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Elena Kvitkovska

Getting started with QuickBlox Flutter SDK

Posted by Elena Kvitkovska on January 14, 2020

The most appealing side of the Flutter framework is the ability to build a fully-functional application for both Android & iOS platforms. Everything can be done with the help of Dart programming language that has a large community, rich documentation and a variety of libraries in the native languages.

One codebase for two applications means two times fewer man-hours and two times lower development costs. At the same time, due to Flutter’s rich choice of Material Design and Cupertino widgets, your application will have native-like UI.

Recently, we have spoken about the Flutter framework, its capabilities, and its future. We have also announced the release of QuickBlox Flutter SDK. Today, we have prepared a step-by-step guide for building a messenger application using it. Currently, it’s in the alpha stage, and we are ready to hear your feedback and improve the toolkit according to your proposals. You are welcome to download the QuickBlox Flutter SDK from our repo.

Why do you need QuickBlox Flutter SDK?

QuickBlox Flutter SDK offers you all you need to build a chat messaging app. Our toolkit contains helpful methods for implementing the following functionality:

  • Authentication. Upon the user’s login to the app, it starts a secure session and the user gets a secure token which is automatically renewed after each API request. The token is live for 2 hours after the last request.
  • Users. QuickBlox Flutter SDK has the necessary tools for secure storage, management and updating the user information.
  • Chat. Our messaging API works with the XMPP protocol. With its help, you can manage the connection to the chat server.
  • Content. Using this module, you can store and manage the attachments: documents, photos, videos, etc.
  • Push notifications. They will help you to keep in touch with the users even if they are currently offline. You can inform them about new messages, promotions, app updates, etc. With QuickBlox Flutter SDK, you can integrate push messaging into your application.
  • Custom Objects. This module provides you all the necessary tools for managing and updating your records.

How to create a Flutter app using QuickBlox SDK?

Getting started

To create a new Flutter chat messaging app with QuickBlox SDK from scratch follow these steps:

  1. Install Flutter for your platforms
  2. Run flutter create myapp to create a new project
  3. Add QuickBlox Flutter SDK into your project’s dependencies into **dependencies** section in **pubspec.yaml* file in your root project dir.
dependencies:
quickblox_sdk: 0.0.1

You’re done with dependencies!

Launching the app

Now you can start the app with flutter run

But the application created is not really a chat messenger yet, right? So now you should create some UI for messages and then use our SDK to make it alive!

To make SDK work you should use your QuickBlox application account. To create a QuickBlox application, follow the steps below:

  1. Register a new account at https://admin.quickblox.com/signup. Type in your email and password to sign in. You can also sign in with your Google or Github accounts.
  2. Create the application by clicking the New app button.
  3. Configure the application. Type in the information about your organization into corresponding fields and click the Add button.
  4. Go to the screen with credentials. Locate Credentials group box and copy your Application ID, Authorization Key, Authorization Secret and Account Key. These data needed to run your application on the QuickBlox server.

Turning on QuickBlox SDK

Init credentials:


const String APP_ID = "XXXXX";
const String AUTH_KEY = "XXXXXXXXXXXX";
const String AUTH_SECRET = "XXXXXXXXXXXX";
const String ACCOUNT_KEY = "XXXXXXXXXXXX";
const String API_ENDPOINT = ""; //optional
const String CHAT_ENDPOINT = ""; //optional

try {
      await QB.settings.init(APP_ID, AUTH_KEY, AUTH_SECRET, ACCOUNT_KEY,
          apiEndpoint: API_ENDPOINT, chatEndpoint: CHAT_ENDPOINT);
    } on PlatformException catch (e) {
   	 // Some error occured, look at the exception message for more details 
    }

Now you should sign in:


try {
      QBLoginResult result = await QB.auth.login(userLogin, userPassword);

      QBUser qbUser = result.qbUser;
      QBSession qbSession = result.qbSession;
    } on PlatformException catch (e) {
  	// Some error occured, look at the exception message for more details     
    }

Once you signed in you can connect:


try {
      await QB.chat.connect(userId, userPassword);
     } on PlatformException catch (e) {
          // Some error occured, look at the exception message for more details     
     }

Great! Now since you’re connected to chat – it’s time to send a message to someone.

