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How to build a Telemedicine Consultation Service with QuickBlox API

Kirill Tolmachev
26 Mar 2019
Build telemedicine service with QuickBlox

In the 21st century, getting a doctor’s consultation does not always take a visit to the clinic. In many cases, doctors consult their patients remotely by asking about their symptoms and suggesting possible causes and advising the treatment via a messaging app or a video chat. Of course, severe and critical cases should always be treated in a hospital, but certain minor illnesses or follow-up checkups can be done remotely.

Besides, doctors can consult each other on cases where they might need a second opinion or a piece of advice of an expert in a field different from their own. Generally, the healthcare industry has already recognized the importance of real-time chats, both text, and video, that can improve patient experience and save a lot of time and costs both for the doctors and the patients.

Many clinics run online platforms to consult patients remotely; at the same time, there are lots of healthcare forums and communities where users exchange information and experience. Both types can benefit from implementing an advanced chat technology allowing real-time communication between doctors and patients.

However, when planning to integrate a chat, the platform should always consider such aspects as information security, efficiency, and compliance with the applicable regulations, such as HIPAA. Health-related information is especially sensitive, therefore, the protective mechanisms used to secure it should meet the globally accepted requirements.

QuickBlox’s platform allows building a quality healthcare consultation solution with the QuickBlox SDK and cloud infrastructure in your application. QuickBlox products are created using the most effective communication technologies and ensuring compliance with all applicable regulations and requirements of data security.

If you are a developer, product owner, healthcare professional, or technical service provider of a telemedicine or healthcare application looking for an end-to-end doctor-patient consultation solution, then QuickBlox has a complete toolkit for all your needs.

Let’s review what is typically required to build a healthcare consultation solution. The must-have features include the following:

  • User management;
  • Chat integration;
  • Audio/video call integration;
  • Consultation and prescription management;
  • Protected Health Information (PHI) and data security;
  • Billing management.

These functions are readily available in QuickBlox. Below, you can find a brief guide on implementing a real-time chat using the QuickBlox SDK.

User management

By users, we mean doctors and patients signing up for your application and using their accounts to communicate via chat. The QuickBlox Users API provides complete user management functionality allowing flexible user administration and support. QuickBlox API enables all user management functions, from creating new users and authenticating them in the system to retrieving various user-related data and resetting passwords.

QuickBlox REST API and SDK are designed to run on iOS, Android and Web platforms, thus enabling powerful plug-and-play integrations in the client-side functionality of your app. At the same time, the secure cloud-hosted backend ensured the server-side user management functions as well as persistent data storage.

Chat integration

With our chat SDK, you can implement comprehensive high-quality chat functionality in your telemedicine app, including the following options:

  • Rich text chat between doctors and patients. QuickBlox allows setting up a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine service using custom parameters and including all consultation functions, such as starting, ending or updating a consultation session;
  • Secure transfer of sensitive user data complying with the applicable regulations;
  • Customization options available for multiple platforms: Android, iOS, and Web;

Ability to transfer various content via chat, including images, files, video, and audio.

Audio/video integration

Audio and video chats can be a valuable enhancement of a healthcare consultation app. Such a chat format brings the consultation as close to a personal visit as possible. A live video chat can help to create positive patient experiences and allow them to get quality medical advice while saving their time and costs that may be required to visit a clinic. Also, with video, the doctor can see the patient and this may help with diagnosis by looking at the physical condition of the patient.

With its WebRTC communication module for IOS / Android / Web Apps, QuickBlox SDK allows enabling secure video and audio chats right in your healthcare consultation platform. The module includes all necessary functions that can be used to set up an audio or video chat as well as multiple customization options. You can find a sample of the video chat API on our website to see how the basic chat functionality is implemented.

Needless to say, QuickBlox chat API ensures the necessary level of security and privacy of sensitive information that may be exchanged during a live chat. The same considerations were used in designing the camera control feature enabling a live video session between a doctor and a patient.

Consultation and prescription management

For the service administrators, we provide the Custom Objects module allowing you to design the tables and define the logic of the healthcare consultation application. The custom objects can be used to create own tables and configure any data structures that may be needed in your app.

The Messages module that is a part of the QuickBlox API is a tool for creating a fully customizable push notification feature. By setting up push notifications, you can configure both technical and marketing messages to be sent to your users.

Additionally, the push notification functionality is a useful feature in prescription management. When the doctor generates a prescription, the patient can be informed about it automatically via a notification. This way, the necessary information is communicated without any special effort either on doctors’ or patients’ side.

PHI and data security

Healthcare applications and services are subject to especially strict requirements as to information security and are always under the very close scrutiny of government authorities. Patient information is included in the category of extremely sensitive, and its protection is controlled by multiple regulations.

In this context, we should refer to HIPAA, a US government act governing the procedures of storing and transmitting Protected Health Information (PHI). All healthcare services managing PHI must be HIPAA-compliant by implementing the approved techniques and tools.

QuickBlox API is a built-in view of the HIPAA regulations and includes security mechanisms capable of providing the necessary degree of protection. The end-to-end security of data traffic between the doctor and the patient is guaranteed by the HTTPS/TLS protocol as well as certain other measures, such as:

  • Support of all standard features of the XMPP protocol;
  • Implementation of security mechanisms for all app platforms: Android, iOS, and Web;
  • Encryption of the database volumes and messages stored on the backend.

Billing management

We use the auth key and secret URL for fetching the checksum support for third-party integration. QuickBlox provides the mechanisms of generating and storing the checksum in our custom object database.

Add communication to your healthcare app with QuickBlox API

This post is just a brief outline of features and functions available with QuickBlox API and SDK. With our solution, you are getting an effective, secure, scalable, and customizable communication tool that can be easily integrated into any healthcare consultation platform.

Building a telemedicine service is a complex, multi-faceted project. By integrating a ready-made chat solution, you can focus your efforts on other tasks without worrying about the specifics of real-time communication. By using QuickBlox API, you will save the time and cost needed to roll out the complete healthcare service. Browse our Developer Documentation page to see the full list of features of our real-time chat software and the flexible customization options it contains. If you have any questions about QuickBlox API and SDK or would like to implement our solution in your healthcare app, contact us for a detailed discussion.

  1. Gavin says:

    Fantastic website. Lots of useful info here. I’m sending it to a few friends. Keep up the good work – looking forward to more posts.

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