Let us illustrate the possibilities through an example.
Classically, if you were suffering and ailment, and if that ailment needs immediate medical attention, you get into your mode of transport and reach the hospital. There might be instances when the doctor you wanted to meet is not available in the hospital. Even if there is a doctor, you might have to encounter a long queue and it might result in unwarranted delays. There is also a possibility that you might get stuck in traffic by the time you move from your home to the hospital or clinic.
After this cumbersome hassle, the consultation would barely last for 10 minutes. After the consultation is done, the doctor will either prescribe some medicines or ask you to get a few diagnostic tests done. You will have to hunt for the right pharmacy where you can find your medicines. In addition, if you need laboratory tests, you will need to visit a lab, wait for the results, and follow the same procedure of meeting with the doctor going to the same trouble all over again!
The entire process seems convoluted and inefficient even at its best! What if there was a workaround that will make the entire process simple?
When apps are involved
With a medical app, all you need to do is take out your phone and search for the doctors in your vicinity. Therefore, the first barrier of knowledge is broken – you will not need to depend on just your knowledge anymore, and with the combination of GPS and the internet, you can find the doctor closest to you.
Once you have filtered the doctor by location and specialization, you can immediately book an appointment with the doctor. This avoids the need for going at a time when you will need to wait for incredibly long stretches in long queues. This can be considered one of the most efficient alternatives offered by healthcare applications.
Sometimes, you might not even need to visit a doctor, and more often than not, a few conversations with the doctor can help you find the right medicine for your ailment. Therefore, you can even consider consulting the doctor over a video call or chat. Vital statistics like your weight, your height, and even your heart pulse rate can be measured using smart wearables. This ensures that you save quite a lot of time and retain your peace of mind without traveling in unbearable traffic, especially during peak hours.
Once the doctor prescribed medicines, you can directly place an order with a local pharmacy. The pharmacy can engage in an independent delivery executive to have the entire medicine delivered to your doorstep. This eliminates the need for you visiting multiple medical stores.
Additionally, a holistic medical application can also offer reminders for doctor visits and diagnostic tests. It can even connect patients with an insurance network. If you intend to build an app like Practo, you can make the entire ecosystem democratic by introducing a review and rating system where patients can rate the doctors based on their experience with them.
The advantages do not stop with patients alone. Even doctors are bound to immensely benefit from these applications. Doctors do not have to count on word of mouth anymore. Doctors whose visibility was obscured can now gain quite some visibility through these applications. It no longer means to the doctor that if they are beyond the site of patients, they are out of business. Since all the online consultations can also be charged, it opens up a new stream of revenue for doctors even when they are at their homes.
On a passive note, medical applications can also act as a secure and organized health record
In short, a simple application can ensure that the entire consultation with the doctor happens without you leaving the comfort and confines of your home.
The avenues for revenue
When we talk about healthcare applications as a business idea, it is never complete without a revenue model. It is important to understand where an app like ZocDoc makes its money from
The different streams of revenue are:
Subscription for services – Users can subscribe to certain premium benefits, making an app almost like the Amazon Prime of healthcare. A one-time payment entitles you to unlimited access for certain features. For example, HealthTap charges $99 a month to get unlimited access to medical answers and for doctor consultations. It also includes live video calling and text chatting.
Sponsored results – Some doctors might be relatively new and might struggle for their initial disability. These doctors can be a certain fixed amount to these medical applications, so their listings appear on top of relevant search results. It is almost similar to Google is sponsored results on search engines. It is to be remembered that the relevance of the results with respect to such should not be compromised at all!
Revenue sharing – The biggest chunk of revenue for medical applications probably comes from revenue sharing with doctors. It cannot be denied that if not for the application the doctor would not have had certain consultations. For facilitating the business, the application takes a cut from the revenue generated by doctors as a commission for their reference. This is probably the reason why an app like Practo is considered a profitable business idea.
Video consultation – Video consultation, in some cases can be included as a primary feature that is included with subscriptions. If not, video consultations can be made available for a certain cost and for a stipulated stretch of time. For example, Doctor on Demand makes 15-minute video consultations available for $40.
Points to be noted when building the medical app
Medical services are essential for almost every person living on this planet, and it does not, in any way, distinguish in terms of location or economy or any other factor. Therefore, your app needs to be built in such a way that even the most basic users can intuitively navigate through your application without any hassle.
This aspect becomes all the more important especially during the time of a communicable global pandemic like the COVID-19. At a time when movements outside home are restricted and when medical facilities are dedicated to providing top-notch health care for people affected by the coronavirus, it is important for doctors not to compromise on their services but at the same time, keeping up with the legal and government norms. Now would be an appropriate time for any aspiring entrepreneurs to create a medical consultation and telemedicine app that will solve problems associated with restrictions in healthcare today.
In most jurisdictions, personally identifiable health data is considered one of the most critical pockets of data to be handled. Therefore, the utmost care has to be taken in preserving patient information. You will need to concentrate on adding layers of security that will ensure top-notch data security at all times.
Features – in a nutshell
The patient should be able to easily sign up for the services without any hassle and they should be able to do so even by using legacy login to tensions like Google and Facebook. They should be able to efficiently search and filter doctors according to their requirements, and it is for this purpose that doctors need information intense-profiles. They should be able to make payments using multiple payment methods and for this purpose, the app should be integrated with a versatile payment gateway. As discussed earlier, the app should have a review and rating system that will make the entire ecosystem democratic.
Just like the users, the doctor should be able to easily sign up but at the same time, they will also need to populate their profile with vital bits of information like their alma mater, their work experience, and their specialization. They should be able to easily manage appointments through a dedicated calendar period they should also be able to manage their set of exclusive users, and should also be able to publish blogs exclusively for their patients. If possible, they should also have a push notification in place, so they can notify their patients about upcoming appointments.
There is no question that the future of medical care is through telemedicine and healthcare applications. A survey by Patientpop concluded that 42% of users would like to book an online appointment, and the number can only be expected to increase because of the coronavirus crisis. Therefore, it is the right time for you to build an app like Practo.
Should you be one of the entrepreneurs who would like to work on this new wave of business, you can either consider building a rap from scratch or alternatively use white-label clones of Practo or ZocDoc.
A Practo clone is extremely easy to customize, and it also saves you quite a lot in terms of both time and money. The same thing can be said about the ZocDoc clone as well. All you need to do is get in touch with a company that specializes in developing these applications, and you are all set to profit from the constant quest for health!