Building Mobile Apps for Healthcare: How to survive among 318,000 existing apps on the market

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The digital technology revolution has made a significant impact on global industries seeking to develop customized solutions for specific needs. Among those taking greatest advantage of what this revolution can offer is the healthcare industry. In the past few years, there has been an explosion of healthcare-related apps. There are currently an estimated 318,000 medical mobile apps worldwide, and even more hit the market each day. The health industry has clearly learned how to navigate the challenges of handling sensitive and complex medical data.

They have also come to understand that millions of people depend on mobile gadgets to help them make daily life simpler. Through the creation of medical mobile apps that monitor nutrition levels and individual health conditions, healthcare providers are able to give users better quality services and value-added solutions including the convenience of shared health tips, treatment information and appointment scheduling, among other possibilities. Moreover, with the help of mHealth, technology helps clinics and practitioners save effort and create more time for performance of administrative functions.

Key Benefits of mHealth apps

  • Allow patient to conveniently book, cancel and change appointments even from home.
  • Facilitate easier and faster doctor-patient communication/engagement as well as information exchange services.
  • Monitor and track height and weight changes, cholesterol and glucose levels, and other critical health indicators.
  • Receive notifications on the mobile devices about the latest hospital events and health news.
  • Better insights into healthcare issues based on detailed data as well as precise information processing.
  • View doctors’ photos, profiles, their publications, credentials, and records.
  • View pop-up maps showing the location and direction of the hospital, its sections and wards and the floor that the hospital is located.
  • Cost and time saving for doctors, patients and health-related enterprises.
  • Access to electronic medical records, lab test results, appointment reminders and reports from ultrasound scans, MRI scans, X-rays and much more.
  • A patient can request prescription refills or call a doctor or care facility during emergencies.

Necessary features of a well developed healthcare mobile app

Here is an overview of the most critical features and functions to be taken into account before development begins.

  • User Registration/Logging in.
  • Editable user profiles detailing personal info, such as phone number, email and any special condition.
  • The ability to measure and monitor the vitals.
  • Integration capability for social platforms.
  • Monitoring, tracking, and reminders for chosen activities.
  • Ability to record and store patient’s chosen activities for a period of time.
  • The ability to schedule, change and cancel appoints.
  • Imaging management.
  • Push notification of urgent alerts and updates.
  • Geolocation integration.
  • Payments and prescriptions.
  • Pop-ups with maps and direction information.
  • Menu settings.
  • Access to doctor profiles.
  • Food journal and exercise plans.

Five (5) main categories of healthcare apps

General Hospital Apps. These kinds of mHealth apps usually focus on messaging and branding. They generally include information about hospitals, lists and physician availability, healthcare service offered, a virtual tour of the hospital, and ER wait times.

Clinical and diagnostic apps. These are specialized reference and medical apps that detail personal health records as well as e-chart reviews, digital images (MRI, x-ray), symptoms checks, medical conditions data and lab results.

Medication Tracking Apps. These types of apps encourage patients to follow medical prescriptions by way of tracking doses, meals, reminders, and medication scheduling.

Health awareness and fitness apps. These medical apps help patients keep up with appointments, weight management, pregnancy care, track fertility and other vital information from exercise to diet monitoring and nutrition.

Chronic care and management apps. Healthcare apps in this category can help manage conditions such as diabetes, cancer, blood pressure and mental issues. Critical functions here include the creation of appointments, prescriptions, alert creation as well as providing medical references for doctors and patients.

Five (5) steps to developing an ideal healthcare app

1. Identify gaps that your app can close.

2. Study your market.

3. Talk to experts.

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More specifically, focus on privacy and data security aspects since this is one of the most sensitive areas of healthcare. Ensure that your app conforms to government regulations and privacy policies such as HIPAA. Talk to security experts in this area who can advise you on how to handle issues such as data leakage and unauthorized access.

4. User experience is Key.

5. Test, test, and test again

Lily Smirnova, CoreValue — Business Development and Marketing expert with 6 years of experience in the IT on the crossroads of technology and life sciences.

Originally published at worldofdtcmarketing.com on February 15, 2018.

Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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