Remote patient monitoring (RPM) software is an effective tool for healthcare organizations. Several studies report that using RPM for chronic diseases treatment risk of hospital readmissionsdiminished by 76%, and patient satisfaction levels increased by 90%. Moreover, 38% of healthcare organizations using RPM claim they reduced costs by 17%.
The remote patient monitoring market size was estimated at USD 1.2 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow by USD 4.1 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 19.7%.
Now is a perfect time to develop a remote patient monitoring software. According to Spyglass Consulting research, 88% of providershave already invested or are going to invest in PRM to support patients in severe conditions. This interest will only grow, considering RPM is covered by Medicaid since April 2021. In this article, you’ll find:
- What is RPM, and how is it different from telemedicine?
- Types of RPM applications.
- Key features an RPM app should have.
- How to develop a remote patient monitoring app.
- Valuable tips on RPM development.
- The cost of RPM development.
What’s the difference between RPM and telemedicine?
Healthcare applications developers should understand the scope of definitions concerning digital medicine. Telehealth, telemedicine, and RPM: what part do they take in healthcare? Before we give you an explanation, look at the following scheme:
As you can see, there’s a hierarchy of key definitions. People usually confuse telehealth and telemedicine, but these two definitions aren’t interchangeable. Telehealth is more common; it usually includes a wide range of digital activities in healthcare such as remote robotic surgery, data exchange between two or more facilities, remote monitoring, video consultations, tele education, etc. In contrast, telemedicine defines the set of tools to perform care delivery remotely. Remote patient monitoring tools are part of telemedicine, while telemedicine is a part of telehealth.
Remote patient monitoring software is a computer program for tracking patients’ health conditions at a distance. RPM devices collect patient data and send it to a practitioner to help them deliver cures timely and more precisely. Now, let’s move on and figure out what types of RPM applications are there.
Types of remote patient monitoring apps
It’s not so difficult to understand the RPM types because each of them performs specific medicine tasks. Among the most common types are:
- Medical questionnaire apps
- Video consultation apps
- Internet of Things
- Precise medical care apps
Medical questionnaire apps
Medical questionnaire application is a digital platform, usually mobile-friendly, which offers tools for data collection through a bunch of questions to the patient. The application helps practitioners to reduce paperwork, save time on patient interviews and transmit data securely. Medical questionnaires are considered an RPM tool, as patients can answer the questions from the comfort of their homes and get treatment plans from doctors remotely.
Medical questionnaire specific features include:
- Questionnaire forms builder,
- Image capture,
- Signature capture,
- EHR integration.
There are several solutions at the market you can take as inspiration to develop your remote patient monitoring app. One of such solutions is GoCanvas which offers mobile forms applications with a repository of pre-made medical forms and a form builder to facilitate healthcare workers’ workflow.
Video consultation apps
Video consultation apps (or telemedicine solutions) empower healthcare givers with digital video calls to communicate with their patients. Video conference solutions save time on face-to-face consultations, make medical checkups easier for patients with specific medical conditions, and ease practitioners’ workflow.
Usually, telemedicine application has:
- a video call tool,
- a messaging tool,
- a scheduling tool,
- a booking tool.
Look how Doxy.me made a simple telehealth solution for healthcare organizations. The application helps practitioners and patients start secure communication in a few clicks.
IoT healthcare apps
The concept of the Internet of things is broad. Generally, IoT implies electronic devices for providing connectivity and data exchange. When integrated with remote patient monitoring, IoT collects biometric data such as heart rate, blood pressure, glucose level, etc. IoT tracks health indicators in patients’ everyday life. It helps to detect alarming changes in patient conditions and take preventive actions. It also increases healthcare accessibility as RPM becomes available to patients with mobility issues or severe illnesses.
The IoT devices for remote patient monitoring are microsampling devices, wearables, glucose monitoring devices, etc.
Here’s an example of how one provider offers a device kit and an application for primary and preventive healthcare. CMED, the RPM solution from Bangladesh, provides a smart glucometer, pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor, and more, integrated with a mobile application for healthcare givers convenience.
Precise medicalcare apps
Precision medicine is the opposite of the one-size-fits-all approach for disease treatment. Precision medicine, when developing treatment plans, takes into account specific patient data such as genes variability, lifestyle, molecular or cellular indicators. Precise medical care apps collect patient data solely for research purposes. There’s no patient-doctor interaction; all the information is anonymous and serves to group patients by common indicators and develop precise treatments for subgroups.