Let’s create a new dialog:

try {
      QBDialog createdDialog = await QB.chat
          .createDialog(occupantsIds, dialogName, dialogType: dialogType);
      } on PlatformException catch (e) {
           // Some error occured, look at the exception message for more details     
      }

In order to receive new messages we should tell SDK to send us events when there are new messages in chat:


String eventName = QBChatEvents.RECEIVED_NEW_MESSAGE;
try {
      await QB.chat.subscribeMessageEvents(dialogId, eventName, (data) {
        //receive a new message
       
        Map map = new Map.from(data);
        String messageType = map["type"];
        if (messageType == QBChatEvents.RECEIVED_NEW_MESSAGE) {
           Map payload = new Map.from(map["payload"]);
           String messageBody = payload["body"];
           String messageId = payload["id"];
        }
   } on PlatformException catch (e) {
        // Some error occured, look at the exception message for more details    
   }

So, now we have a dialog, we subscribed for new messages and created function to handle incoming messages. Let’s send our first message:

 try {
      await QB.chat
          .sendMessage(dialogId, body: messageBody, saveToHistory: true);
      } on PlatformException catch (e) {
             // Some error occured, look at the exception message for more details     
      }

That’s it!

Conclusion

QuickBlox Flutter SDK is here to speed up the process of messaging app development – from designing the prototype to final testing. Using our toolkit, you can integrate the messenger, voice, and video calling to your app, manage the files and objects. If you have any questions or suggestions, please submit a ticket to our support team.

Elena Kvitkovska

Why Flutter is a future of cross-platform development?

Posted by Elena Kvitkovska on January 9, 2020

Today cross-platform technologies become a game-changer in building mobile applications. The recent and most promising toolkit is Google Flutter.

In GitHub’s 2019 State of the Octoverse report, Dart and Flutter ranked #1 and #2 for the fastest-growing language and open source projects. Flutter is now one of the ten most starred software repositories on their site.

In a recent analysis by LinkedIn, Flutter is described as “the fastest-growing skill among software engineers”.

What is Flutter and how does it work?

Flutter is based on the DART programming language. It offers a wide range of widgets and tools that give developers an easy way to build and deploy attractive, fast desktop and mobile apps for Android & iOS.

Widgets

Flutter is all about widgets. These are easy and simple visual components that make up the graphical interface. Flutter offers a rich set of customizable built-in UI components.

Working with Flutter means you will have everything required for mobile apps development. It has its own high-performance rendering engine to draw widgets. It also implements such systems such as animation, gesture, and widgets in Dart programing language. Flutter is developing rapidly and now has a lot of libraries helping to speed up the development of complex UI components.

There are two sets of widgets in Flutter – Material design widgets (Android) and Cupertino (IOS-style) widgets that will make your app look platform-specific.

Dart programming language

Dart is a cross-platform and open-source language that is available with a BSD license. Dart supports most of the object-oriented concepts, providing inheritance, interfaces and optional typing features. It’s easy to learn since Dart provides rich documentation.

Hot reload

Flutter allows us to experiment, add new features and correct the errors during the development. Although it doesn’t have a UI builder, the Hot reload feature saves changes applied to the code on emulators, simulators and equipment for iOS and Android. The changed code reloads in less than a second, so the developers can continue from where they stopped.

Flutter in 2019-2020

Recently Flutter Interact has arrived and it has introduced a number of improvements to the Framework with Flutter 1.12. You can check the cutting-edge apps created using Flutter on their official Showcase webpage.

The adoption rate of Flutter is firmly increasing. At first, most developers only created prototype apps with Flutter. Now, some of the famous companies have started using Flutter in their applications. With constant efforts, changes and rich widgets, Flutter is ready to set high standards for cross-platform development in 2020.

Improvements in 2019

On December 11, 2019, the Flutter team announced version 1.12, the latest Flutter release. This is the fifth stable release since December 2018. It brings some nice advancements:
Improved web & desktop support

Up to this version, Flutter was a mobile-specific framework that posed limitations to the developers. However, Google is continuously improving Flutter, and this is one more step to making it a fully-functional cross-platform technology

iOS 13 support

The new version of Flutter boasts with a visual refresh of supporting iOS 13, including Dark Mode and several Cupertino widgets. Now, the Flutter-built iOS application will look nearly as a native one.

