Remote patient monitoring, or RPM, is one of the hottest buzzwords in healthcare. It is the use of digital and telecommunication mediums to access and disseminate medical services. RPM apps and websites became extremely popular during the Covid-19 pandemic when people could not leave their houses for fear of infection. These apps facilitate communication between patients and providers through audio, video, texts, and calls.
The fundamental benefit of a remote patient monitoring system is that patients can share their health vitals with providers online. They don’t have to visit a clinic to see physicians. The physicians can then assess this data and provide medical services. Telehealth remote monitoring apps are an excellent tool for continuous clinical observation without the need for hospital admissions. It’s no wonder that the market for remote patient monitoring application development has skyrocketed in the wake of the pandemic.
Types Of Remote Patient Monitoring Applications
While all remote monitoring apps share patients’ health vitals in real-time with providers, they tend to differ in their functions. Multiple types of RPM apps serve a variety of needs for patients depending on their medical requirements. Let’s look at them in detail –
This is perhaps the simplest type of health monitoring application. As the name indicates, patients must fill out detailed questions about their symptoms and medications and any other relevant information. Based on the answers they submit, their providers will zero in on a diagnosis and offer the necessary treatment.
Questionnaires are usually meant for patients who are already under the care of a doctor and might need to update on their treatment progress. This RPM app does not require integrating sensors or other medical devices. Users can just log in and begin answering the questions which will be submitted to their physicians. It simplifies healthcare management for some patients.
IoT Medical Applications
This application can accept different types of health data from multiple devices and share them with providers. The data gathered could be glucose levels from a glucometer, heart rate and ECG from a smartwatch, blood pressure from a blood pressure cuff, and so on. These devices are connected to the application wirelessly and exchange data.
Thanks to advances in healthcare cloud computing, some IoT-based medical apps store the information in a secure cloud accessible by designated providers. This type of remote patient monitoring system has shown a lot of promise for the future of remote patient monitoring app development.
Telehealth solutions enable patients to book physician consultations online and have the same virtually. They don’t need to go to a clinic or hospital in-person for consultation. Patients can securely have such virtual visits through telehealth apps using their smartphones or computers. On the physicians’ end, these applications might be integrated with EHR systems to enable them to view patient records during a virtual consultation. The integration facilitates seamless electronic data exchange, which helps improve the quality of patient management.
Remote Patient Monitoring App Development Process
Like every software development, building an RPM application involves basic steps that all companies follow. Let’s explore this process in detail –
Build a Working Prototype
A prototype is like a working model of the application. It would include a general skeleton of the application, allowing testers to get a feel for its work. A prototype will allow the developers to find out about the features and functions of the app and know if any changes are needed. In the case of a newly founded remote patient monitoring development company, this is generally shown to investors, who might then decide to provide capital for further development. The best part – a prototype reveals where the app needs improvement and allows developers to make changes and updates.
Develop the Physician’s End of the Application
While the purpose of the remote patient monitoring app development process would be to help patients receive care, there is also the physician’s side to consider. The providers would be using the application to view the medical data generated by patients and make decisions. They may also use the app to manage appointments and offer virtual consultations.
Medical informatics is a popular feature for the providers’ end of an RPM app. It enables them to assess patients’ medical data and garner useful insights. These insights then help with diagnoses and treatment. Additionally, it would also be beneficial for chronic care management (CCM).
Finalize the Features
After the prototype has been accepted and tested, it is time to decide on the application’s list of features. This process would normally be backed up by comprehensive market research to know which features would be most well-received by patients and doctors. Subsequently, the development would begin programming the application according to the specifications finalized.
Code the Application
This is the step where the developers code the application. It normally involves one or more teams of programmers led by an experienced project manager. The coding process can be done by developers in-house or contracted over to temporary staff. If the outsourced staff is overseas, the differences in time zone would need to be considered while making everyday management decisions.
This step is necessary for every kind of software, whether for healthcare or not. The testing is carried out after the development has been concluded to know if it works as intended. It is important to test against established criteria to ensure its functionality. Since it would be for remote telehealth patient monitoring, ensuring HIPAA compliance is vital.
Medical software that violates HIPAA regulations would face severe legal consequences as it would endanger patients’ confidential data.
This is the last step in the entire lifecycle of the remote patient monitoring app development process. This is when the application is ready to be launched. Its deployment would be carried out at a clinic, integrated with existing healthcare information systems. In the case of single-physician medical practices, it would be merged with practice management solutions.
Following its successful deployment, the company that developed it would conduct one final systems test to see if everything works. Subsequently, the company would also train the staff to use the RPM application.
This would be a continuing process in which the company that built the application would be available for support in case of technical difficulties. The support would include timely software updates and adding new features depending on requirements.
The pandemic propelled the concept of RPM from a novel idea to an essential part of the healthcare industry in less than a year. It is no surprise that the market for remote patient monitoring app development has since then grown at a blinding speed. As providers and policymakers continue to expand its framework, RPM will only grow this entire decade.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.