Confused! To Buy or to Build Telehealth Infrastructure

The telehealth industry is set for exponential growth with a projected market value of $3.5 billion by 2021.


Fueled by a global pandemic, large scale health infrastructure requirements, rapid medication and demographic shifts, telehealth and digital tools for healthcare have become the need of the hour for healthcare organisations and start-ups. It is high time that health businesses and start-ups have a clear vision of their goals for telehealth infrastructure as they grow.

Here, we will look into whether it is beneficial to buy telehealth options from a third-party provider or build one’s own system, and the government programs running on this model.

Using Third-Party Telehealth System vs Building Your Own

If you are a healthcare tech start-up, you may have to rely on many stand-alone digital apps to deliver essential telemedicine services to patients. In most cases, using and installing a ready-made health application requires at least a complete electronic patient record (EHR) system and a telemedicine solution. However, healthcare companies, especially start-ups, need a wide range of more straightforward options that are effective and customised to particular medical needs.

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Evaluating the critical differences between Made-from-Scratch versus Ready Made Telehealth systems can help you identify the best fit for you.

Pricing for Made-from-Scratch versus Ready Made Telehealth System

A ready-made third-party telemedicine application cost less in the short-term perspective. However, subscriptions and transaction payments snowball into a large amount over time, unlike a customised-developed telemedicine solution.

Ready-to-use telemedicine providers charge health businesses on a different basis, such as per minute, per provider, or offer a flat monthly fee. Regardless of the charging model, the monthly payments increase the overall cost of the telemedicine system.

On the other hand, the price is lower for personalised and made from scratch telemedicine programs in the long haul, although their initial investments are higher than ready-made solutions.

Varying Features – Too little or too much?

In terms of functionality, temporary systems and custom telemedicine applications can be very similar. In reality, however, you generally get more resources in a ready-made telemedicine solution than you require. This sometimes hinders the utility of the application as the overloading of features hides essential tools.

The made from scratch telemedicine applications are very useful here, as you can choose the functions you want to use. You can order your telemedicine developer to build an application architecture that will allow updates tuned to your requirements.

You get the exact features you need and integrations with a custom solution. In contrast, a ready-made telemedicine program would always come with something that you don’t need and may miss a few things that you do need.

Government E-Health and Telehealth Programmes in India

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has taken several initiatives to use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve the efficiency of the public health system.

Some of them are:

National Health Portal

The National Health Portal (NHP) provides citizens and stakeholders with comprehensive health information in many languages to raise public health awareness.

e-Hospital@NIC

e-Hospital@NIC is a hospital management system based on the procedures of public hospitals. It is software that covers essential areas of medical work such as patient care, laboratory services, exchange of workflow documents, human resources and hospital patient data management.

Mera Aspataal (Patient Feedback) Application

Mera Aspataal patient feedback application allows citizens to improve the range of medical services by providing feedback on the quality of hospital services and facilities. Ultimately, this will help build a patient-driven, responsible and accountable healthcare system.

Latest State Government Initiatives

Odisha Government Telemedicine Services

The Odisha government has started telemedicine services for people under home isolation. The state government is working hard to curb COVID-19 spread and meet the growing demand for hospital beds.

Government of Haryana – ‘Sanjeevani Pariyojana

In association with Deloitte, the government of Haryana has launched the Sanjeevani Pariyojana (Life Project). It is a supervised virtual home care program that aims to help people quickly overcome the mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 using online early healing and treatment.

In essence, telehealth services have an excellent future for health start-ups, and to deal with medical emergencies like COVID, these specialised services are the practical tools of help. It will depend on particular businesses, their immediate demands and future goals to choose their telehealth models.

But one notion that we can say for sure is that custom made telehealth alternatives will be more advantageous in the long run and will help the start-ups grow substantially while enabling their trust brand.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alumnus of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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