How to Start a Telemedicine Business: What You Should Know

In recent years, telemedicine has surged in popularity, with a staggering 76% of people expressing interest in using telehealth services. What began as tentative steps towards remote medical consultations has blossomed into a thriving industry, reshaping the landscape of healthcare delivery.

Telemedicine offers unparalleled convenience, accessibility, and efficiency, particularly evident in the current climate of social restrictions. As traditional barriers to healthcare access dissolve, patients and providers recognize the potential of telemedicine to enhance care delivery and streamline workflows.

This guide is a roadmap for entrepreneurs and healthcare professionals seeking to capitalize on the telemedicine boom. From understanding market dynamics to selecting the right technology partner, we explore the essential steps to launch a successful telemedicine practice. Join us as we explain how to start a telehealth business and unlock its boundless potential for innovation and impact on healthcare delivery.

Industry Overview: What Makes Starting a Telemedicine Business So Attractive

What emerged as feeble attempts to connect medical personnel in different locations has become a leading trend. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey conducted between January 26 and February 7, 2022, approximately 22% of Americans have availed themselves of telehealth services within the last four weeks. Notably, a slightly larger proportion (11%) preferred video appointments, while 9% opted for phone consultations. As the social restrictions remain in place, the benefits of the telemedicine business model become even more evident. Especially given that many people won’t return to usual medical visits after the pandemic. Remote consulting is way too convenient to refuse from it.

The latest survey by Deloitte also confirms the rising use of telemedicine by physicians. In recent years, more doctors started using telemedicine technologies to communicate with patients, conduct physician-to-physician consultations, and perform various other actions. 

The Changing Landscape in Telehealth System

According to Deloitte’s US consumer surveys, patient interest in virtual and digital health tools has risen over the past five years. However, the adoption of these tools among physicians has been inconsistent. Some doctors remain uncertain about the most effective ways to incorporate virtual health into clinical practice. In contrast, others are worried about the potential loss of the human connection that is a fundamental aspect of in-person healthcare.

How to Start a Telemedicine Business: What You Should Know 1

The above statistics highlight the growing demand for telehealth services among patients and the potential resistance and adoption challenges from healthcare providers. This suggests a need for education and training to help providers effectively integrate virtual health tools into their practices while maintaining a solid patient-provider connection.

Global Telehealth Market Growth 2020-2027

These changes are evident from the increasing worth of the telemedicine market from 45.5 billion US dollars in 2019 to 175.5 billion in 2026 is a quantum leap. On top of that, Data Breach market research predicts that the telehealth industry will continue to grow within the next few years at a CAGR of 22.67%. 

Apart from its market size, telemedicine boasts enviable stability. The 4X increase means that telemedicine solutions will continue to gain popularity in the upcoming years. According to McKinsey, approximately 250 billion of all Medicare, Medicaid, commercial OP, office, and home health spending can be virtualized.

Launching a telemedicine business, you can focus on any medical service or combine several options. This allows you to reach a broader target audience and maximize profit. Find out more info on how to create a telehealth business below.

If you want to learn more about the latest telemedicine trends, check out our recent article about the latest insights on telehealth industry solutions.

Main Types of Telehealth Services to Choose Between

Although each app has unique functionality and capabilities, most solutions fall under two broad categories. Telehealth applications are either synchronous or asynchronous. This subdivision reflects the approach to information exchange.

  • Synchronous telehealth solutions are apps that support a two-way audiovisual connection between a patient and a healthcare provider. They substitute in-person appointments with the help of video conferencing.
  • Asynchronous telehealth applications transmit recorded medical history to a health practitioner. They don’t connect patients and clinicians directly. Patients just upload their data to the platform enabling clinicians to follow the treatment progress.
How to Start a Telemedicine Business: What You Should Know 2

If you are unsure how to start a telemedicine practice, choose the type of application first. This allows you to understand your target audience, what features they need, and how to implement them. Once you decide, you can move to more specific tech choices and market analysis. Find more information about types of telemedicine apps in our article Everything You Need To Know About Telemedicine: Statistics, Usage, Trends.

How to Start a Telemedicine Business: Top Tips You Need to Know 

Whatever telehealth solution you want to launch, you must be careful with compliance. You must follow some price transparency regulations, HIPAA, and other state-specific standards. You should also decide on a pricing program, understand your marketing offer, and take some other essential steps listed below.

