In this article, we will consider key points in developing healthcare mobile apps. Starting with reasons for making such apps and ending with tips on how to choose a development company, which would take over all technical processes of software creation. We will also determine the average cost of app development.
Why create a healthcare app?
Mobile health apps market forecast in the United States. Source
Healthcare mobile apps usually are created
for two reasons: to make money on it and/or to improve the quality of healthcare provided
. The first reason is important to businessmen, who, as a rule, launch relatively simple fitness apps
, insurance apps, or consultation apps to enter the market, which will reach $50 billion by 2050
The second reason is important to doctors and clinics, which want to improve communication with patients and the quality of their services using their mobile apps. Here are several research results, which confirm that this approach is working:
- According to a new Ricoh Research, 74% of hospitals that use tablets or other mobile devices to collect information from patients are more efficient than those that do not.
- 79% of patients may prefer healthcare providers who use digital solutions if they help to reduce the time doctors spend on paperwork and increase the amount of time that they spend with patients.
- 8 in 10 patients said that with the increased use of information management technology, hospital visits are more efficient and hospital admission and discharge processes go much faster.
- According to Boston Technology Corporation, 74% of patients say that the use of mobile apps and other tools helps them deal with their diseases and manage them.
Types of healthcare apps and their features
There are several types of healthcare apps, which are designed for different purposes and end-users including health professionals, laboratories, and patients. The app type influences the features of the app, some integration, and the necessary level of data security.
Professional healthcare apps
Apps for clinical communication
They improve the efficiency of making clinical decisions and communicating with specialists in a certain clinic. These services include a text chat and a voice chat, file exchange, systems of the electronic health record. Halo is a good example of such an app. Here are its main features:
Apps for barcode scanning
- Sending lab results to doctors and nurses and PACS.
- Integration with electronic health records (EHR) to edit patients’ records in real-time.
- Storage of data on the cloud platform Amazon Web Services.
They allow scanning patients’ electronic health records and barcodes of medications with the help of a built-in camera on a smartphone, which saves the clinic’s money since there’s no necessity to spend funds on buying special scanning devices. An example of such a service is the Epic Rover app. Apart from scanning barcodes of medications Epic Rover also has the following features:
Apps for communication with patients
- Messenger to communicate with patients and other health workers.
- Visualization of information about a patient and his progress in the form of diagrams.
- Integration with electronic health records Epic.
They increase patients’ engagement in the process of treatment and their loyalty to a healthcare provider, guarantee greater transparency between doctors and patients. A spectacular example is the EASE app, which offers its users the following possibilities:
Apps for medication dosing
- Sending previously prepared messages to patients and their families.
- Inviting the patient’s family to the app network, which allows keeping them informed of the patient’s current condition and his treatment.
- Showing HIPAA-compliant messages, pictures, and videos that disappear 60 seconds after being viewed.
Doctors use them to calculate individual medication doses based on the current condition, age, weight, and other personal details whereby avoiding laborious hand calculations, electronic spreadsheets, and complex tools. It’s exactly what the DoseMeRx app does. Aside from calculations of medication doses, it has a range of other useful features:
Apps for medical records
- Integration with electronic health records, where a doctor can leave notes about a patient’s condition, disease history, medication, and dose.
- Reminders for patients not to forget about the medication intake, which the doctors set (name and dose of medication).
- Dose optimization. Bayesian dosing methods clinically validated pharmacokinetic drug models, patient characteristics, drug concentrations, and genotype to guide dose optimization.
- Predicting treatment response.
They simplify the keeping of records about the patients. They collect data on arterial pressure, doctor’s visits, examinations, prescriptions, and other information that makes it possible to monitor the progress of a patient’s treatment. Medical Records is a good example of a similar app, which alongside the listed above possibilities has other features such as:
Apps for risk assessment
- Scheduling a certain doctor’s appointment.
- Recording video of procedures instead of text messages.
- Search for patients by ID.
