Medical App Development: What You Should Consider
Healthcare software is growing more prevalent, while development becomes more complex. With an increasing number of users and mHealth apps, the mobile health market has reached $37B in 2019 and is forecasted to rise to over $53B by the end of 2021 under Statista. With that market growth to develop successful health application, you need to satisfy users’ needs in more complex and personalized features in the solution.
Besides, the mobile or desktop medical applications are quite often used as at least 1 times per 1-2 days by average patients and on a daily basis by physicians in their medical practice. That means that healthcare app development can be a profitable monetization model. However, mHealth application development requires totally another approach for the project and a lot of preparations. Then you will be sure your solution is a perfect match for your customers. Keep reading further we are going to discuss every single moment you should keep in mind.
Types of Healthcare Apps
Before we dig deep into all the technologies and trends on the mHealth app development process, let’s look over a few common types of medical applications designed for different purposes and use cases:
- Software for Patient Data Management
These might include EHR, the database software for doctors, and centralized systems for the monitoring of hospital patients and data management. This bespoke medical software is designed to keep the information from your visit going into one of these centralized networks. In the future, a doctor can refer back to it and instantly get your prior medical data to know how to treat your current symptoms or share the data with other specialists in case it needs.
- Software for Patient Analysis and Patient-Generated Data
These would be for remote patients’ health monitoring systems. Wearable devices and apps would also fall into this category. Remote patient monitoring is one way that doctors can keep track of their patients, even after they’ve sent them home to convalesce. Wearable applications like heart or blood pressure monitors can instantly alert a doctor if a patient needs to be readmitted to the hospital. Clinical decision support software of this sort can save lives if it is used correctly.
- Hospital software
These would be types of prescription apps and also medical billing software that automates a lot of routine tasks for medical professionals. With this sort of medical tech solution, you can instantly receive a bill that takes into account any copays afforded to you by your healthcare provider. Your primary caregiver might already have implemented such a system. This sort of software can be integrated with healthcare scheduling software that can make your life a lot easier. We can also refer to this type of networking apps for communication between doctors and other medical software, for example, using AR/VR technologies in healthcare that assist doctors in their medical procedures.
- Care Management Software
In this category would come patient portals, doctor appointment booking software, apps for communication with doctors, and Telemedicine apps. These sorts of apps allow patients to book appointments without ever having to speak to a receptionist over the phone. You can also notify a doctor of your situation before you ever come into the office to see them in-person.
- Patient Medical Health Tracking Apps, or Apps for Patients
These are health and fitness apps. Remote monitoring systems and wearable apps can sometimes fall into this category as well. Something like the Apple Watch or the Fitbit would be a prime example of this technology. You can use it to count calories, keep track of how many steps you are taking during the day, etc.
Here is a quick data recap on the most used mhealth applications types in the USA for the last 5 years.
Technologies and Features Used in Healthcare Apps
Well, now having known some types of the medical app let’s cover what are in-demand technologies for healthcare with using ones makes your solution more robust and competitive. Hence, if you plan on creating healthcare mobile apps for patients, then you should be aware of these varieties of emerging tech.
- Cloud Technologies
When it comes to cloud technologies in healthcare platforms development, the main benefit of which you should be aware of is a decrease in cost. With cloud technology, medical records for patients who visit hospitals, clinics, or private doctor’s offices are safely stored in cyberspace. Paper copies of those records no longer have to be maintained. Record-sharing becomes easier and safer. Backend operations become automated as well.
Cloud-based medical billing software is more reliable than kinds that don’t use this tech. The creation and maintenance of healthcare software become easier when a tremendous amount of patient information can be readily accessed through the cloud.
- AI/ML in healthcare
Using AI/ML in healthcare is on the rise as well. AI-driven apps help doctors in disease diagnosis, treatment prescription and decision making learning on previous cases. Also, predictive analytics is how artificial intelligence helps in this area. There are much more helpful use cases of artificial intelligence in healthcare that can save significant resources according to the Accenture report.