Apps for precision medicine collect data from patients and send it to the analytics centers. Cara Care app, for instance, offers a solution for stomach disease treatment. The application tracks food habits and symptoms and makes data-driven suggestions on a personalized diet for patients.
Essential RPM application features
Remote patient monitoring software brings a specific value for medical workers and patients. As RPM serves for health data collection and interpretation and patient-physician communication, so the basic functionality should provide:
- easy-to-use data collection tools,
- secure data transmission and storage,
- user-friendly data analytics and interpretation tools,
- stable and accessible communication tools.
Let’s see how you can embody the above-given aspects when developing remote patient monitoring software.
Physicians work with patient data daily. Manually collecting and analyzing all the data could take a lot of resources. Thanks to technology, healthcare workers can speed up data tracking and analytics. Remote patient monitoring apps take different health information from blood pressure and pulse to glucose level and oxygen saturation.
Depending on the type of RPM, software developers could provide data tracking and transmission with:
- forms and questionnaires,
- HealthKit and GoogleKit,
- wearable sensors connected by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,
- SNA conventions implementation,
- software API for smooth integration with EHR, etc.
Pro tip: You could empower your application with AI-based computational algorithms to help caregivers get data-driven insights as fast as possible. From providing personalized healthcare to preventive medicine, artificial intelligence can boost healthcare development.
It’s hard enough to organize work communication at a distance effectively. The common challenges people face when interacting via digital resources are miscommunication and lack of collaboration. Imagine how difficult it must be for practitioners to develop trusting relationships with patients sitting before the monitors. That’s why software developers should provide accessible and stable digital communication between a patient and physician.
The feature set for seamless communication includes video calls, real-time chats, audio calls, screen sharing, file sharing, etc. To add value to your future application, think of the answers to the following questions:
- How will your app deal with network disconnection?
- How to provide H.D. resolution and glitch-free video calls?
- Should you develop a separate mobile app or provide a cross-browser-compatible interface?
Pro tip: Your application should satisfy the needs and requirements of your end-user, so conduct market research to get some ideas on what features could boost your software promotion.
Usually, healthcare organizations prefer on-premise data storage, as it gives them more control over the data and simplifies access to it. But as hospitals and clinics become smart, the amount of patient data grows. The increase of data volumes evokes scalability and maintenance issues. Cloud data storages are a secure and straightforward way to address these issues.
You can integrate your RPM app with public cloud storage providers as AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. These companies provide secure, scalable, and budget solutions for the healthcare industry.
Notifications and automatic reminders are crucial features for remote patient monitoring apps. First and foremost, timely received notifications about unexpected changes in patients’ vital signs help practitioners take necessary measures before it’s too late. Besides, notification features increase user experience and enhance data collection.
Developers can provide a notification feature in push notifications via email, SMS or automatic voice calls, etc.
RPM software development: a step-by-step guide
Remote patient monitoring software development requires a lot of knowledge and time. We’ve highlighted five main steps to follow through the RPM development process.
Step 1.Conducta research
To develop a practical remote patient monitoring application, you should target a specific audience. Conduct market research to find your niche and understand its needs and requirements. Consider collecting the following information during your market research:
- identify your key consumers, their needs and challenges,
- assess the market size and its price sensitivity,
- consider your target audience technical skills,
- check the solutions present in the market.
Based on the insights you’ll get from market research, you can outline your RPM key value, the feature set to provide this value, and set measurable goals for the developers.
Step 2.Decide what featuresyour RPM app should have
We’ve already mentioned that any RPM core consists of communication features and data management features. Depending on the type of RPM software you develop and the requirements of your target audience, the features could differ. Let’s summarize the above-given information.
Step 3.Make aprototype first
When developing software, you might want to make the process as efficient as possible. Prototyping helps to quickly build software key components and test it out with less money and time than building the whole product at once. You can apply an MVP (Minimum Valuable Product) concept to your development process. An MVP is the first version of your application with enough features to bring value. An MVP concept implies conducting several development iterations based on the feedback received from early adopters or focus groups. In other words, an MVP should include only vital features for your app, and then you can test it on your potential users, collect feedback and improve functionality.
This approach helps to make an evidence-based product that meets market demands. Cycle development mitigates errors and unexpected crashes, shortens development time, and facilitates scalability. As a result, you get a fully-fledged product that is well-tested and stable.