They monitor the patients’ medical condition in real-time through the integration with EHR and various health monitoring devices, which the users carry on themselves. A good example is an FHR 5-Tier app, which is intended for obstetricians, midwives, and nurses who use electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) for laboring patients. Here are its features:
- Real-time fetal heart rate (FHR) interpretation to help make a decision on further treatment.
- Automatic notification of doctors if monitoring devices have identified threats to the patient’s health (mother’s and/or fetus’s).
Healthcare apps for patients
Apps for doctors upon the request or telehealth
They will help a patient to find a medical specialist, make an appointment, see him with the help of a video call, and pay for the consultation via an integrated payment gateway. One of the typical mobile apps for doctors upon the request is Evisit, which has other features as well:
Apps for diets and nutrition
- Embedded messaging system, EHR, search for medications, and prescriptions.
- A virtual waiting room, two-way video communication.
A standard set of the app for diets includes nutritional (diet) pieces of advice, an extensive library with recipes and dish descriptions, a calorie counter, a diary, and a graph of the progress. Snap It has it all and other features too:
Apps based on conditions
- Planning the user’s nutrition and monitoring the consumption of macronutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and a total amount of calories.
- Barcode scanner to get information about nutrients contained in food products in shops.
- Registration of images of food on the app.
They help users, who suffer from epilepsy, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, allergy, and even depression, to monitor their nutrition and medication intake, and predict their health condition. This category includes the Seizure Tracker app, which was created by the Munroe-Meyer Institute. It has the following features:
Apps for meditation
- Manual data input so that the user is able to specify the type of seizures, time of day, duration, and other related information.
- Video recording on a smartphone to make it possible for users to describe their seizures, their triggers, and explain what has happened after them to a doctor (or family).
- Possibility to synchronize the user account to the YouTube channel to record the information about the seizures and share it with relatives.
They also belong to a mobile healthcare market since they’re helping users maintain their mental wellbeing. These apps usually have a library with previously recorded guided meditation sessions, a timer, gamification, and useful tips on breathing techniques. The most famous example is the Calm app. Here are its main features:
- Library of guided meditations for various purposes (relationship, giving up bad habits, happiness and piece achievement, etc.).
- Library with podcasts, stories about sleeping, relaxing music, breathing programs, and masterclasses.
- Graphs, timers, progress history.
They help keep fit, monitor daily activity, weight, the number of calories burnt, and stick with the training program. The most popular fitness app is MyFitnessPal. Here are its capabilities:
- Tracking the diet with recommendations on calorie intake depending on age, weight, gender, and health condition of the user.
- Calorie counter to control the amount of consumed food, water, and coffee.
- Users’ success stories, which specify what they were doing and how.
Compliance with legal norms and safety rules
If you’re planning to develop a professional mobile app
, which would work with patients’ confidential data, then you need to consider laws and safety rules that regulate this market in the needed country
. Without this, your app cannot be placed on such marketplaces as Google Play Store and Apple Store and it might become a reason of law actions by users and States.
Search for a mobile app development company
Example of a profile of a development company on Clutch with rating and reviews
You may use such services as Clutch or GoodFirms to find a good company for healthcare mobile app development
. Here you will find listings of developers, find out their rates, check reviews/ratings, and see what fields the companies have experience in.
When assessing the potential technical partners, always check for relevant experience. Ask to take a look at their portfolio. Ask about their approach, rates, knowledge, confidentiality, and data security. Meet the team, which will be working on your project to assess their experience, skills, and professionalism.
This article reveals this in more detail: «Choose a custom erp software development company».
Cost of the development of a healthcare app
Budget for developing mHealth apps according to data of Research2Guidance
According to studies of Research2Guidance
that have analyzed 2400 mobile healthcare providers, the average cost of launching a healthcare mobile app is approximately $425 thous.
, only 47% of which go directly to the development. Other expenses are marketing, licensing, administrative costs, etc.
Specifically, about 36% of all providers have spent less than $25 thous. on the development of their mobile apps whilst the budget of only 12% of them has exceeded $500 thous. Herewith chances of success correlate with the budget: the larger it is, the greater the chances of success are.