How to Develop & Design an Effective Healthcare Mobile Application?

How to Develop & Design an Effective Healthcare Mobile Application?
It can be said that over the last decade, technology has evolved drastically and influenced almost every sector. And, now the healthcare industry is also booming along with technology.

Yes, like all other industries, the healthcare industry is also utilizing mobile devices and implementing digital technologies for healthcare app development.

Mobile Health (also known as mHealth) is a common term used for implementing mobile devices (smartphones, wearables, tablets) and technologies in medical and public health practice. And, as we know, there are so many benefits of adopting healthcare mobile app development.

Healthcare Mobile App Development

Across the board, more and more people are using mHealth apps nowadays. Well, this is also one reason why mobile healthcare is among the fastest-growing categories in the app market today.

From personal fitness trackers to comprehensive health programs to help maintain chronic health conditions, there were 325,000 available healthcare apps with a range of functionalities in 2017. And, as one would expect, they have evolved from MVP (minimum viable product) healthcare app projects.

Approximately 3.7 billion apps offering m-Health services were downloaded in 2017. This figure is anticipated to rise by 16% within the next year and should result in a commercial success by making a total of $26 billion worldwide. The heavy usage of smartwatches and smartphones contributed even higher growth to the mobile health consumer app market.

Earlier in 2017, some reports from The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) suggested that around 1.7 billion smartphone users are going to adopt healthcare mobile-apps by 2018. And, accordingly, this is the right time for healthcare mobile app development. While designing such apps, one needs to take care of these points:

1. Study the best healthcare applications as a reference.
2. Know about the technology trends within the healthcare mobile app industry (IoT, AI,  Blockchain, etc.) before starting.
3. Estimate the future of the mHealth app market.
4. Discover ways to make a successful healthcare app.
5. Check out the design, monetization, and  MVP healthcare app development tips.

Types of Healthcare Apps

Generally, there are two categories in which all healthcare apps can be divided. One of them is the professional healthcare app, and another one is the healthcare app for patients.

Apps that are used by doctors are for medical instruction, medical prescriptions, access to healthcare records and diagnoses, and essentially all other internal matters. Whereas, the other apps are used by patients in clinics or personal healthcare apps such as fitness apps.

Let’s study about both types of apps in detail:

Mobile Health Apps for Patients

Here is a list of the most common categories of apps used by patients and individual consumers.

1. Patient Medical Education Apps (Patient Portals)

These types of apps are useful for people who monitor useful information about health.

2. Reminder Apps

This category of apps includes medical tracking apps or some health habit monitoring apps, such as regular water consumption in the body, etc.

3. Diagnosis Apps for Preventive Purposes

Especially for diagnosis, such apps are useful.

4. Healthy Lifestyle Apps

Apps which are related to health tests, fitness, wellness, and cardio come under this category.

5. Monitoring Apps

Applications which are useful for monitoring chronic conditions like blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc. come under this category.

6. Mental Health Apps

People not only consider apps for their physical health but also to maintain mental health. For those, apps like stress-relief apps, meditation apps, and apps for good sleep are useful.

7. Dieting Apps

Proper diet can be a practical way to achieve good health; hence, health trackers, exercise, weight loss apps are useful for such purposes.

8. Women's Health Apps

Especially for pregnancy, feeding, or monthly calendar, such apps are useful.

Professional Healthcare Apps

1. Medical Reference & Database Apps

By keeping all the information regarding diseases, prescriptions, and drugs info in one place, all such medical apps assist doctors.

2. Professional Networking Apps

Professional networking apps are thematic social networks where healthcare professionals and providers can connect, exchange knowledge, interact, and grow the professional community.

3. Patient Medical Health Tracking Apps

These apps help doctors and staff to monitor the health of their patients throughout the medical treatment process. In the patient record, results from various labs and medical tests are listed in this app. This also includes all other medical documentation.

4. Doctor Appointment & Clinical Assistance Apps

Clinics can use apps for appointments to overcome the written work of keeping journals. If any changes occur in the schedule, all parties can be notified about changes in the calendar automatically. This makes life much easier.

5. Telehealth Mobile Apps (Doctor-on-Demand Apps)

For online doctor visits and consultations, Telehealth apps are a great solution.

Steps to Develop a Successful Healthcare App

Step 1: Identify a Query

Ample healthcare apps are already available on the market. However, not all of them are unique. It could be seen that many of the applications duplicate one another, and therefore, induce no value to the end-users. Well, according to some reports, it is because of the lack of market information and competitive products.

To understand why it is so important to check up on your competitors, check out the diagram below.
Apart from all, the practical use of any app is the only key idea to make your healthcare mobile app development successful. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what issues doctors, nurses, and patients are experiencing nowadays so you can make the mobile healthcare app and solve that problem. In this way, the medical app will add value and not just replicate some patient portal by being mobile-optimized.

Moreover, there is a general recommendation that instead of creating a solution app within the healthcare industry as a whole, start with a simple MVP healthcare project.

Here is one more graph which healthcare apps show the greatest market potential:

This graph shows that the top 3 issues experienced by the majority of people are obesity, diabetes, and depression. And, based on the number of cases globally, a greater number of people are there with hypertension and cardiovascular issues. So, it could be said that these medical fields show the greatest market potential for healthcare mobile app development.

Step 2: Know Your Target Audience

Some reports suggest that around 75% of the US hospitals attempted to offer the healthcare mobile-app even without any preliminary analysis of its target user. And as a result, only 2% of all the patients used the service.

Thus, surveys and patient engagement are great ways to determine these needs and make a list of future MVP healthcare app ideas. These surveys can help one to know what new they can bring to the table. Also, they can start working and testing these concepts simultaneously.