Dart 2.7

Along with Flutter 1.12, Google announced the release of Dart 2.7 with additional capabilities. From now on, Dart supports the extension methods, has enhanced security functions and the new DartPad.

Add-to-app

Google developers have updated the Add-to-App feature of integrating Flutter into an existing Android or iOS application. They stabilized the APIs for platform integration in Java, Kotlin, Objective-C and Swift, including new APIs for Android.

Multi-device debugging

The latest Flutter update provides the opportunity of Multi-Session debugging in Visual code and works both with physical and virtual devices.

Layout explorer

Writing the code, you come across the issues, and Flutter gives you an opportunity to track and fix them with the help of Layout Inspector. It visualizes the widgets of your running application and lets you make to interactively change the layout options.

Hot UI

By installing Flutter on your machine, you get the opportunity of direct editing of UI, and the applied changes will go right into your code.

Plans for 2020

Google revealed an even grander plan to evolve Flutter into “a portable toolkit for building beautiful experiences wherever you might want to paint pixels on the screen.” This will include new form factors like televisions, smartwatches, and other wearables, and smart displays like the Google Nest Hub. Google calls this vision “ambient computing.”

Adobe today is announcing support for Flutter in its Creative Cloud via a plug-in that exports Adobe XD designs into the Flutter project. The XD to Flutter plugin will be available as open-source early next year, Google says, but you can sign-up for early access now on Adobe’s website.

How much does it cost to build a chat app with Flutter?

When you are a contract mobile application developer, the average app development cost may extend somewhere in the range of $15,100 to $50,000 to up to $120,000. The cost of building an application depends on its functionality and the team’s hourly rate.

Flutter is a free open-source platform. The app developers can reuse the code. A single code-base can fix most of the issues. The app development requires only one language, Dart. So, the time and the required amount of money for building a chat application reduce.

Basic chat app features

Registration

Authentication in chat apps can be implemented in different ways: via phone number, email, or social media profiles. Most chat apps require registration by phone number. This means an application sends a verification code, allowing users to register.

To implement registration by number, the server will need to send SMS messages to the provided phone number. In turn, mobile clients, having received this SMS-message, have to transfer the confirmation code back to the server.

Development Time: 50-55 hours.

Real-time messaging

XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) enables message delivery. Messaging feature is now a standard, which can be one on one chat or a multi-user chat.

Real-time messaging is popular for chat apps, because message delivery happens promptly and immediately, without any distance barriers, allowing users to feel closer to each other.

When users go offline, they can receive all the messages they miss as soon as they get back online. Also, messages can have statuses (delivered / failed / seen / edited).

Development time: 210-220 hours (for frontend and backend part)

Voice & Video Calling

Using Voice & Video calling feature, the parties can communicate in real-time. This can be implemented using VoIP and WebRTC integration. These are the most difficult functions to implement.

Development time: 180-220 hours each

Multimedia sharing

Users enjoy sharing various types of multimedia, such as photos, videos, files, GIFS, and stickers. Providing a synchronization service with common cloud services (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote) will boost app efficiency.

Development time: 40-50 Hours

Settings Column

Users can create their own profile where they can add or change their details and a profile picture. They can edit their profile picture or profile name, manage blocked contacts, delete their accounts, change status, change numbers, customize profile settings like chat notifications, etc.

Development time: 110-120 hours

Contact Sharing

This is a small, but very useful feature. For many users, it is really very convenient when the most important contacts are always at hand. There is no need to go into the application and look for the person you need. Simply import contacts from the mobile’s address book.

Development time: 70-80 hours

Location sharing

Location sharing allows sharing geolocation data in real-time over a specific time with participants in an individual or group chat. It is possible to create geo-chats – group conversations with other people who are not far from the user.

Development time: 25-30 Hours

Notifications

This is an important feature for engaging and keeping users active in the app. It informs users about a new message arrived. To add Notifications to the app developers use Google Cloud Messaging or Apple Push Notifications.

Development time: 15-20 hours

Using QuickBlox SDK for building a chat app

Business needs fast and affordable solutions. So, QuickBlox is happy to announce the release of Flutter SDK. Our powerful and flexible toolkit enables companies to launch cross-platform chat and messaging apps with minimum effort and maximum effect. With its help, it is possible to implement all the above-mentioned features in a fully-functional chat app.

