Guide to Pharmaceutical App Development

Guide to Pharmaceutical App Development

15 December 2021 • 13 min read

Article provides you with a guide on on-demand pharma app development, and helps you understand the steps and costs of development.

Pharmaceutical app development has never been in the highest demand. In 2018, the market size of pharma apps was only $50 billion. However, the global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, showing dramatic growth in all the mhealth industries, and the epharmacy is expected to reach $177,8 billion by 2026 in market size.

Global epharmacy market size

With a CAGR of 17.3% in the forecast period, pharma app development becomes the key point of attention for market players. It is a revolutionary approach that changes customer experience at the root. Ordering medicine online simplifies the customers' lives and benefits people with medical conditions.

Yet, some e-pharmacy businesses still have some hesitations regarding the necessity of app development. Indeed, when you decide to build a pharma app, you have to understand the advantages, disadvantages, pitfalls, and opportunities for growth.

In 2020-2021, the US e-pharma market was captured by the giants: Walmart (77% of customers used their app), Walgreens (23%), Target (18.3%), CVS (15.6%), Sam's Club (11%), and others.

US e-pharma market

The expertise of these companies proves that if you want to succeed, you need to develop a pharmacy app as customers use these apps and expect that your company will provide them with an opportunity to make an order via an application.

Pharma app development trends

Launching the pharmacy app has many things in common with launching any other app. However, there are certain pharma IT trends that you need to keep in mind to create an effective app.

Ensuring patient assistance

One of the main challenges for pharmaceutical app developers is ensuring that all customers receive satisfying patient assistance. The key requirement is to provide users with drug reference materials and add an option of medical consultation. A user-friendly platform should become a safe place for the customers, and they must be sure that they will get any kind of patient assistance they may need.

Medicine tracker

When working on the interface of your product, make sure you have added a medicine tracker to the list of key features with quick access. A medicine tracker is a feature that helps customers to track what medicines they are taking now. It will help their therapists to prescribe the correct treatment.

Tracker of chronic illnesses

Chronic illnesses frequently require taking certain medicine regularly. Additionally, chronic illnesses may limit taking particular drugs. A customer may not know what remedies exactly they should avoid. With this tracker, the choice of medicine will be clearer and help to omit the situation with prescription of incorrect and even harmful drugs.

Adding a loyalty program

When you create a pharmacy application, you must consider adding a loyalty program to your company app. As a rule, an offline or online pharma store offers a loyalty program as a basic service. Therefore, a pharma app should also provide this option to the customers.

Stick to the safety and security of your customers' data

Respect the safety and privacy of your customers' information. It is one of the must-have pharmacy app features and trends you should never ignore.

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Slava Ivanov

Global IT partnerships and Strategic development

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Key features of custom pharma application

To develop an online pharma application that meets the needs and requirements of users, it is vital to include certain features in your pharma app. All the features must be supported by iOS and Android platforms. Any pharma app can hardly be successful without these.

Customer app

Customer app feature in pharma application

The design of your app should stick to the main rule: personalization. It means that all push notifications, ordering, and payment options must focus on the customer's needs. For example, you can use a location tracking tool to show people what medicines they can buy in the area.

It will be nice to provide them with an opportunity to upload their prescriptions, to provide them with the relevant information on the medicine they need.

Pharmacist app

Pharmacist app in pharma application

To develop an app for a pharmacy, ensure that pharmacists also have access to the app. They should have the option of checking the receipts, managing order information, and updating the order's status.

Courier app

Courier app in pharma application

A courier should receive notification about every order. This way, you guarantee fast delivery and stay at the top of the market. If you ignore this feature, your application will lose its USP – the delivery of the ordered medicines.

Admin panel

Admin panel in pharma application

The store itself and its team should have access to the payment information and update the price list, offers and promotions, and store notifications. Also, it is essential to include payment management to process orders and analytics and to check whether an online app reaches settled business goals and KPIs.

Compliances to Consider in Pharma App Development

When creating a pharmacy app, you must comply with all legal terms and conditions. It’s important to obey all regulations. Otherwise, you won’t be able to operate your app legally.

