The pandemic, along with its adversities and economic turmoil, had a positive impact on the healthcare industry. The need for technology that would assist medics in coping with the influx of patients in a time-efficient, remote, and accurate manner propelled the advancement of solutions in digital therapeutics, telehealth, and remote patient monitoring. These, along with ever-evolving smartphone technology and recent hot trends, e.g. the adoption of 5G and leveraging of Big Data and Blockchain, have brought mobile health app development to a new level. If you’re aiming at creating the absolute best health app in your niche, Andersen’s experts encourage you to skim through this article to find practical advice on this topic.
App development for healthcare: the market overview
To understand the secret of the top healthcare apps’ success, one needs to grasp the market landscape.
Since the pandemic outbreak, the market of mobile health solutions has been growing at an impressive pace of about 30% annually. Healthcare mobile apps make up its largest share and, by 2025, will supposedly exceed a staggering $332 billion.
According to CB Insights, at the beginning of 2020, the most promising areas for development with astounding investments that increased by up to 300%, compared with the previous quarter, included healthcare AI, telehealth, regenerative medicine, and women’s health. Nevertheless, the major constraints preventing the ubiquity of apps for healthcare include their reluctant adoption by providers, the ambiguousness of laws and regulations, and the lack of clear advice from medics on how to choose and exploit suitable options.
What is the difference between a health app and a medical app?
With the above statistics as some food for thought as you plan for the success of your mobile health app, let us briefly outline the difference between the two major groups of solutions, i.e. health apps and medical apps. Although they might seem deceptively similar, there is a crucial difference in their purpose and principles of work that forward-thinking investors should be aware of.
- are built for the professional treatment of specific illnesses and conditions;
- employ data analytics for precise diagnosing;
- are built in strict adherence to the industry regulations;
- are often more sophisticated and costly.
- are intended for a wide range of users;
- make recommendations that don’t involve highly accurate analytics;
- don’t require rigid adherence to the regulations;
- are classified as cost-effective solutions.
Note that the concept of the product, its requirements, and its structure broadly depend on the group it belongs to. Once the decision is made, it’s time to move on to choosing a niche where your business idea is most likely to excel.
Types of healthcare mobile apps
Devising an app that meets the specific needs of a certain user group will dramatically raise its chances of producing a high return on investments. As a rule, mobile apps for healthcare are designed to serve patients, boost operations in facilities, or ease the burden on healthcare workers.
- Healthcare mobile apps for patients allow them to make appointments, receive notifications, pay for services, upload test results, consult with specialists, network with other users, and more. They also include health tracking apps that inform the users of their vital sign dynamics, help them to control their workout and eating routines, and encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle.
- Solutions for medics provide for performing remote patient monitoring, conducting telehealth sessions, managing their schedule, exchanging messages, documents, and calls with other users, and more. As a rule, a professional healthcare app is integrated with patients’ EHRs for improved data collection and diagnoses.
- Finally, solutions for healthcare facilities are designed to effectively manage inventory, payments, personnel schedules and appointments, databases, and more.
Healthcare app trends
After specifying your product type, it is beneficial to consider the hottest trends that shape today’s market of mobile apps in healthcare. Embedding them in the app will increase your chances to attract investments, enhance user experience, and boost ROI.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
These technologies are employed in different areas of healthcare, from conducting robotic surgeries to programming smart chatbots and educating medics. Algorithms process large volumes of data, analyze vital sign dynamics and medical images, and recognize repetitive patterns. This allows specialists to diagnose health conditions in a swift and accurate manner and combat even severe challenges such as mental diseases, oncology, and more. In addition, pharmaceutical companies increasingly use AI and ML for research and development.
This is a relatively new phenomenon that has already proven its feasibility in establishing decentralized patient portals, providing insurance companies secure access to their clients’ medical information, and more. The technology allows for seamless integration with various EHRs and permission-based access to patient data, which guarantees better informational security. It is also used for organizing logistics and effectively tracking medications and other medical products end-to-end across supply chains.
Internet of Things
The latest IoT-based technologies have long ago gone beyond mere vital sign collection. Today, they are extensively employed for managing inventory, tracking the transportation of medicinal products and organs, addressing chronic conditions, enhancing surgery aftercare, and more.
