The article was updated on October 31, 2022.
The mobile medical industry is developing rapidly around the world, especially in the emergence of specialized devices and applications. Remote monitoring and telemedicine, electronic patient cards, control over pregnancy, cardiac function, sleep and other vital processes are actively implemented in the healthcare industry today.
With mHealth (mobile health) it becomes easier for healthcare businesses to enhance the entire physician-patient experience. Not only does it free physicians from routine operations (e.g., filling of forms), and therefore allow them to spend more time on the diagnoses and treatments of their patients, but it also gives patients a more rapid and effective communication channel with medical staff. Additionally, mobile applications significantly reduce healthcare costs, while simultaneously improving the quality of services and treatments.
Overall, it is becoming evident that mHealth is the way of the future. Many businesses are starting to invest into or develop their own medical applications.
In this article, we will cover how to create a medical app based on its types, main features, and users’ expectations.
So, what is an mHealth app, and why are they so popular these days? Currently, the market offers hundreds of mobile healthcare applications that pursue various purposes and end goals.
So, in brief, an mHealth application is a mobile program designed to enhance the healthcare system or make people more aware and educated about their own health needs. Thus, it makes healthcare more accessible to people, while providing better customer and administrative services for hospital workers.
The popularity of mHealth applications is even easier to explain given the rising costs of public healthcare, its limitations (stuffed shortages, geographical limitations), and the growing health consciousness among the public.
As a result, the mHealth app market has grown from US$4.2 billion in 2020 to an estimated US$20.7 billion by 2027, according to recent predictions. Such a sudden growth indicates the need in the given industry and the variety of purposes that health mobile apps can serve.
For instance, with a mobile application, healthcare businesses are able to achieve a number of goals:
- increasing access to healthcare and health information;
- improving the chances for forehanded diagnostics, monitoring and the tracking of diseases;
- providing useful information concerning the public health system;
- enhancing the patient-doctor experience and thus increasing patient engagement; and
- broadening access to health education and the training of health workers, etc.
The types of mHealth apps can vary depending on who their end user is. Thus, businesses can develop a healthcare app for patients, doctors, or healthcare administrators. Knowing the differences between these types before engaging in medical app development will help you gain a better insight into the process.
MHealth apps for patients
Mobile healthcare apps for patients encourage users to live a healthier lifestyle, by monitoring their habits, activity, diet, sleep, etc. Such applications also provide users with health tips and recommendations, analyzing a person’s physical state. Of course, such an application can’t replace an actual physical medical exam from healthcare providers or a doctor’s consultation.
Still, such mHealth solutions can help users track their habits, learn useful wellness tips, and maintain their mental health.
In addition, custom mHealth app development can create patient portals to help users make easy appointments, see the available time slots, receive reminders and notifications, as well as rate the overall experience.
MHealth apps for providers
First of all, an mHealth app solution helps doctors monitor their patients from a distance. Thus, both devices and applications fall under this category. Such tools help track patients’ blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels, among other things.
By collecting and analyzing the gathered data, a doctor can make more accurate diagnoses, and continue with close observation even after patients are released from a hospital. Moreover, a doctor can intervene whenever an app indicates any risks to a patient’s well-being.
Healthcare apps medical administration staff
A mobile app for healthcare administration staff should establish an easy flow of inside operations, such as appointment management, online payments, inside communication, inventory management, etc.
In addition, a digital presence will bring the administration staff closer to their patients, establishing easier channels of communication and advertisement, and resulting in a loyal customer base.
A custom healthcare solution should significantly facilitate the lives of everyone involved in the healthcare system. Hence, it should come with well-planned attributes and unique qualities. Of course, your choice of how to make an mHealth app will depend on its final purposes, target audience, budget, etc. Still, it’s best to go through all the must-have features before jumping right to the mHealth app development.
This is the list of essential features to consider:
Patient and doctor profiles
A medical app can bring patients and doctors closer to each other. Thus, an app can provide patients with professional information about their health specialists, so the former can make a well-educated choice of their doctors.
