Healthcare Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Business & Technical Insights

34 min read
Healthcare Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Business & Technical Insights
Are you contemplating the idea of healthcare mobile app development?
You are on the right path, as the market of mHealth apps is predicted to grow in leaps and bounds.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the market was estimated at 11.17 billion in 2018 and is predicted to grow to 47.57 billion by 2026. The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic has proved that such solutions will be on the rise during the years to come.

You can bite off a part of this lucrative multi-billion pie if you decide to invest in medical software development. This article will tell you how to turn your medical app ideas into a successful business. As you read, you will get insight into the following aspects of healthcare app development:

  • the most trending types of healthcare mobile apps
  • Addevice’s expertise in healthcare mobile app development
  • step-by-step process of medical app development
  • basic and flagship features to include in a healthcare app
  • technical aspects of healthcare app development
  • how to protect your app from failure
  • key regulations for healthcare application development
  • medical software app development services

Let’s dive into business and technical details!

Main Types of Healthcare Mobile Apps

After you decide to invest in medical software development, it is time to learn about the main types of applications. They are divided into professional healthcare apps and personal healthcare apps. Let’s learn which apps belong to each category and how to offer value for end-users.

Apps for Healthcare Professionals

Mobile apps for healthcare professionals
As the name entails, this category is dedicated to apps for healthcare professionals. They aim to simplify the work of medical professionals and streamline operations within clinics.
  • Medical personnel communication apps

Applications of this group are designed to improve the process of communication between medical personnel. Such healthcare apps usually support text and voice messaging, as well as file sharing, and act as the access point to electronic health records. Overall, the use of such apps aims to streamline the decision-making process.

  • Patient communication apps

Such apps are very important for medical establishments striving to build loyal relationships with patients. Healthcare apps for patients of this type allow to share information about medical conditions with a patient’s relatives, photos, medical records, and timely updates.

  • Medical records apps

Mobile healthcare applications of this type are designed to help medical personnel update information on patients’ conditions, like blood pressure, examinations, symptoms, run of the disease, and other vital information. The collected data can be used for further treatments and adjustments.

  • Barcode scanner apps

The main goal of such health management apps is to help hospitals spend less on expensive barcode scanners. Medical personnel can scan such barcodes with their smartphones and get access to the needed information within seconds.

  • Medicine dosage apps

Calculation dosage of medicine for each patient based on age, weight, overall medical conditions, etc. can be a tedious job. Healthcare mobile app development can simplify the task with the help of a dedicated application that automatically calculates data based on stored patients’ data. It is possible to move further with such apps and enable them to predict the incompatibility of medicine.

  • E-prescription apps

Healthcare app development can easily simplify life for doctors, patients, and pharmacies. Such applications allow doctors to prescribe medicine, check its availability, and send prescriptions to pharmacies. Patients can choose the pharmacies that they frequent and medicine will be automatically sent there.

  • EHR and EMR apps

Electronic health records (HER) and electronic medical records (EMR) help doctors get information about patients for further use during treatment. Medical software development can revolve around such apps and provide doctors with fast and secure access to the results of examinations and laboratory tests, medical scans, etc.

  • Appointment apps

Such solutions require a complex approach to healthcare mobile app development. These are used by patients to make appointments with their doctors and by doctors who plan their schedule, meetings, manage working hours, and much more. By syncing data from the doctor’s calendar with patients’ data, apps of this type help avoid overlaps and conflicts in schedules.

  • Medical training apps

Medical workers never stop their education. They always need to hold their finger on the pulse of the latest findings, developments, researches, and approaches. Medical information apps allow to get access to the latest information in different spheres and upgrade doctors’ skills.

  • Telehealth mobile apps

The situation with COVID-19 changed the situation in telemedicine app development. American Medical Association issued research stating that from February 2020, telehealth apps have grown by 100% and will reach the peak of popularity in the following months.