Learn Telemedicine Laws in Your State

Healthcare laws vary from state to state. Therefore, you must clarify what rules govern telemedicine services in your state and other territories you plan to target. For example, most states still require informed consent before providing telehealth services. The reimbursement policies also vary: whereas 50 states reimburse live video consultation, only 19 reimburse home visits. Understanding the applicable restrictions will allow you to stay compliant and inform users about reimbursement options. 

Understand Your Market Position and Offer

You must decide on pricing to create a realistic business plan and factor in all expenses. We recommend analyzing your key competitors and their offer. Let’s say you want to design something similar to MDLive. A medical consultation costs from $0 to 82, depending on patient’s insurance. In Amwell, the cost of a visit is $79. In other comparable apps, the pricing ranges from $0 (for a fully reimbursed visit) to $200 for physiatry.

Understanding the market situation allows you to set balanced prices to attract users and business partners. Calculating the ROI of different features is also important to understand what functionality is worth its money and what isn’t. In your quest to set up a telemedicine practice, this will allow you to design a solution that starts to generate revenue shortly after being launched.

If you don’t know how to estimate software profitability, you can engage experts. Find a software development company with skilled business analysts who will conduct research for you.

Plan the Features Beforehand

Did you know that you need a physical address to bill insurance? Such an application won’t function properly without address collection and verification.

This is also the case with a variety of telemedicine software capabilities. If you build a synchronous telehealth solution, you won’t do without video streaming. Asynchronous communications require secure data storage. Solutions used for diagnostics must support high-resolution images. These are only a few examples of the things to consider.

That’s why you must figure out what features you need before investing in a tech solution. This allows you to offer compliant and quality telemedicine services.Need more insights? Check out our article about how to start your own telemedicine practice.

Key Components of Successful Telemedicine Business Model

Startups and healthcare business owners are the main categories of entrepreneurs interested in telemedicine solutions. In both cases, to start your own telemedicine business, you will need to have a reliable telemedicine program and a business model. Find out its key components and check what they mean below. 

1. Customer Segment

Define your audience and the telehealth program. Who is your perfect customer? Then, divide your audience into smaller segments and define their specific needs. For example, you might target seniors aged 65+ in urban areas for chronic disease management or working professionals aged 25-40 for convenient primary care consultations. Identifying specific customer segments will help tailor your services and marketing efforts.

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2. Value 

Continue with the uniqueness of your services and the socioeconomic problems they can solve. For instance, your telemedicine service could provide affordable access to care for underserved rural populations or offer specialized virtual consultations for complex medical conditions.

3. Channels

Define the ways, like social media and traditional or online advertising, by which you’ll make the target audience aware of your product or services. For example, if you’re targeting a local customer segment aged 40-70, you might consider an advertising campaign in the local newspaper and find relevant community groups on Meta.

4. Customer Relationships

Think about how you can develop a positive emotional bond with your customers. For example, you could send birthday greetings and discounts, create a personal brand on Instagram with live conversations, and invite healthcare professionals to share interesting and relevant information.

5. Revenue Streams

Identify multiple revenue streams that align with your business model and customer needs. This could include subscription-based services, one-time consultations, premium features or add-ons, partnerships with insurance providers, or revenue-sharing agreements with healthcare facilities.

6. Key Activities

Define the core activities necessary to launch and operate your telemedicine business. This may include market research, software development, regulatory compliance, staffing, marketing and advertising, customer support, and ongoing service delivery.

7. Key Resources

Ensure you have access to the necessary resources to support your business operations. This includes technology infrastructure, skilled personnel (healthcare professionals, software developers, and customer support staff), strategic partnerships, and financial resources.

8. Key Partners

Define your stakeholders and outsource a team of tech professionals to help you launch your product. Depending on your business, you may also need marketing partners, medical billing services, and other strategic partners.

9. Cost Structure

Develop a comprehensive understanding of your expenses and potential costs for launching and scaling your telemedicine business. This includes upfront costs such as software development, hardware, licensing fees, regulatory compliance, marketing, staffing, and ongoing operational expenses. Consider conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis to ensure financial viability and sustainability.

