Healthcare App Development Guide: Features, Costs, and More
Mobile health (mHealth) market has been experiencing rapid development. Compared to 2015, mHealth applications doubled in number by end of 2020. According to the economic forecast, the value of the mHealth market will reach USD 293.23 billion by 2026, which means that the industry will continue to develop at fast pace for at least another 5 years.
The initial aim of mHealth apps was to reduce paperwork and speed up treatment for patients; however, the new reality that the world faced in 2019 adjusted the course of mHealth development.
It is true to say that the rapid growth of the healthcare applications was largely caused by the global pandemics, when fast delivery of medical services became vital. On top of this, numerous lockdowns added to this as receiving medical assistance remotely was the only option available to most patients. The development of the healthcare apps played a pivotal role in mitigating the Covid-19 virus and made a positive impact on the quality of medical services.
So, how healthcare apps contributed to the development of the mHealth market? Let us have a look.
Healthcare apps fall into two main categories – apps for patients and apps for doctors.
Healthcare apps for patients were designed to simplify communication between patients and doctors, book appointments, access patients’ medical history, treatment plans and reports. In addition, some apps offer lifestyle, dieting and workout recommendations. Healthcare trackers, medication trackers, habit trackers, healthy lifestyle apps, dieting apps, diagnosis apps, health monitoring apps, women’s health apps, mental health apps – are all part of the patient type of applications.
Healthcare apps for doctors were created to reduce paperwork and enhance the efficiency of doctors’ work. They improve patients’ management and simplify prescription processes. Apps for doctors include medical records apps, billing apps, telehealth, medical networking apps, medication prescription and dosage apps.
All of these speed up the process of delivering information to patients about their test results and diagnosis, facilitate accessing and managing data across various locations, simplify billing, provide medical advice and establish communication with medical professionals.
Every industry has specific challenges when it comes to creating applications. The same applies to apps development in healthcare sector. Here are the main challenges to be mindful of when building a healthcare app:
1. Compliance with regulations
Protecting medical records is required by law. Every geographical location has a regulation in place that governs the way health information should be handled. In the US, it is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), in Europe it is Data Protection Directive 1995/46/EC and the e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC/ IEC 62304. The general purpose of these regulations is to protect and prevent the disclosure of patients’ information without their consent.
Please check, which regulations apply to your location before building an app.
2. Safety of patients’ data
Patients’ data is highly sensitive and could become a target for cyberattacks. Therefore, when developing a healthcare app you should have a strategy on how to protect your customers’ data. Assessing risks, preventing data breaches, implementing response actions to attack attempts, running staff training and restricting access to patients’ information – these are the necessary security steps that will help you to keep data protected.
It is important that your healthcare app is user-friendly and allows smooth access for all patients. This implies that your app should be available on various platforms – from website to mobile app, and have features that enable quick access to emergency services. In addition, an ideal healthcare app should be inclusive and available for people with various types of disabilities, including visual impairment, hearing impairment etc.
4. Integration with software
Healthcare network is extensive, so it is important your healthcare app is capable of integrating with other software. Think about creating an API that will enable data transfer across applications. Mind though, that API may require customisation to a particular app due to multiple technologies. In some instances, an app may have more than one API that allows connecting to several services. However, this may be quite expensive and challenging to test several APIs in one app due to frequent system updates.
Once you have counted all the above in, you can move on to the app development. Take one step at a time to see that building a healthcare app is much more achievable than you think.
1. Validate your idea
Proper preparation prevents poor performance.
– Do your market research to identify service that is missing on the market.
– Find your target audience.
– See what problem your product solves.
– Study your competitors to define what their products lack and make it your competitive advantage.
2. Select your business model
Focus on how you want to monetise your app, in other words how your app will make money. Choose yours from the existing business models:
Paid app – offering exclusive content for a fee.
Freemium – a combined model with free and paid content.
Registration and subscription fees – a model offering registration and subscription for a separate fee (works for patients and doctors type of apps)
Certified content – a model with free access to limited content with further subscription to certified content for a fee.
3. Select platform
Depending on your app and the problem that it solves, your target audience may benefit from web-based or mobile app. Think through the functionality of your app and choose what works best. In some cases, apps do their best when they are available on both platforms. The same applies to Android or iOS platforms.
4. Choose your technical stack
Give choosing a tech stack proper consideration, as it will determine your app performance, development and maintenance costs. Keep in mind that your app should be able to withstand the load coming from multiple users.
The most suitable tech stacks for healthcare apps are:
– React Native (good for Android and iOS mobile apps as allows sharing codes between platforms).
5. Create design
Design significantly determines not only the looks but also the convenience of your app. Make sure it is intuitive, functional and appealing for your target audience. Happy app users are likely to recommend your product to others.
6. Develop your app
Select the right team of developers or hire in-house professionals, who ideally have had previous experience building healthcare apps. Explain your idea in every detail and make sure that they are on the same page with you.
7. Test your app
Once your app is built, test it before launching it. Double check that all features work well and the overall performance is smooth. Check the ready app against the idea you had at the start. Make sure that the app is compliant with your location regulations. Check the app for bugs and fix them if applicable. Ensure that any data on your app is well protected. Collect feedback from the testing stage and improve your app accordingly.
8. Deploy your app
Use social media, word-of-mouth or other means of promoting your app launch.
The cost of any app development, including healthcare industry, largely depends on the features and the level of complexity. You need to decide on what features you want your app to have and how sophisticated you want them to be. The design, chosen technology as well as framework also define the cost of building an app.
The time needed to build a healthcare app ranges from 1000 to 3000 hours. The hourly fee also depends on a number of factors: in-house or outsource developers, hired locally or contracted from abroad. To give you an idea, you would need to staff your team with a business analyst, an UX/UI designer, a backend developer, a QA and a project manager.
Please remember that building an MVP prior to app development is an excellent way of saving money and polishing your end product.
Out team at Magnise has a solid experience in app development. Contact us to get expert advice and professional support when you decide to build a healthcare app.
We are here to help!