It allows developers to build a world-class conversational experience, customized to your app quickly and with minimum budget.

QuickBlox ensures reliable management services with the SDK.

Conclusion

The Flutter apps are a perfect choice for tech businesses, startups, and eCommerce entrepreneurs to build an application with greater user experience to satisfy clients. It does not just lessen the whole technique development but also reduces the expense. Designers and developers can benefit from Flutter, as it makes the coding process more compatible, efficient and faster.

If you are looking to turn a brilliant mobile app idea into reality, choose our Flutter SDK and start getting benefits. Contact us for a more detailed consultation.

Julia Poltavets

GCP vs AWS. Which cloud provider to choose for your backend?

Posted by Julia Poltavets on December 30, 2019

Cloud technologies have entered the daily lives of users. For large and medium-sized businesses they have become an essential part of the infrastructure. Over the past decade, the possibilities of using cloud infrastructures have become more cost-efficient, secure, and reliable.

Choosing a cloud provider is one of the major challenges in app development. This choice is usually done at the very beginning and it affects the further development, support, and maintenance. You need to choose wisely, as migrating the whole infrastructure is no easy task.

In this post, we will tackle GCP vs AWS investigation with a thorough, data-driven approach. We will compare the main features of the services that we can expect from both cloud giants.

What is AWS and Google Cloud?

AWS provides a wide range of products, options for computing and storing data. Created in 2006, AWS was the first in this area and conquered a considerable market. With continuous improvements over the years, AWS introduced more than 175 services with worldwide coverage. The servers are available in 18 geographical regions. AWS services are suitable for a wide range of businesses.

Despite the fact that Google launched the GCP in 2011, it shows stable growth. It gives all the benefits of Google’s infrastructure, providing smart, secure, and flexible services. Google allows the users to create their own custom sizes (processor, memory) so that customers can compare the sizes of their cloud loads with the sizes at a preliminary stage. GCPs also bill customers based on the total processor time and memory used, rather than on separate virtual machines. This reduces the loss of money for unused capacity. Google is also a leader in per-second billing, which forces other cloud computing providers (CSPs) to follow suit.

AWS vs GCP – current market share

Cloud platforms and applications today are used in the economy and become the driver of IT infrastructure development. To estimate the AWS vs GSP market share, let’s take a look at each cloud provider’s reports, reflecting the state of the global cloud services market.

Amazon reported Amazon Web Services (AWS) sales of $7.7 billion, compared to $5.44 billion last year. Across the business, Amazon’s growth rates are slowing down. Even so, its earnings are increasing, giving investors a profit of $ 7.09 per share compared with the projected $ 4.72.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai reported GCP is a top-three priority for the company. As of 2019, Google Cloud Platform’s annual run rate is over $8 billion. (compared with $4 billion in 2018).

GCP vs AWS – famous clients

AWS has existed on the market for several years and is a pioneer in the market. Google launched its solution recently. It’s logical that the Google Cloud Platform backs up a lot of successful AWS solutions.

Below are the top customers of AWS service:

  • Netflix
  • Reddit
  • NASA
  • Slack
  • Adobe
  • Pinterest
  • Dow Jones

Among the GCP top clients are:

  • 20th Century Fox
  • Twitter
  • PayPal
  • Bloomberg
  • SonyMusic
  • HSBC: “We have peace of mind knowing that Google Cloud takes security and compliance very seriously.” Group CIO, HSBC
  • The New York Times

Features comparison

Choosing the cloud provider, we check the key characteristics defining our infrastructure performance. To get a clear view of the essential features of each service, let’s compare both of them.

Compute & Storage options

The computing capacity is judged by the number of cores, or virtual cores (vCPUs). The cores allow running many processes without slowing or blocking the entire system.

Another parameter that we need to consider is the RAM size. The larger RAM allows supporting more simultaneous processes and data exchange flows.

How do the Google Compute Engine and AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) process their virtual machines? Google Cloud virtual machine technology is Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). AWS EC2 virtual machine technology is Xen.

They both offer a wide range of predefined instance configurations with a certain amount of virtual CPU, the number of vCPU, RAM and network. They have different naming form. Google mentions “Compute Engine Virtual Machine instances”, AWS introduces “EC2 instances.”