In summary, to develop a successful telemedicine business model you require a thorough understanding of customer segments, value propositions, engagement channels, revenue streams, cost structures, and others earlier mentioned points. Entrepreneurs can tailor their services to meet the specific needs of diverse patient populations, articulate a compelling value proposition that addresses socioeconomic challenges, and establish effective customer acquisition and retention channels. Additionally, strategic partnerships and efficient resource allocation are vital for driving operational efficiency and maximizing revenue potential. Ultimately, a well-designed telemedicine business model acts as a blueprint for navigating the complexities of the healthcare industry, guides decision-making, and delivers accessible, high-quality care to patients in the digital age.

Choosing the Right Telemedicine Platform

When launching a telehealth company, you will need to find a technology partner. It’s better to cooperate with a proven video communication company that has already created solutions for telehealth. There is a range of criteria that should be considered while opting for telehealth software and a good telehealth platform needs to meet the following requirements.

Data Security

The average cost of a healthcare data breach reaches $10.93 million. It’s the highest mark among all the industries.  Therefore, by adopting a secure platform, especially in terms of secure messaging, you ensure the safe processing of confidential data and protect yourself from severe penalties.

Compatibility with Existing Software and Hardware

Telehealth software is often used simultaneously with other applications. When connected, they create a powerful multifunctional system that automates physician-patient communications and the treatment process. That’s why you must ensure the EHR interoperability with other tools and hardware you use. In particular, telemedicine software should allow you to record important communications in an EHR system automatically.

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Healthcare Compliance

HIPAA compliance is the first thing you should keep in mind. In addition to HIPAA, some security and data exchange standards, including FHIR, ICD-10, and XDS/XDS-I, might be applicable. If you plan to use features that fall under these regulations, your telemedicine platform must meet their requirements.

The Combination of Rich Functionality and Simple UI

The first impression depends on a design by 94%. Applications with poor UI/UX won’t make users comfortable. As a result, you will have trouble selling such software on the market and attracting customers.

To avoid such problems, consider usability when selecting a telemedicine platform. Take time to test it and clarify whether it has the expected functionality. It’s essential to integrate a platform that fully covers your software needs but doesn’t include any unnecessary features. These will only confuse customers and make the product overpriced.

Tech Support

Tech support is a crucial step and aspect when you choose a platform for your telemedicine business, whether it will be a custom software development or off-the-shelf solution. In case you opt-in for a subscription solution, it’s essential to ensure the tech provider offers reliable technical support to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. To find a provider with excellent support you may research user reviews to get an idea of satisfaction levels and ask your network for referrals. In case you opt for a custom development approach, it is essential that your future outsource software development partner has sufficient resources to provide ongoing support for your team and customers. This may include dedicated support personnel for timely response times, and proactive troubleshooting measures to address any technical challenges effectively.

Ability to Scale

In case your ambitions and means are high, the ability to scale is critical in selecting a telemedicine platform. Why? It simply ensures proper operations even under high user loads. You certainly don’t want to rebuild your platform in a year, or switch to the new infrastructure because your old provider wasn’t ready for your success.

These are broad recommendations on what matters in telehealth vendors. The technical characteristics of the solution you are going to launch will depend on its functionality.If you cannot find a ready-made telemedicine platform that meets your requirements, consider custom telemedicine software development services. Custom platforms will have unique features that perfectly fit your market needs. No existing platforms can give you the same flexibility and security as customized solutions.

TOP 5 Out-of-the-box Telemedicine Apps

Out-of-the-box telemedicine solutions can provide a ready-to-use platform with core capabilities for providers looking to launch virtual care services quickly. Many providers opt for these solutions as a starting point before potentially transitioning to a more customized platform as their needs evolve. Here are five popular out-of-the-box options, along with some key features and use cases.

AmWellA comprehensive, enterprise-grade telemedicine platform that offers video visits, remote patient monitoring, and integrated EHR/PM solutions. AmWell serves large health systems, health plans, and employers with capabilities for web-based and mobile virtual visits, e-prescribing, clinical documentation, and care coordination tools.
Doxy.meA simple, web-based video conferencing solution designed for the healthcare industry, it features virtual waiting rooms to manage patient flow, screen sharing for sharing clinical images/results, and provider-to-provider consultations. Doxy.me is popular among smaller practices for its ease of use and affordable pricing.
UpdoxUpdox is an all-in-one platform that combines video visits with secure messaging, appointment reminders, and patient engagement tools tailored for practices of all sizes. It supports virtual visits and messaging directly within the patient’s EHR for seamless documentation.
Thera-LINKA HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solution purpose-built for mental and behavioral health providers. Thera-LINK offers HD video sessions, secure document sharing, e-prescribing, and tools for group therapy sessions. It is well optimized for telepsychiatry and telepsychology use cases.
SimplePracticeWhile focused on virtual visits for mental health professionals, SimplePractice also includes full practice management capabilities like scheduling, clinical documentation, billing, and telehealth-specific features like client intake forms and progress tracking.