The avalanche of various types of data received from IoT-connected devices and ML algorithms doubles every year. Therefore, analytics tools and databases that are able to sort and process this immensity of information are a must in advanced and scalable IT solutions.
Virtual and augmented reality
These technologies are incredibly helpful in training novice practitioners in a safe environment, conducting therapy sessions, and creating solutions for indoor navigation. Consider embedding them in your app for helping surgeons, addressing mental conditions, and solving other challenges.
Developing a health app: the strategy to adopt
To everyone who wonders how to develop a healthcare app that will be a success, Andersen’s experts with years of experience in the matter recommend pursuing the following strategy.
Conduct preliminary market and user research
Knowing the market situation, your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and the problems and demands of your target audience will help you to devise an app that will be a commercial success. Turning to subject-matter experts with medical education who possess in-depth knowledge of various healthcare providers and the industry is extremely beneficial at this stage.
Elicit product requirements and create prototypes
The next thing to do would be to elicit and prioritize requirements and healthcare app features to draw up and test clickable prototypes. Professional business analysts and IT architects can help you with this. Taking this step will save you time and money as you will embark on the development with a clear project structure. The essential elements that healthcare mobile apps normally include are intuitive and easy-to-navigate user profiles, the ability to send and receive notifications, make and process payments, hold chats and video calls, and integrate with third-party services such as Google Fit, HealthKit, GPS, etc.
Build an MVP
Consider launching an initial version of your solution that includes only essential features. This will allow you to test it on users and subsequently enhance it while getting your ROI faster and avoiding costly reworking.
Plan for future iterations
To be able to scale your solution and keep it synchronized with the latest OS updates to eliminate technical debt, opt for a healthcare application development company that conducts support and maintenance as a part of their package.
Why even the best healthcare apps fail
Even the most promising startups fail, in spite of all the resources invested. To avoid this fate, Andersen’s team recommends you look through the following pitfalls that one might encounter.
- Convoluted architecture and cumbersome design. Top-performing software requires convenience, user-friendliness, and visual attractiveness. The users shouldn’t need to put effort into making their way through a jumble of interface elements. Consider that the app might be used by people with disabilities and the elderly, and therefore, plan for an accessible and minimalistic solution with clear content.
- Neglect of regulatory requirements. If you want your software to be accepted by the leading market players and key app platforms, adhering to regulations is a must. These requirements touch on the matters of handling personal health information, providing for financial operation security, complying with the FDA standards, and more.
- Insufficient data protection. Users won’t entrust their data to a solution if they have the slightest doubt about its security. According to the results of this investigation, even the top healthcare apps are in danger of data leaks. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide for solid API integrations, adherence to proven data encryption techniques, etc.
Choosing a trusted healthcare application development company
To design a solid solution within the defined timelines, with no hidden costs, and enjoying transparent and well-oiled processes, contract with a reliable IT vendor. Below is some advice on the matter.
Proven regulatory compliance
The company of your choice must be HIPAA- and GDPR-compliant. Moreover, it should adhere to various standards such as the HITECH act, Human Interface Guidelines, the Data Protection Act, etc. depending on your app’s type and the area of localization.
Confirm with your provider that they reinforce their customers’ projects not only with skilled technical specialists who continuously master the latest tech stacks but also with seasoned subject-matter experts with deep knowledge of the market landscape and the industry. The vendor should also provide experienced project managers, business analysts, marketing experts, and other specialists who will elaborate and implement a business plan with clearly defined goals and requirements.
Employment of the best Agile and DevOps practices
Working in condensed time intervals and delivering pieces of functionality by the end of each of them will allow your team to detect flaws in a timely manner and flexibly adapt to possible changes. Continuous integration and delivery, in turn, will allow you to test your app end-to-end without ceasing to build or upgrade its functionality.
Adroitly built healthcare mobile apps considerably enhance the quality of services. They allow professionals to deliver help, diagnose, and trace treatment progress in a timely and accurate manner, which increases security, accessibility, and availability of care. If you are looking for custom mobile health app development services with a focus on mature processes and deep technical expertise, contact us for a consultation. It’s free and insightful!
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