There was a time when we wouldn’t think twice about going to the doctor or hospital for just about anything.
All that changed rather dramatically in early 2020, when COVID19 turned the world upside down.
In some parts of the world, healthcare reemerged as an online service, with most people starting to avoid going to the hospital or the emergency rooms, scared of catching the virus.
On the one hand, this ignited a series of social and health impacts, but it also created an unpreceded demand for healthcare apps.
The reasoning was quite straightforward: everyone has a smartphone these days. So, when you can’t see the doctor in person, you might as well get expert advice from the comfort of your home with just a few taps.
And so, the healthcare app development movement started to take shape.
However, like anything else, more doesn’t always mean better. So, let’s take a deep dive into healthcare app development, what it is, the dos and don’ts of it, and what you need to know about working with developers.
- What Is Healthcare App Development?
- Why Do People Use Healthcare Apps?
- Healthcare Market Outlook
- What Types of Healthcare Apps Are Out There?
- Integrating telehealth with EHR technology – healthcare apps for patients with healthcare apps for practices
- What Are the Benefits of Healthcare Apps Development?
- What Are the Costs of Developing a Healthcare App?
- What Are the Challenges of Developing a Healthcare App?
- What are the regulations? HIPAA & FDA & HITECH etc.
- How to Develop a Healthcare Mobile App?
- What is The Future of Healthcare app development?
- How to Choose a Custom Healthcare Software Development Company?
What Is Healthcare App Development?
Healthcare app development refers to the process of designing digital products for mobile devices that support users in requesting and receiving vetted medical advice for their health conditions in real-time.
Alternatively, these apps, which are also built for web interfaces, can aid doctors’ day-to-day workflow by helping them track their patients’ health, schedule appointments, and manage staff.
So, when you say healthcare app development, you’re talking about developing software for one or more platforms, which will be used to provide a healthcare service.
Why Do People Use Healthcare Apps?
People use healthcare apps for various reasons.
Some might use them because they live far from a hospital or doctor’s office and it’s easier than traveling.
Others prefer the convenience of healthcare apps to in-person visits, and some might have serious conditions that require frequent updates, so an app makes it easier to get the care they need.
Like most digital apps, healthcare apps are marketed for their convenience and ease of use. All you need is a phone and an internet connection to talk to a healthcare professional.
Healthcare apps have been invaluable during the pandemic as early diagnosis tools for people who presented suspicious symptoms.
Doctors and nurses have been able to assess reported symptoms in time and properly advise patients to undertake the right further steps in order to prevent aggravating symptoms of the virus.
This created a safer environment for patients and staff at healthcare facilities by identifying potential virus carriers in advance and restricting contact between them.
Healthcare app Market Outlook
Much of the available healthcare app research out there is specific to the U.S. market, but since the U.S. is also one of the largest markets in the developed world, that could function as a solid point of reference.
According to a new report on digital health trends, published by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, there are now more than 350.000 healthcare apps available to consumers.
Although most of them are still geared towards general wellness and fitness, it looks like apps focused on managing specific diseases or health are growing exponentially, covering no less than 47% of the apps available, compared to only 28% in 2015.
Important to mention that along with this growing maturity of digital health products in mainstream medicine also comes robust evidence of their impact on both patients and healthcare institutions.
Looking at the big picture, the digital health industry has raised record-breaking investments in 2021, having reached $7.1B only during Q1, which is far more than the $2.9B reported in 2020’s Q1.
That’s due to increased investor interest in digital healthcare platforms that revolve around on-demand models, extensive primary care, behavioral health, fitness, and prevention.
- 85% of American adults own at least one smartphone
- There are already over 350,000 healthcare apps in various app stores
- Nearly four million Americans used a healthcare app in 2020 – that’s nearly 30% of the adult population of the United States
- Most smartphone users use their smartphones for some kind of health-related activity – whether that’s searching for health information, tracking fitness, or something else
- 90% of doctors use smart devices at work, and over 60% of U.S. hospitals have their own healthcare apps
What Types of Healthcare Apps Are Out There?