A machine is often able to better predict what is wrong with a patient based on their symptoms. This analysis is better than what even the most skilled doctors can provide.
- Video Conferencing importance in healthcare
Video conferencing features, when added to healthcare platforms, allow doctors to consult with patients without those individuals ever having to leave their homes. For sure, you know this technology as telemedicine that is increasingly growing with global market size over $30.5B under the statistics.
Telemedicine apps are especially helpful if the patient has mobility issues or needs urgent consultations. Doctors can also consult with each other over long distances. That is particularly useful if the doctors live in different cities or even different countries, and the patient under discussion has unusual or perplexing symptoms.
Our developers implemented video conferencing capabilities through WebRTC technology for Telemedicine app project. That makes it possible to run a meeting for a board of doctors or doctors and patients from over the globe making medical practice much accessible.
- AR/VR use cases for medicine
Augmented reality and virtual reality are already being used a lot in healthcare, but the technologies are moving forward even greater. As of right now, augmented and virtual reality environments through apps can allow doctors to precisely study the anatomy of their patients like never before. A doctor can enter CT scans and MRI data into an AR headset. They can then overlay that anatomy over the patient’s body before they begin a delicate surgical procedure. Examples of this in VR medical apps are EyeDecide and AccuVein.
- IoT applications in healthcare
The Internet of Things is useful in healthcare when it comes to monitoring patients’ health records and tracking medical equipment in real-time. Now with the help of IoT devices often named as smart homes doctor devices physicians can receive a continuous information flow over the patients’ health. IoT can also be used for monitoring the state of medical equipment as wheelchairs are, and also oxygen pumps, defibrillators, nebulizers, and others. In such a way, IoT sensors monitor timely and convenient scheduling of maintenance and prevent unexpected equipment failure.
The other sort of wearable IoT devices designed for fitness and wellness industries supported with native mobile apps, allow people for example to monitor their heart rates, steps during the day, calorie consumption, and much more. Users can now take an interest in their health and remain engaged with it every day. Whether you are training for a marathon, trying to lose weight, or you need to keep an eye on your blood pressure, wearables can help you to do those things.
- Blockchain for healthcare
Medical practice management software that features this tech provides a level of security that has never been previously matched. Applying blockchain tech into healthcare specifically for patient medical records ensures that hacking into a secure filing system is almost impossible. Patients can decide who gets access to their records and apply those stipulations themselves. For instance, a patient might say that a doctor or a researcher can access their records for treatment purposes or as part of a study. Health Wizz is a great example of this.
- Big Data usage
According to Mckinsey study using big data together with AI and ML can allow the healthcare and pharma providers to save approximately $100 billion annually only through automation of data processing. We have also created a recruitment app for the pharmacy market - The Locum App.
The reason that big data is applicable in healthcare is that it can be used to identify trends to stop an emerging health crisis. The specific health data of a population can be monitored through big data processing methods so that epidemics can be contained, costs can be lowered, and doctors can see what their peers are doing to combat specific threats. Flatiron Health in New York would be an example. They are using billions of cancer patient data points to gain new insight and enhance research methods, with the eventual goal of curing this deadly disease.
mHealth App Development Process: Step-By-Step
Now, you’re aware of some of the most prevalent forms of technologies used for healthcare that are coming to the forefront for mHealth apps. But what about the technical process of these endeavors? There are certain universalities when it comes to app development, and these rules will apply to the healthcare industry just as they would to any other.
Solving a Problem and Finding Your Target Audience
When you are designing your medical solution you know what its purpose is going to be.
With medical apps, is the intention to allow the patient to communicate with a doctor without having to go to the hospital? Is the purpose to allow the patient to schedule appointments without needing to make a phone call? Is the goal of easing a patient’s monitoring of their cholesterol level or their heart rate during workouts? Will they be using the app to pay a hospital bill?