Step 4.Finalizethe UX/UI
Keep in mind that an easy-to-use interface is also a critical value for users. According to PWC, 32% of customers claimed a single bad experience is enough for them to leave the brand they loved. A simple and intuitive user interface provides a better customer experience. So, when developing your MVP, test design usability as well. It’ll speed up the development process twice.
Step 5.Final testingand release
After several development iterations, you’re ready to make final tests and release your product. Just remember to prepare a maintenance strategy. Your application should be continually tested for bugs and breaches. Regularly update your RPM to keep your users satisfied, and you’ll reach success.
Tips for a successful remote patient monitoring app
Constant improvement is an excellent strategy for creating successful software. When you’re eager to make your product better, users start to trust you, and your audience grows. We’ve collected our best advice to help you improve your remote patient monitoring app.
Tip 1.Use human-centereddesign
User-centered design concept makes usability goals paramount in the development process. The user is a crucial figure whose demands define the app’s outcomes. This approach is applicable both for technologies and interfaces. The RPM audience is dispersed, so you’ll need to create a patient-practitioner-centered UI / UX hybrid. Here’s some of design best practice for healthcare applications:
- display heavy analytic results with simple graphics,
- make essential app’s features easy to access,
- divide user tasks into sub-tasks,
- choose peaceful colors and readable fonts,
- set the mood with a unique U.I. kit.
Tip 2.Grant usersoffline access
Remote patient monitoring should ensure data collection regardless of the app’s access to the Internet. Create offline application support mechanisms to avoid any abrupt disruption. You can also reduce your server dependency by setting up local notifications.
Tip 3.Remember aboutsecurity compliance
Healthcare organizations work with Protected Health Information (PHI) which includes such patient-sensitive data as names, addresses, SSN, medical record numbers, biometric identifiers, etc. As a healthcare service provider, you should comply with legal regularities which protect PHI. Here are a few protocols you should pay attention to:
- HIPAA (or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Privacy Rule regulates the rules and disclosure of PHI.
- FDA (or Food and Drug Administration) establishes guidelines for medical device security.
- IEC 62304 is a standard that defines medical software lifecycle development requirements.
- ISO 27001 is an international standard for information security.
How much does it cost to make an RPM application?
Developing remote patient monitoring software takes a lot of time and resources. But given the market demand for RPM applications, your startup could quickly be paid off. Take Optimize.health, an RPM startup from Seattle, as an example. The company has raised $15.6M from a Series A round in 2020 and increased its revenue by more than 800% compared to 2019.
The final development cost will vary depending on the type of RPM application you want to build. The main variables influencing the price are:
- platform complexity,
- the number of features required,
- development team size.
Building a healthcare app usually takes 5,000+ hours, so that the basic RPM app will set you back around $50,000-70,000. Depending on the development team location, the numbers can differ.
Keep in mind that third-party integrations (APIs or medical devices) will cost you additional spendings. Compliance certifications should also be considered as hidden costs.
Our experience in RPM development
Riseapps team has a proven experience in developing secure healthcare applications. Among our cases, you can find an application for medical consultation services, a fitness activity tracking app with Apple Health integration, a remote patient monitoring module, and more.
Carlo RPM is a HIPAA compliant RPM module we’ve created for a trusted U.S. healthcare organization. The goal was to create an efficient data management application easily integrated into a healthcare giver’s daily workflow. Riseapps provided a web application enhanced with sophisticated algorithms wrapped in clear U.I. to ensure timely alerts concerning patients’ data changes.
Technology is disrupting the healthcare industry nowadays by offering solutions that change how we receive medical care. RPM software contributes to patients with chronic diseases and mobility issues, provides preventive medicine with valuable data, and raises people’s awareness of their health. Now is a good time to invest in remote patient monitoring software development, so if you have an idea of bringing value to the healthcare industry, positive outcomes won’t be long in coming.
How to developremote patient monitoring software?
Remote patient monitoring software development’s essential roadmap consists of 5 main steps. To create your RPM, you should:
- 1. Conduct a research
- 2. Decide what features your RPM app should have
- 3. Make a prototype first
- 4. Finalize the UI/UX
- 5. Final testing and release
What are the types of remote patient monitoring apps?
Among the most common RPM types are medical questionnaire apps, video consultation apps, Internet of Things, precise medical care apps.
How much does it cost to develop a remote patient monitoring app?
Remote patient monitoring software development usually takes 5,000+ hours, so that the basic RPM app will cost around $50,000-70,000. Keep in mind that third-party integrations (APIs or medical devices) will cost you additional spendings. Compliance certifications should also be considered as hidden costs.