The covid-19 pandemic has thrown a lot of limelight on healthcare, and people are taking hygiene more seriously than ever. In times like these when different kinds of health risks are being imposed on the human race, it has become critical to stay as hygienic as possible. Thanks to the advancements in technology just like many other industrial sectors, it is now also shaping the future of healthcare by providing services at your fingertips.
With over 200 apps added each day, over 318,000 healthcare apps are now available in app stores across the world. Potential healthcare services can save the current healthcare systems billions of dollars per year and be highly significant in the future.
Why is healthcare app development Gaining Importance in the Healthcare Industry?
With the aid of technology, mobile healthcare apps serve the purpose of delivering amicable healthcare solutions. Healthcare apps escalate the well-being and fitness standards and patients encourage medical practitioners to reach out to more and more people at the comfort of their own homes.
The global healthcare market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.7% from 2021 to 2028. The widespread usage of mobile apps and technologies has introduced us to a different level of the online healthcare era that is proficient and secure. This incredible impact of healthcare combined with digitalization has made the lives of both doctors and patients easier. So, to say that this epoch of digitalized healthcare is thriving and is going to bloom in the current years is subtle.
A mobile healthcare application comes along with a lot of benefits and advancements which we have plotted up in this guide. A healthcare entrepreneur needs to know a few key areas before investing in a mobile app. This guide serves as a source of information on the different aspects and features of a healthcare app.
Most popular types of healthcare mobile applications
Healthcare apps enhance the healthcare journey of any user. If you are looking to create a mobile health care app and invest in it’s development, here are the types of healthcare applications divided into two categories:
- Fitness applications
- Self medical diagnosis apps
- Diet tracking apps
- Reminder assistance apps
- Healthcare wellness solutions
- Appointment scheduling apps
- Women’s app
- Disease management apps
For healthcare professionals:
- Medical database apps
- Telemedicine apps
- Medical prescription apps
- Inventory management
- Electronic health record apps
- Hospital management apps
Benefits of healthcare medical app for patients and healthcare providers
Reports state that most doctors use healthcare apps during their medical treatments for infallible results. There are innumerable benefits of healthcare apps not only for doctors and other healthcare professionals but also for patients such as:
Lowers medical expenses
We all are aware of the fact that medical consultations are expensive and some hospitals charge patients as desired. This is one of the major factors that stop the patients from getting the right care. But with many additional options like online consultation through a healthcare app available for many ailments, several expenses such as travel fare and appointment-related costs are cut down. Patients also get the choice to choose the healthcare provider that’s most affordable to them.
Remote area accessibility
People from remote areas usually have to travel to mega cities to receive necessary healthcare services. With a mobile healthcare app, they need only two things, an internet connection, and a smartphone. Healthcare apps help them get services without having to travel and waiting in long queues.
Even the smallest of errors can cost patients their limb or life and land doctors in legal trouble. We hear horrifying news about diagnostics mistakes every now and then. Healthcare applications reduce these errors in different ways by providing solutions that are accurate and have very low error rates. There are also various technologies that are proven to deliver precise results such as data analysis and artificial intelligence.
It is very important for hospitals and medical laboratories to keep track of the everyday records of their patients. Healthcare apps such as medical databases, electronic health records, hospital management, and inventory management apps are substantial tools for better management in healthcare institutions.
When it comes to health and wellness, each patient is different with their own medical condition and each patient requires individual attention. Due to a large number of patients sometimes it becomes difficult to store and provide specified and personalized care for all patients. Here is where healthcare apps come in frame debugging this complicated process by delivering customized support and care to each patient that uses the app.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, taking good care and maintaining oneself reduces the chances of getting sick in the first place. People are now becoming more conscious of this fact and are serious about their personal health by monitoring their health on daily basis. Fitness apps and technologies such as fitness trackers, fitness devices, smartwatches, and wearable devices are setting trends by promoting to stay fit and healthy. With the correct healthcare app in hand, it becomes easy to achieve desired fitness goals.
