In 2021, digitalization is gaining momentum, and many industries are starting to improve their processes with various software products.
The healthcare industry is keeping up with trends and is also trying to make the lives of patients, doctors, nurses, and many others much easier with the help of technology.
In this article, we will look at all the healthcare mobile app development ins and outs so that you have the most relevant information for 2021.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
In 2020, the mHealth market size was around $45B, which is quite a good indicator.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the market to jump up.
According to analysts, the market size will exceed $100B by the end of 2021. These indicators demonstrate the incredible popularity and demand for digital solutions in the healthcare sector, and now is the time to enter the market with your custom application or software.
Types of Healthcare Apps
Today, popular mobile app stores have about 95,000 healthcare apps.
Such a huge number covers various areas of health care.
However, they have one thing in common: they can be divided into 2 main groups: applications for professionals (doctors, nurses, service personnel) and applications for patients and ordinary users. Each type has its own subcategories, and we will analyze everything in detail, as you need to know this before starting to develop your application.
Applications for Professionals
This category of apps is designed for doctors, nurses, and their needs. As a result, such applications contain many functions that will be incomprehensible and unnecessary for a common user.
1. Medical networking
Despite the presence of various popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, they are not quite suitable for communication of medical staff. That is why there are special social networks that are intended exclusively for doctors.
Using them, doctors can communicate, share experiences, and more.
2. Billing apps
Patient billing is always a complex and confusing process, and many hospitals need a separate solution to make the process more understandable.
Billing apps help improve processes such as claims management, accounting, payment processing and patient registration at healthcare facilities, and more.
Telehealth apps are a great way to see patients quickly and without leaving your office.
All receptions take place in video format through applications. These applications are extremely popular due to the fact that they reduce the number of no-shows by 50%.
4. Medical prescription apps
This type of application greatly simplifies the process of drug selection for the patient and reduces the risk of side effects.
The doctor can easily customize the list of drugs, dosage, supplement the list with new drugs and provide it in any form that is convenient for the patient.
Applications for Patients
From the name, it is already clear that these applications are created exclusively for patients to improve their health and interaction with doctors.
1. Mental health apps
Such applications are aimed at improving the mood and general psychological state of users.
They can help with depression, stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances with and other symptoms of a worsening mental state through pre-recorded meditations, breathing exercises, gamification elements, and more.
2. Health monitoring
This category includes many applications, the sole purpose of which is to help track the health of the user. It can be quick reference books about diseases, medicines, symptoms, and other applications.
3. Medical education
At their core, these applications are huge encyclopedias for medical students, doctors, and ordinary users who want to know more about healthcare and everything related to it.
4. Medication trackers
These applications are fairly easy to develop and very popular. They replace our usual calendars and alarms and allow us to distribute medication intake with an accuracy of the minute.
Apart from simple scheduling and reminders, these apps can keep track of certain medications at nearby pharmacies, letting users know where the cheapest offer is.
5. Dieting apps
This type of application helps users to formulate and adhere to various diets. The main functions of these apps are calorie calculator, meal planning, reminders, food and health information database, and much more.
Development Process Flow of Healthcare App
The development of a healthcare app is a multi-step process that requires some training and knowledge.
First, you must choose which application you want to develop, who will use it, what problems it will solve, and how. In order to make the development process as clear as possible, we will consider each stage in detail.
Step #1. Identify Your Problems
This stage is the very first, and without it, you will not progress anywhere further in development. To get started, you have to answer one question:
What problem do you want to solve with your app?
There are many options and types of applications. You may want to create a separate social network for doctors. Or, you decide to develop an application to maintain the mental health of users. Regardless of your choice, it will influence these criteria:
- Competitors and their number
- Barriers to entry
- Feature list
- Target audience
For example, if your idea is to develop a new financial application, then the competition will be fierce since such applications have the largest market share.
Step #2. Learn Your Target Audience
Users are not just individual individuals who will use your application.
They are a whole market that is divided into different segments according to different criteria. And the worst decision would be to neglect the study of the target audience. The better you know her, the higher the chance of hitting the right audience.
First, decide on the region where your application will be launched.
In addition to the competition, this determines how many users you can attract.
After that, you should carefully study and segment the audience of future users of the application. You can use the following criteria:
- Average earnings
- Place of residence
This approach will help you better understand your users, their problems, and more. Knowing this information, you can easily come up with a unique offer that will distinguish you from competitors and solve your users’ problems.
Step #3. Come Up With a Perfect Application Design
Design is the face of your application and can both alienate and attract users.
I do not deny that this stage is more creative, and you have the right to come up with the design you want. However, for a successful medical application, it is worth adhering to some UI/UX requirements.
- Optimize your app navigation. To do this, you need to create an image of users and look at the application “through their eyes”. This will help you identify design weaknesses, controversial decisions and eliminate any flaws.
- Aim for fewer clicks. The fewer clicks a user needs to perform an action in an application, the better your design and user experience.
- Show important information right away. Do not hide tips and important elements behind a dozen screens. For example, if you are developing a fitness app, you should display the most important information on the first screen: steps taken, calories burned, and so on.
- Don’t forget about empathy. Despite the fact that there are many users and it is simply impossible to satisfy everyone, this does not mean that this is not worth striving for. For example, older people may use your application, and you need to ensure that the fonts are readable and the design is as simple as possible. Aside from them, young people may also find something in your application, and they prefer a brighter design and a lot of different animations. You have to balance between these two extremes in order to create the perfect design that suits both parties.
