In case you’re not aware, mHealth is the use of mobile technology to provide and improve healthcare services. Some of these services include patient education, providing diagnostic treatment, and tracking patient data. Over the past few years, the mobile health app market has been growing and adopting new technologies. With the growing adoption of mobile in the health industry, there is immense potential for businesses.
Some people hold the view that the health industry is slow in adopting new technology, but it appears as that healthcare is finally starting to upgrade.
Health from a Business Perspective
The above graph shows the number of medical apps available worldwide from 2015 to 2019. In the third quarter of 2019, there has been a 4.69 percent increase in the number of healthcare apps. It is estimated that in 2020 the global value of the health app sector will grow to USD 59 Billion. In the next 5 years, the global healthcare app market size is expected to reach USD 236 Billion. As technology continues to evolve (such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality), the healthcare industry will also continue to advance.
The reason why I’ve highlighted the above statistics is to lay emphasis on the growing opportunity for businesses and app development companies. If you want to make money you better do something that’s new, trending, and that serves a purpose. Furthermore, if you find something consumers are interested in using, then that’s definitely a plus point. It just so happens that 71% of the millennial patients say that they would prefer that their doctors used a healthcare app.
Now that we’ve understood the business value of healthcare mobile apps. Let’s get down to the elephant in the room. ‘How to develop qualitative and productive healthcare mobile apps.’
5-Step Guide to Healthcare App Development
If you want to create a high-performing health app, you will need to find the best healthcare mobile app development companies. Of course you will find thousands of them, but I’m sure you will need some way to narrow down your search.
Below I have compiled a 5 step guide for creating an appealing and productive health app. If you want to hire the best app development company watch out for these particularities. Consequently, if you’re looking for ways to improvise your health app development strategy, you’ve come to the right place.
- Decide The Type of App You’re Going to Build
Before you head on to developing your mobile app, you will have to make sure that it answers the following questions:
-Does your app idea solve a problem and does it have a unique value proposition?
-How big of a problem can it solve and is it really valuable?
-If you were the consumer, would you be willing to pay for the app?
If you tick mark all of the above, I would still suggest that you pass your idea around for further verification. Get expert opinions from industry experts, patients, and business professionals. If you get positive feedback, then you’re good to head on to the next step. Before you move on, I want to give you a brief insight into the types of health apps that you can develop.
If you know the type of healthcare apps that exist, it will help you choose the right category and refine your app idea.
Popular Types of Healthcare Apps
- Emergency Apps
These apps are very useful in emergency situations. For example, if a user loses consciousness and in any situation, if a patient requires immediate medical attention; the patient or a loved one can quickly tap the ‘help button’ that will call the hospital.
- Medication Tracking and Reminder Apps
These apps are specifically designed for patients that forget to take their medications on time. Patients can easily follow through their medication schedule.
- Health and Lifestyle Apps
Both the Google Play Store and Apple’s app store are stocked with this category of health apps. These apps cater to the consumers looking to track their health and fitness for a healthy lifestyle. For example, meditation apps, motivational apps, and diet & fitness tracking apps.
- Decide the Functionalities You Want to Integrate
After you are positive about your app idea and you have finalized the type of app that you are going to develop. It’s time to decide on the functionalities that your app will serve. The features and functions that you integrate entirely depend on the type of app that you are developing. For example, an app that tracks the number of steps you’ve walked will need reporting and analytics functions, but, a motivational app might not require these essentials.
Below I’ve enlisted some general functions that you can incorporate in your health apps:
- Reporting and Analytics
For reviewing and monitoring the patient’s progress report.
An efficient means for helping patients find their nearby hospitals and medical facilities. Consequently, geolocation also helps to find patients in need.
- A Payment Portal
For availing subscription packages, availing premium medical services, and purchasing medical equipment.
This functionality is useful for managing patient information.
- Real-time Chat
Real-time chat and video features are excellent for connecting with physicians in emergency situations.
- Focus on Delivering a Good Digital Experience
Above, I had highlighted that technology is advancing, well consequently, customer expectations have also increased. Modern-day customers expect an amazing user experience. One of the main reasons why more people aren’t using health apps is their ‘poor user experience’. If you want to build a great health app that is productive as well as engaging, you will have to make your app design a priority. In order to do this, it’s imperative that you follow solid development and design practices:
- Map out your user’s journey and ensure that it is understandable and consistent.
- Try to minimize the required number of interactions to complete a specific goal.
- Keep your design minimalistic, simple, clean, and readable.
So when hiring a mobile app development company, check out their portfolio and see if their apps look just as good as they function. After all, statistics reveal that 21% of millennials delete an app if it doesn’t look good or is hard to grasp.
- Does Your App Deliver Results?
Of course, the primary reason why consumers will download your app is to ‘get results’. If your app promises to deliver certain results but fails to comply, then you’ve wasted your time and money.
Let me give you an example.
A few years back, a company had developed a mobile app that promised to cure acne by emitting blue light from the user’s smartphone screen. I know, it seems like a rip-off, but guess what? It still managed to get more than 10k downloads at a fee of UDS 1.99 per download (on Google Play Store, and iTunes). However, FTC got control of the situation and removed the app from both the app stores.
There was no proof that the app could cure acne. So it’s essential that you build a mobile app that promises to deliver realistic end-results. Focus on building a healthcare app that meets customer expectations. Clearly highlight the results your app will provide, otherwise, you could risk spoiling your brand’s image.
- Understand and Follow Healthcare Regulations
When it comes to healthcare mobile apps, privacy holds the utmost importance. In order to prove the authenticity of your app, you will have to get your app certified through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which ensures patient security and protection.
Once you get your app certified, here are some extra steps that you can take to protect your patients and ensure their privacy:
- Secure your mobile app by adding user password options and other means of authentication.
- Choose a more secure platform for app development.
- Provide updates to avoid compromising a patient’s protected health information.
- Strictly follow app store guidelines when publishing your mobile app.
- For secure payment processing make sure that your app is PCI-SSC compliant.
Healthcare mobile apps have a lot of benefits for the healthcare industry, particularly for doctors and patients. If developed properly, a good health app can offer solutions to significantly reduce the number of steps for completing a medical procedure. Asides advancing the health industry, we’ve seen above that mHealth apps also have immense business potential.
Following the 5-step guide that I’ve compiled for you, you have full control of building a productive healthcare app that can prove valuable for both patients and doctors. If you’d like to share your thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.