With EC2 you can either configure your own virtual machines (VMs) or use pre-configured VMs. It operates with Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to provide excellent security and boost network functionality for your computing needs.

GCE provides many similar features as EC2: scalable and predefined VMs, Windows and Linux support, and custom VMs. Yet, it also brought in some important changes from EC2 such as global load balancing, batch processing, and faster persistent disks.

The storage option is the connecting link of cloud computing because it allows you to store all types of information. Size is not the only thing that matters. We also need to take into account the speed of reading and writing operations and the ability to process high loads.

Let’s compare storage options in AWS and GCP.

 

 

AWS

GCP

Object storage

Amazon Simple Storage Services (Amazon S3): The very first AWS public service

Google Cloud Storage

VM disk storage

Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)

Persistent Disk (both HDD and SSD)

File storage

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS)

Cloud Filestore

Disaster recovery

Provides a set of cloud-based disaster recovery services

Does not provide out-of-the-box DR or backup services

Backup

Amazon S3 is often used for secondary backup storage

Does not provide out-of-the-box DR or backup services

Archive storage

S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access (introduced April 2018) 

Amazon Glacier, with data querying capabilities

Archival Cloud Storage:

 Nearline (low frequency)

 Coldline (lowest frequency)

Bulk data transfer

AWS Import/Export Disk: Shipping disk drives

AWS Snowball (device-based) 

AWS SnowMobile: Exabyte-scale data transfer via ruggedized shipping container

Storage Transfer Service

Hybrid support

AWS Storage Gateway: Provides a managed virtual tape infrastructure across hybrid environments

Relies on partners such as Egnyte

Network & Latency

Network function comparison is an important aspect. Creating an isolated cloud requires not only computing resources but also a separate VPN access and network address.

AWS allows using Virtual Private Cloud to create a VPN with subnet settings, routing tables, private IPs, and network gateways. Also, there is a Route 53 service for implementing the DNS web service.

The GCP offers top-notch services. Google has a global low latency resource access network. Even from the client’s perspective, the VPC network covers all their regions. Other CSPs restrict VPC networks in a particular region. This allows GCP customers to create applications that serve customers around the world, without creating complex inter-regional infrastructure and data replication mechanisms.

Billing and Pricing

Cloud services have a variety of pricing for the use of cloud services.

AWS uses several payment models:

  • On-Demand. You only pay for the resources and services that you use
    Reservation: You order the required resources in advance from 1 to 3 years and pay based on use. Often such offers are subject to good discounts (up to 75%).
  • Partial reservation. The more resources you use, the lower the cost of services provided

GCP has been offering more affordable options. Google provides automatic discounts, which reduce the price if the virtual machine runs more than a certain number of hours per month.

Despite the fact that GCP may not have enough depth of capabilities of some other cloud service providers, it has several unique products in its portfolio, and it is an attractive option as a market leader in prices.

Discover the Cloud Pricing post in the Google Cloud blog for a cost comparison based on an example workload.

To estimate how much your specific workload will cost, try the Google Cloud pricing calculator or AWS simple monthly calculator.

Support

Both Google Cloud and AWS have free extensive documentation and community forums. The urgent help of the support team is paid. Both Google Cloud and AWS have support plans. Both providers include an unlimited number of account and billing support cases, with no long-term contracts.

Security

Security is always critical, and in this matter, both cloud platforms match each other stride for stride. Both AWS and GCP use proper protection mechanisms that can secure the users’ data:

  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • HIPAA / ISO / PCI / GDPR compliance
  • Identity and access management including MFA

Conclusion

Cloud services play an important role in the business process. To arrange the cloud infrastructure might be costly, and time-consuming. Before choosing the cloud computing provider, it is necessary to make a research on the most important issues that might cause a risk of losing revenue.

Both AWS and GCP show great performance and provide adequate security, thus, they can be optimal platforms for hosting your servers. We’ve made this comparison to see their main features and to show that both AWS and GCP are rightfully considered leaders in the cloud services sector.

To find out how QuickBlox can help in your cloud adoption journey, please contact us here.

Elena Kvitkovska

QuickBlox Year-End recap and 2020 preview

Posted by Elena Kvitkovska on December 25, 2019

Happy Holidays!