Step by Step Detailed Process of Healthcare Mobile App Development
For a seamless healthcare app development experience and journey, you need to consider planning out certain important points which we have listed below. Here we have mapped out a detailed step by step process that helps in adding value to your app and delivering insightful results that attract maximum users:
Knowing and understanding the purpose of developing a healthcare app is the first step towards meeting your business goals. Analyzing the current trending apps in the market and researching the healthcare market is essential to build an application that is unique and serves your purpose.
Choosing the right platform for your app to flourish is the second step in the app development process. Focusing on your business resources and requirements you can choose whether you want a medical app developed for an android platform or an iOS platform to launch your app on the Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store respectively. You can also choose an omnichannel app that works on all devices reaching multiple audiences.
Usually, large enterprises and the health sector prefer cross platform mobile app development frameworks such as Ionic, Flutter, and React Native as it stimulates the process by extending a single codebase in multiple platforms.
Competitive marketing analysis is a vital step in the process of healthcare application development. It helps you determine the existing solutions and gives you insights into targeted market needs.
While laying down the strengths of the competitor’s app as the minimum benchmark levels that you need to succeed, the weakness of their apps can be converted into your getaway of opportunities.
Conducting competitive analysis allows you to shortlist the features and functionalities your app needs to be competitive in the market.
Generally, healthcare apps and apps for medical institutions usually serve as an additional service for themselves and not as a revenue model. You will need to think about how to monetize the app if you see it as a product.
Before designing and developing the app, you will have to consider the monetization model and develop it accordingly. Healthcare applications that are paid are converted into monetization models by subscriptions. By providing paid access to premium services and advertising, you can get profits even on free apps.
Design and develop
A healthcare app that has a creative design and an excellent user experience makes a huge impact on the overall app success. Designing an attractive UI/UX not only requires reliable functionality but also an awesome visual that aims in attracting more users to a healthcare app. Developing an app in different modules and adopting an iterative path also allows developers to perform modifications without affecting the core functionalities of the app.
To drive healthcare app interoperability, app integration such as EMRs and EHRs is of huge help. Innovative trends such as the Internet of Medical Things – IoMT and AI algorithms help in storing and managing data while delivering insightful results.
Build an MVP
A Minimum Viable Product is an initial version of the app with just enough features and functionalities that allow customers to give their feedback and help the app development process.
Building an MVP first doesn’t need to have all functionalities and features at first; it just needs to be launched on time and active. It takes years to create a perfect app but the sooner you launch the app and interact with the customers, the faster you will accomplish your desired results.
When it comes to the quality, accuracy, and security of a healthcare mobile app the bars are quite high. So, after your app is prepared the next phase it has to go through is the testing phase that helps in ensuring that the app is bug-free and errorless. Some factors to consider while testing the app are:
- Data Privacy
- Data Confidentiality
- Data Security
Security and privacy standards
Health data and medical reports have a tendency to be misused in many ways, so it is crucial to develop a healthcare app that reaches safe security and privacy standards. Recognizing and reducing all possible areas of errors and vulnerability by encrypting a transport layer security is important. Setting up a firm authorization process and controlled measures ensure that the private information of the patients is safe and secure.
Maintenance and support
The healthcare app development process might end here but the launch of the application is something that prolongs beyond that. While planning on a successful application, it is vital to draw focus on support, scalability, and maintenance of the application. Constantly enhancing the appearance of the app and keeping up with the trends in the market is what drives users to your app.
Must-Have Healthcare App Features
A healthcare application should put forward some attractive, functional, and convenient features that add value to the app. It should include modern features that help patients monitor and maintain their health. Some of the functions and features of a versatile medical app are:
Tracking: The tracking feature helps in monitoring and keeping a track of the patient’s oxygen levels, heart rates, pulse, calorie intake, blood sugar level, etc.
Scheduling appointments: Through this feature, the patient can select a medical expert or doctor for their consultation. Furthermore, they can also schedule an appointment according to their convenience, get validation from the other side and get their professional advice from verified sources.
