Mobile Healthcare Application Development: A Guide for Founders
Healthcare apps make our lives easier. Thanks to quick appointment scheduling, opportunities for remote treatment and consultancy, continuous health monitoring, and other wonderful features that come with such apps, people can lead healthier lifestyles. Nowadays, healthcare mobile app development is a viable idea, given that the pandemic has perpetuated mobile experiences in our daily lives.
If you plan to develop a mobile healthcare app, it’s essential to be aware of some aspects that will help you build a functional solution. This post will give you an idea about the steps to create a healthcare app, its types, main features, basic compliances you must follow, and more. Let’s begin!
Mobile app development for healthcare: Trending types of apps
The industry of mobile app development for healthcare is in its heyday. In 2021, patients and doctors could access 350,000 healthcare apps via app stores. In this section, we will go over the types of apps that exist on the market to help you define the niche you want to conquer when building your own solution.
Typically, there are two types of healthcare apps available on the market – those for patients and those for healthcare professionals.
Find your niche: Mobile healthcare app development for patients
- Doctor on demand
This breed of apps lets patients get the care they need without having to go to the doctor’s office. With doctor-on-demand apps, patients can get help for everything, from a cold to a more complex condition via a video call. For instance, such apps as Pager and Heal allow you to connect with a doctor for a consultation, diagnosis, or prescription.
- Reminder healthcare apps
Reminder apps are exactly what it says on the tin. They are designed to remind people to take their medication on time, go to their doctor’s appointments or do regular health checkups, which lends itself to faster recovery. Pill Reminder is an excellent example here.
- Dieting apps
This sort of apps can help you track your food intake and calories. It can be helpful in keeping you on track with your diet and reaching your goals. Some examples include Lose It, My Fitness Pal, Noom Coach, Weight Watchers, etc.
- Medical record apps
Medical record apps are used to store and track medical information. They help keep track of doctor appointments, medication, allergies, and other important information. Mobile apps like MyChart and Patient Portal allow patients to view their own records and communicate with their doctors.
- Mental health apps
Mental health apps help people track and manage their mental health status. Some of the most popular mental health apps are Headspace and Calm. These apps can be helpful for tracking moods, managing anxiety and stress, and improving sleep quality.
- Chronic disease management
Managing a chronic disease via an app may include tracking symptoms, medications, and doctor’s appointments. Such apps allow patients to communicate directly with their doctors and stay on top of their condition. You may consider such examples as MyChart and One Drop.
- Pharmacy delivery apps
This breed of healthcare apps is used to order and receive medication from a pharmacy, for instance, PillPack, Pharmeasy, Capsule, CVS Pharmacy, etc.
- Fitness apps
Fitness apps help users stay fit by tracking their daily activity, weight, and the number of calories burnt, a list with workout programs, and integration with wearable devices. MyFitnessPal, Sworkit, Garmin Connect are some examples of popular fitness apps.
Find your niche: Mobile healthcare app development for doctors and medical facilities
Another significant group of healthcare apps is ones designed for doctors, nurses, medical staff, and healthcare providers. If you want to take a stab at healthcare mobile app development for this market, here’re some niches to consider:
- Medical networking
These apps help medical professionals to stay on top of the latest medical trends and create ample opportunities for networking. You can consider such apps as Epocrates, Doximity, and Sermo as examples.
A telehealth app is a type of mobile app that allows for two-way communication between a healthcare provider and a patient. Telehealth apps can be used to diagnose and treat patients, as well as monitor their health status. For example, Doctor On Demand or Amwell.
- Medical training apps
Medical training apps are applications that allow healthcare professionals to learn new medical procedures and techniques. Some apps even allow users to simulate real medical scenarios.
- Medical prescription apps
There are a number of medical prescription apps for doctors that help to manage patient prescriptions, which may include such services as dosage calculators, refill reminders, pill identifiers, pharmacy finder, and more. For instance, Epocrates or Pharmacy Refill.
Mobile healthcare app development: Key features
A great kick-off point of mobile app development for healthcare is developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, collect their feedback and plan features for further versions. Below, we look at the typical features you may want to include in the first steps of healthcare mobile app development.
When you release the first version of your app, it is usually limited in functionalities, and that is not a bad thing. As we mentioned previously, a well-targeted app solving a single issue can be much more valuable.
- Registration and login
A marker of a great app is a minimal effort on the user’s side at the registration step, which reduces the time to receive the help they need. Thus, it’s best to think about ways to streamline the account setup process. Moreover, you should ensure that this step is secured with proven techniques such as two-factor authentification and data encryption.
This is one of the most important features in healthcare mobile app development. Properly executed notifications are always on point and aren’t intrusive. Their goal is to send suitable notifications to remind a user to take a pill or meet with a doctor. Notifications can also inform patients about rescheduling their appointments and follow-ups from healthcare services. Also, make sure your users can manage their notifications.