Such apps allow patients to visit doctors without leaving their homes. They can easily book a consultation with doctors and visit them online in a single application.

Healthcare Mobile Apps for Patients

Healthcare mobile app development is beneficial not only for medical workers but also for patients. They get access to a simplified process of dealing with medical instances, which is the main disadvantage of medicine in many countries.
  • Telemedicine or doctor-on-demand apps

As we mentioned, such apps are on the rise. With their help, patients can visit doctors regardless of their location, even from across the globe. The best part about using telemedicine apps is the ability to consult with the best doctors and get the most qualified medical help anywhere in the world.

  • Urgent care apps

Such healthcare mobile apps for patients can be very useful in cases of urgent situations. Usually, they operate like a directory of the nearest hospitals, available doctors, automatic routes planning, and time estimation to get to the nearest hospitals.

  • Diagnosis app

Patients love googling their medical symptoms. So why not to help them with the task by providing applications with carefully collected data in different medical conditions and symptoms. You can integrate additional features that would allow you to get an appointment with a doctor based on symptoms.

  • Monitoring apps

Healthcare mobile app development of this type is a complex process. Applications are integrated with HER systems and wearable devices that allow monitoring patient’s medical conditions and notify hospitals about dangerous situations threatening the lives of patients. Such applications are very useful for people with chronic diseases.

  • Anxiety apps

Anxiety is a mental illness threatening the lives of millions. In the USA alone, there are over 40 million adults with anxiety disorders. Healthcare app development can help such patients by offering the best practices to clear their minds, calm down, release stress and to start thinking positively.

  • Dieting apps

If we talk about the most popular personal healthcare apps, nutrition and dieting apps are leading the game. They are useful for people who want to lose weight and eat healthily. Such apps usually provide information about food and give advice on how to stay healthy and fit. They can also have such features as calorie counting, progress chat, history of meals, etc.

  • Women’s health apps

Health applications of such type are designed to help track women’s health. They can combine a lot of features, like a calendar of periods, pregnancy monitoring, weight tracking, breastfeeding, and even online consultations and doctor appointments.

As you can see, medical software development is a diverse area concentrating on different types of apps. First, you need to come up with you healthcare app ideas; then, you can move to other steps, which are covered below.

Addevice’s Experience in Healthcare App Development

If you decide to pursue the idea of healthcare mobile app development, you need to find a company that will help you bring your app to life. Working with amateurs might not be the best solution. You need a vendor that will become your reliable technical partner and will bring its extensive experience to the table.

Addevice knows the insides of healthcare app development and has a few successfully developed projects.

Enlive Dental is a platform designed for dental hospital management. The main task of this solution is to eliminate the need of physical documents, as the data is collected and processed inside the platform. Medical workers and patients can access information inside the app instantly.

The integration of image processing algorithms is responsible for automatic text recognition on docs uploaded to the app.

Healthcare Mobile App Development by Addevice: Enlive Dental
Another example of successful healthcare mobile app development by Addevice is Sentinel.

This mHealth application uses the combination of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things technology to collect and process information from thermometers, glucometers, and other medical monitoring devices to help patients with hypertension to react to drastic changes in vital signs without delay. Sentinel is designed to save lives by predicting threatening health conditions.

Healthcare Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Business & Technical Insights

Sentinel Healthcare

Healthcare Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Business & Technical Insights
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Healthcare Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Business & Technical Insights

Sentinel Healthcare - iOS l Android

Sentinel Healthcare solution assists patients and doctors to track health vitals via the connected and FDA-approved wearables. This allows for better health treatment and prevention of potential health issues.

 Sentinel Health offers a mobile solution for subscribed healthcare professionals. This powerful product collects information in a safe and secure way. The data is analyzed and turned into a conclusion with the necessary set of actions.

The created IoT-enabled system assists Sentinel Health with improved healthcare services and the Remote Management platform gives the plan for personalized treatments for each particular patient.

Read more about how we helped Sentinel Healthcare raise $ 2M investments here.

