Healthcare App Development Guide

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Max Litvinov

Oct 12, 2021 | 24 min read

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Before the pandemic, in 2018, the mhealth market was valued at USD 34.28 billion. Fast forward in 2020, it almost doubled, reaching USD 56 billion. And this trend is expected to rise even further and surpass a whopping USD 293.29 billion by 2026!

To keep up amid the pandemic, healthcare institutions had to change their approach from being passive to actively adopting new technology. Some of the main factors fuelling this unprecedented growth are the prevalence of chronic diseases, the need for fast and efficient health services, and the current Covid-19 pandemic situation. 

If you are looking to improve your healthcare organization’s performance and increase patient care experience with an innovative app, Appvales can help. We are among the leading mobile and web app development companies in Europe and over the past few years, we have helped several organizations build complex applications for different industries, healthcare included. 

With more than five years of experience in the industry, our expert team can help you bring your out-of-the-box ideas to life. In this insightful article, we’ll share expert insights on healthcare software development to help you get it right the first time without breaking the bank.

Mobile Health Market Overview

Most notably, healthcare software is helping reduce paperwork for doctors and enhance their interactions with other specialists in the field. It also improves patient data management, enhances communication, and improves the quality of healthcare. 

Healthcare apps have helped improve patient treatment outcomes and create a better patient experience by reducing pressure on doctors and saving time. According to Statista, there were 47140 healthcare apps on the google play store towards the end of 2020, up from 22417 in 2015. Furthermore, the global market value for healthcare apps was estimated to be 71.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach 332.7 billion USD in 2025.

The chart below summarizes the total global market forecast in billion US dollars from 2016 to 2025.

Chart

Health Apps Vs.Medical Apps

Healthcare apps offer health-related services for PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other communication devices and platforms. They are available for purchase from app stores, and they provide information that may or may not be accurate. Healthcare apps are intended for the general public, and patients can use them to communicate with their doctors and other health professionals.

On the other hand, medical apps support public health practices on electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, wireless infrastructure, and personal computers. For example, doctors use mobile medical apps for diagnosis, treatment support, remote patient monitoring, data collection, and chronic disease management. Medical mobile Apps also assist healthcare professionals in time management, health record maintenance, medical and educational training. 

The table below summarizes the difference between health apps and medical apps:

FeatureHealth AppMedical App
Target AudienceGeneral publicMedical professionals
Nature Of ApplicationFocuses on medical information or prescription based on the health conditionFocuses on diagnosis based on analytical data
Regulatory StatusCan deal with any patient function without any medical evidenceComplies with medical evidence and meets testing and adherence regulations 
Development CostHealthcare app development may cost lessMedical health apps development may cost more
Access TypeProvides access to medical apps that track their daily medical dataProvide access to electronic health records and patient information

Types Of Healthcare Apps

There are two significant categories of healthcare apps: for patients and for doctors.

Healthcare app design inspiration

Healthcare Apps For Patients

Healthcare apps facilitate connections between health professionals and patients. For example, through patient portals, patients can directly communicate with doctors through messages and video calls. Also, patients can easily schedule appointments with doctors, view and download their medical histories, reports, and treatment plans. In addition, some healthcare apps provide educational information to patients regarding diet, exercise, and how to take care of their health.

Healthcare apps for patients include:

Healthcare Trackers

Health trackers are electronic applications that collect and analyze data from various health parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, and steps. The apps collect data using sensors such as GPS, altimeters, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and heart rate monitors. The app analyzes the data to determine your health status and suggests ways to improve it. Examples of healthcare trackers include:

  • Body cardio
  • Apple watch
  • Fit bit versa

Habit Trackers

Habit trackers are apps that help users track their habits by setting specific targets and monitoring their progress. For instance, a patient may use a habit tracker to break unhealthy eating habits, smoking, and taking alcohol and develop healthy habits such as eating healthy and exercising. Examples include:

  • Habit share
  • Coach.me
  • Habitify

Medication Trackers

Medication trackers are mobile healthcare apps that help patients track their medication schedules to avoid missing dosages. The apps also help patients monitor the progress of their treatment and pick any allergies and side effects. Examples include:

