Build vs Buy a Telemedicine Platform: 5 Crucial Considerations
Telemedicine adoption rates have skyrocketed. Both patients as well as healthcare providers are increasingly relying on virtual consultations.
The consumer adoption of telemedicine has gone up from 11 percent in 2019 to 49 percent in 2020. The total healthcare spend 2020 is projected to exceed $250 billion.
Telemedicine technology has finally gone mainstream and is here to stay even after the pandemic ends.
However, when it comes to integrating telemedicine in the healthcare delivery workflow, the build vs buy debate is rampant.
What should you choose? A pre-existing, market ready telemedicine software or a custom developed telemedicine platform?
This question plagues every single decision maker who is looking to adopt telemedicine. While it is a crucial choice that will decide the course that telemedicine takes in your practice and the level of success it is able to attain, being informed can clearly help.
Here are crucial considerations that you need to take into account when deciding between build vs buy a telemedicine platform.
1. Time to market of the telemedicine software
Off the shelf telemedicine platforms are market ready software. Since there is no design and development phase involved, time is only spent in analyzing the different options available and choosing the one that would best fit your needs.
In case of building a custom telemedicine platform, the time to market is considerably higher. From requirements gathering to competitive analysis and finally deciding on the features to be included in your software, every step of the development process requires time for planning and implementation.
If the target is to reach the market faster, buying a telemedicine software can be considered as an alternative. However, if you want to build a telemedicine platform that is customized to your medical practice, going forward with an MVP approach is the best option.
MVP is the minimum viable product. It contains only those features that are deemed necessary for the software By adding only the must have features in the first iteration of the telemedicine software, you can ensure faster development time while creating scalability.
2. Control over the features in the telemedicine platform
Market ready telemedicine softwares have generic and somewhat rigid set of features. Most of the vendors offer limited customization and the cost of adding custom features when available, is very high.
If you want to include specific features in your telemedicine software, you are often dependent on the vendor. It is the vendors who decide what features will be included in the software product and when.
Custom telemedicine software development on the other hand, give you complete control over the features to be included within your product. Depending on the need of the particular feature, you get to decide whether it would be included in the MVP phase or later during the development cycle.
When you choose to build your own telemedicine software, you can also integrate advanced features that your practice may benefit from such as chatbots, artificial intelligence and analytics, etc. It also allows for integration with existing medical software that your practice currently uses.
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If the generic features available in the ready to use telemedicine software meet your practice requirements, buying is an option that makes sense.
However, if your practice requires specific telemedicine features that aren’t readily available or require high levels of customization, building your own software is the way to go.
3. Budget requirements for telemedicine
Budgetary constraints are a huge factor to consider when deciding between building or buying your telemedicine platform.
While the time to market and upfront costs in case of buying a telemedicine software are lower, the associated subscription fees elevate the costs over the lifecycle of the telemedicine business.
Custom development, on the other hand, comes with apparently high upfront development costs. However, the cost of development is compensated by the flexibility it offers and the lifetime value of the self-owned software product.
4. Flexibility and scalability of the platform
Off-the-shelf telemedicine software follows a cookie cutter approach. Irrespective of the vendor, the user experience they provide and the kind of features that they include are the same. Buying a telemedicine software ranks lower in terms of flexibility and scalability.
Building a telemedicine platform, on the other hand, offers greater versatility and flexibility. It can cater to the patient’s and physician’s specific needs and provide unique and engaging healthcare experiences.
Iterative development also allows you to scale your product more effectively. It gives the development team a chance to incorporate the user feedback into the product during the next round of development.
Not only does it make the software more scalable, it also allows you to pivot if necessary, multiplying the chances of success for your telemedicine business and delivering better user experiences.
5. Ownership of the product
In case of market-ready telemedicine software, the ownership of the product remains with the vendors. They retain complete control over the intellectual property and the fate of the software as well as the integration of features within the software in the future, remains in their hands.
Building a telemedicine platform gives you the complete ownership of the software being developed. Irrespective of whether you have an in-house development team or whether you outsource the development, you retain the ownership of the software.
This results in complete control over the product development process and greater levels of customization resulting in user satisfaction.
Building vs Buying a Telemedicine Platform: The Final Verdict
At the end of the day, building your own telemedicine platform is always going to be more advantageous than buying any market-ready software.
The advantages that buying offers like faster time to market and lower upfront costs are offsetted by the advantages that building your own platform offers like greater flexibility and customization.
Still in two minds about telemedicine software development? Our team of expert telemedicine consultants can help you in dispelling them.
Get in touch for a telemedicine consultation with our team today.