The Definitive Guide to Developing a Healthcare Mobile App

February 13, 2023

By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
GlendaleBizz a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Data Titan, Sofvue LLC, and the author

The development of healthcare apps is a rapidly growing area in the technology industry. In 2021, the global mobile medical apps market was valued at an impressive $5.37 billion, and this number is expected to skyrocket to $38.47 billion by 2029, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 27.90% from 2022 to 2029.

This presents a prime opportunity for entrepreneurs who are interested in developing innovative technologies and applications to enhance healthcare delivery and treatment. With the increasing demand for healthcare solutions and the potential for significant growth in the industry, now is the ideal time to explore the potential of healthcare app development.

Despite the potential for growth and success, the development of healthcare apps is not without its challenges. Building any type of app comes with difficulties, but these challenges become even more crucial when creating technology for use by healthcare professionals and patients.

Fortunately, help is available. As a seasoned provider of healthcare app development services, we are equipped with the knowledge and expertise needed to develop a highly effective healthcare app. We understand the unique requirements and considerations involved in this specialized field and are ready to assist in overcoming any obstacles that may arise.

Let’s start with the basics.

What Purpose do Healthcare Apps Fulfill?

A healthcare app is a mobile tool designed to assist with managing personal health. It offers various features such as tracking daily activities, symptoms, and facilitating communication with healthcare professionals. Additionally, it provides a platform for sharing health-related data.

Patients can find various healthcare apps that cater to their specific needs, such as tracking blood pressure, monitoring weight and blood sugar levels, managing medication schedules, and monitoring symptoms. Advanced telemedicine applications also enable patients to connect with doctors through video chat or email from any location.

Healthcare apps also serve as a valuable resource for physicians, allowing them to remotely monitor patients. This is particularly useful for patients who are at risk of developing chronic conditions or require immediate medical attention due to changes in their health status.

Services that can be performed include, but are not limited to:

✅ Ensure easier communication between patients and doctors
✅ Provide convenient access to medical records and other data
✅ Help patients track their health and manage their conditions
✅ Offer better access to medical information
✅ Monitor medications and remind patients when it's time for dosage changes or refills
✅ Make sure important messages get through to patients (for example, reminding them about appointments)

Importance of Healthcare App Development

With the increasing popularity of mobile technology, people are also utilizing their devices to gather health-related information. Additionally, healthcare professionals are embracing digital solutions to improve the patient experience, such as telemedicine apps and electronic medical records (EMRs).

The growing prevalence of chronic diseases highlights the need for patients to manage their conditions on a daily basis, presenting an opportunity for medical app developers to create targeted solutions to meet these needs. The demand for healthcare apps and services is on the rise, providing a platform for developers to make a significant impact in the industry.

The growing popularity of wearable devices, such as Fitbit or Apple Watch, is raising awareness and concern for personal health. As a result, there is a growing demand for apps that can sync with these devices and provide essential health information. These wearable devices, combined with the right healthcare app, can provide individuals with a comprehensive and convenient solution for tracking and managing their health.

Challenges of Healthcare App Development

Healthcare app development presents several obstacles that must be addressed. One of the most significant challenges is the complexity of building apps for a highly regulated industry, such as healthcare. With privacy and security being top concerns, the industry is subject to strict regulations regarding access to patient data, storage, and retention.

To ensure patient safety and privacy, healthcare apps must be free of bugs and flaws, making it imperative to work with experienced and knowledgeable developers. Inexperienced developers or companies may struggle to meet these stringent requirements, leading to potential privacy breaches or safety risks for patients.

By partnering with experienced healthcare app developers, these challenges can be overcome and a secure and reliable healthcare app can be created that meets all regulatory requirements and protects the privacy and safety of patients.

Steps to Developing a Healthcare App

The development of a healthcare app is a thrilling endeavor, yet it presents certain challenges. The goal is to create a solution that meets the needs of both patients and healthcare providers while delivering a smooth user experience. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

Steps to Developing a Healthcare App

Step#1 Define Healthcare Problems That Your App Can Solve

The initial step in developing a healthcare app is to pinpoint the problem that the app will solve. Then, evaluate the issues faced by your target audience and determine how your app can provide a solution.

This step is crucial for defining the scope of the project, including:

✅ Determining the essential features for the minimum viable product (MVP).
✅ Identifying potential use cases.
✅ Deciding which features would be most valuable to your target audience.

It is also important to establish a timeline and budget during this stage. If possible, create basic prototypes to get customer feedback and make necessary modifications in a timely manner. This will help refine the final product and ensure it meets the needs of your target audience.