Step #4. Decide on Monetization Model
Everyone wants their software product to bring benefits to users and income to the creator.
Various monetization strategies will help you with this. There are several popular monetization models in healthcare app development. You can choose one or combine several models in your application.
- In-app ads. These apps are completely free and earn by displaying ads. However, this method will not be very effective at the beginning of the release since advertisers need coverage. This strategy should be chosen when your application already has an impressive user base.
- Freemium. The app is free, but some features are paid.
- Subscription. To use the application, the user must subscribe to a paid subscription.
- Paid. The app is paid and requires a one-time purchase from the user.
Step #5. Create an MVP Version of Your Healthcare App
After the preparatory phase, it’s time to start developing your application.
I recommend starting with the development of the MVP version.
A Minimal Viable Product is an application that contains only the most necessary features that provide the most important functions. This approach helps you get to market faster and test your application in real-life conditions. After the release of the MVP version, you can start introducing additional features that will expand the already finished functionality.
Now let’s take a look at MVP healthcare app development.
For a more understandable example, we will take the development of a standard telehealth app. I have chosen this type of application because of its versatility: it can be used by ordinary users and professional doctors.
No modern application can do without this feature. Allow users to register using their usual mail and password while not forgetting to add the ability to register through social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and so on).
2. Profile screen
Another extremely important feature. The user should be able to create his own profile and customize it at his own discretion, for example, add a photo, name, phone number, and much more.
3. Search and filter options
Users should have convenient search tools for the doctor they need. To do this, in addition to the standard search line, it is worth implementing various filters that will help you find a doctor faster.
4. Ratings and reviews
The rating and feedback system helps users make decisions more easily. In addition, using the rating system, you can implement an additional filter when searching.
5. Appointment scheduling
A very useful function for both doctors and patients. The doctor always sees the calendar of the next appointments, while the patient can make an appointment without leaving home.
6. Video and voice calls
This is the main feature of this kind of application. You must provide excellent audio and video communication between the doctor and patients in order for the appointments to go well for both parties.
7. Online chat
Chat is another way of communication between the patient and the doctor. To get the most out of this feature, you should enable features such as voice messages, sending media files, and more.
The last feature is useful for both users and the platform. For example, users can easily pay for a doctor’s appointment, the platform charges a fee, and the doctor gets paid for seeing a patient.
Compliances You Need to Consider During Healthcare App Development
When developing your application, you must comply with various compliances as the healthcare industry is extremely strict on them.
I have compiled the most basic healthcare complaints you should know about.
- HIPAA. These rules were developed in the USA in 1996 and oblige any applications that work with personal data and medical information to ensure complete confidentiality and data protection.
- CCPA. This law is designed for the US market and is similar to the European GDPR. This law obliges you to inform the user about what data is collected and provide a free report on the collected data at the request of the client, delete the collected data at the request of the client, and much more.
- GDPR. These data protection regulations came into force in Europe in 2018. If you intend to launch your application in the European Union, you must comply with these rules. These rules apply both to the companies that process the data and to the companies that store it.
- NIST. The set of US laws that provide better cybersecurity, however, requires a significant investment.
- HiTECH. These safety rules are more suitable for various EHR systems that are distributed throughout the United States. In 2013, these rules became the general HIPAA rules, and now if your application is HIPAA compliant, it is also HiTECH compliant.
- PIPEDA. These rules are for applications that are going to enter the Canadian market.
Healthcare App Development Cost
It’s time to move on to the most basic part of our article, namely the cost of developing a healthcare app.
As an example, I will also take the telehealth app development that we analyzed earlier.
The price will consist of the development of the features and the cost of the development team. However, keep in mind that this cost estimate is APPROXIMATE and does not represent the exact cost.
First, let’s start with features cost.
|Feature||Approx development time (hours)||Approx cost ($)|
|Registration and login (Patient + physician)||76||2,660|
|Profile screen (Patient + physician)||81||2,835|
|Search, filter options and ratings||103||3,605|
|Appointment scheduling (Patient + physician)||185||6,475|
|Video and voice calls (Patient + physician)||136||4,760|
|Online chat (Patient + physician)||121||4,235|
|Backend part||1, 120||39,200|
|Frameworks and libraries implementation||56||1,960|
|Total||2, 202||77, 070|
Now, let’s find out the cost of the development team and the total development cost.
|Development team member||Task||Approximate hours||Approx cost ($)|
|iOS and Android developers ($35/h each)||MVP features development||1, 280||89,600|
|Frontend developers ($35/h)||Admin panel development||160||5,600|
|Backend developers ($35/h)||Backend part development||1,120||39,200|
|UI/UX designers ($30/h)||Wireframes and mockups creation||160||4,800|
|Project Manager services ($35/h)||Development process overseeing, development reports||400||14,000|
|QA engineer services ($25/h)||App testing, bug reports creation||600||15,000|
|DevOps ($35/h)||Development process automation, implementation of DevOps methodologies||120||4,200|
|Business analyst ($25/h)||Discovery phase, creation of final estimate and specification||160||4,000|
|Team lead ($35/h)||Project architecture development, code review||180||6,300|
As you can see, the development of a healthcare app is a rather complicated process and without proper preparation, you risk being left with only one idea of the head.
However, you are now armed with knowledge and ready to start developing your own application.
Vitaly Kuprenko is a writer for Cleveroad. It’s a web and mobile app development company with headquarters in Ukraine. He enjoys writing about technology and digital marketing.