Healthcare Apps: The Ultimate Guide for Developers

Nowadays, when the digital industry successfully cooperates with medicine, the use of mobile healthcare applications has undeniable advantages. In recent years, virtual online consultations between clinicians and patients have become increasingly popular. Healthcare applications have become especially relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to statistics, over 80 million people in the USA use health or fitness apps. Besides, the telemedicine application market will reach $17.14 billion by 2026. Thus, this industry is up-and-coming for businesses.

Yojji has extensive experience in building healthcare applications, and we have a team of professionals with relevant knowledge. In this article, we will talk about the features of healthcare projects and give tips for software engineers on developing an effective healthcare application.

Types of Healthcare Apps

Types of Healthcare Apps

A health app is categorized by the FDA as mobile software that diagnoses, tracks, or treats disease. There are various types of healthcare applications, but in general, they are divided into two categories: for patients and doctors.

Apps for physicians make it easier for specialists to monitor patients, schedule appointments, exchange knowledge with their colleagues, and help them stay updated on the latest medical knowledge. Apps for patients educate users, allow them to arrange online consultations, get treatment recommendations, monitor health conditions, remind them to take medicines, make appointments, communicate with people with similar problems. Besides, these applications encourage healthy living and provide mental health support.

How to Develop a Healthcare App

How to Develop a Healthcare App

Any development process starts with a market analysis and goal setting. Once this stage is completed, you can carry out a project implementation. Below, we will briefly describe the main steps.

1. Determine the challenges

Identify any challenges you may face; these include strong competitors, implementation of the necessary features, and compliance with certain rules and regulations.

2. Identify your buyer persona

A successful healthcare app is a digital solution that is as personalized as possible and solves all user problems. The more thoroughly you analyze your target audience, the more likely you are to develop a competitive app. Analyze the location, gender, age, interests, and income of potential end-users.

3. Decide on the tech stack

The solutions stack you use depends on the platform you choose. Here is a brief overview of the most popular technology infrastructure.

Healthcare mobile app development tech stack

Cross-platform

  • React and Flutter ensure great productivity, code stability, and high app performance.

iOS

  • Objective-C is stable, and it provides an easier way to use private APIs.

  • Swift enhances app safety and performance and provides a fast development process.

Android

  • Java is a win-win option for many devs, as it features a plethora of built-in Java libraries that allow software engineers to develop an Android-based application quickly and efficiently.

  • Kotlin is less heavy compared to Java and is fully compatible with Java Virtual Machine.

4. Develop an attractive UI/UX

UI and UX should target user needs and values. The user interface should be clear, navigation should be intuitive, and the color scheme should be muted and have a soothing effect. Reduce all unnecessary elements, and make sure users have a minimum number of actions to complete certain tasks. Remember that simplicity is key.

5. Decide on your app’s killer features

To make your application stand out among competitors, decide on the primary and secondary app characteristics.

  • Ensure the highest level of security (Data Encryption, two-factor authentication).

  • Special features that enhance comfort for people with disabilities (large fonts, sign language translators, augmentative communication software) are a must-have.

  • Implement push notifications, tracking, and scheduling features.

  • Add various payment options for users so that they can pay for medical services securely.

  • Integrate telemedicine options that allow users to communicate with doctors via text or video chats to discuss diagnoses and/or treatment options.

  • Add social integration features.

6. Build an MVP

Once you have decided on the main features and design, build an MVP. Once the MVP is rolled out, gather and analyze the customer feedback and prepare for the next iteration based on observations, user feedback, and analytical insights.

Compliance to Consider in Health App Development

Any healthcare app should be compliant with all legal regulations concerning patients’ data safety, so when creating an app, be sure to take all the peculiarities of the market and the country it is intended for into account.

The USA

1. Health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA)

Applications process and store protected health information (PHI), so they must comply with HIPAA regulations. This act contains provisions to protect and safeguard the privacy of PHI. Therefore, app developers must ensure that all data is protected from any third parties and is stored and/or transmitted securely.

2. Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)

This law contains expanded privacy and security provisions for the transmission of health information that was included in HIPAA and makes providers liable for disclosure of breaches.

3. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA)

This consumer protection law gives state residents the right to find out what data companies are collecting about them and to request that all information be deleted.

The European Union

1. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

This consumer protection law gives state residents the right to find out what data companies are collecting about them and to request that all information be deleted.

2. The Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive (LED)

As suggested by its name, the LED deals with the processing of personal data by data controllers for ‘law enforcement purposes’ – which falls outside of the scope of the GDPR.

Canada

1. Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

The law regulates private organizations that collect, use, and disclose personal information. It also governs people’s right to access their data with the right to challenge its accuracy.

Yojji Experience

At Yojji, we have expertise in building healthcare applications from scratch, and Smart Health is one of our cases.

Smart Health

This application is designed to provide timely remote medical consultations and various surveys. As one of the healthcare application developers, we’ve decided to share thought-provoking tidbits concerning healthcare application development.

1. Create maximum personalization

It is crucial to realize that users want maximum comfort, so the app must integrate into the users’ daily life. It should take into account health conditions, habits, tastes, and dynamic factors. One way to personalize the app is to integrate special tools (surveys and chatbots).

2. Add a patient community feature

According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, providing a social platform to patients is a powerful way to enhance healthy behaviors. More than 56% of the 217 users surveyed found that the social feature in-app increased their belief that other people wanted them to lead a healthy routine. Oftentimes, people with similar diseases feel the need to interact with each other. By utilizing this feature, they will communicate and get a sense of support and safety.

3. Integrate the app with wearable devices

According to Dr. Najafi, a director of the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance (iCAMP) at Baylor and co-director of the Center to Stream HealthCare in Place, “Remote care using telehealth and wearables has become a critical part of health operations during the pandemic and is expected to continue being a robust tool for providers and patients”. The wearable device collects data about a person’s health status (heart rate, saturation, blood sugar levels, physical activity, and sleep patterns), and the data will be transferred to the app, allowing patients to gain greater control over their health.

Bottom Line

Thus, creating a healthcare app can be a daunting task, but if the devs have enough experience and expertise, a healthcare application will be a competitive and profitable solution. Yojji specialists are ready to tackle your business challenges and bring the most daring ideas to life. Contact us for further details.

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Yevhen Piotrovskyi
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