  • Express scripts
  • My therapy
  • Medisafe

Healthy Lifestyle Apps

Healthy lifestyle apps motivate patients to form habits that promote a wholesome lifestyle, such as eating right, drinking water, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Examples include:

  • Health pal
  • Shop well
  • Elevate

Diagnosis Apps

Diagnosis apps use artificial intelligence and machine learning to facilitate self-diagnosis. When a patient inputs their symptoms into the app, it analyzes the data to find a matching health condition based on the symptoms. Examples include:

  • Better help
  • Teladoc
  • Symptomate

Dieting Apps

Dieting apps help patients track their diet by either counting calories or suggesting ways to improve their diets. Some have a tab where a patient inputs their food recipes, and the app analyzes it to determine if it’s healthy or not. Examples include:

  • My fitness app
  • Paleo
  • Carb Manager

Health Monitoring Apps

Health monitoring apps help patients monitor their overall health by analyzing heart rate, blood pressure, BMI, caloric intake, water intake, and sleep. Patients can set specific targets and use these apps to measure their progress. Examples include:

  • 8 Fit
  • Sleep cycle
  • Fit plan

Mental Health Apps

Mental health apps help patients improve their mental health awareness by monitoring their moods. Patients can report their thoughts, actions, and behaviors for the app to track any changes. In some cases, the apps supplement psychiatric treatment and help patients self-manage their mental health conditions. Examples include:

  • My3
  • Mood kit
  • notOK

Women’s Health Apps

Women’s health apps cater to specific reproductive health needs of women. The apps determine a woman’s fertility by tracking their ovulation, periods, and basal body temperatures. Also, women’s health apps can determine if she has certain gynecological infections by monitoring the frequency, color, and viscosity of vaginal discharge. Examples include:

  • Eve
  • Flo
  • Apple reproductive health

Doctors On Demand

Doctors on-demand apps allow patients to remotely consult their doctors, reducing consultation costs and saving time. When patients input their medical history and symptoms, the app automatically connects them to the best-suited healthcare professional for further consultation. Examples include:

  • Doctor on demand
  • ZOCDOC
  • Tele Doc

Healthcare Apps For Doctors

Healthcare apps for doctors increase their efficiency and save time by reducing paperwork. They also simplify the diagnosis and prescribing process and promote better patient management. The apps include:

Medical Records Apps

Medical record apps allow doctors to save patients’ information, including their medical history, drug allergies, laboratory test results, and medication history. As a result, the doctor can easily access patients’ data from anywhere on demand. Examples include:

  • Care 360 mobile
  • Epic Haiku
  • Sunrise mobile MD II

Telehealth

Telehealth apps leverage technology to facilitate healthcare administration in different geographical locations. Doctors can diagnose diseases, administer treatment and offer health advice through voice calls, video conferencing, etc. Examples include:

  • MDLive
  • Lemon aid
  • Plush care

Billing Apps

Billing apps increase doctors’ efficiency by speeding up the billing process and help doctors receive timely payments. The apps verify insurance details, submit claims for payment, and t process payments. Examples include:

  • Koreo billing
  • Cure MD
  • Advanced MD

Medical Networking Apps

Medical networking apps facilitate communication between doctors and other medical specialists. Doctors can share information, opinions, and observations regarding certain diseases and treatments to improve patient care through these apps. Examples include:

  • SERMO
  • Doximity
  • We Med Up

Medication Prescription And Dosage

Medication prescription and dosage apps help doctors to choose the best treatment options for their patients. The apps determine the best treatment option by analyzing patient history, drug efficacy, side effects, and potential interactions. Some apps have medical calculators that automatically calculate dosage, while others help doctors interpret laboratory results and offer alternative treatment options. Examples include:

  • Epocrates
  • Pepid Peds
  • Skyscape Medical Library

Telehealth app design inspiration

Challenges In Healthcare Mobile App Development

The use of mobile healthcare apps has been on the rise due to the willingness of doctors and medical professionals to embrace new technology. However, healthcare software development has also faced challenges such as:

Regulations Compliance

Before adopting the health insurance portability and accountability policy (HIPAA), the state relied on federal laws to protect individually identifiable health information. However, there was no particular regulation on how the information could be distributed. 

