Connecting with a qualified medical professional via telemedicine is an increasingly popular and practical option for many patients who choose to visit their doctor via video, rather than in-person. In fact, according to a just-released survey by The Advisory Board Company, more than 75% of U.S. healthcare consumers welcome the idea of virtual visits with physicians.
Here’s the thing, though – for people who live in largely rural regions, who might be located several hours away from the nearest care provider – telemedicine is catching on quickly because it is the only option that they have to access quality care quickly. And if you are delivering telemedicine to rural locations, it is critical that your video experience runs smoothly and reliably even over low bandwidth cellular connections and/or spotty WLAN coverage.
To learn more about how developers are using vidyo.io for telehealth, we had a conversation with the team at Apps with love, who has recently created eedoctors, a telemedicine app that has been built using our platform for the above reasons. Read on to get some solid tips and advice on what to keep in mind on your search for the right video collaboration API platform –
What problem are you solving with eedoctors?
Medical services are not accessible immediately everywhere, and qualified doctors are not always within reach if a medical problem occurs. Eedoctors addresses this problem by providing access to highly-trained Swiss doctors wherever there is an internet connection. Patients can video-call a doctor via the eedoctors app, and receive professional support and advice for whatever medical problem they might have. Doctors can issue prescriptions through the app, and payments are handled through the app as well. Callers get the required documents to claim their reimbursement from their insurance company delivered directly to their phone.
The app is for everyone who needs to get medical advice quickly and wants to avoid sitting in waiting rooms or going through the hassle of scheduling a doctor’s appointment. Specifically, though, the service that eedoctors provides can be very valuable in situations where calling a doctor instead of visiting one is the only option available – think travelers, explorers or hikers.
Why did you choose Vidyo.io over other video API platforms?
The most important need that vidyo.io addressed was to provide a stable, scalable and easy to implement solution for video calls over IP. We needed a solution that delivers high-quality results, while still providing decent service if the internet connection is not as performant as one might wish. Eedoctors is a service that is designed to give access to medical advice wherever you might be — and this includes places where cellular connections provide low bandwidth or where WLAN coverage might be spotty. We found that vidyo.io performs surprisingly well under such conditions, which is why we have chosen it.
What other tools/platforms are you using to power your app and why?
Apart from the challenges to implement a reliable video-calling service, one has to keep in mind that within the eedoctors app, medical — and therefore private — information is exchanged. For this reason, the app has to comply with state of the art security practices.
Besides the purely technical specifications, we at Apps with love pride ourselves on careful and considered design and attention to detail. For a telehealth app, all the usability aspects are extremely important, as users who have a medical problem or even an emergency will not be ready to navigate a complicated or confusing user interface.
What tips would you give other developers who are looking to embed video into their app?
As with anything that you plan to include in your code, evaluate and analyze what you want to integrate carefully – before implementation. This was our experience when it comes to Vidyo too: only start the implementation once you have fully understood the sample projects. However, once you have understood the samples, try to implement Vidyo in an early sprint and test as soon as possible. If you are facing problems during the implementation or while testing, don’t waste your time for deep investigation, at least if you can’t find appropriate documentation. Get in touch with the people at Vidyo and ask for support. Regarding iOS specifically, keep in mind that the Vidyo client is built for every platform (including simulators), which might cause issues during app store release. So don’t forget to remove unnecessary architectures.
What are your goals for the eedoctors application?
Our vision for this app is for as many people as possible have the app on their phone and register with eedoctors, so that they have access to it quickly, simply and easily should the need ever arise. For the time being, eedoctors is an app and a service for Swiss doctors and Swiss citizens. However, we think that there is potential to address further markets in the future. While we don’t think that eedoctors will replace in-person consultations with doctors completely, we believe that eedoctors is a great solution for when physical access to medical services is not possible or not required to solve the problem. In the near future we will implement new features and optimize user experience continuously. Further interfaces to third party digital healthcare services and databases are in development, and will add value and comfort to end users.