A better question would be what kind of healthcare apps aren’t out there. 😅
With the proliferation of web and mobile digital products we’ve seen over the past few years, there are healthcare apps for nearly everything now, including:
- Primary care health advice
- Apps to track pregnancy and fertility
- Apps for people who have diabetes
- Mental health apps
- Developmental apps for children with disabilities or who are on the autism spectrum
- Apps for monitoring your heart rate
- Calorie counters and fitness apps
- Smartwatch apps to monitor your vitals while exercising
- Meditation apps
- Apps for quitting smoking and other addiction apps
- Sleep cycle monitoring and relaxation apps
- Personal emergency apps for people who have serious conditions
The list of potential healthcare apps is almost endless, and we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface.
As technology evolves and web and mobile development innovates, we will see more health tech and telemedicine apps.
Integrating telehealth with EHR technology - healthcare apps for patients with healthcare apps for practices
Telehealth has seen steep adoption rates amongst both patients and medical practices.
But first, let’s clear out the confusion and address the difference between telemedicine and telehealth.
Telehealth refers to the broad electronic and digitally performed activities to access healthcare service at-a-distance.
It includes a wide range of technologies to provide care remotely. It is different from telemedicine in that it encompasses a broader scope of remote healthcare services.
That means that telemedicine only refers to very specific activities within the remote healthcare realm, such as online appointments, remote monitoring, symptoms checking, asking medical questions, or receiving prescriptions.
While patients can benefit from using such apps in the numerous ways mentioned above, clinicians can also enjoy these digital products’ positive outcomes.
Healthcare software that integrates Electronic Health Record (EHR) functions can support medical institutions in treating people remotely using secure tools. It also helps doctors streamline the complete care process, automating time-costly bureaucratic tasks to enhance the delivery of patient care.
As you probably have already guessed, telehealth apps that facilitate quick access to doctors work in perfect harmony with EHR technology to create a positive mass impact.
Or at least it should.
In the U.S., more than 95% of hospitals are using certified EHR platforms to simplify data collection, increase focus on the delivery of medical services, decrease overhead costs and reduce mortality to those who suffer from chronic diseases.
Developing telehealth apps that can integrate an EHR system would only aid the performance of these medical systems and overall workflows, eventually replicating the authenticity of the good ol’ face-to-face patient interactions.
Nevertheless, merging telehealth with EHR systems would also help patients better understand their diagnoses. Following a virtual consultation, the patients will now be able to see a summary of their visit and the rest of their medical history, which will provide context for any new information.
What Are the Benefits of Healthcare Apps Development?
If you have a healthcare business, you might be wondering if it’s worth developing the app you’ve been thinking about. After all, healthcare app development is outside of your wheelhouse.
The answer is almost always yes. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- There is an evergrowing need to make healthcare more accessible globally
- both patients and medical institutions learned that telehealth is significantly more cost-efficient, which is why the demand is constantly growing on both parts
- medical practices are willing to invest in platforms that enhance efficacy of healthcare and support doctors in making more precise, custom decisions for each patient
- people are becoming more self-aware, increasingly committing to preventative healthcare – which is going to be an appealing niche to investors since much of the healthcare platforms so far almost solely focused on the treatment of existing medical conditions
If you can build an app that lets your patients access your services faster, easier, and remotely, your business will definitely benefit from this decision.
What Are the Costs of Developing a Healthcare App?
Web and app development costs vary depending on the type of software or app you want to develop, how much custom coding is required, how complex the interface is, and how long it takes to develop the application from napkin sketches to fully functional product.
Costs can be anything from a few thousand dollars upwards, and depending on the number of features you may want to add, those prices can go up throughout the project.
If you have an idea for an app, it’s always best to speak to several app developers and get quotes for their services. This will give you a good idea of what you should budget for the project.
What Are the Challenges of Developing a Healthcare App?