A professional pharma app development company will help you with compliance and create an application that will stick to the law in your market. Therefore, if you are not sure you can manage these aspects on your own, hiring a team of professionals would spare you any trouble.

Remember that the compliance list will differ from region to region. It’s important to consider the following compliance elements:

HIPAA

HIPAA regulates the confidentiality and integrity of electronically protected health information. As you may know, PHI processes, records, and stores sensitive information about US citizens, and HIPAA is one of the main compliance rules that guide this process.

Access to medical assistance with no boundaries

A web-based high quality video conferencing application for remote healthcare and medical advice.

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Access to medical assistance with no boundaries

CCPA

Health information must be confidential. However, this is not the only type of information to keep secret. CCPA covers more aspects regarding different kinds of personal data, but it can also be applied to the medical industry. When creating a pharmacy app, make sure that you notify your customers about what kind of data you collect and how you do that. CCPA compliance rules are applied to the USA.

GDPR

In Europe, data protection is also critical for app development. Since 2018, all companies working online must inform customers about collecting and processing personal data. If the company does not comply with this rule, collecting and processing data is illegal.

NIST

NIST is one of the basic cybersecurity frameworks that help pharma apps comply with rules and regulations of information safety. Currently, NIST is widely used in healthcare and pharmacy.

HITECH

HITECH has many similarities with HIPAA, but one important thing sets them apart. In addition to HIPAA, HITECH insists on informing patients about data breaches. Additionally, the company must inform the United States Department of Health and Human Services about the data breach.

Cost of Pharma App Development

It's time to answer the question you've probably asked at the beginning of this article: how much does pharmaceutical app development cost? There's no simple answer to this question, as the industry grows fast. So do the requirements for the applications, and the overall price of the app development may change every day.

However, we may analyze the resources needed to create an app. They directly influence the cost of pharma app development.

Designing an app

Design is more than a beautiful interface and attractive marketing materials. Medical app development starts with the competitors' analysis and market research to analyze best practices, working approaches, UX trends, and basic information that your mobile app needs. UX/UI design is the starting point that helps to find the right direction on how your customers will feel and use the app.

Business analysis

A business analysts is standing behind all effective applications. The business analysis helps understand how to scale an app, what features to add to the next sprint and develop after a successful MVP.

For example, business analysts may insist on adding support chat at the first iteration, as a pharma app cannot exist without support chat. At the same time, business analysts may decide not to add detailed information on inventory for the customers, as this information may not be critical.

Development (front end and back end)

A developer is a person responsible for all technical implementations for your app. Before you start to work on development, you need to understand what kind of developers you may need.

A simple division will help you simplify the process: front-end developers and back-end developers. Front-end developers are responsible for the client-side of the app, while their back-end colleagues focus on under-the-hood staff on the server.

The choice of developers will depend on what kind of platform you decide to use for your app.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is important for every project. It helps to define bugs that may affect how the app is working. If something is wrong, you can find a solution to this issue before launching your app. For example, a QA engineer may define that navigation does not work correctly or that the couriers do not receive order details.

Project management

When you build your own pharmacy app, you involve different specialists in the process. At some point, you may even lose control over all processes that are happening now or that will happen. To avoid this situation, it's better to hire a project manager responsible for building all processes regarding app development.

Also, the overall cost of the app development will depend on:

Project size

If you plan to create a pharma app for a single location, the cost will be lower than if you plan to create a multi-location project.

Deadlines

The tougher the deadlines, the higher the cost.

Features and requirements

If you are planning to add custom features that require developing from scratch, the price of your project will change.

Even though it’s difficult to calculate the precise price of pharmaceutical app development, we figured out the approximate cost and time for each stage of development. And now, for convenience, we will present all this below in one table.

# Stages Time Cost

1

Estimation, Research & UI/UX design

280 hours

$8 400

2

Development

640 hours

$25 600

3

Testing

240 hours

$6 480

4

Creating technical documentation

40 hours

$1 600

Total

1 200 hours (5 month)

$42 080

Softermii Logo

If you still have some questions about your healthcare marketing app idea or project, drop us a line, and we will get back to you with a free quote. Our software developers team has experience in mhealth app development, so together, we will deliver a truly cutting-edge solution on the market.