Do you want to develop an app that will save lives?

Get in touch with Addevice for free project discussion and evaluation. Our technical experts will help you decide on the best technology stack and

How do you Create a Healthcare App?

Medical software development is a complex process consisting of different steps. You can create a mobile medical app in 7 steps: define the type of app, study the market, come up with UX/UI design, decide on the monetization strategy, create the first app version, test and get feedback, analyze data and use it for further iterations.

Let’s take a look at each step in more detail.

Main Steps of Healthcare App Development

1. Define the type of healthcare app

You cannot start healthcare mobile app development without first deciding what type of apps you are going to create. As you already know, there are mobile patient applications and apps for healthcare professionals. Before you move to the next step, you need to understand which app you are going to build.

Main Areas for Healthcare Software Development
The above graph shows the most promising therapy fields for healthcare mobile app development. If you decide to build an app that solves the problems of diabetes, obesity, and depression, it will have the highest chance for success.

2. Conduct market research

After you have the answer to the first question, it’s time to move to healthcare apps market research. This step can be divided into various subtasks during which you identify your future competitors, analyze their applications, find main strong and weak points. You also need to understand your future target audience and know their pains. This way, medical software development will result in a powerful app that is designed to help. Make a list of the basic and additional features to include in your healthcare apps.

3. Come up with the best UX and UI design

After you know which features to include in your application, you need to move to the next step where you design the interface of the app. If you work with an experienced professional, you won’t need to worry about this part. Professional designers will create the best design based on the data you collected. This stage is usually divided into UX and UI design.

4. Define your monetization strategy

Depending on the type of mHealth app you are creating, you need to build a strategy that will allow your app to generate money. There are a few strategies you can utilize to make revenue, and they are reviews later on in the article.

5. Create the first version of your product

Start healthcare mobile app development with the creation of an app that includes the basic set of features. The main task here is to get an application that will help you test your idea. Also, the first version development might be limited to a single platform, iOS or Android.

6. Test and get feedback

After you have the first app version, it’s time to launch it to the market and see how users will react. Such solutions like Mixpanel, Appsee, Localytics and the like will help you track user behavior and identify how they use your app. You can also ask them for their opinion and create questionnaires to understand what they think about your application.

7. Analyze data and plan for improvements

Healthcare mobile app development is an ongoing process where you constantly iterate your app and launch new features. Based on the collected data during the previous stage, you need to plan for further app improvements. Identify which features might lack and how you can improve customer experience and start developing the next version of your healthcare software project.

Core Features to Include in Healthcare Mobile App Development

Healthcare app development fully depends on the type of app you want to create and features that you are going to include.
Healthcare Mobile App Development Types, Trends, and features
Let’s investigate some basic features for healthcare applications.

  • Geolocation – this feature helps patients find the closest hospitals, doctors and pharmacies. Such functionality is built with the help of Apple Maps, Google Maps or any other maps APIs that you integrate within your app.
  • Scheduling – allow patients to book doctor appointments right in your app. Integration with the doctors’ calendars allows both users and doctors to manage their schedules better. This feature can also be used to help patients make their schedules for medicine taking, water consumption, etc.
  • Push notifications – such notifications are a powerful resource in the hands of healthcare app developers. They can be used to notify users about changes in applications or to remind them about scheduled doctor visits, time to take medicine, etc.
  • Tracking – applications with this functionality are used to help doctors monitor the healthcare of their patients and get data to lab results, medical tests, etc.
  • Payment – healthcare app development should also concentrate on the integration with the most popular payment options to allow customers to pay for services inside an app. Such integration can include PayPal, credit cards, Apple, and Google Pay.
  • Live chat – allows doctors and patients to communicate with built-in real-live chat. This feature will help to build loyalty to your app and the relationship between end-users and doctors based on trust.
  • Chatbots – Chatbots are no foreign for medical software development. They aim to reduce manual work required to provide patients with timely responses, look up information on doctors and hospitals, help them schedule appointments with doctors.
  • Reviews and ratings – consider including this feature into healthcare mobile app development, especially if your solution helps patients find doctors. Help them make the best choice for their health and choose doctors based on positive reviews and ratings.
  • Social integration – this is a nice-to-have but optional feature for medical app development since it involves the use of third-party services. Some users might feel uncertain about sharing access to their medical profiles with third parties; that’s why you should clearly describe this point in your privacy policy. Either way, if you decide to go on with this feature, provide users with multiple options, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, as they are the most popular.
Depending on the purpose of healthcare mobile app development, you might consider adding some additional features. The development company you choose for the task should consult you on the best set of features that you can include.

