Outsourcing can help healthcare providers to reduce costs and build products faster, but requires a considerate choice of a partner. 

Telemedicine has experienced a significant boost in popularity, as the pandemic created the need to minimize human contact when delivering treatment. Now, remote care saves time on commuting and queueing. This helps to reduce the risk of infection, which is especially important for high-risk groups, such as the elderly or people with chronic conditions. 

It is no surprise that many healthcare organizations are looking to build a telemedicine solution. As long as lives are at stake, institutions need to follow strict regulations and ensure reliable operation. However, finding engineers with sufficient expertise can be challenging and time-consuming. Outsourcing offers an easier point of entry, but requires caution when choosing a service provider.

This article explores the main benefits of outsourcing telemedicine software development, as well as some mistakes to avoid along the way.

The pros

A ready-made team. An average team to build a telemedicine solution includes a project manager, front-/back-end developers, designers, security and compliance experts, testers, etc. For a medical organization without the technical knowledge to properly evaluate candidates’ skills, hiring talent can be a lengthy and risky undertaking. Depending on the requirements, recruiting a qualified employee can take 3–12 months. Service providers can offer you an entire team that can begin working in a matter of days.

Domain expertise. In addition to technical skills, engineers working on telemedicine solutions need an understanding of hospital workflows that could benefit from automation. An IT company that has a solid track record of successful projects for the healthcare industry can save you a lot of headache by providing experts with relevant experience.

Medical organizations also have to follow multiple regulations that differ from country to country. These include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US, as well as the Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU. Overlooking this can lead to hefty fines and other penalties, not to mention reputational damage. As such, it is critical for a development provider to hold the knowledge around the implementation of security and compliance measures.

Flexibility. Telemedicine systems require maintenance and support. For the task, you may not need a diverse expertise on the team. This, consequently, leads to downsizing after active development is over. However, local employment regulations can make such downsizing costly and difficult. As a result, organizations have to retain talent that no longer adds value to the business. Being able to scale the dedicated team up or down on demand is among the main advantages of outsourcing software development.

Cost efficiency. Working with a development company also opens the door for more affordable expertise. An average salary of a senior software engineer in the US is around $117,000–$183,000. With outsourcing, businesses can hire similar-level talent from other regions (e.g., South America) and save over 50% on salary. 

The cons 

Lack of relevant experience. As was mentioned before, domain knowledge is crucial to building a telemedicine solution. Otherwise, it is impossible to address specific healthcare-related challenges. It is important to look for relevant projects on the provider’s portfolio and request more information around their work in your industry.

Inability to build user-centric apps. Apart from remote consultations, telemedicine solutions can incorporate features that facilitate a broad range of other hospital workflows (patient registration, inventory management, etc.). Development companies need to put effort into making this functionality usable by people without a technical background or extensive training.

Communication issues. When setting the initial requirements, any ambiguity can have a drastic effect on the final product. Likewise, if an outsourcing provider fails to deliver regular progress updates, a project that started on the right track can easily veer off course before release.

As a medical organization, you might not have the in-house expertise to oversee a dedicated team. Consequently, it is best to prioritize companies with competent project managers who can keep you updated and fix any misunderstandings, before they cause issues. Time zone differences could also be a disadvantage of outsourcing software development. So, look for a partner that can ensure a reasonable overlap in working hours.

Outsourcing enables healthcare organizations to deliver high quality software without spending time on assembling a team and learning new technologies. If you are looking for a reliable IT company with a proven track record, consider the telehealth software development services at Altoros Labs.