Some healthcare and insurance providers could distribute confidential patient information to lenders and employers for non-medical reasons without the patients’ consent. As a result, the FDA and FTC have stepped up to protect consumers by imposing regulations requiring healthcare app developers to establish complete registration and listing and seek pre-market approval.

Healthcare app development companies must adhere to the US’s health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA). The act requires all apps that incorporate identifiable health information to protect patient privacy by limiting the disclosure of protected health information without patient consent. In addition, in Canada, healthcare app developers must comply with PIPEDA, while in Europe, they must comply with Data Protection Directive 1995/46/EC and the e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC/ IEC 62304.

Security Of Patient Data

During healthcare application development, companies must ensure the protection of patient data. Healthcare apps collect confidential patient information that could be a target for hacking and cyber attacks. Therefore, healthcare app development companies should have in place a plan to protect patient data. For instance, companies must put in place comprehensive security measures such as training personnel to handle patient data without breach. In addition, they must perform regular risk assessments to identify security gaps, restrict access to private patient data and use virtual private networks (VPN) to prevent a data breach.

API & Integration

Healthcare software should have high interoperability to integrate with other software in the healthcare network. Therefore, the apps should have an API that allows data transfers across various apps. 

However, because of multiple technologies, an API needs customization according to a particular health app. Also, an app can have multiple APIs to connect to different services. Due to regular system updates, maintaining various APIs may be costly because certain attributes may change in the process. Besides, it may be challenging to transform data into a readable form and test multiple APIs in one app.

Accessibility

Healthcare apps should have a user-friendly interface to allow accessibility by all patients. The apps should be accessible across all digital platforms, including on mobile phones. In addition, it should be easy and quick to access by all patients in emergency cases. However, due to the diverse audience for healthcare software, it may be a challenge to develop apps that are accessible to all. 

Most mhealth apps are engineered for people without disabilities. For example, people with visual or hearing limitations may not benefit from mobile medical apps that do not support people with disabilities. 

Besides, accessibility challenges may also affect people in remote areas who may not access software apps due to a lack of power and internet services.

Basic Healthcare App Development Steps

Developing a healthcare app is more than just writing lines of code. It involves various healthcare app development steps like mobile app development, design, and application testing. Below is a step by step guide on healthcare mobile app development:

Step 1: Idea Validation

It’s essential to conduct market research before developing a healthcare app.  First, identify your target audience in terms of age, income, and lifestyle. Second, identify a gap in the market that your healthcare app could fill and identify problems that your app could solve. Lastly, conduct competitor research to determine what their apps lack and what you can do to make a unique app that outshines the competition.

Step 2: Choose The Business Model

Choose the best business model to monetize your app. You can choose a monetization strategy from the following  business models:

Freemium

Freemium business model offers a free and paid version of the app. The free version consists of the essential app functions, while the premium version allows users to access more advanced app functions.

Certified Content

In this model, users have free access to restricted content, after which they can subscribe to access the certified content. 

Registration & Subscription Fees

In this monetization model, users have to pay registration and subscription fees to stay connected. The model suits healthcare apps that connect doctors with patients.

Paid Apps

Paid apps have no free version. Instead, they provide quality content that users cannot get from anywhere else.

Step 3: Choosing The Platform

Based on your target audience and the solution you want to provide, decide if you want an app for mobile, web, or both. Consider the functionality of your app and choose the best platform that can allow access for multiple users.

Step 4: Choosing Tech Stack

Choosing a tech stack impacts your app’s performance, cost of development, and maintenance cost. The tech stack for healthcare apps include:

MEAN + Swift

MEAN is a collection of javascript technologies for web applications development. It contains solutions to support dynamic websites and apps such as Mongo DB (database), Express Js( backend framework), Angular js. ( frontend),and Node js (javasript). On the other hand, Swift stack is a data storage and management platform that works with enterprises that require data storage services.

Kotlin

Kotlin is the Javascript alternative for creating android applications. It combines functional programming features with object-related features and focuses on safety, interoperability, and clarity. More importantly, it uses less coding, has more readability, and is Javascript compatible.

