5 steps to building a great healthcare app
Health applications are quite difficult to develop; Unique and industry-specific challenges await every startup that wishes to do so. This article will briefly describe what you will need to create an app that will be truly useful.
Types of mobile healthcare solutions
First, let’s identify the main types of mHealth solutions – so you know where to start.
For doctors and nurses
- Online planning tools (inside and outside the EHR system)
- Electronic Health Record Systems (EHR)
- Routing solutions
- On-demand telemedicine platforms (via video chats, messages, etc.)
- Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDS)
These are just a few of the main types of applications for physicians. They are supposed to facilitate the management of patients, their daily schedules, optimize workflows and make more precise clinical decisions.
- Reference apps for symptoms and diseases
- Apps that help manage patient conditions
- Fitness and gym applications
- An application that connects patients with healthcare professionals
Often the main focus of patient-oriented applications is self-care and condition management, symptom verification, and remote communication with clinicians.
Google Play and Apple Store statistics of health applications on the market
Interest in mHealth solutions has increased, in part due to the pandemic and the need to adopt technology that enables virtual healthcare. Currently, there are over 53,000 healthcare apps on the Google Play Store. For the App Store, the numbers are quite similar.
Rock Health report says digital health startup funding received in the first six months of 2021 – $ 14.7 billion – has already exceeded all funding received by industry last year . Many of these startups offer mobile apps – as separate products or as part of the software suite.
Digital health is a lucrative field. Driven by the pandemic – or rather, after having had the opportunity to demonstrate its value to the consumer from the circumstances – the niche has attracted new investors, entrepreneurs and, above all, healthcare professionals. They are one of the few who can rationally persuade health care providers to adopt a particular solution. So: how do you create a healthcare app that doctors and patients will love?
How to build an effective healthcare app
Now let’s move on to the process of creating an app. You can do all of these steps on your own, with your internal team, or you can hire a team of Diversido.io experts to do it. The main thing you need to remember: Build your app first, involving people who work in the industry and their patients.
Do market research and business analysis
Right now there is a lot of money in the digital health industry and startups will be tested by their ability to use that attention to create value. As you know, most businesses fail because they lack product market fit or lack money; digital health is no exception. To avoid both, study the market.
The Midyear Rock Health report states that the most funded startups are those that offer R&D services, on-demand healthcare, fitness and wellness, consumer health information, and health solutions. optimization of non-clinical workflows. Within clinical environments, the companies that attract the most investors offer mental health services; treatment of cardiovascular disease; chronic disease management.
Diving a little deeper will give you the causal link behind these numbers. On-demand health care is telemedicine, and of course people need telemedicine when they can’t go to the doctor. R&D helps with vaccines and data analysis, if needed in the event of a public health crisis. Mental health is destigmatized and receives a lot of attention because the world is stuck in collective trauma caused by the virus.
After the merger of Livongo and Teladoc, it became evident that affordable care for diabetes and other chronic diseases can be made easier through digital means – and the market has flourished with companies offering that. You get the idea – there are stories, basic information behind digital health statistics; you must study it before creating an application.
You can pick an already popular niche in the industry and create a solution for your local community or local healthcare network. Or: dive a little deeper into what’s going on nearby. View data on nurse burnout, administrative errors in hospital claims, medical student struggles, and more. Build hypotheses on how to overcome these challenges with your software and test your ideas with the target audience.
Design Creation – UI / UX Steps
The design phase is delicate. As the tech industry tries to be pretty in one way or another, digital health, by virtue of being so closely linked to care, is forced to focus on accessibility and inclusiveness. of their solutions. Some think that means sacrificing aesthetics, but that’s not true.
Many solutions for the care of the elderly that have become “trendy” with the pandemic have completely missed the mark and disappointed people because they have focused on appearance instead of centering their users. People who don’t have a lot of digital experience and who need everything to be simple and clear. Do not do that.
Test with your audience. Don’t try to create a “design for everyone”: it doesn’t exist, especially when you are building healthcare apps. Check out the guidelines for mobile app accessibility to learn how to design for people who are typically overlooked. Make sure the target audience can interact with the app without friction.
Assemble the product team and start development
Besides the product manager who needs to be heavily invested to bring maximum value to your end user, make sure the engineers you hire are fully aware of the security specifics of building a healthcare application (see HIPAA regulations, FHIR interoperability standards etc) Other than that, think up front about the DSEs and third-party tools you want to integrate with – your back-end developers should be familiar with their API specifications.
Test your application
Invite people from the industry for user testing. Pay them if you can to entice them. This is particularly vital if you are creating administrative software for hospitals, software that is supposed to improve their decision-making, or applications for portable devices that they will offer to patients. Invite patients if your app is right for them, too. Update your software based on their feedback.
Key points to remember
So what do you need for a high quality mHealth app?
- Hire industry experts (both regulatory and clinical) on board;
- Throughout the search for users among people in the healthcare industry, patients, or both;
- Design your application with accessibility in mind from the start;
- Make sure your developers know their security architecture.
Finally, when you’re ready to show off your MVP to investors, choose investors who already have experience with healthcare startups. Startups typically operate under pressure from VCs and Angels, forcing them to go fast, scale fast, and spend their money if they’re not careful.
If you take such an approach in digital health, you won’t stand a chance: this vertical requires patience, research, and thinking. To avoid unnecessary stress, find venture capital firms that understand how healthcare business works and will support your desire to create high-quality products (even if tedious sales cycles, negotiations with insurers and other things specific to health care take a long time).