The QuickBlox team hopes that you and your company had a great year. We are grateful for your support and hope that 2020 will see more growth and success for your business and application.

Here’s a summary of our 2019 achievements and plans for 2020.

Happy holidays

Infrastructure improvements

In 2019, QuickBlox extended the list of supported hosting providers by GCP, AliCloud, Digital Ocean, enabling you to have messaging and calling in far-ranging locations closest to your end-users and customers. The team increased connection speed for video & audio calling and provides worldwide geographically distributed hosting configurations.

We enhanced infrastructure security with additional preventative and curative measures to reduce system vulnerabilities and improve security checks. This includes expanded software monitoring and logging, intrusion detection and virus scanning with the use of Open Source HIDS Security (OSSEC). Additional security features can be added to your instance. Enterprise customers can contact us to learn more.

QuickBlox DevOps team has also been busy implementing the latest DevSecOps industry practices for improving the robustness of our solutions.

In addition to security, regulatory compliance with GDPR & HIPAA remain a priority for Quickblox and we continue to expand your hosting options using Terraform and Ansible.

Server-side and Client-side platform improvements

We created new signaling that makes video and audio call functionality more flexible and scalable. This new signaling is currently in alpha and will be available for Quickblox customers in early 2020.

Our new signaling will enable additional functionality for all our customers including:

  • Advanced media server integration – an easy way to store your content and deliver it to your clients
  • Server-side call recording, call history – never lose any important information
  • Live streaming – real-time connection with your customers
  • VoIP support – easy and free online communication

The QuickBlox team has developed new Angular and React Native chat samples to simplify the integration of our product and released React Native SDK. Our Javascript SDK has also been updated to support Cordova and Electron on iOS13.

We are updating our messaging app SDKs so expect regular releases to coincide with new versions of the software to improve performance. We are also developing new app samples and expand developer documentation.

Plans for 2020

In 2020, QuickBlox will roll out Kubernetes support to facilitate server management with your Docker containers. This will allow you to save on hosting costs and server resources, and speed up the deployment and scaling for your real-time communication needs.

In January 2020, we will be releasing a Flutter SDK enabling cross-platform developers to use our Chat and Video call SDKs for building a messenger application. There will also be a new version of the Q-municate messenger app in the works with modular code for easy integration, improved design, and a user-friendly UI.

We thank you for your continued support and welcome your feedback to our planned releases.

Best wishes from the QuickBlox Team!

Alex Gorodov

Exploring telemedicine in 2019: benefits, risks, and ethical issues

Posted by Alex Gorodov on December 17, 2019

Telemedicine is a game-changer in the healthcare industry, as it brings medical care right into the patient’s house. Market dynamics need completely different approaches to healthcare management. Today, it is able to solve three problems – to improve the quality of services, increase the level of public health and reduce costs.

Telemedicine uses online technologies such as e-mail, audio, and video conferencing to exchange medical information. The technology helps to extend healthcare services to remote areas. Providing professional medical services via online communication channels makes healthcare more affordable for the patients that have to struggle with geographic and financial problems whenever they needed a doctor’s help.

How telemedicine changes doctor-patient relations

The market recognizes the importance and disruptive capacity of telemedicine and responds. The current trends show an increase in the volumes of healthcare-related solutions. The analysts predict the telehealth market growth rate at almost 19% per year by 2022.

Today, telehealth exists in the following formats:

  • Real-time doctor-patient sessions in the form of audio or video calls or live chats;
  • Patient monitoring with the help of connected devices transmitting real-time data on the patient’s vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar or oxygen level, etc.)
  • Record management with uploading and exchanging of test results, X-ray and CAT scans, doctor’s opinions, drug prescriptions, etc.

Benefits for doctor

Here are some telemedicine benefits for a doctor to consider:

Improves patient engagement with remote monitoring

Telemedicine services make it easier for patients to stay engaged in their health care. It allows them to manage appointments and care schedules. Telemedicine makes it possible to reduce obesity and tobacco use, helping you promote a healthy lifestyle. Virtual visits convince the people that their providers are available and involved in their treatment. It also simplifies the patient’s questions and report early warning signs.