React Native For IOS And Android Apps

React Native is an open-source mobile application framework that creates natively rendering mobile apps for IOS and android. It’s a native of Javascript and shares codes between platforms, making it easy to develop android and IOS apps simultaneously.

Step 5: Design

The design describes the appearance of your app. Design a user interface that allows easy access by users. Ensure to choose the right colors, font sizes, and button shapes according to your target audience’s needs. Also, design a healthcare app that creates a seamless experience for the end-users.

Designing good UX and UI designs captivates users that could turn into subscribers. Also, users are more likely to recommend your app if it’s easy to use and provides a positive user experience. Besides, it saves users time, increases positive ratings on the app store, and increases satisfied customers.

Development

The development stage puts all the previous processes into practice. Employ your healthcare app development team or hire the services of healthcare app developers for the actual programming and coding for your app.

Testing

When your app is finally ready, test it to determine if it works as intended and meets your expectations. Ensure that it complies with the industry regulations and standards by subjecting it to system audits, performance evaluations, acceptance tests, and debugging. At this stage, ensure that all the security systems are in place to protect user data privacy. Finally, carry out a beta test on the app and collect feedback on how to improve it.

Deployment

Avail your app to your target through your desired platform. For example, spread awareness of your app through social media and advertise it to your friends, family, and colleagues. 

How Much Does A Healthcare App Cost?

Many factors determine the cost of a healthcare app. First, consider the features you want in the app and how advanced they are. Other factors include technology and framework, and app design. Considering the above factors, it can take 1000 to 3000 hours to develop an app with:

  • 1 business analyst
  • 1 UX/UI designer
  • 1 Backend developer
  • 1 QA
  • 1 Project manager

It will cost you roughly $ 60000 to $150000, but you can get a minimum viable product at $ 30-40000. Then, you can decide to find your ideal software developer.

Hiring app development experts like Appvales is beneficial because it saves time. It also eliminates the cost of vetting potential freelance developers or building an in-house team. In addition, our team of experts is ready to develop an app custom-made to your company’s needs. Contact us now to get a quotation.

Choosing A Healthcare App Development Company: Tips & Things To Pay Attention To

When it comes to choosing a healthcare app development company, pay close attention to the following factors:

Location

Decide whether to work with a local or international company. Working with local providers has potential benefits and downsides too. For example, a local provider has a better understanding of the corporate world. On the other hand, an international app development company may bring a broader knowledge base and a more comprehensive network of partners.

Track Record

The best health app development company should have a proven track record of delivering quality products. In addition, it should have a deep understanding of the app market and deliver an end product that meets the market standards and demands. Find out a company track record through evidence of healthcare apps they have developed before, the number of completed projects, and clients’ size and quality.

Testimonials

Read through the customer review pages for healthcare software companies to know a company’s capability to deliver quality products. From the testimonials, you will learn about a company’s quality of delivery, time taken to complete projects, and overall customer satisfaction.

Security

It’s essential to guarantee the security of healthcare apps because they deal with sensitive information. Thus, ensure that the company complies with information security standards set by HIPAA, PIPEDA, and other regulatory bodies in different countries.

Size

Choose a company with enough resources, expertise, and workforce to handle big, small, and complex projects. Big and mid-sized companies could make an excellent choice in this case.

Price

Consider working with healthcare app developers that charge reasonable prices with the estimated time. For instance, a company may charge lower prices but take more time to complete the project. Considering that you are paying per the number of hours taken, you will end up paying more. On the other hand, a company may charge a higher hourly rate but take fewer hours to complete the same project.

Conclusion

There is a rising demand for healthcare apps to increase efficiency for doctors while saving time and costs for patients. As a result, the global market value for healthcare apps is estimated to rise by 2025, allowing app developers to create new apps to satisfy the demand. 

If you have an idea for a health app, contact us to get you started. We have a team of qualified software engineers with more than five years of experience building web and mobile apps.

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Appvales is a mobile development partner that helps you design, build, test and deploy apps. We can handle end-to-end product development or collaborate with your product team with dedicated mobile developers.

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Written by:

Max Litvinov

CEO at Appvales

IT enthusiast, investor, entrepreneur. Bringing the offshore mobile development to the next level.

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