Despite the rapid growth of the healthcare industry, the market is still far from its complete saturation. Moreover, the structure of the industry itself is changing now: for example, a few years ago the vast majority of applications were inclined towards an active lifestyle about sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Now a good share of services that allow you to communicate with doctors, monitor your physical condition, and analyze symptoms is actively growing. And researchers note that the niche of mobile applications for people diagnosed with “diabetes”, “overweight” and “depression” is still yet to be occupied. So as the gap continues to enlarge, lots of entrepreneurs continue to ask: “How exactly can I develop a healthcare app?”.
With that being said, all of these circumstances attract a huge number of entrepreneurs to the Healthcare industry, who compete for users’ attention. Since the competition is enormous, every detail is important for the success of the app: sales, marketing, and, naturally, the technology on which the project is based.
In this article, we want to share the rules and principles that allow any business company to confidently develop a healthcare app without any hesitations.
Types of Medical Applications
Before diving into specifics, it is important to understand what kind of product you want to develop. There are several types of health apps for different purposes and end-users, including medical professionals, labs, and patients. The type of application affects its functionality, some integrations, and the level of data security required.
Clinical Communication Apps
This app type is used to enhance clinical decision-making and communication with specialists in any private or specific hospital. These services include text and voice chat, file sharing, and electronic medical record systems. Halo is a good example of such an app along with its main features:
- Sending lab and PACS results to doctors and nurses.
- Integration with electronic health records (EHR) for real-time editing of patient records.
- Data storage on Amazon Web Services cloud platform.
Barcode Scanning Apps
This app allows patients’ electronic medical records and medication barcodes to be scanned using the smartphone’s built-in camera, which saves the clinic money by not having to spend money to purchase specialized scanning devices. An example of such a service is the Epic Rover app. In addition to scanning medication barcodes, Epic Rover also has the following features:
- Messenger to communicate with patients and other medical personnel.
- Visualization of patient and progress information in the form of charts.
- Integration with electronic medical records.
Patient Communication Apps
Patient Communication apps increase patient engagement and loyalty to the healthcare provider and provide greater transparency between doctors and patients. A prime example of this is the EASE app, which offers its users the following features:
- Sending pre-prepared messages to patients and their families.
- Inviting the patient’s relatives into the app’s network, keeping them informed of the patient’s current condition and treatment.
- Providing HIPAA-compliant texts, videos, and photos for viewing, which self-destruct after 60 seconds.
Medication Dosing Apps
Medication Dosing apps are used by physicians to calculate individual medication doses based on a patient’s current condition, age, weight, and other personal information while avoiding time-consuming manual calculations, spreadsheets, and complex tools. That’s exactly what the DoseMeRx app does, which in addition to drug dosage calculations also has several other useful features:
- Integration with electronic medical records, where the physician can leave notes on the patient’s condition, treatment history, medications, and dosage.
- A function for the attending physician to set reminders for patients so that they do not forget to take their medications (medication names and dosage).
- Dose optimization function that uses Bayesian dosing methods to optimize doses based on clinically validated drug pharmacokinetic patterns, patient characteristics, drug concentrations, and genotype.
- A function for predicting treatment outcomes.
Medical Chart Applications
Medical Chart apps simplify patient record management. They collect data on blood pressure, doctor visits, checkups, prescriptions, and other information to track a patient’s treatment progress. Medical Records is an example with the following features:
- Making appointments with a specific doctor.
- Recording video of procedures instead of text messages.
- Search for patients by ID.
Risk assessment apps
Risk assessment apps are used to track the health status of patients in real-time through integration with EHRs and various health monitoring devices that users carry on them. Another good example would be the FHR 5-Tier app for obstetricians, midwives, and nurses who use electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) for women in labor. Some of its features include the following:
- Interpreting fetal heart rate (FHR) recordings to help make real-time decisions about further treatment of the patient.
- Automatic notification to physicians if monitoring devices detect a threat to the health of the patient (mother and/or fetus).
What are the steps to develop a healthcare app?
Consider whether your medical app will solve the current problem
The market offers thousands of solutions starting from healthcare automation systems and ending with medical services. But not all of them “survive” on the market. The reason is simple: some of them are created to misunderstand the true wishes and desires of users. A product must always solve a real problem, not an imaginary one. This is a basic condition for its development.
For example, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many fitness centers worldwide have temporarily closed. Experts immediately noted a surge in the popularity of apps offering home workouts. These programs help people monitor their health and fitness and do not spend large sums of money, so they are very popular.
And if an app were to come out now that dealt with the plague or smallpox, would it be in demand? We highly doubt it would. To make sure the app finds its fans, determine which target audience you are developing it for. When creating a portrait of users, you must answer the questions:
- What problem will the app solve?
- Who will use it and why?
- What characteristics (gender, age, education) distinguish this audience?
- Are there ready-made, similar to yours, successful solutions on the market?
Try to focus on one problem that will be solved with the app, rather than all at once. Don’t try to create a one-size-fits-all program with many features.
Take care of data security in your medical app
The secure storage of personal medical data is vital to Healthcare institutions. Disclosure of this information is considered a serious violation of the law. Besides, it can cause harm to patients whose safety has not been ensured.
