Why we develop Teledermatology apps
Teledermatology, a concept that has been around for over 20 years, is currently experiencing a renaissance. Like many specialists, dermatologists are concentrated in metropolitan areas, making it difficult for patients outside of these areas to see them. Also, primary care providers in more rural areas often lack an easy way to get a second opinion from a skin specialist when treating one of their local patients. In addition to that, the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the need for remote patient care and remote monitoring of patients’ skin condition, now and in the future.
At Topflight, we focus on teledermatology app development to fill that need. Remote dermatology presents an exciting opportunity at the intersection of mobile apps, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing. Recently, we built an engaging dermatology app that inspires customers to better daily skincare routines based on our client’s DNA interpretation service. We also know the ins and outs of developing HIPAA compliant apps in this space. And lastly, we understand the needs of businesses and business leaders developing cutting-edge technology such as telehealth apps.
Developing a teledermatology mobile app
As with any other telehealth app, one key to success is to put the user’s needs at the center of the development process. Our app design and product teams are aware of this and can craft outstanding user experiences that feel unique and stem from empathy to our clients and end-users. From our experience in developing teledermatology mobile apps, we know that there are several critical aspects to consider:
The patients have to be able to take pictures of their skin. While some skin conditions that won’t require additional hardware besides the built-in smartphone cam, a holistic teledermatology app should be able to work with a mobile dermoscopy. These can be simple lenses or Bluetooth-powered devices, enabling the user to take detailed, sub-dermal pictures. Following a store-and-forward (SAF) approach, patients will be able to transfer high-resolution images directly to the dermatologist via the app.
Visual patterns of common skin diseases are fairly well defined. That gives you the ability to develop an app that lets patients self-assess their skin condition before engaging a provider. Such self-assessment is often guided with a diagnosis decision tree — an approach we commonly implement for clients in other medical fields.
Teledermatology consultation with a specialist
Like in any telehealth app, patients will eventually want to engage with a dermatologist through a video call or chat. At Topflight, we work with services like Twilio and Agora to provide secure, low-latency video communication between provider and patient. By integrating these services, we are able to provide uninterrupted high-quality calls even in poor network conditions. Teledermatology virtual check-ins and e-visits can either be implemented instantaneously or scheduled ahead of time.
Remote patient treatment tracking
While a patient is being treated for a skin condition remotely, the dermatologist will want to receive updates in the form of images. These updates can consist of images and additional questionnaires to help the specialist analyze the patient’s current state. We’ll work with you to build an app that ensures patients share timely updates while giving them the feeling of being well cared for.
Independent of the features of the mobile teledermatology app, it is imperative to keep the patient’s information secure following HIPAA regulations. We have tremendous experience dealing with healthcare apps and can help you nail that aspect as well. From a technology standpoint, we build dermatology apps for Android, iOS, and the web.
For mobile apps, we either use cross-platform frameworks like React Native or develop native apps. The decision on a platform and framework will be largely governed by the requirements of the imaging feature of the mobile app.
Our Healthcare Clients
How to build the best dermatology app for providers
If you want to build the best teledermatology app for providers, there are two different provider use cases you have to consider:
- Primary care providers who want to get a second opinion from a dermatologist.
- Dermatologists who engage with patients and other providers remotely.
Naturally, dermatologists are more effective in diagnosing skin conditions than general practitioners. For GPs to provide optimal care to their patient base, they will want a teledermatology app that allows them to gather feedback from specialists or digitally refer their patients. Dermatologists will want an app that will enable them to collect feedback from specialists on skin conditions.
Therefore, a general practitioner will care about an easy-to-use app that guides them at a minimal level to take the exact pictures a dermatologist wants to see for diagnosing skin conditions. In terms of imaging and collection of patient data, this use case has many parallels to what patients would expect from a teledermatology app.
A dermatologist, on the other hand, will want an app that works on a tablet or even a web app, allowing them to inspect the high-resolution images they receive either from other doctors or patients. Further, dermatologists will want the ability to talk to patients directly via a chat or video stream. And lastly, dermatologists will also want an ability to ask a colleague for a second opinion on a case.
Independent of the specific use case, both types of providers will want an app that keeps protected health information (PHI) secure according to HIPAA regulations and connects the teledermatology app to EHR or EMR systems following FHIR or HL7 standards.
With our vast experience in building medical apps, we are able to develop the right user experience for providers while also delivering on the requirements the healthcare ecosystem imposes on apps.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in teledermatology apps
Teledermatology app development often offers a strong case for the use of artificial intelligence. In large part, this is because dermatology as a discipline relies strongly on visual analysis. Image analysis and classification are some of the most advanced areas of AI and thus lend themselves very well to teledermatology.
