November 02, 2021
By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
The demand for digital health services has risen significantly in recent years and is not showing any signs of slowing down. According to Grand View Research. According to their research, the global mHealth apps market size was valued at $47.7 billion in 2021, but is expected to grow to $149.3 billion by 2028.
This means that, assuming you are in the mHealth space, now is the perfect time to create a healthcare app, but how to do it? For this article, we will cover the different types of healthcare apps, must-have features, the challenges you may face while creating the app, and the steps to build it.
Types of Healthcare Apps
Before you begin, you first need to understand the different types of healthcare apps available in the marketplace so you can create the right solution for your business.
1. Lifestyle Tracking Apps
These apps are designed to track the daily activities of users and help them lead healthy lives. They focus on metrics like physical exercise, sleep, calorie intake, and other activities. Examples include Samsung Health, Google Fit, Map My Fitness, etc.
2. Fitness Apps
These apps provide personalized coaching for people who want to be more physically active. Some of these apps also give users virtual access to experts and nutritionists so they can contact them for a better experience. Examples include Nike Training Club, Home Workout - No Equipment, etc.
3. Health Counselling Apps (Telehealth)
These apps are designed to help people book counseling sessions with medical practitioners such as doctors, therapists, and specialists. These apps are best for non-emergency medical issues. Depending on the app under consideration, the user can consult a doctor via chat and audio, as well as video calls. Examples include Teladoc Health, MDBox, etc.
Steps to Build a Healthcare App
To create a great healthcare app, you need a good knowledge of mobile technologie, as well as a strong programming knowledge of Xcode 13 and Android. If you don’t have these necessary skills or experience, you should consider hiring a mobile app development company in Phoenix.
With this point in mind, here are the steps to build a healthcare app.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Now that you have decided the type of healthcare app you want to develop, it’s time to identify your target audience and their needs. Next, identify the problems that your app must solve in order to meet each customer’s expectations. This will encourage them to download and use your app more often.
2. Research Your Competitors
Identify businesses that are already making their name in the market. Use their app/website to understand their offerings, features, usability, and more.
Read reviews and testimonials to better understand what customers like and dislike about their platform. This will help you create a better app solution and help develop a stronger “go-to-market” launch strategy.
You can even consider leveraging mobile app development in Phoenix to outsource the hard work of competitor research.
This is the most important stage of building the healthcare app. You will need people who have the expertise and skills required to code the healthcare app. If not, you will experience countless hurdles in the development process. If you do not have these skills, you must outsource the programming work to the best mobile app development company in Phoenix to increase the chances of success.
As soon as your app is ready, you need to test it thoroughly on different devices to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. You might even consider giving the app to a few users to gather customer feedback and identify performance gaps and issues before the release.
5. Product Release
Once you’ve tested the app for usability and made the required changes (if any), it’s time to release the app. However, keep in mind that you will need to maintain the app and regularly release updates to prevent any issues and stay relevant to the marketplace.
Must-Have Features in Every Healthcare App
While the exact features in your app depend on the purpose and application, here are some functionalities that you must include.
1. User Profile
When signing up, most apps require users to enter their personal information, such as name, age, height, weight, health issues (if any), fitness goals, and more.
The user profile should allow members to manage and update their health profile. They should also be able to control the data that the app can access, such as their location, pedometer, accelerometer, etc.
Irrespective of the type and purpose of your health app, a dashboard that summarizes everything is a must. For instance, if you’ve created a fitness app, your dashboard should help users visualize the number of steps they’ve completed, calories they burn vs. calorie intake, and their sleep time. It should also display what they need to improve to achieve their fitness goals.
3. Chat and Messaging
People who use telehealth apps usually want to communicate with doctors and health practitioners. Since not everyone might not be comfortable with audio or video calls, having a chat option is a must. This helps users keep track of their conversations with the doctor, and doctors with their patients.
For non-telehealth apps, chat options can help users interact with people with similar interests and encourage each other in achieving their health goals.
4. Notifications and Reminders
Depending on the primary purpose of your app, you might need to remind users about their appointment with the doctor, time to drink a glass of water, or take a walk. These reminders ensure users are conscious of their health and fitness requirements and continuously use your app.
5. Privacy and Security
Per HIPAA rules and regulations, healthcare data is very sensitive and confidential. And to excel in the healthcare industry, you will need a way to keep customers’ data safe and secure. You can do that by implementing two-factor authentication and multi-level encryption.
You will also need a secure payment processing feature unless your app is entirely free. Again, you must implement preventive measures to keep customers’ financial information safe from cybercriminals.
Potential Challenges in Building a Healthcare App
Creating a healthcare app isn’t as easy as it first appears. During the process, you will likely encounter several challenges, some of which are mentioned below.
1. Privacy and Security
As mentioned above, your app must focus on privacy and security to keep customers’ medical and financial information safe. However, healthcare companies are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
In fact, there are numerous reports available across the Internet detailing which of the most popular health apps are vulnerable to API attacks that might expose sensitive customer data. Click the “Approov.io” report link at the bottom of this article to learn more.
Healthcare apps collect terabytes of data. Multiply this with the thousands (or millions) of customers that are going to be using your app, and you will quickly find that your bandwidth and storage demands will skyrocket. If your app is not designed to handle exponential growth, expect it to start crashing sooner rather than later.
3. Accessibility and User Experience
Most programmers focus on features more than the user experience, which is completely backward. The best apps are always the easiest to use. This could be a challenge because you will need to bring both the front-end and back-end teams together to build what must, in the end, be an intuitive app.
4. Adapting to Market Trends
The healthcare industry is changing rapidly, thanks to the ever-evolving advancements in medical technologies. Therefore, when you build a healthcare app, you must adopt the latest trends to stay relevant and attract users.
Building a healthcare app requires careful planning and execution. You also need the expertise and skills to create the app, test it, and maintain it. This ensures that your user base will stay interested in your app and expand your customer base. To learn more about developing your app, contact us at 623-845-2747, or send us an email using our contact form. One of our small business representatives will contact you to learn more about your next great project.