Web and mobile app development is a complex process. It takes a fairly long time to build a quality application, and there’s a lot of testing, reviewing, and revising that happens before it’s ready to launch.
Aside from ensuring that the app complies with specific regulations, depending on the geographical market you’re targeting, the development process is very similar to any other industry, with the end-user as a focal point.
You have to carry out extensive research and run discovery workshops to nail the value proposition and target market the needs and challenges you want to address.
The product design aspect should consider the most recent healthcare app design trends and articulate a smooth & minimal user experience.
For this experience to be flawless, another important factor is prioritizing the main features that the digital product should revolve around, so that it would overwhelm the user.
All these aspects should be validated as part of an initial MVP meant to collect valuable feedback from the market and support you and your technology partner in creating a streamlined product design and a pleasant user experience that delivers value to all parties involved.
What are the regulations? HIPAA, FDA, HITECH etc
HIPAA & FDA & HITECH regulations govern how health information is stored, accessed, and shared.
Patient information is extremely personal and must be subject to the strictest protections.
Basically, any app or software used in the healthcare industry, where patient information may be accessible, needs to comply with the highest possible security standards.
Not complying with this kind of legislation is an offense and can land you in very deep legal hot water.
How to Develop a Healthcare Mobile App?
The good news is that you don’t need to write a single line of code to develop a healthcare app.
There are healthcare app developers out there who can take your idea and turn it into reality. Here’s how:
- First, you will have a concept – what do you want the app to do, and for whom?
- Next, your web and mobile app developer will gather information and analyze various technologies
- When they’ve decided on the right technology for the job, they’ll design the application
- Next, your developer will create an MVP – a Minimum Viable Product
- You will enter a phase of beta testing, where bugs will be identified, and the UX will be adjusted
- The app will go to final development
- Another round of quality assurance and testing will find and fix any remaining bugs
- Your app will be released
- You will enter the maintenance and update phase
Good app developers will walk you through the process and probably offer to stay on retainer during the maintenance phase when the app is live and on sale.
They’ll also be able to quote you when you want to add more features or something you want to change.
What is The Future of Healthcare app development?
As technology has evolved, so has health tech. Several technologies making waves in the tech world are fantastic for the proliferation of healthcare digital products.
Blockchain, the unbreakable encryption that secures cryptocurrencies, is already being used to secure health information.
Artificial intelligence is being built into diagnostic and other tools, allowing doctors to find potential diagnoses at the speed of machine calculation, which is much faster than anything any human can do. Besides, it lowers human errors within the healthcare process.
Virtual reality allows surgeons and specialists to perform surgeries and examinations from thousands of miles away, and the internet of things is already monitoring our health in real-time.
The future of tech is bright, and medical technology is one of the big winners!
How to Choose a Custom Healthcare Software Development Company?
Now that you know what health tech is and how the process of developing a healthcare app usually progresses, you might be wondering how you can get started.
The best advice is to look for the right partner first, and, to do so, there are several things you will need to consider.
First, their skills, certifications, and people.
You want to collaborate with a team where everyone involved has solid credentials and previous experience working with the latest technologies and, ideally, with clients from the same industry as your business.
Yesterday’s tech won’t create a cutting-edge health app.
Next, ask for references and about their track record. Healthcare software development is a specialist field, so you should look for a company with specific experience in this type of development.
Once you’ve shortlisted people with the right skills and experience, ask about an approximate timeline for developing your idea, and start comparing offers.
Of course, price is never the first consideration, but it is a factor, so find out what value you will be getting for your investment.
Choosing the right developer is almost as important as having a brilliant idea.
Take your time with this step, ask lots of questions, and don’t gamble the success of your idea on a team that you didn’t find chemistry with yet.
Cliche or not, trusting your gut feeling at this stage of the process should be an important decision-making factor.
Well, if you are looking for a reliable healthcare app development company to bring your idea to life through the latest tech and a user-centric design, then don’t hesitate to reach out. 🚀
You might want to read our latest case studies where we present how we developed a telemedicine app, as well as a management software provider for healthcare facilities.