Reminders: Remainders usually include appointments, pill times, exercise time, medical advice, etc. Nowadays apps also provide customized remainders for water intake, calorie intake and many more fitness reminders that allow users to notice and monitor their daily routine.
Social login: The login feature allows the users swift and easy login access to the app. Some patients avoid sharing their health-related information on social media platforms, so you will have to make sure to clarify certain privacy policies and the different levels of access to personal details.
Practioner information: This feature includes the details about the medical practitioners, doctors, and physicians that patients can look up to. Practioner information helps the patients to research the doctor thoroughly before booking an appointment. It also includes their areas of specializations, appointment availability, and location parameters.
Patient information: Patient information page allows the doctors to access a complete overview of their patients’ health conditions and stages. It includes diagnosis history, prescriptions, medical history, reports allergies, and other specific remarks on a single screen which is quite beneficial to the doctor.
E-prescriptions: This feature is a tech wonder as it allows doctors to write prescriptions electronically. E-prescriptions are feasible and efficient as it also allows doctors to access previous prescriptions and medical history of their patients for accurate treatments.
Chatbox: This feature is the newest real-time feature in the market that helps patients to chat and engage with medical experts and get assistance from time to time. It establishes trust between patients and their physicians while facilitating easy access.
Location integration: Location integration helps in saving a patient’s life miraculously in case of emergencies. As it shows all nearby medical institutions, clinics, hospital locations and centers it helps in finding immediate assistance. It includes integrated map services such as Google maps or any other 3rd party web mapping services.
Forums: Forums are a brilliant way of encouraging users to participate in health-related discussions. The online discussions and sessions held for the associated group of people improve engagement and collaboration between patients and doctors. These forums or portals are usually related to fitness, well-being, and health awareness among individuals.
Inventory: An inventory management feature in the healthcare information system has been proven very helpful for hospital institutions and clinics. There are a lot of devices used in a healthcare setup in a digitalized manner, this inventory helps in managing all the devices from a single place saving time, and improving the efficiency of the respective health center.
Reference database: A reference database is a doctor-friendly feature as it allows medical practitioners to gather data regarding their patients, symptoms, different diseases, medicines, and other health information. It also allows them to access this data for reference as per their convenience.
Healthcare community: A collective group of people especially experienced doctors and physicians coming together for interaction to stay updated about the latest developments in the field of medicine. This feature allows medical practitioners to discuss and share their views and information with their medical community.
Ratings and reviews: Patients can provide value-added feedback and share their treatment journey with other patients through this feature. It not only helps other patients to review and analyze the treatment they want to choose but also helps in seeking the correct medical service.
Payment gateway: Payment gateway is a feasible and hassle-free feature through which patients can pay bills and doctors can receive them directly. This provision enables users to pay for insurances, medical bills, pharmaceutical bills, admission bills, consultation charges, etc. It includes the latest digital payment functions such as net banking, credit cards, debit cards, and wallets that ensure secure and safe payments.
Video conferencing: Nowadays, the video conferencing feature of telemedicine solutions is one of the most prominent innovations in healthcare IT. Through this feature, you can comfortably have a virtual consultation with your doctor. This enables monitoring of patients outside of conventional settings with Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). Doctors can access Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) modules for management and data transmission.
Symptoms checker: This feature is relatively user-friendly – users can use the symptoms checker feature to compare their symptoms and see the health challenges they might correspond to. This modern healthcare monitoring feature is a must-to-have feature if you are developing a healthcare app because it adds value to your software.
Tech Stack required for healthcare app development
The technology stack used in developing a medical app plays a vital role in the current performance and future growth of a healthcare app. Before developing a healthcare application, you must be familiar with the different technologies and frameworks that go into building it. The technologies should be easy to maintain, low in cost, and chosen according to your needs and preferences. We have listed a few common technologies used in healthcare below:
Database: The preferred database for healthcare applications is Oracle, MongoDB, Me cached, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
Operating systems: When addressing healthcare apps, you can consider either iOS or Android operating system.