Moreover, to plan the design style and navigation for your target customers, some design polls can work great. Yes, older audience prefers simple navigation with larger font, whereas youngsters prefer some colorful interface.

So, what audience you are targeting can tell you what design you should opt. Also, make sure that a mobile health app for consumers is going to be completely different, especially from those that are already used by healthcare professionals.

Another interesting factor could be the incorporation of gamification in the app. A survey suggests that this factor within the healthcare app development is shown to be effective. Also, quizzes in apps allow users to keep up with medical terms more easily.

Apart from all these, there is one more important element to analyze, and that is the market and environment where your MVP healthcare app is kicked off. That's because meeting all the mobile healthcare regulations in a country you are targeting is essential. According to stats, the most favorable countries to offer digital health solutions are Germany, the UK, and the USA.

Step 3: Begin with MVP Healthcare App

It is very important to scale and adjust mHealth applications if needed. Hence they should be designed and developed with this perspective in mind. Don't use existing solutions which can be further combined into the project. Moreover, make sure that all integration with third-party portals, services, and other apps should be perfectly consistent.

And, as mentioned above, a minimum viable product is the best approach to start or to begin with any healthcare project. The reason is, in healthcare app development, MVP is building a prototype with the most viable functionality.

To summarize, what is expected from the product is very crucial to know. That's because then only it will be easier to align your MVP healthcare app functionality with consumer needs and wants.

Step 4: Test & Receive Feedback

To test the concept before the market launch is the main step in MVP healthcare app development. As based on the results, you can avoid errors on a large scale, and at minimum expenses, add the necessary functionality to your MVP healthcare app or can change your MVP healthcare concept completely if needed.

Hence, distribution tests, beta tests, app ratings, and user comments present invaluable information about the ongoing strategy with a project.

Step 5: Security & Privacy are Core Components

For getting access to user data for starters, the app should be upfront with the privacy policy. Besides, consumers should also be able to freely check out the policy before downloading the healthcare app (a sign of a good app). The most important one is the HIPAA guidelines. Yes, all the mHealth apps dealing with patient’s personal information must meet the HIPAA standards.

The Department of Health & Human Services, ACT/App Association and the Office of Civil Rights have online resources on how to develop an app that meets HIPAA guidelines. This Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act sets the rules for managing patient data. Know that the app cannot be approved if it is not in compliance with these rules.
It is worth mentioning that to correct work regarding push notifications and messaging, within the app, precise attention should be paid.

Step 6: Widespread Distribution

Based on the purpose of the app, there are several ways one can apply to get a mHealth app distributed. If the apps are solely for a specific group, then they can be downloaded from a generated link meeting all the necessary safety policy works.

However, if a broad audience of a particular organization is going to use the app, it makes sense to create a private enterprise app store. It brings positive user experience, the highest level of adoption, and can also serve as an analytics center for ongoing healthcare app development.

Design Aspects for Mobile Health App

Once you have studied the needs of your target audience and defined your MVP healthcare app concept, you have likely also gathered the functional specifications (including all the user stories and technical aspects, i.e., third-party integrations) of the project.

Now, the next stage is to create a user-friendly, efficient, and convenient healthcare app design. So, when creating a mobile healthcare app, the following design characteristics are good to keep in mind.

1. Use of Proper Color Scheme and Fonts

Based on the medical app’s purpose/theme, it is very necessary to define a proper color scheme and fonts. It can be seen that delicate and calm colors work better than vibrant ones in most cases. Moreover, to highlight the app features, cold tones (white, blue, etc.) are mostly used for app backgrounds. And, the use of warm colors is more important to get attention and make accents.

2. A Decent Notification Design

In any healthcare mobile app development, implementation of Notification feature is very important, especially with tracking goals and core reminders. And, there could be several notifications set within a medical app. So, to avoid clutter, different design elements like color-coding, specific animations, or gestures should be applied.

3. Take Into Account Android & IOS Design Differences

Both Android & iOS operating systems have different design guidelines. Apple & Google have distinct design patterns, whereas iOS products use a flat design that is more plain and direct. For Android products, material design is applied, which has a three-dimensional appearance.

4. Get Insights from the Target Audience Analysis

Following are important to consider in any healthcare mobile app development, and that too, during the design phase:

  • Blindness or sensory impairments
  • Low vision
  • Deafness
  • Dyslexia
  • Physical disability 
  • Attention-deficit disorder
Also, one can consider video or audio content representation within the healthcare app for hight traction from people. Moreover, there is a necessity to implement transcription, apply adequate color contrast, add more white spaces, and make images simpler. Apart from that, it is recommended that complex fonts and text are not used.

In the USA (ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act, and Amendments Act), there are set requirements and standards which state that software should be accessible by users with cognitive, sensory, and physical disabilities. Further, the same method is followed in Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

Why Healthcare Apps Fail?

A healthcare app can fail for various reasons. But some of the most influential considerations are as follows:

  • Weak app usability
  • Involvement of clinicians and lack of feedback from
  • Development without concrete app purpose and concept
  • The ordinary understanding of the healthcare environment
  • Lack of user-friendly language and content

Healthcare Mobile App Monetization

A range of business opportunities is offered by the healthcare markets. Even if the majority of healthcare apps available on App Store or Google Play are free of charge, but still they are monetized in one of the few ways, namely:

  • Device or medicine sales
  • Subscription model
  • Advertisement
  • In-app purchase model
However, in most cases, the mHealth apps developed for a specific medical institution are not monetized as it improves patient experience and medical service.

The Bottom Line

So, here we have seen how to design and develop a mobile health app that works well, looks good, and is easy to operate. 

Our team at Covetus has great experience in delivering complex healthcare projects. Reach out to our us, and we can work through your idea, offer our suggestions, and serve you with the right healthcare solution.
Covetus Get in Touch
Get free consultation right away via text message or call
Send Massage