One potential application of artificial intelligence in dermatology apps is pre-screening. With the growing demand in telehealth, it will become vital to pre-screen patients in dermatology apps to manage that demand. Patients would go through a screening process on their phones. They would submit images and other data to a centralized AI that determines the severity of the case and schedules patient interactions with dermatologists accordingly. That allows doctors to focus on critical cases first. Non-critical patients can be managed remotely through the app until they can see a dermatologist.
Another application of AI in teledermatology will be a diagnosis itself. Existing dermatology machine learning (ML) models have shown high success rates in diagnosing skin cancer, for example. The combination of ML algorithms and continuous human feedback allows you to build a powerful classifier that can assist dermatologists in diagnosing a variety of skin conditions remotely.
Independent of what artificial intelligence solution you are planning to add to your teledermatology app, it is imperative for you to work with experts in the field of AI and healthcare. At Topflight, we have a team that excels in both areas. Our machine learning experts and data scientists will pick the right approach to tackle the problem you want to solve.
Commonly, we apply a combination of off-the-shelf algorithms and training of unique models. And we always aim to find solutions that have outstanding results and that are adequate to your budget and delivery timeline expectations.
What Sets Us Apart
The key difference between Topflight and other mobile app development shops is a strong focus on building technology in the healthcare space. We believe that you have to be an expert in this field to develop best-in-class teledermatology applications. This is something a regular software development company won’t be able to do easily.
We recognize that the healthcare space is changing, and mobile and web healthcare apps such as teledermatology apps are allowing doctors to provide better care. Teledermatology is advancing rapidly on the back of technology. Dermatologists get access to a wider range of patients, primary care providers, and data, which creates a better dermatological care ecosystem.
Transparency in Our Process:
How we develop teledermatology apps
This is how we’ll create your app
Before we can start any design or development, it is imperative to understand exactly what type of a teledermatology app you want to develop. We focus on your product vision, your business goals, and stakeholders’ needs. But we don’t stop there. Part of the discovery process is picking the perfect tech stack that is viable in the long term. That means we analyze off-the-shelf components such as APIs, libraries, and figure out if you need machine learning or blockchain expertise for your teledermatology app.
Deliverables: detailed specifications, an estimate for product development, and the tech stack recommendations.
User Experience (UX) Design
We like to be thorough. That is why we don’t immediately go into development mode for your new teledermatology app. After product discovery, we start a rapid prototyping phase to create the perfect user experience for your app. In this phase, we are able to quickly iterate on the features and ideas that are considered vital for the MVP to find the perfect setup.
This phase is jointly executed by our teledermatology app developers, designers, and product managers. Together with the detailed specifications, the UX prototype serves as the baseline for the following design and development phases.
Deliverables: Invision prototypes.
User Interface (UI) Design
With the UX prototype and the specifications in hand, our UI designers get to work. This is where your teledermatology app starts coming to life. We work on colors, branding, animations, iconography. Our designers will add that pinch of magic to your app that you were hoping for to delight your customers. In the end, a visually appealing design is one of the keys to a successful app, and we will deliver that.
Deliverables: design as individual files and interactive Invision prototype, logo, icons, and micro animations.
Coding and Programming
Now we do the heavy lifting and start implementing the actual application. At this point, you will have a single point of contact that walks you through every step of the development life cycle, making it a smooth experience on your end. Our teledermatology app developers follow agile principles. The work is split into individual tasks that are worked on in 2-week sprints. Our process is completely transparent, so you will always know what is happening. At the end of each sprint, the project manager (your single point of contact) will check in with you to update you on the progress, demoing the current app and sharing a report on the estimates and timelines.
Deliverables: source code in a Git repo, a beta version of the app in a staging environment
Quality Control and Testing
We take several steps to guarantee we deliver a high-quality teledermatology application to your clients. Our developers will already have written unit tests that verify the functionality of your app automatically. On top of that, we are performing internal and external QA led by our dedicated test team. As the last step, we will involve you in the test process to make sure that what we delivered is an app according to your expectations. The goal of this phase is to remove any obstacles in the user’s journey before we go live.
Deliverables: production-ready teledermatology app.
Launch and Beyond
At this point, we are ready to help you launch the developed teledermatology app. We will manage the mobile app release on the App Store and Google Play for you, and deploy any server-side component into a production environment. Because of the dynamic nature of mobile apps, our clients choose to work with us long term to support the ongoing development and improvement of their apps.
We are ready to work on any new features you want to implement, monitor and scale your servers as app usage increases and instantly fix any issues that might crop up.