Why Telehealth is Gaining Popularity in 2020?
Telehealth is not a new concept!
Healthcare consultation over the telephone has been in practice for decades. The advancements in technology have improved the consultation process as doctors can now easily share digital prescriptions, X-rays, and other reports with the patients and their peer doctors with a few clicks.
2020 has been a very unfortunate year for all of us. We are still battling for saving lives and finding the ultimate solution to contain the virus. But ironically, it has also given a boost to the healthcare industry, especially Telehealth — Online Doctor Consultation. Telehealth is among the top niches for an online consultation business.
The telehealth industry is expected to grow exponentially over the next eight years, reaching $32.71 billion by 2027.
Let’s take a look at the journey of telehealth from 1948–2016:
In this blog, we will be discussing in detail — Why Telehealth is a good business to start in 2020? At the end of the blog, you will be able to answer all these questions:
- What problems can Telehealth solve?
- What is the Business & Revenue Model of a Telehealth Platform?
- What are the important features for a Telehealth Platform?
- How to build a Telehealth platform and which ones are the popular Telehealth websites?
Is Telehealth a Good Business Idea to Start in 2020?
The number of Coronavirus patients will slow down gradually. This factor raises a doubt, the concern is if Telehealth will be as popular after containing the virus as it is today.
As discussed earlier, Telehealth is not a new concept and it was already rising year by year. The pandemic has just fueled the growth as it is the safest way to get a doctor’s consultation without stepping out. Below is what the experts believe!
“The healthcare industry saw an unprecedented rise in telehealth amidst the coronavirus pandemic. This trend will continue, according to industry leaders at the Value-Based Care Summit.” — mhealthintelligence.com
Let’s take a look at the following graph and learn about the Telehealth Market estimates for different regions:
Telehealth for sure is helping us to reduce the spread of the virus but it will keep growing even after the pandemic ends.
What problems can Telehealth solve?
Telehealth can solve the following problems, especially in a pandemic kind of situation,
i) Reducing the Workload of Doctors: Telehealth reduces the workload of the doctors who are working in hospitals, especially government hospitals. People who are unwell can easily consult a doctor online through a telehealth platform. The doctors can check the symptoms virtually and share a digital prescription as well. In case the situation gets complicated, then the patient can be asked to go to the hospital for an in-person checkup.
ii) Saves Transportation Cost & Time: If a patient is not in a condition to travel long distances, telehealth can help him/her get proper consultation from doctors across the globe. This way they are saving a lot of time and money that they might have spent to visit a doctor living in another region. It also reduced the chances of catching a new illness while travelling.
iii) Remote Collaboration: Telehealth can also help small and large health institutions collaborate with each other. For example, a small government hospital in a small rural area can collaborate with large healthcare institutions for assistance in expert treatments.
What is the Business & Revenue Model of a Telehealth Platform?
A basic Telehealth platform works like any other online consultation platform. Here I am sharing the business model diagram for a better understanding of the general operational flow:
Unlike other online business models, a marketplace business model required lesser investment. However, there is always a scope of scaling your business and for that, you can make additional investments.
Let’s proceed and understand the various sources through which you can make money if you own a Telehealth platform:
- Sponsored Placement: The sponsored placement method can be used the admin to sponsor a doctor or physician on different web pages like home page, search listing, etc. The admin can charge the fee from the sponsored doctor or consultant based on the time duration or the number of clicks.
- Commission: The admin can earn commission through the appointments scheduled using the platform. Usually, the payment directly gets submitted to the admin and he further shares the revenue with doctors after deducting his commission.
- Advertisement: The banner advertisement is almost similar to the sponsored placement option. The only difference is that the sponsored placement option is used by the doctors who are already registered at the platform and banner advertisement can be done by anyone who offers products or services related to the industry.
The fee amount can be calculated on the basis of impressions or a fixed monthly billing model can also be followed.
What are the important features for a Telehealth Platform?
The integrated features play an important role in the success of an online doctor consultation platform. Based on the top trends in the digital healthcare industry, here I am going to share the must-have features for a Telehealth platform with you:
- Multilingual & Multicurrency: If these two features are integrated on your Telehealth platform, then you can easily acquire the users from across the globe. These features are very helpful in scaling a business to a larger level because you offer people to use the language and currency that they are familiar with.
- Doctor’s Details Page: There should be separate pages for all the registered doctors where they can showcase all the necessary details about them, their qualifications, experience, etc.
- Listing Page: There should be a page where the visitors can enter a query. Using options like filter and sorting, visitors can find suitable doctors. The listing page can include exclusive details like ratings, number of patients served, consultation charges, etc.
- Booking & Checkout: If a visitor is booking an appointment, then the payment is to be done for the same. For this, there should be proper operational flow through which the process is done in a flawless manner.
- Multiple Payment Gateways: People always prefer a mode of payment over others. The choice of payment method differs from person to person so, it is necessary to integrate multiple payment gateways. When your customer uses their favourite mode of payment, they feel secured.
- Consultation Tools: For a platform that serves online consultation, video conferencing is the most important tool. Additionally, there should be features like file sharing, collaborative documents, text chat option, etc.
The above-mentioned features are the most important once but I also suggest additional features like Free consultation for first time user, Gift cards, etc.
How to build a Telehealth platform?
There are basically 3 ways to build an online platform including a Telehealth platform. These three ways are:
- Code yourself from scratch — This method is very time consuming and you need complete knowledge of coding.
- Hire a developer — This option is similar to the above one, the only difference is that you are not coding yourself. It will also take a lot of time as the developer will also build the platform from scratch.
- Ready-made solutions — This is the perfect one! This option is affordable, can be implemented quickly and you also get free trials and demos. You can get the platform customised as per your business requirements.
Here is an image showing the most popular Telehealth websites:
The current Covid-19 pandemic situation makes it even more important to start Telehealth platforms as hospitals and medical staff are facing difficult times. If you are an entrepreneur and interested to invest in the healthcare industry, you can build your own Telehealth platform and serve patients remotely.