Cost of Starting a Telemedicine Business

Whether you are a startup or a healthcare business owner who wants to know how to start a telehealth practice, the cost of starting a telemedicine business will be dictated by software. As it is the key component to ensuring your business’s success.

If you need custom software development, expect to spend at least $50,000. Such a telehealth app will be tailored to the clinical workflows and the needs of end-users. Custom software is a preferable option for the majority of telemedicine business models. Besides, outsourcing is an effective way to make custom telemedicine cheaper. You can delegate the telehealth software development to a remote company with lower rates in the market but equally skilled engineers.

An MVP will cost you up to $20,000 and take less time to develop. Testing your product before investing in a full-fledged version is a good time and cost-efficient option. Still, the functionality of MVPs is too limited to use them instead of custom applications in a long-term perspective.

There are also white-label telemedicine apps that cost around $15,000. They have the core features, but you won’t be able to offer anything unique or innovative. Attracting users to such applications can be challenging.

Note that the cost will be much higher if you need to invest in hardware (tablets, headphones, etc.) and software development. This is a usual extra expense for healthcare providers who adopt telemedicine solutions.

It is also crucial to consider the ROI telemedicine solutions may bring. The study found that telehealth was associated with substantial cost savings for patients with cancer. The estimated mean cost savings ranged from $147.4 to $186.1 per visit, with higher savings for new or established visits ($176.6 to $222.8) compared to follow-up visits ($141.1 to $178.1). These savings were driven by reduced travel costs ($79.7 to $146.0 per visit) and lost productivity costs ($61.4 to $77.2 per visit) using virtual visits instead of in-person appointments.

Telehealth can significantly reduce the indirect costs and financial toxicity associated with cancer care by eliminating travel time, lost productivity from missed work, and other non-medical expenses incurred by patients. While there are upfront costs to implement telemedicine, the potential return on investment in terms of cost savings for both providers and patients makes a strong case for expanding virtual care offerings, especially in oncology.

Final Thoughts

Starting a telemedicine business has many benefits and requires careful planning. You must follow state and federal regulations like HIPAA and data security standards. By understanding the market dynamics, crafting a targeted business model, and selecting the right technology partner, you can reap the benefits of the modern telemedicine approach. 

While initial costs for custom software and infrastructure exist, the long-term benefits of providing convenient virtual care make it a worthwhile investment. Telemedicine enables providers to reach underserved areas, reduce costs compared to in-person visits, and deliver quality care efficiently. With a solid plan and the right technology, entrepreneurs can succeed in this rapidly growing industry, which improves healthcare delivery now and in the future.

If you’re ready to build a standout telemedicine solution tailored to your unique needs, Empeek offers expert custom software development services. Our experienced team has deep knowledge in healthcare regulations, telemedicine best practices, and the latest technologies. We work closely with clients to understand their requirements and design user-friendly, secure, and scalable telemedicine platforms. From ideation to launch and ongoing support, we provide end-to-end development to ensure your telemedicine business succeeds. 

Check out our projects to understand how we work, or contact us to discuss your business idea.

FAQs

How much does it cost to start a telehealth company?

Starting a full-fledged telehealth company with a top-notch system and software falls into the $70-100 000 range.

What do I need for starting a telemedicine practice?

According to state regulations, you’ll need a medical board certification and medical licensing. Also, you must apply for NPI and EIN.

How to start a telemedicine company?

First, find telemedicine state regulations or a professional who can help you with that. Second, outsource a team of tech professionals for your telemedicine platform development. Next, build your product and develop your marketing strategy, and you’re good to go!

How to become a telemedicine physician?

To become a telemedicine physician, you must have a valid medical license and credentials to practice medicine in the state(s) where you plan to see virtual patients. Many hospitals, telehealth companies, health systems, and private practices hire remote physicians to provide virtual care services.