Whatever the case may be, you need to address the problem that is enticing the user to download and install the app. You also want to set up the app in a way that is as intuitive as possible, so that a person of any skill level will have no trouble using it.
Tip: At this stage, you should also have in mind what problem that the software is going to solve, or what pain point it is going to alleviate for patients, for what users it is desired to serve.
Overview Risks and Security Issues
As your app comes closer to the market-ready stage, you’ll need to be aware of the state regulatory acts over medical software. As the data breaches in medicine are not rare, consumers will only want to use an app where they feel confident that their data is secure. That is especially true with their medical information, as there is no data more personal or sensitive.
With EMR systems, though, you’ll need to take things a step further where security measures are concerned. That is because there is a good deal of regulation and oversight from various overseeing bodies, such as HIPAA.
Tip: Whenever you have the medical platform that is storing or sharing medical data, you’ll need to check with any regulatory agencies that have rules about how such data is handled.
Reaching Your Audience
You must also remember that your app is a salable product. People aren’t going to suddenly become aware of it when it hits the market unless you launch an ad campaign that coincides with it being released. Because of this, you will need a marketing strategy to accompany your app if you want it to reach as broad of an audience as possible. Is your marketing strategy going to involve social media? Are you going to advertise on TV, or on various websites?
Tip: At this step, you’ll have to consider things like the average age of your mobile health app user, their income level, and where they are spending their time. Some market research or focus groups are probably going to be necessary.
Read also about Softermii experience in telemedicine software cost.
Defining a Tech Stack and Features
Selecting the tech stack that you are going to use for medical software development is vital. The right set of this will allow your team to build all needed features and functionalities for mHealth app to make it helpful for patients and doctors. The wrong choice in this area could mean that your medical solution is doomed to failure from the beginning.
For example, the technologies you need to apply in-app depends on what features and functionalities your app should have to solve specific patients’ problems. For example, for diabetes app users find the next most in-demand features under the Deloitte study:
Tip: So before development, you'll also have to use feedback from your focus groups and market research or any other data sources to make sure that the app has all of the features that are essential to your users.
Monetization Models for Healthcare Apps
There is also the issue of how your app is going to be profitable. If you are coming out with an app that is ostensibly free, then how are you going to make any money off of it? As a for-profit company, there are many different setups that you could implement that could solve this issue.
What other app monetization models you can implement is, for example, offering a premium version of the solution which costs money, but has special features that consumers will want. You could have specific aspects of the app that can be bought. You could only allow people to use the app for free for a set amount of time and then propose a paid option. The conventional thinking to attract paying customers is to offer them something for free, or at a reduced rate, and then to offer more once they’re able to sample the product.
Tip: Before the app first release think about what monetization model is the most suitable for it and for its future users.
Cost of mhealth app development
As under the Research 2 Guidance data the mobile health app development costs approximately $425,000 to develop from scratch to release conception to launch, according to a survey of 2,400 stakeholders in companies that do such development.
More complex medical apps are probably going to cost more than that. Meanwhile, Ortholive stated that there were more than 97,000 healthcare mobile apps on the market in 2019, which means that competition is high enough but there are still a lot of uncovered demands. Therefore the best advice before starting your mHealth app development and not to waste your money is to make precise research whether it will be in demand.
You see, the process of healthcare application development is costly and time-consuming and there is a high competition on the market. But there are still a lot of uncovered patients’ and doctors’ demands and opportunities where medical software can solve a lot of problems people face with their health and deliver the best solution for that.
Hence, if you have some idea on mHealth app that came to your mind but still are unsure about it, use our free quote offer to get a personalized estimation on your project. Our developers’ team has in-depth specialization in software development for healthcare with a lot of case studies and understanding of this industry specialties.
Anyway, whether you decide to develop a medical app or not, indeed, we live in great times with tremendous opportunities for us to improve our healthcare system and quality of our lives, that for sure we should use.