Business tools: The two most commonly used business tools for a healthcare application are G suite and Desk.com
Cloud storage: A few trusted cloud storage and hosting providers are AWS, Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, and Digital Ocean.
Frameworks: Some of the most reliable web frameworks are GitHub, Selenium, Bit bucket, Rollbar, Laravel, Node.js, DevOps, and Jenkins.
Lastly, there are some technologies that are settling trends in the healthcare app development sector such as Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, AR, VR, NVP, 5G, and the Internet of medical things (IoMT).
Servers: While handling a lot of concurrent requests on a healthcare application, An Apache or NGINX server works wonders.
Cross-platform: Medical apps get more productivity with cross platforms such as Flutter or React. Both allow the same code reusability for Android as well as iOS.
Clinical considerations and common challenges
To leverage a successful healthcare mobile application, there are a few things to keep in your mind and factors to consider such as:
Ensuring that you are following legal compliances while developing a healthcare app is critical as it will store and exchange protected health information. The basic factors to consider are protecting information, safeguarding data, and ensuring push notifications are not sharing patient’s private information. The most consciously looked after compliances are FDA, HIMSS, and HIPAA.
Interoperability simply means passing information from one device to another through a healthcare app. It’s very important to develop a transaction that is completely secure and safe. The best example of interoperability is passing user’s information from a wearable device to a mobile app.
Feature set selection
Selecting a feature for your mobile app can be a complicated task as the success of the app depends on a health solution. Nowadays, the common elements present in mobile healthcare apps are health monitoring, in-app payments, reporting functionality, appointment scheduling, social integration via fitness app, and wearable integration.
The top priority in developing a healthcare app is keeping it absolutely safe from data thefts and breaches. Even a single blank left to be filled or a small security loophole can get hackers in compromising the data in the medical apps. To avoid this, you can make it mandatory for your users to put in a screen lock every time they access the app by giving them a lock within the application.
API’s and integrations
A functionality that sees the usage of an app across the whole development process, from social media login to giving developers a possibility to connect the app with some database or server is known as an application program interface. It is a difficult choice to shortlist the real-time and hack-proof API, with so many APIs functioning in the market. The integration should work natively on different devices and should be made completely secure. A design supporting mobile integrated therapies in a single EHR and scalability integration should be kept in mind.
Last but not the least, presence of a medical practitioner in the core development team might just step your game up.
Best healthcare applications
Among the wholesome lot of healthcare apps shoring on the digital surface, here is the list of some of the top healthcare apps for both patients and medical practitioners:
- Book My Doc
- Dynamed plus
- Med&beyond Telehealth
To build a futuristic healthcare app and create a unique presence on the virtual platform, hiring app developers from a top-notch healthcare development company can be considered a wise decision.
Cost to develop a healthcare application
The cost of a healthcare app completely depends on how complex the app is and what features are added to it. The targeted audience, technologies used, the core development team employed, functionalities included, etc. are some of the other factors that determine the cost of a healthcare app.
The best way to get an accurate estimate is to discuss your needs and goals with a healthcare development team. The cost varies from location to location, for example, hiring a mobile app development agency in the USA would cost $80-$250 per hour while in the UK it might cost around $70-150 per hour. Overall, a healthcare app with basic features usually costs up to $60k to $100k.
Smartphones have become quite ubiquitous and their attributes such as mobility, connectivity, personalization, and convenience have gained huge acceptance from all walks of life. Encompassing many areas including eCommerce, entertainment as well as the most important one, healthcare. The far and wide reach of mobile devices and ease of use of mobile applications has made them the ideal candidate for medical professionals.
For the very first time in the history of medicine, the healthcare system has seen an outburst in medical equipment and services. The high demand for contactless medical consultations and online healthcare services has drastically increased. This graph of healthcare applications development seems to rise and continue in the future.
Market researchers expect that health apps markets are to exceed $111 billion by 2025, which significantly represents a compound growth rate of 38% from 2019. Now, with the rapidly evolving times, mobile healthcare apps are increasingly being adapted to the mainstream and are a blessing in disguise.