The healthcare industry is experiencing a substantial transformation over the last few years. The driving force behind this is the revolution of healthcare apps and the digitization of healthcare services. Healthcare is a broad niche and includes a variety of apps. However, they share the same goal: to make health-related services accessible to users on a mobile gadget. A healthcare app connects healthcare providers and patients and allows seeking professional help right from their homes.
However, healthcare app development is a complex undertaking and involves a lot of technical and legal expertise. In this in-depth guide to healthcare apps, we will go through their types, key features, development process, costs, and all you need to build a healthcare app in 2023.
The Difference Between a Healthcare App and a Medical App
When discussing healthcare apps, it’s essential to understand the distinction between health and medical apps, as they serve different purposes and have varying levels of regulatory oversight.
Health apps are designed to promote general wellness, encourage healthy habits, and assist individuals in managing their overall health and lifestyle. These apps often focus on fitness tracking, nutrition guidance, mental well-being, sleep monitoring, and other aspects of preventive healthcare. They provide users with information, tools, and features to help them lead healthier lives.
On the other hand, medical apps are intended to assist healthcare professionals in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating medical conditions. These apps are grouped as medical devices and are subject to stricter regulations to ensure safety and effectiveness. They can include features such as symptom checkers, electronic medical records (EMR), telemedicine platforms, etc. Medical app development is more costly than healthcare app development.
What Types of Healthcare Apps Are There?
A mobile healthcare app can cater to a broad audience, and the variety of app types keep expanding. Below we’ve divided them into three groups based on who they’re beneficial for. These app types can also help you brainstorm ideas to develop a healthcare app.
Professional Healthcare Apps
This category of healthcare apps includes professional solutions for physicians, nurses, and doctors and serves as the mediators between communication and treatment processes among the doctor and patient. Some examples include:
- Doctor appointment apps
- Health tracking apps
- Networking apps
- Telemedicine apps
- Medical reference apps, etc
Healthcare Apps for Patients
These apps are intended to bring value to patients. Along with basic medical assistance, it often covers wellness aspects. For instance:
- Fitness apps
- Reminder apps
- Medical education apps
- Appointment scheduling apps
- Diagnosis apps, etc.
Health Apps for Medical Administration
As the name suggests, this category includes apps beneficial for the medical administration staff. Some common examples are:
- Inventory management
- Doctor/nurse marketplace
- Practice management, etc.
Key Features and Functionalities of Healthcare Apps
Healthcare applications are reshaping how healthcare is accessed, delivered, and experienced by patients, providers, and stakeholders alike. By leveraging the power of smartphones, wearables, and connectivity, these apps offer extensive benefits that are revolutionizing the industry and empowering individuals to take control of their health.
Depending on the goal, you may include the following healthcare app features to help your solution stand out.
Appointment Scheduling: To enable users to schedule healthcare appointments conveniently, saving time and improving access to healthcare services.
Medication Management: Assists users in organizing and tracking their medications, including reminders and refill requests, ensuring adherence to prescribed regimens, and preventing medication errors.
Telehealth and Video Consultations: Facilitates remote consultations between patients and healthcare providers, allowing convenient access to medical advice and follow-up care and reducing the need for in-person visits.
Symptom Checkers and Health Assessment: Offers tools for users to evaluate their symptoms or assess their overall health, providing preliminary insights and guidance for appropriate next steps in their healthcare journey.
Health and Fitness Tracking: Tracks and analyzes personal health data, including physical activities, sleep patterns, and vital signs, helping users monitor their progress, set health goals, and make informed lifestyle choices.
Health Education and Information: Provides reliable health-related content, empowering users with knowledge about medical conditions, treatments, and preventive measures and promoting better health literacy.
Ratings and Reviews: Allows users to provide feedback and ratings based on their experiences with healthcare providers, facilities, or services, enabling others to make informed decisions and promoting transparency in the healthcare community.
Remote Patient Monitoring: Enables healthcare providers to remotely monitor and analyze patient data obtained through connected devices, facilitating ongoing care management for chronic conditions and improving patient outcomes.