Expands access to care and reaches more patients

Telemedicine gives health care providers the ability to handle remote consultation, diagnosis, and treatment. It can overcome that geographical distance, especially for specialized providers. It also allows the sharing of medical information across the world, so physicians can consult each other in tricky cases.

Today, in some medical institutions, there are special rooms for handling online consultations. These rooms are equipped with telemedicine facilities for video and audio communications, and the necessary medical equipment. Here you can carry out the most complete range of diagnostic examinations. All data is transmitted to the screens of monitors, allowing you to handle the diagnostics.

Reduces no-shows

Telemedicine reduces no-shows by providing patients with a convenient way to access health care services. Traffic, job responsibilities and a lack of childcare may cause no-shows. Sometimes a patient is too sick to even leave his house. For the healthcare industry, missed appointments can cause a significant loss of revenue. The telemedicine option allows doctors to make the most of their time.

Benefits for patient

Convenience and Increased Access

Distance and travel time can be a critical issue in accessing healthcare. Telemedicine allows a patient to receive qualified medical care and not to self-medicate. There is no need to waste time in transport and queue. The effectiveness of this method of medical care is comparable to a face-to-face appointment. The physician can also take an anamnesis, analyze the test results, consult the colleagues. If necessary, the doctor will redirect the patient to a narrower specialist. If the situation is critical – convince to seek emergency full-time help.

Faster Care

Telemedicine can improve quality both for physical and mental healthcare. Patients can contact doctors whenever they feel something is wrong. It can reduce false urgent care visits and sometimes save a life before it is too late. A recent study showed that with telemedicine, patients had:

  • 38% fewer hospital admissions
  • 31% fewer hospital re-admissions
  • 63% more likely to spend fewer days in the hospital

Access more specialists

If a patient lives in a small town or rural area, he might not be able to access the narrow specialists who can provide the necessary help. There is also a challenge of examination of elderly people and patients with disabilities. Since they are unable to visit the medical institution, it is hard to conduct the necessary treatment. Or if a patient has a rare condition, there might only be a few experts in the whole country.

Possible risks

While telemedicine services have a lot of benefits, there are also some drawbacks.

Less Personal Contact

Patients may react too strongly to minor symptoms or be not sure that they accurately describe what is happening to them. All this leads to the fact that the doctor begins to feel the need to plan a visit for such a patient in his office.

Physical Examination is Limited

At a face-to-face consultation, the doctor has the opportunity to personally examine the patient. A physician is able to distinguish more than a dozen diseases. Moreover, during the online appointment, the doctor may receive insufficient information or ambiguous data, which prevents him from correct diagnosing.

Telemedicine Equipment and Technology

Because the online appointment depends on technology, a patient depends on anything that can interrupt internet connection — bad weather, loss of power or even outdated software.

Code of Medical Ethics for Telemedicine

The American Medical Association suggests the ethical guidelines for the delivery of telemedicine healthcare services. It focuses on the physician’s fundamental responsibilities in telemedicine. It also aims to help the physicians to understand the remote interaction with the patient.

Financial disclosures

AMA suggests that the healthcare provider discloses the financial or other interests they have in telehealth too.

Data security

The doctor should ensure the security of patient data transmitted using telehealth technology. Tools should be HIPAA-compliant, emails should be encrypted, and data should be breech-protected.

Recognize and overcome technology limits

The service providers should overcome any limitations on providing health treatment via the new technology. They must “ensure that they have the information they need to make well-grounded clinical recommendations when they cannot conduct a physical examination.

Using QuickBlox solutions for telemedicine platforms

The implementation and popularization of telemedicine raise security and compliance issues. The healthcare industry is too sensitive to neglect security measures and government regulations. Hence, we recommend that clinics and practitioners wishing to embrace telemedicine engage professional developers experienced in the healthcare industry.

QuickBlox ensures effectiveness, security, and complying with international standards. Our solutions for telemedicine platforms meet HIPAA requirements and protect your patients’ information.

Conclusion

More and more medical institutions are implementing telemedicine solutions. At the level of a medical institution, telemedicine helps to improve results, reduce costs and expand access to quality services for various groups of patients in the clinic and at home.

QuickBlox is HIPAA-compliant toolset that helps to integrate secure video conference and screen share so you can create your own innovative telehealth platform.

Please contact our sales team for more info.