Several Things You Should Know Before Developing a Healthcare App

The healthcare industry is booming, and the COVID-19 pandemic made a great contribution to it. According to Grand View Research, the global Health market size constituted $50.7 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to grow till 2030 at an average CAGR of 11.0%. People are  more focused than ever on day-to-day access to health-monitoring and improving information. That is why, smart devices and wearables, each trying to offer an advanced healthcare app, widely drive the mentioned market growth.

Many of the apps are promising better care and healthier outcomes for patients, especially in tracking symptoms, keeping tabs on prescriptions, and providing support for chronic illnesses. Physicians and patients use apps intensely, and the expectations of the quality and functionality of these apps grow exponentially. The whole programming, design, and testing industry branch grows and thrives in servicing those demands. So, what does an app mean in healthcare at this stage of niche development? What types of apps are available? How can you start building your healthcare app? 

What is an App in Healthcare?

Developers follow the demand are coming up with disrupting ideas worldwide, offering multifaceted categories of healthcare apps, including fitness, mental health, nutrition, and disease management. Today these applications are helpful for care delivery, patient tracking, health records management, clinical workflows, and communications between physicians, patients, insurers, and other providers involved in patient care.

Health apps are classified into 3 main categories:

  • Apps for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They are designed to monitor your diet, sleep, menstrual cycle, and also include fitness tracking apps, exercise guides, and stress-management apps.
  • Health management apps. This type of apps gives patients their personal health record access, allows them to track the schedule of medications, and needed doses, and manage chronic diseases.
  • Telemedicine apps. With the help of telemedicine apps, patients can meet HCPs online and receive consultations without the need for in-person communication.

Things to Consider Before Developing a Healthcare App

When thinking about developing a healthcare app, imagine all the challenges of standard development and add all the additional intricacies of pretty stiff regulations and legal limitations. Move forward only if you are ready to comply with those and invest additional money and time to achieve it. Here, we will give you some tips to help you create an advanced healthcare app that will stand out from the crowd.

Know your target audience

It all starts with people. Find out who your potential users are, what problems and desires they have, what devices they already use. Ask your friends, or turn to Google Analytics, Statista, Gartner and other online sources for more precise information. Find out what the market now needs the most.

Prioritize patient data security

The healthcare industry is heavily regulated, and that has serious implications for the apps that are built within it. If you want to develop apps that are used by doctors and hospitals, you need to familiarize yourself with the HIPAA and other regulations specific to your country or region and follow them to the letter. 

Learn the specifications of some of the privacy requirements in the healthcare industry, to name just a few:

  • HIPAA,
  • ADA,
  • GDPR,
  • PHI,
  • HITECH (USA),
  • DPLEF, DPLED (EU), 
  • The Data Protection Act (UK),
  • PIPEDA (Canada).

Invest in UI/UX Design

Your clients deserve decent user experience, and you need to ensure that UI/UX of your app is at the adequate level both to the industry and compared to other similar apps. If you start with launching MVP, your design may be still a work in progress, the functionality may be limited, but user paths should be well-thought-out. Remember that sometimes the interface may directly influence the choice of your solution among the competitors and further stay with you. Go for more optimistic or calm colors and fonts, as it is what users normally expect from such an app.

Ensure glitch-free usage with testing 

Whether you pick test automation tools or manual testing, it is critical you test your app for the following:

  1. Check the accuracy of how geolocation works if you use it.
  2. See how your healthcare app looks on different devices (Android, iOS, Windows, etc.)
  3. Look at your solution from the user’s viewpoint. Pay attention to bugs and freezes. Maybe you’ll discover that the app lacks some functions, or, on the contrary, has some that are not necessary at all.
  4. Test the application with a poor internet connection.
  5. Use Unit Testing to see whether your code meets quality standards.

Launch MVP first

Try to start with developing MVP (Minimum Viable Product), backed with only essential functions. When developing any software product, there are always two main goals to aim for: 

  1. To get it done; 
  2. To do it right. 

There is no point in wasting resources on something that doesn’t solve the user’s problem, so it’s always reasonable to develop an MVP first. After launching it and getting feedback, you will be able to develop your application, enriching it with really useful functions.

Choose a tech stack wisely

There’s no reason to choose a “low-hanging fruit” solution. Select a platform that will work well for at least five years and beyond – even as innovations come out every day! We always advise turning to healthcare software development services not to miscalculate the choice. Our company is also ready to take on the challenge.

Find a good API partner

Many healthcare apps have a companion web app to store data and process information. You will need to find a reliable, HIPAA-compliant partner that can handle the data volume generated by your app. 

Some companies will let you use their API for free or for a very low cost, but you need to do your research to find those and make sure they are valid. Most companies will expect you to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee.

Plan Your Budget

One of the most important aspects to consider when building a healthcare application is planning a budget for it. An average cost of a simple healthcare app development can easily be $150,000 or more. The cost may vary due to the following factors:

  1. Platform. It will cost you less to build a healthcare app for iOS devices rather than for Android. However, remember that Apple Market has more strict requirements for applications. Besides, if most of your target audience have Android devices, is it worth losing potential users because you want to cut costs?
  2. Features. Multi-language support, geolocation, and payment gateways increase the needed budget for developing an app. If your budget is small, start with creating an MVP with basic features then.
  3. Timeline. We all know time is money. The more time you need to build an app, the costlier it will be for you. App designing is one of the most time-consuming stages that influences the cost.

It doesn’t end with the release. You need to plan your budget, taking into account the cost of maintaining the app, improving it, and fixing problems once it’s up and running. Also, don’t forget about contingencies, put their cost into your budget.

Don’t aim to fix everything with your app

There are many problems that people face in daily life, and it would be great if you could solve them with an app. While you can build apps that help people live healthier lives and manage their diseases, you can’t build apps that solve all the problems. It turns us back to the point that you should focus on the problems of your target audience. 

People living in areas without clean water and proper sanitation need more than an app telling them to drink lots of water. They may need an app that tells them where to find the nearest clean water source. 

The Bottom Line

All in all, the biggest challenge of the healthcare-related development is that a mobile app for healthcare must conform to certain regulations that govern the way apps are designed and managed. They must, for example,  include HIPAA compliance and privacy protections, use secure protocols, and follow the industry standards of good design and coding practices, such as using JSON Web Tokens for authentication purposes. 

There are so many different healthcare apps, that at some point you may feel confused whether even to start developing another one. You can consult our experts on it, but first, you should make sure that you aim to cover the existing need or do it significantly better than your competitors. The power of inertia is very big, and if your app is only slightly different from competitor’s you don’t stand a chance — people won’t change their environment.  

If you feel a bit lost here, you are welcome to contact us to clarify some things and start this journey of healthcare app development.

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