Key Trends in Healthcare App Development

Turning healthcare mobile app development into a successful app is not a simple task. You need to utilize all available solutions to stand out and provide value to customers. Aside from robust features, you might need to consider the use of additional innovative solutions.

The Landscape of Healthcare Application Development
  • Blockchain

This technology can bring real value to mobile healthcare apps. Blockchain is tamperproof, i.e. once added, data cannot be updated without the whole blockchain knowing about it. The Healthcare industry, which is prone on data regulations and security, can utilize this technology to store sensitive medical information, prevent fraud by registering medicine, and much more.

  • Artificial intelligence

The use of AI in medical software development is the requirement of today. Many applications heavily rely on its implementation, with Sentinel, developed by Addevice, being a great example. AI technology is used in its app is used to collect patient information and data on symptoms to make predictions and diagnose patients’ conditions. Such predictions are nearing the point of 100% accuracy.

  • Virtual reality

VR is a powerful solution that can revolutionize the healthcare industry. It can be sued for educational purposes to help doctors investigate new treatments, to show patients what is happening to their health, or to help patients overcome depression and anxiety. The use cases for VR are immense.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is an integral part of healthcare mobile app development. This powerful technology can provide insights into the patients’ health, help to monitor medical conditions and identify life-threatening once with the help of wearables and monitors.

  • 3D educative videos

Such videos can be used for educational purposes for both medical professionals and patients. They would be able to see the impact of diseases on the human body, how treatment influences the progress of a disease, and much more.

  • Telemedicine

Global telemedicine market size is predicted to reach 175,5 billion by 2026. Such solutions are already gaining traction and their growth will only escalate in the foreseeable future.

  • Big Data & Analytics

The medical industry has access to a huge amount of data providing valuable insights. Big Data combined with a robust analytics system can help to predict patients’ flow, predict possible diagnoses, the results of medical trials, etc.

  • Integrated payments

Mobile payments are an important part of healthcare mobile app development. The adoption of mobile devices makes it possible to pay for medical services at any time with the help of a smartphone. If you care about patients’ comfort, consider including mobile payments into your mHealth apps.

Summing up everything said above, you might need to include some of the above technologies in healthcare app development. Your future application should address the most pressing pain points that patients have, so base your decision regarding tech stack use on them.

Technical Considerations of Healthcare Application Development

Your application can be integrated with different third-party technologies, services, and APIs. Their use will streamline healthcare mobile app development and provide access to valuable healthcare data.

1. Box API

This API is designed to help companies organize content management in custom applications. This technology can be used in healthcare mobile app development to manage patients’ records, share data inside a hospital, and work with data. This API is fully HIPAA compliant, that’s why you won’t have any problems with its use.

2. Human API

The main purpose of this API is to streamline the process of working schedule management inside a hospital. This technology works on REST architecture and allows to organize data about all employees, their positions, schedules, etc.

3. TrueVault API

This API should be included in healthcare mobile app development as it enables HIPAA compliant information storage for healthcare applications. Information stored with this API is secure and protected from any forms of data breaches. Experienced app developers can access it via REST calls.

4. DrChrono API

This is a robust API offering to integrate patient care platform, check-in functionality, and electronic medical billing with medical applications. The use of DrChrono API is free of charge.