Step#2 Validating Your Solution

Validating your healthcare app solution is a crucial step in the development process. This involves testing your concept with actual users to confirm that it addresses their needs and is deemed valuable.

Using prototypes, a simplified version of the product, to test your ideas before committing significant time, money, and resources to building the full product is a best practice. This validation testing helps to determine if there is a need for the product and why.

It's essential to begin testing with individuals who may use the app, including both potential customers and healthcare providers. These early testers should be representative of your target audience to provide valuable insights and feedback. This information will help refine the final product and ensure it meets the needs of those it is intended for.

Step#3 Use Real-time Data (If Applicable)

Having access to real-time data is crucial in making informed decisions about patient care and treatment options. This is especially important in emergency situations, where quick action is essential to save lives and minimize harm from illness or injury.

For instance, consider an older patient who falls and fractures their hip at home, leaving them unable to seek help until the next morning when someone finds them on the floor or struggling to move due to their injury.

However, if their vital signs were being monitored remotely through a smartphone app, first responders could be alerted immediately, allowing for a prompt response and reducing the risk of further harm or death. Real-time data provides valuable insights, enabling quicker and more effective decision-making in emergency situations.

Step#4 Give Importance to HIPPA Compliance

HIPAA compliance is a set of rules that protect the privacy and security of health information. HIPAA compliance is required by law for any healthcare app that deals with patient information, and it can be difficult to navigate if you're unfamiliar with its requirements.

When creating your healthcare app, it is crucial to consider the following points:

✅ Ensure that all patient information is encrypted at all times for maximum security.
✅ The app should have a comprehensive privacy policy that clearly outlines how patient data will be handled and protected.
✅ The healthcare app must include an audit trail that records every instance of data access or editing within the system, including the user who performed the action (e.g. "John Doe accessed Patient X's information at 10:30 pm"). This ensures accountability and transparency in handling sensitive patient information.

Step#5 Optimize the User Experience (UX)

From the outset of development, prioritize creating an easy-to-use user experience with a straightforward flow and user interface (UI). Aim for simplicity in your initial designs, avoiding any unnecessary steps or confusing language for patients and healthcare professionals.

Once you have created sketches and wireframes of the UI, conduct usability tests to assess their effectiveness. Utilize tools such as UsabilityHub to evaluate design variations before implementation. This process helps to ensure that the final product is user-friendly and intuitive for both patients and healthcare providers.

Step#6 Hire an Experienced Healthcare App Development Services Provider

When selecting a development team for your healthcare app, it is crucial to consider the following criteria:

Relevant expertise and experience: Ensure that the team has experience in healthcare app development or a related field.
Proven success: Look for a team with a solid track record of delivering successful projects.
Budget considerations: Different teams have varying cost structures, so research and compare options to ensure that you find one that fits your budget.
Flexibility and open communication: Choose a team that is flexible and open to your needs to ensure timely delivery and cost-effectiveness.
Responsiveness: Opt for a company with responsive staff who will maintain open communication with you throughout the development process to avoid any issues.

The Secret Formula of Healthcare Apps

Key factors to consider when developing a healthcare app include:

✅ User experience (UX)
✅ Data security and privacy
✅ Reliable customer support
✅ App speed and performance

Additionally, essential functionalities for healthcare professionals include:

✅ Communication tools for sharing information between patients and healthcare professionals
✅ Checklists for tracking symptoms and action items
✅ Documenting patient records with photos and videos
✅ Remote diagnosis using augmented or virtual reality technologies.

Cost of Healthcare App Development

The cost of your app development depends on numerous factors, such as:

✅ The number of required component features
✅ The complexity of your app, including UI/UX design
✅ Security protocols  and HIPPA requirements
✅ The platform(s) from which your app needs to run

It's essential to note that the cost of developing a healthcare app can only be accurately determined after selecting a mobile app development firm.

Given our experience in this space, the ongoing inflation wars, labor and resource complexities and a host of other issues in the marketplace, don’t let anyone tell you you will spend anything under $100,000. We have existing and past clients who can further elaborate on this topic. That said, if you're looking to incorporate advanced technologies such as AI, IoT, RFID, or real-time features, the cost may range from $100,000 to over $1MM.

Wrapping Up

Healthcare app development is complex and requires much attention to security and privacy. Therefore, choosing your medical app developers carefully is vital so they can build an app that meets your requirements without risking patient data.

While you are at it, don’t forget to check our work. We have developed several healthcare apps and can meet your expectations. In addition, we are more cost-effective than all app development companies!

Read More:

Healthcare Mobile App - HealthMed Portfolio

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