In addition to your standard medical training and licensure, you may need to complete telemedicine-specific training courses covering technical requirements, documentation, billing codes for virtual visits, and legal/regulatory compliance for practicing over video.

How to start a telemedicine practice as a nurse practitioner?

Nurse practitioners looking to start a telemedicine practice need to get licensed in their state and ensure they can treat patients virtually. They’ll need a secure online system for video calls and information sharing. Getting insurance and approval from insurers is essential for getting paid. They must follow state rules for patient verification and consent. They’ll also need to advertise their services and keep good records of their virtual appointments. 

Is telehealth cheaper than in the office?

Yes, for the most part, telehealth visits are cheaper than in-person office visits for patients and providers. For patients, virtual visits eliminate costs associated with transportation, childcare/caregiver costs, and missed work. A virtual care program has significantly lower overhead costs for providers than a physical clinical space.

While exact costs vary, many insurers have lower patient co-pays for telehealth visits than in-person rates. Providers can streamline operations and staffing needs for virtual care. However, providers must still consider technology, equipment, and IT security costs.

What are the financial benefits of telemedicine?

Telemedicine offers many potential financial benefits. The main ones are lower costs for virtual visits versus in-person care, new revenue streams from virtual patient consults, and remote monitoring. A virtual practice model allows providers to see more patients virtually daily, reducing overhead and administrative costs. It also leads to better patient acquisition and retention, increased operational efficiencies by cutting down on no-shows, the ability to see patients outside typical office hours and geographic ranges, lower staffing costs, and preventing revenue leakage by keeping patients within your network.

Why is telemedicine more efficient for providers?

Telemedicine offers healthcare providers several efficiencies. Firstly, it reduces patient no-shows, a significant cause of administrative headaches and revenue loss. Secondly, it provides scheduling flexibility and eliminates travel time between offices/facilities. Thirdly, it streamlines documentation and coding by integrating video visits into EHR. Moreover, it facilitates provider-to-provider consultations for second opinions and provides patients with convenient care options. Lastly, it reduces administrative burdens through automated appointment reminders and billing processes.

How can I manage patient confidentiality in a telemedicine practice?

Protecting patient privacy and confidentiality is critical for any telemedicine practice. Key steps include:

 

  • Use a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform with encryption.
  • Implement processes to verify patient identity at the start of each visit.
  • Obtain patient consent for virtual visits and explain confidentiality protocols.
  • Ensure all data is securely collected, stored, and transmitted using HIPAA rules.
  • Use secure messaging and file-sharing capabilities for sending patient information.
  • Maintain detailed audit logs of virtual visits and communications.
  • Thoroughly train all staff on telemedicine privacy/security protocols.
  • Have a policy for ensuring private environments on both provider and patient sides.
  • Utilize strict access controls and authentication for any systems containing PHI.
  • Encrypt devices used for telemedicine and enable remote wiping if lost/stolen.

What technology do I need to start a telehealth practice?

At a minimum, you’ll need the following:

  • Secure HIPAA-compliant video conferencing solution;
  • High-speed, reliable internet connection;
  • High-definition webcam and headset;
  • Electronic health records (EHR) software;
  • Patient portal for sharing information securely;
  • Online scheduling and payment system;
  • Secure messaging platform.

Depending on your specialty, you may also need remote patient monitoring devices, digital diagnostic tools like high-res cameras, or integrated medical devices.

How to set up telehealth at home?

  • To conduct telehealth visits effectively from home, select a quiet room with minimal distractions and a plain background. 
  • Optimize lighting, preferably natural light, and invest in a high-quality external webcam and noise-canceling headset for clear communication. 
  • Ensure a secure, high-speed internet connection. 
  • Test audio and video before each visit, and have necessary exam tools or instructions nearby. 
  • Adhere to privacy and cybersecurity protocols. 
  • Lastly, a backup plan for any technical difficulties ensures a positive patient experience.

 

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Written by:
Roman Konstantinov Roman Konstantinov Managing Partner & Co-Founder
Roman is the co-founder of Empeek who brings a breadth of knowledge to build, scale and transform healthcare organizations. He specializes in revitalizing struggling businesses and turning them into profitable enterprises. By emphasizing automation and effectively navigating the transition from startup to a sustainable and scalable model, Roman drives remarkable transformations to ensure long-term success.

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