5. BlueEHR

This API is a powerful tool in healthcare mobile app development. You can make an app that will work with EHR and EMR in a customized way. The API offers other solutions for revenue cycle management, inventory tracking, e-prescriptions, etc.

6. Apple HealthKit API & SDK

How do you create a healthcare app for iOS? Here is your answer. Apple HealthKit is designed for healthcare mobile app development and can be used for free.

7. Google Healthcare SDK & API

Google provides developers with a range of tools that help to develop applications. Medical applications for Android can use Google Fit SDK and Cloud Healthcare API. These APIs are designed for healthcare mobile app development and have in-depth documentation on how to use them.

8. Doximity

This API provides information about doctors and the places where they work. The API aims to connect medical professionals with patients.

When you build a health application, you can also create your own healthcare API and make it available to other companies. Such APIs are on the rise today, especially with the COVID-19 outbreak. If you decide to create an app that shows coronavirus related information, you can find a lot of already available medical APIs.

Key Reasons Why Health Applications Fail

Even if you invest millions in healthcare mobile app development, there is still a chance that your application will fail. Here are a few reasons why such apps don’t succeed:

  • poor UX design that interferes with seamless user experience
  • failure to comply with local regulations and lows
  • lack of knowledge in medical software development
  • creation of an app without an end goal
  • an app that doesn’t meet the needs of medical workers and patients

Before launching your app, check it for having the above problems. If you spot that something doesn’t feel right about your application, make sure to tackle the problem before moving it to the market.

Regulations for Medical Software Development

Security Challenges of Medical Software Development

The healthcare industry is a very lucrative sphere for hackers as it processes and stores a lot of valuable data. This information can be used for various malicious purposes, from stealing money from bank accounts to dangerous identity thefts.

That’s why countries all over the world have their own regulations and medical software development standards that mHealth application should abide by. If you fail to comply with them, your application will be banned and it can even entail costly penalties.

Let’s check the main regulations and how you can approach them in healthcare app development

The USA


HIPAA

HIPAA (Health insurance portability and accountability act) is the first and foremost regulation that must be followed during healthcare mobile app development. This act not only regulates how companies should guarantee the security of patients’ data but also how it should be stored and transmitted between devices. There is even HIPAA Security Rule Toolkit that you can use during medical software development to ensure the abidance of the regulation.

HITECH Act

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) was created to cover all the loopholes that were present in HIPAA regulations regarding the management and work with healthcare records.

As of 2013, the two acts were united into a single regulation document, meaning that your app must meet all the requirements of the latest HIPAA rules. If it does, your app is considered to be also compliant with the HITECH Act.

CCPA

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is another regulation that has not come into effect yet but it will this year. Very often this act is called the US GDPR as it has the very alike requirements. Under this legislation, every person has the right to know why an app collects data, give consent for data collection, ask for a full report on all collected data, and require to delete all the collected information.

NIST

Compliance with regulation from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is also a must for healthcare mobile app development in the USA. Rules and standards developed by NIST aim to regulate the management of healthcare data.

The European Union


GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changed the lives of all companies operating in Europe. This regulation requires apps to provide customers with information on why you collect information, how you store it and protect. Users must also have the ability to decline the collection of certain types of data and require to delete all collected data with an in-depth report on which data had been collected and which was erased.

NIS

The Network and Information Security Directive is another piece of legislation that you should investigate before healthcare mobile app development. This directive provides security measures for different industries, including healthcare, energy, financial market, etc.

The United Kingdom


Even despite Brexit, companies dealing with healthcare software development should also be compliant with GDPR. Additionally, all applications must be compliant with the Data Protection Act, first issued in 1988.

Canada


When it comes to Canada, you don’t need to comply with multiple regulations. The main document is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which has a lot of common with GDPR.

Important: If you are going to create a mHealth app for Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia, provinces have their own regulations, which are different from PIPEDA. Make sure to study them before healthcare mobile app development.

