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How We Built a Healthcare App in 3 Simple Steps

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“I don’t have so time to find a necessary specialist. Moreover, their services are extremely expensive. How could I save time and money? Where is my prescription that I got a month ago? I don’t have time to be sick. Are there any ways to automate the process of signing up for a doctor?”

These and many other questions we hear from users when we got a Healthcare project.

What is the most important thing in human life? Is it our family or our ambitions? They’re are equally important, although not as much as your well-being.

We’re mindful that health and well-being is a crucial aspect of someone’s life.

That’s why we started implementing a healthcare app with a realization that we’re doing something really important.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the main functionality of a healthcare app and we will look at the challenges we met during the app development process, including the solutions for their realization.

When deciding what functionality you want to see in your healthcare app, you need to focus on your users’ needs. Try to think the following way: “What useful feature or functionality should we add to assist the patients?”

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The most significant features we’ve chosen for our healthcare app are listed below :

Find a doctor

Most likely a feature that will allow them to search doctors locally.

We implemented several options to search for the specialist:

  • First, we added an option to search the doctors by the specialty or by name. Just in case, a patient knows a specialist he/she needs, they can search by specialist type or by name of the doctor.
  • For the users who are uncertain, we added a feature for searching local doctors through the use of a real-time map.

Pharmacy and Drugstore search

We created a feature for searching pharmaceuticals in local pharmacies and the drugstores can be easily found using an app. A user is given an option to type by the name of the pharmacy he’s looking for. Simple as that!

HIPAA-Compliance

When it comes to developing a healthcare app, you need to treat the security really serious.

In our case, we dealt with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability, which is also known as HIPAA. If you have no idea what HIPAA means, it’s a series of regulatory standards that outline the lawful use and disclosure of protected health information(PHI).

One the one hand, it’s impossible to get rid of all the risks of data breaches in any medical organisation. On the other hand, we had to do our best to protect our users’ data.

We needed to make a software, which would be able to detect those breaches, create a correspondings report and apply preliminary measures to avoid further data “sharing.” Additionally, it should be able to prevent data breaches by blocking the use of portable data storage devices.

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Simply put we needed to meet the following HIPAA requirements in order for our app to become secure and reliable.

  • We made our app compatible with HIPAA Privacy Rule that established national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information. This required appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, as well as sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization.

Data Encryption

When working with medical data, it is important to make sure the personal data is secured. In order to provide a proper security level, all the stored and transmitted data need to be encrypted at all stages. Basically, we need to translate the data into another form or make use of a secret code. As a result, only people with access to the key or password would be able to read it.

We implemented the following features to secure our app:

  • User authorization;
  • Access control;
  • Authorization monitoring;
  • Data backup;
  • Remediation plan;
  • Emergency mode;
  • Automatic log off;
  • Data encryption and decryption.

A small tip. If you think your app is secure enough, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • Unintended data leakage. Make sure your app doesn’t leak any sensitive data that is accessible to other apps on the same device or to an attacker who has potential access to the device.
  • Data storage is insecure. Your app may store sensitive data with insecure file permissions. It can also be insecure coding that can lead to unauthorized access.
  • Vulnerable server-side control. If your app communicates with a backend web endpoint, which is not secure, this may result in insecure API implementation or web application based vulnerabilities.
  • Insufficient transport layer protection. In case the communication channel between the app and the server is not secure, this may lead to a successful attack from the same WiFi connection.

User-doctor communication

Sometimes, users may not have time for visiting the doctor. For this case, we implemented a feature that lets patients call or chat with a doctor.

This feature is especially helpful when a doctor needs to provide a more detailed explanation. Using the chat, users can attach photos or documents to provide a more detailed medical explanation.

Extra Features

Documents storage

Having analyzed our users’ requirements, we came to the conclusion that people often lose their documents, medical prescriptions, test results and so on.

That’s why we decided to add a feature that would allow people to store all their medical-related documents in one place.

In-app Payment

We added an in-app payment feature so that users could easily pay for the specialist services with a single click.

Reminders

We implement reminders that notify about the important events so that patients won’t forget about their planned visit or an insurance expiration dates.

The Bottom Line

There’s a strong difference between the American healthcare system and the abroad ones. American Healthcare system is known for its pricing policies. Specialists, nurses and primary care doctors earn significantly more in the US compared to other countries.

We built an app with ease of use and effective search system so that users can save both their time and money. As a result, patients can find and compare a necessary specialist for the best price.

The app we built allows users save both their time and money. Moreover, we integrated a real-time map so that people can easily find a specialist nearby.

To make the User Experience even more user-friendly, we implemented push notifications to remind about the coming meeting with a doctor.

The app is fully HIPAA compatible so that you don’t have to worry about your app’s security.

Most importantly, we built it with love, we built it for you!

As a result:

17 companies and 9000 users have been registered. Thousand of dollars saved.

Click the picture bellow to find out more about the project.

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Max Bessarabov
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