Building a healthcare app in 2022

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Building a healthcare app in 2022

In 2022, the global market for digital healthcare stands at $334 billion. By 2025, it is projected to see a twofold increase – around $657 billion. Advancing technologies, labor shortages, and unevenly distributed medical services contribute to the adoption of healthtech.

In particular, medical apps have experienced added traction due to the dominance of smartphones and tablets. Last year, mHealth reached the largest revenue share, accounting for $280 billion. In the coming years, this healthtech sector is projected to reach its full potential.

Therefore, medical app development is currently on the rise. If you’re looking to join this field and build a medical app for your one, this post is for you.

What is a medical app?

Healthcare mobile applications or mHealth apps are programs that can be installed on mobile devices to help people manage their health. They can include anything from tracking daily steps to letting you monitor your blood pressure or glucose levels. People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, can use medical apps to help them keep track of their treatment plan and medication schedule.

For doctors, mobile applications can unlock a whole wealth of critical features such as:

  • Managing schedules and medical data
  • Maintaining and accessing health records
  • Collecting and analyzing data from wearables
  • Accessing training information
  • Conducting telemedicine appointments
  • Integrating data into EMR or EHR, etc.

As you see, medical apps can be helpful for doctors and patients alike. They can offer a way for doctors to keep track of their patient’s health, as well as offer educational materials for patients. According to Health IT Outcomes reports, over 90% of healthcare professionals think that mHealth apps can promote better patient outcomes. At the same time, over 70% of the hospitals score more efficiently when using mobile app devices to gather patient data.

What are the types of mHealth?

Not all mobile healthcare applications are created equal. While medical and health apps are used interchangeably in this post, there’s yet a huge difference between them. Health apps are geared towards the general public and patients. Medical applications are focused on providing services to medical professionals, thus being limited by devices and users.

Health applications

Health apps are applications that you can typically find on your smartphone, tablet, or PC. This type of software offers additional healthcare-related services or guidance to users that are not involved in medicine as professionals. Health applications are also known as wellness solutions.

The most popular categories of wellness software include: 

  • Nutrition and weight loss/management
  • Sports and fitness activity tracking
  • Medication tracking
  • Water intake
  • Reminders and alerts
  • Sleep pattern 
  • Stress and relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Menstrual cycle tracking
  • Pregnancy tracker
  • Hospital selection and appointment tracking

The majority of health apps are not subject to HIPAA compliance even if they store protected health information. However, this type of app still needs encryption to guard sensitive patient data if any. 

Medical applications

Medical mobile apps support the provision of medicine and public health services via smartphones, tablets, and other wireless solutions. Medical applications cater to medical professionals and prioritize the analysis of medical conditions and facilitate remote health monitoring. They allow healthcare providers to share and access patients’ personal health records remotely.

Most widespread types of medical apps include:

  • Clinical and diagnosis assistants
  • ER and urgent care software
  • Clinical reference apps
  • Medical reference & database apps.
  • Networking apps.
  • Doctor appointment apps.
  • Doctor-on-demand solutions.

The majority of these apps are subject to regulatory acts such as HIPAA compliance. Also, most of them require Epic EHR/EMR integration if they are premised on the Epic electronic medical record system. To date, almost half of the US population have their medical records in an Epic system.

What are the costs of healthtech development? 

Costs of mobile app development depend on a whole gamut of factors. Project scope, app complexity as well as a number of platforms, and team location are among the main cost drivers. The ballpark average among countries varies from $50K for a simple digital health app to $150K+ for a complex telemedicine solution.

To drive down the expenses, businesses often farm out the development process to offshore destinations. A Minimum Viable Product is also a summon option to test the viability of your solution without overspending on extravagant features.

How to build a healthcare solution

To launch a successful healthcare solution, you need to understand the industry inside and out. You also need to have a clear vision for your product and be able to execute that vision.

Stage 1: Business analysis

Business analysis is a process of understanding and documenting business needs and requirements. It involves working with stakeholders to elicit, analyze, communicate, and validate requirements in order to provide a vision for the solution that meets the business needs. BAs use various techniques such as interviews, document analysis, requirements workshops, use cases, data modeling, and prototyping to gather and define system requirements.

In other words, BA involves translating business needs into specific requirements that software developers can understand and build solutions to meet. The goal of BA is to ensure that the end result of software development aligns with the needs of the business.

Stage 2: UX/UI design

UX design is the process of designing user interfaces that are both effective and appealing to users. UI design, on the other hand, is the visual design of those interfaces. Good UX/UI design helps make apps not only look great but also easy and fun to use, increasing their chances of being successful. To create winning UX/UI designs for mobile apps, designers must consider the unique challenges that come with designing for small screens, touch-based interactions, and limited input.

Healthcare apps historically have poor UX/UI designs. That’s why your design team should factor in user pains to provide an excellent user experience. Thus, user research is an essential investment since mHealth solutions are built for users with different needs and backgrounds. Colors, typography, and navigation are among the hardest design aspects to define in medical apps.

Stage 3: Development

The development stage of software development is a process where the requirements of the system are analyzed, specified, and implemented in a working model. This is also where tests are conducted to verify that the system meets the requirements. 

During this stage, your MVP or Minimum Viable Product takes a genesis. A Minimum Viable Product is an important tool that can help you gauge reaction to your product, identify what works and does not work, and make necessary changes quickly. It is the simplest form of a product that can be used to validate a hypothesis about what users want and need from the product. As you build out your MVP, make sure to keep track of your progress and continually test it with potential users to get feedback.

During this stage, your development team also makes sure that your medical app is up to regulatory acts and internal guidelines. The end goal of this stage is to produce an application 

that works as required and is verified by tests.

Stage 4: Maintenance

The development process doesn’t end when your app is up and running. Maintenance is critical for medicine-related solutions. Regular updates, security patches, and new functionality will allow your solution to stay competitive and avoid unexpected downtimes. Also, some types of healthcare mobile apps quickly lose relevance, thus requiring a regular maintenance schedule.

The bottom line

The healthcare industry is a massive and ever-growing sector of the economy. It touches everyone, and there are endless opportunities to make an impact through app development. To build your mobile solution, you need to perform a thorough market analysis or audit internal business processes to make sure your application targets the relevant areas. As for the costs of mobile development, these vary greatly based on the app complexity and your team location.

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