International Standards – ISO


International Organization for Standardization (ISO) designs regulations for different spheres, including healthcare, food safety, environment, etc. Even though these guidelines are not obligatory, the ISO compliance badge speaks volumes about your approach and security and safety in healthcare mobile app development.

Do you want to create a mHealth application that will be compliant with regulations?

Get a consultation with our team regarding healthcare application development and security regulations. Our experts will help advise you on the best course of action and help you implement your idea successfully.

Key Services in Healthcare Mobile App Development

The process to create Mobile Healthcare Applications

What are the best practices to follow during the development of a medical mobile app?

Healthcare mobile app development is a complex processing, consisting of different stages and steps. Below you can find information on how we approach medical software development at Addevice.

1. Business analysis

This is the first step of app development. During this stage, our business analysts will study your app idea and identify how to aligns with your business needs. The main goal here is to create a comprehensive project plan covering a detailed timeline and healthcare mobile app development cost.

2. Software architecture

After a full understanding of the project and all needed features, our software architects get to work and identify the main technologies for your application, how to integrate your app with third-party APIs, regulations that you need to follow, and much more.

3. Prototyping and design

After finalizing all the planning stages, we move to the next stages where designers create the wireframe of your app’s interface and create prototypes. We prepare a few possible solutions and present them to our clients. After they share feedback, designers implement all necessary changes and repeat the process if you have any other comments.

After the UX is finalized, designers create the UI of your application.

4. Development

During healthcare mobile app development, our team of developers creates an app with the defined requirements and design. At the end of this step, you will have a product created based on your specifications.

5. QA and testing

To ensure the quality of software, it should be thoroughly tested. Our in-house QA engineers ensure that no but will escape their attention.

6. Deployment

After final improvements and testing, your software product is ready to enter the market. We help you publish your products in necessary app stores and make it accessible to users from all over the world.

7. Ongoing development and support

After your app has entered the market, your task is not finished yet. You need to constantly monitor user behavior with in-app analytics tools to identify the most popular features and the ones that users have problems with. Based on the collected data, you need to plan for further development and support.

Healthcare mobile app development is an ongoing process that can take years of gradual improvements and even whole app redesigns.

Why It Is Worth Investing in Healthcare Mobile App Development

Healthcare app development can bring a lot of benefits:

  • Improved efficiency of medical personnel
  • Automatization of key processes
  • Reduction of time on manual work
  • Access to the best doctors from anywhere in the world
  • Reduced expenses on hospitals maintenance
  • Higher productivity of personnel
  • Timely notification about appointments
  • Easy communication between doctors and patients
  • Access to educational materials and shared medical knowledge
  • Fast and high-accuracy diagnostics

Do you want to create a mobile healthcare app?

Get in touch with our team. We will help to turn your idea into a successful medical software with millions of users.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the future of healthcare mobile app development?

The future of the mHealth app market seems very promising. According to Fortune business Insights, the market size was estimated at 11.17 billion in 2018. By 2025, its value is expected to reach 57.57 billion with a CAGR of 21.1%.

What technologies are most used in mobile healthcare apps?
During healthcare mobile app development, you might need to use various technologies and third-party APIs. For Android development, you will need to utilize Google Fit SDK and Cloud Healthcare API. IOS mHealth development usually uses Apple HealthKit.
What are the ways to make money with healthcare mobile apps?

There are a lot of monetization strategies that you can use in your mHealth app to generate revenue. Possible options include different types of in-app advertisements, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and commissions for consultations or appointments.

What are mHealth Apps?

mHealth (mobile health) usually applies to the use of mobile phones and wearable devices in medical care. Such applications can be used to educate users, provide information about doctors and their practices, help track health conditions, chronic diseases, and much more. The most popular types of mHealth apps are solutions for weight loss, exercise, women’s health, sleep and meditation, and pregnancy.

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