- Payments and billing
These features let your users pay for healthcare services directly from your app. It’s best to ensure they have several secure ways to pay, for example, debit and credit cards, Paypal, or other methods, depending on your users’ preferences. Payment and billing are critical for secure mobile healthcare application development, so your team needs to focus on encryption and implementing advanced security methods.
Chatbots are convenient means to seek instant assistance or analyze the symptoms to define further treatment steps. Chatbots can also help users connect with a doctor, or chat with a bot to boost their mental health. Chatbots take a suitable place in healthcare mobile app development to implement Artificial Intelligence and boost your app’s capabilities.
- Search and filters
Your users will appreciate your app if it makes the process of healthcare provider search as simple as possible. Thus, take care of it by setting up relevant filters that would allow your users to search by location, price, doctor profile, etc.
Planning doctor appointments is an essential element of healthcare mobile app development. It allows patients and doctors alike to select and manage their appointments, which saves time for managing their calendars. Your app should show available time slots, let users book them, and receive a confirmation.
- Doctor search
One more crucial feature to consider during the process of healthcare mobile app development is adding doctor’s profiles so that patients can review their field, experience, location, fees, and more. Doctor search is a fitting feature as it lets patients select a suitable professional for treatment or prescription assignment.
Mobile healthcare app development: What features are in-demand?
After launching an MVP, you may consider adding other features that will further improve your app and attract more users.
- Integration with wearables
The healthcare industry is taking advantage of the Internet of Things by integrating healthcare apps with wearable devices. This allows patients to track their health data in real time and provides doctors with valuable patient data. It also makes diagnostics more accurate and data-driven. Data collected by wearable devices are a great source of information for doctors to make a treatment plan, access current health status (blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rates, etc), and track the results of treatment.
Thanks to geolocation, users can find healthcare providers and doctors in their location. This feature also lets patients get instant help in the event of an emergency. One such app is one of our clients, Life360. It allows family and friends to keep track of each other’s location in real time and provides access to emergency services if needed.
- Symptom checker
With this feature, users can describe their symptoms to access information verified by healthcare professionals. You can conflate symptom checkers with your chatbot and doctor appointment features to help patients read up on primary information and connect with a specific doctor.
Mobile healthcare application development: Key Steps
In this section, we will go over the main steps you can follow during your mobile healthcare application development.
Step 1. Conduct market research
Market analysis helps you identify the most prospective niche on the market, and learn about the competition and target audience. When analyzing your competitors, you can resort to a SWOT approach to size up opportunities available in your chosen niche.
Step 2. Define your target audience
Medical professionals or patients? Adults, seniors, or teenagers? The better you define your target audience, the more chances you stand to win it over with your application. With that in mind, you can use such categories as demographics, location, behavior, and pain points that your application can resolve.
Step 3. Choose the type of app
We have shown above that there are many different types of healthcare apps on the market. Depending on your mobile healthcare application development capacity, you can select more simple apps (fitness or dieting apps) or go with ones that require complex integrations and advanced technologies (telehealth, medical record apps, etc).
Step 4. Create an app design
In the course of healthcare mobile app development, your task is to make several versions of an MVP to find the most fitting design for your future app. The goal of the design team is to create an attractive look with simple and precise navigation. Modern designs also rely on the principles of accessibility, so you should take those into account as well.
Step 5. Develop a prototype
A prototype of your solution should include basic functionality that would still address the users’ problem, for example, to find a doctor on demand and schedule an appointment with them. At later stages of healthcare mobile app development, you can add more features, making your solution more sophisticated.
Step 6. Conduct testing
Put your prototype to test with a small group of users and see what people think about your solution. Then, review every bit of feedback and improve your future versions. Relying on what your users say during the whole healthcare mobile app development cycle is necessary for winning over the hearts of your users.
Step 7. Take care of maintenance
After you launch your application, your team should take care of ongoing product maintenance, including regular updates, adding new features, keeping on top of its security and compliance with current regulations.
Mobile app development for healthcare: Security and governmental compliance
Healthcare apps deal with the confidential information of patients and professionals. It means that security throughout the entire mobile app development for healthcare should be your priority. To deliver a secure app, you should include such measures as:
- Data encryption (end-to-end encryption);
- Multi-factor authentification to access confidential data;
- Session expiration where the session lasts for a limited time frame.
Depending on the nature of your app and the data it processes, you may need to ensure your app is compliant with regional security policies, guidelines, and regulations. If your market is in European Union, your app should meet the demands of GDPR. The USA puts an emphasis on HIPAA and Canada relies on PIPEDA. When you deal with a healthcare app for Apple Store or Google Play Store, you need to dive into their policies as well.
Custom healthcare mobile development with nCube
In our portfolio, we are proud to have such significant healthcare organizations as AstraZeneca and Dentsply Sirona. Working with these companies, we helped to build a team of skilled developers with experience in custom healthcare mobile development. We can launch such a team for you as well, in one of the most skilled tech hubs, Eastern Europe. The team we provide will be built around your idea of a perfect skill combination and will stay dedicated to you throughout the entire SDLC. Contact us.