Step-by-Step Process to Build a Successful Mobile Healthcare App
Creating a healthcare app is a complex process that requires collaboration among various stakeholders, including developers, designers, healthcare professionals, and potentially regulatory authorities.
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the healthcare app development process. These steps provide a general overview of the process, but the specifics may vary depending on the scope and requirements of the app being developed.
Step 1: Market Research and Target Audience Identification
Like with any other app, the process starts with conducting thorough market research to identify the target audience for your healthcare app. You need to understand the needs and preferences of potential users, identify competitors, and analyze market trends to gain insights that will guide your app development process.
Step 2: Defining App Goals and Requirements
In this step, you define the goals and objectives of your healthcare app, such as the healthcare problem that needs to be addressed. You also determine the core features and functionalities it should have to fulfill the needs of your target audience. For instance, deciding on the platform (e.g., iOS, Android) and the technology stack for development.
Step 3: Wireframing and Prototyping
Wireframing involves creating a visual representation of the app’s interface and layout without the final design elements. It helps in conceptualizing the app’s structure and flow. Prototyping involves creating interactive mockups that simulate the app’s functionality. These wireframes and prototypes serve as a blueprint for the development team, can be used for feedback, and ensures optimal user experience in healthcare apps.
Step 4: App Development
After finalizing the healthcare app design, the actual development of the healthcare app starts. It includes front-end and back-end development, database creation, and integration of necessary APIs and services. The goal is to create an MVP from scratch and then test and iterate as needed to keep adding new features.
Step 5: Quality Assurance and Testing
QA and testing ensure the app functions as intended and meets user expectations. It involves conducting various tests such as functionality, usability, performance, and security testing. Getting professional software testing services ensures any bugs or issues identified during testing are addressed and fixed.
Step 6: Launching and Deployment
Once the development and testing stages are complete, it’s time to launch and deploy the healthcare app. This step involves preparing the necessary app store assets, submitting the app to the respective app stores (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play Store), and complying with their guidelines and policies. Once approved, the app becomes available for download and use by the target audience.
Ensuring Healthcare Application Security and Compliance
Ensuring healthcare app security and compliance involves implementing measures to protect sensitive patient data, comply with relevant regulations and maintain the privacy and security of healthcare apps. To avoid security breaches and data leaks, here are some security components apps must adhere to.
- HIPAA Compliance: HIPAA is a U.S. federal law that sets standards for the protection of sensitive patient health information (PHI). Compliance with HIPAA is crucial for healthcare app developers and organizations that handle PHI. It establishes rules to ensure the privacy, security, and integrity of PHI and sets guidelines for breach notification and patient rights.
- Data Privacy and Protection Measures: Robust data privacy and protection measures should be in place – which involves implementing safeguards such as access controls, data encryption, data integrity, data minimization, etc.
- Secure Authentication and Encryption: Healthcare apps should incorporate secure authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of users accessing PHI. It includes implementing strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, and session management techniques.
- Compliance Audits and Certifications: Regular compliance audits and certifications are essential to assess the effectiveness of security controls and ensure adherence to regulatory requirements. These audits may be conducted internally or by third-party assessors.
How Much Does Healthcare App Development Cost?
Lastly, when you’ve decided on the best healthcare app idea and the needed features to build it, you may wonder how much it costs to get an application off the ground.
Creating a mobile app with the most basic features for the healthcare industry can cost you around $35,000 or more. The price depends on the tech stack, functionalities, design, integrations, and other factors. To get a precise estimate, get in touch with a professional.
In this ultimate guide, we explored the multitude of advantages that healthcare apps bring to the table to propel the industry forward. Whether you’re a healthcare professional, an entrepreneur, or simply interested in the intersection of technology and healthcare, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the landscape of healthcare app development successfully. As a leading custom app development company, we’ve created numerous innovative apps offering top-notch healthcare solutions. Get in touch with us to talk about your app idea.