Data storage and data management in the healthcare industry follow strictly regulated rules. This is especially true for documents that are labeled as “doctor-patient confidential”. Your future application must comply with the international and national privacy requirements that define the rules for handling medical data: HIPAA, ISO/TS, GDPR, and others.
For example, HIPAA is a guide to the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. These rules protect “sensitive health information” interests, especially data that is held or forwarded by companies in any form. Thus, when developing your application, pay close attention to secure information storage standards.
Another core thing you should take note of is the healthcare app design. Not many people actually pay much attention to the design and outlay of the app, but rather the security and functionality. Of course, a healthcare app does help users to monitor their medical condition, set fitness goals, schedule hospital visits, etc. But today, the demand for such apps is growing. And so does the visual appeal clearly impact the overall app design. That’s why you should always keep these things in mind to make sure you are creating a high-quality product. We’ve put together some design tips that can inspire you.
The psychology of color.
Did you know that app colors can easily give patients the wrong message? Even though white is associated with cleanliness, you can’t design your entire app in white. You need to add a few accents, such as icons and a logo. According to the survey, blue is the most commonly used color in medical design. It is a clean color that is often associated with a sense of relaxation or a clear sky.
Some medical app users have special needs that prevent them from making full use of the app’s user interface. Therefore, you need to make sure that you use contrasting colors relative to the background. Avoid color combinations that users with visual impairments won’t be able to distinguish. For example, blue-gray, blue-green, or red-green.
Sans serif and sans serif fonts are recommended. These fonts are proven to be easy to read and perfectly adaptable to different platforms.
Users don’t have to waste time trying to figure out how to use the app. We recommend using large buttons, large fields, tabs, etc.
Choose your main app functions
Quality app development services have become quite popular in recent years. However, the success of any app depends on the set of features it offers too. The main goal of a web-based healthcare app is to make life easier for patients and hospitals. Here is a list of basic parameters that are important for any process that involves the “how to develop a healthcare app”.
- Video conferencing – It would be great to take advantage of telehealth solutions. Such healthcare applications give their users the ability to make virtual appointments or monitor patients remotely.
- User/Doctor Profiles – You would need these options and they should be easily accessible and simple for the user.
- Filter search – A basic feature to filter the user searches.
- Listing – Shows a list of search results.
- Booking – Any healthcare app should have this feature. It allows users to book virtual appointments and provide consultations online.
- Activity Feed – Fitness apps usually have this feature, where the most trending or popular app options are displayed there.
- Online Prescription – Option that improves doctor-patient communication. The ability to send online prescriptions and check the availability of needed medications in the local area.
- Dashboard – This option is heavily used in healthcare apps. With this feature, users can easily track their activity and their medical scores.
- Share Progress – This is a must-have feature in fitness apps that allows users to share their workout results.
- Checking symptoms – This feature makes users feel more comfortable. Users can track symptoms and find out what problems they may be associated with.
Entrust product development to reliable performers
Creating a viable product is a team effort. Take care to find a competent team that will complete tasks on time and stays within budget. An experienced partner helps to minimize mistakes at the project start, quickly implement the MVP-version, and in the long run to save money and get a high level of service. Support of the product after the release is as important as the development. Its parameters are fixed in the SLA, service level agreement.
If you’re one of those startups who has already got enough funding on their hands but doesn’t know how to effectively utilize them to gain major success, then JetRuby services are exactly what you’re looking for. Over the past 10 years of constant work with various healthcare startups, our team has developed a product for those who are looking for the correct and meaningful development approach. And that is the Product Development Strategy Session. During this free business consultation, our experts will examine your product and produce a general plan with the product lifecycle and create a high-level action plan for your first steps. If you’re interested in it, be sure to leave your project description and we’ll be happy to contact you within 24 hours.
How much does it cost to develop a Healthcare app?
As a digital agency that has had several major projects in the healthcare industry, we have our estimation for developing and producing a high-quality healthcare product. However, it is difficult to make predictions about the exact cost of developing a healthcare app, because of various factors depending on the design and feature set of the app.
However, on an average basis, we can estimate that it takes about 1500 hours to develop an MVP healthcare app. The design part takes around 160 to 180 hours, the development part takes about 1200 hours, and testing takes 300 hours. There are also lots of minor issues and bugs with healthcare applications, where we can identify early on and it will save time for the concrete development. Therefore, the total development time is up to 2,000 hours or even more. The cost of creating a mobile healthcare app ranges from $150,000 to $190,000.
There are a lot of nuances for business founders to develop a healthcare app, but that doesn’t negate one of the main rules of a startup: you can’t delay the release of an app. Creating a viable product is a team effort. Take care to find a competent team that will complete tasks on time and stays within budget.
If you have already looked into the list of all the potential technology partners and you are too afraid to trust your project to them, JetRuby might be the right place. As we have walked through a 10-year journey and implemented tons of various healthcare digital solutions, we do know all the basics that we want to share with you. To do this, we have created a special program called the Product Development Strategy Session. It is the very initial and basic step towards your project’s success. During our free business consultation, we will produce a general plan with the future product lifecycle and create an action plan with high-level features for the first step. If you’re interested, leave your project description today and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.