Overview of Healthcare App Development: Types, Advantages, Features, and Compliance
The mHealth sector is actively thriving thanks to digitization. In 2020, the m-health market was valued at a whopping $45 billion. Due to COVID-19, the market value increased by 60% around the world. By the end of 2021, the market value of healthcare apps is projected to nearly double.
If you’ve decided to create a healthcare app, you are on the right path. In this article, you will learn about major details of healthcare application development.
Main Healthcare App Types
Over 95,000 healthcare apps are currently available on Google Play and the App Store, targeting both professionals and patients. Let’s consider all types of applications in these categories.
- Medical networking apps that provide communication between employees from different medical institutions to exchange experiences, valuable information and to improve the decision-making process such as Daily Rounds or Doximity.
- Payment apps such as AdvancedMD, Waystar, EpicCare EMR for billing, accounting, payment processing, and patient registration at healthcare facilities.
- Apps for prescribing medicines, setting and controlling dosages; apps like RxEasy and STAT that make it possible to print your prescriptions to show at the pharmacy.
- Among apps for updating information in patients’ medical records, tracking the entire process of patient treatment are DrChrono Practice Management, RXNT and Meditab.
- Apps that let patients obtain remote consultation appointments with healthcare practitioners from home via text or video call at scheduled times include GoodRx Care, Doctor on Demand.
- Mental health apps with gamification elements, breathing exercises, meditations to combat depression, stress, or insomnia and improve general psychological state.
- Health tracking apps like WebMD or The Diary with treatment recommendations.
- Medical education apps like Medscape, Lecturio Medical Education where doctors can find useful information about medicine, and ordinary users can learn more about health care.
- Medication intake apps that also allow keeping track of the cheapest medicine in the nearest pharmacies – ScriptSave WellRx, Mango Health, Medisafe Pill Reminder.
- Dieting apps to create an individual diet – perhaps also including a calorie calculator, food information, reminders include Lifesum, MyFitnessPal, Fooducate and Noom.
- Apps for fitness, memory development, enhance and intelligence – such as Results Wellness Lifestyle.
Advantages of Healthcare Apps
- Health data collection improvement
- Reducing hospital patient care costs
- Saving maintenance time
- Reducing the risk of medical errors
- Promoting first aid quickly regardless of location
- Strengthening communication between doctors and patients
- Increasing customer loyalty and involvement
- Improving patient experience and potentially health outcomes as well
Basic Features for a Healthcare App
Containing the features as follows, such apps make communication between doctors and patients faster and easier:
- Multiple ways to register
- Secure entry of personal data and medical history in the profile
- Filters for quick search for an appropriate doctor
- Comments and ratings
- The ability to schedule appointments, controlling the schedule in the calendar, and also calendar integration with others such as Google, Apple, or Outlook.
- Online chat, video and audio communication
- Payment options, e.g. PayPal, that allow direct credit card payment
Legal and Security Regulation Compliance
- HIPAA – rules that ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all medical information, which must comply with apps developed for the USA market.
- CCPA – rules are also valid in the USA; they tell the client what data was collected, make a free report on them, delete them by client’s request.
- GDPR – the rules conformed by all medical applications operating in the EU. It’s used by companies that process and collect data.
- NIST, which is also used in the USA, is considered the best 70% of all organizations surveyed, but many say it requires a lot of investment.
- HiTECH is primarily focused on the security of EHR systems and is also valid in the USA.
- PIPEDA – the set of rules that are valid in Canada and all applications that store and process personal data must be in compliance.
Find a Reliable Software Developer
- Choose the type of app based on the number of participants: the target audience, your opportunities for and barriers to entry. For example, if you choose to produce a fitness app, you may face difficulties entering the market because this field is crowded, and there are large competitors such as Fitness Buddy and Peloton.
- Learn the target audience using criteria such as age (according to statistics for 2019, 22% of health app users were women 18-49 years old and 13% of them aged 50+), region (for example, Europe occupies 30% of the healthcare app market, the USA and Canada – 28%, Africa – only 5%).
- Choose a monetization model for your product – consider in-app ads, a paid app, a subscription model, or to start free of charge.
- Map out every step that users will take inside the app and minimize the number of actions.
- Show important information (number of calories, steps) on the main screen.
- Adapt the design for both Android and iOS.
- Be sure to optimize for both desktop and mobile.
- Provide information in large print with minimal distractions for an elderly market, and offer flexible settings, bright colors, and animation for younger audiences.
How to Avoid Failures
If you want to enter the market quickly, check your ideas or save on development costs in the initial stages; it’s necessary to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with main functionality to solve user problems. After that, solicit and collect user reviews and professional feedback for guidance as to what updates and functions the product may need.
As always, it’s a good idea to study and analyze the healthcare app market to avoid duplication and create offer functions not already on the market. Look at startups in the healthcare industry such as KRY app, K-Health and CareZone.
Vitaly Kuprenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad, a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. He enjoys writing about tech innovations and digital ways to boost businesses.