Contact our Softermii team to get a custom estimate for your pharmaceutical app, and we will get you the most accurate estimation.

Pharmaceutical App Development Challenges

When you build your own pharmacy app, remember the challenges that you will definitely face during development.

The complexity of the processes

Pharma and healthcare industries are known for complex processes explained by the high level of responsibility. Therefore, there won’t ever be a chance for you to create a basic app and launch it without time-consuming preparation. Yet, when working with professionals, the complexity of the processes won’t affect your business growth so intensively.

Budget

The complexity of the processes also affects the budget that you need to create an app. In many cases, developing a pharma app will cost more than developing a game for kids.

Highly competitive market

Despite the complexity of the process and high budgets, the pharma and healthcare market has huge competition. It’s critical to remember that when creating an application for your business.

Pharmaceutical App Development at Softermii

We at Softermii have significant expertise in developing pharma and healthcare apps. We take care of every aspect: from the UX to compliance with HIPAA, CCPA, GDPR, NIST, HITECH, and various local regulations.

We employ modern tech stacks to create the most effective apps, including Kotlin, .NET, NodeJS, Swift, and many others.

We’re sure: app development never stays the same, so we always are ahead of the market, providing our clients with the most effective solutions for their business needs.

The Locum App

Pharmaceutical app development

The Locum App is a staffing platform for pharmacies and pharmacists. Widely used in the pharma industry, this app streamlines and automates the recruiting process in the UK pharmaceutical market.

Challenges

Complex recruiting process on the UK market: the pharmacies face a problem finding the pharmacists who meet their needs, and the pharmacists have problems finding a job. Our development team was faced with the challenge of building an online application that should solve the needs of both parties and serve as an online medium for simplifying the process of recruitment.

Solution

Development of the application works effectively for both parties with two separate user flows. The application has a different admin panel depending on the flow, in-app messaging, custom notifications sent when the job is posted, and job sharing features — out of the app.

HIPAA Telmed

Video conferencing tool for healthcare

HIPAA Telmed is an online application that allows hosting and visiting online medical conferences. It makes communication with pharmacists more affordable and effective in the pandemic world.

Challenges

While developing this HIPAA compliant video app, the biggest challenge was that legacy technologies applicable to video conferencing like Media Source Extensions, custom browser plugins, or good old Flash had their days numbered and were inapplicable. To deliver a great healthcare solution, we decided to choose WebRTC as the only viable option. However, WebRTC had never been supported by Apple browsers.

Luckily, by the time we started working on our web-based application, Apple had announced WebRTC compatibility for Safari 11. The only issue with WebRTC was that, at the time, it was relatively new, and we had to gem-cut this piece of software into a decent conferencing solution. Additionally, our healthcare video conferencing app had to cover a lot more than one-on-one physician checkups.

Solution

The project took less than a year. We've built a robust web tech health application that shows great output in all browsers in its course. Our techs have laid down a versatile solution that covers doctors' and patients' needs for medical data storage, transfer, and scheduling.

With HIPAA Video, physicians can now organize appointments easily and stay in touch with their network of colleagues and clients. On the other hand, patients have all the needed means to consult their doctors and get all message exchanges documented, stored, and easily available.

We've implemented WebRTC technology to create multi-peer video connections. We've also implemented TSL, TDL, and Role-based Authorization to ensure our app complies with all HIPAA regulations.

Additionally, we’ve implemented TSL, TDL, and Role-based Authorization to ensure that our app complies with all HIPAA regulations.

Order a custom pharma app

If you plan to grow your business, there is no need to spend all your time on app development. We will help you with market research and competitors' analysis. We will analyze the most effective features and implement them in the best possible way.

Before we start the development, we will discuss the overall cost:

  • Estimate the budgets and deadlines.
  • Decide on the team needed to develop all the features you need.
  • Send you a clear estimation to understand whether you are ready to work with us.

Contact us to discuss your future pharma app!

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