On the other hand, doctors can store all the essential patients’ data on their portals, making it more convenient and easy to go through a patient’s history.
Integrations with Google Fit, HealthKit, Samsung Health
Integration of a wellness app with the most popular health and habit trackers will be an advantage. Such services keep loads of user data, which can improve the work of a custom-built healthcare app.
A healthcare app’s calendar should be able to synchronize with the calendar users have on their phones. Hence, they will see any upcoming appointment and will build their plans around it.
Technology reduces the distance between people. The same applies to healthcare providers and their patients. Medical apps can now come with the telemedicine option that allows video chats, conferences, and other online consultations with your doctors even at a distance.
Reminders and notifications
Most users rely on their gadgets to remind them about upcoming events or uncompleted tasks. A medical app should notify patients about scheduled appointments, when their prescriptions are ready to be picked up, or the need to make a follow-up appointment.
Integration with medical devices
Many specialized health applications come with medical devices. Hence, such products should connect to one another via Bluetooth or other wireless connections.
Inside patients chat
Patients should be able to communicate with each other and discuss their experiences with certain conditions, meds, doctors, etc. Such communication can create in-app support groups, making users more health-conscious while also growing more loyal to your application.
At Eastern Peak we understand the importance of applying top tech mobile solutions to the basic healthcare activities in order to enhance the physician-patient experience.
Below you will find the guiding principles to help your patients enjoy all the benefits of the mHealth.
1. KISS (keep it short and simple)
Healthcare apps, solving complex problems, themselves, tend to become complex, rigid and cumbersome to use. Yet we understand that patients and doctors alike strongly prefer clean, convenient and user-friendly applications that simplify the day-to-day activities without requiring hours of learning.
Your mHealth application should be clean, making it dead-simple for patients to use it on a daily basis.
Most patients will simply ignore the app if it’s too difficult to use. At the same time, the app should be convenient for the physicians, so that the doctors and their patients can be on the same page in terms of diagnostics, treatment modes and other questions concerning the healthcare industry.
2. Ensure an interoperability through connecting to 3rd party services and offering APIs
An interoperable and, thus, scalable mHealth solution helps you drive adoption because your app can integrate more data and services in one interface.
Make sure your application for mHealth is highly flexible in accessing and delivering data.
Interoperable application helps doctors and patients share data seamlessly and safely. It’s important that your mHealth application is interoperable with various platforms and devices. All updates should be done in a timely manner on all devices.
Interoperability also plays a critical role in demonstrating ROI of mHealth solutions, since it ensures greater data accuracy, which in turn increases the confidence of both doctors and patients.
3. Make it intelligent
There is a vast amount of data generated in the healthcare industry, including patient metrics, researches, new drugs, etc. Your application requires machine intelligence to provide the most accurate and precise algorithms and analytics that will be replacing human intervention.
Let your patients get a greater control over their health and better access to the insightful analytics. Your application should act as a ‘doctor in a box’, that uses its own algorithms to advise a treatment plan.
Giving an ability to track patient health metrics powered by data analytics is one of the most important features of a popular mHealth app.
4. Let your patients socialize
The users of your mHealth applications should be able to socialize with their friends or loved ones so that they’re able to get encouragement and support during the process of improving their health. However, don’t forget about a privacy as a noteworthy barrier when implementing social features.
You goal is to strike the right balance between a social part of life and a privacy of your patient.
5. Compliance, privacy, and security
Users should be able to trust your application with their personal data. So, no health application development is complete without secure data storage within the app. Developers should guarantee the safe use of the application by encrypting any information inside the application.
Moreover, any medical application should also follow the key regulated healthcare legislation laws, such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PIPEDA.
6. Add monetization options
An mHealth mobile app comes with a variety of monetization options, such as
- Scheduled payments. Thus, users can subscribe to your services, paying monthly, quarterly, or annually.
- One-time purchase. Users buy a full version upon downloading your app, or after a free trial.
- Device sale. Your application comes with a medical monitoring device.
- Services sale. Users can purchase various services within your app.
- Advertisement. An easy, but highly unrecommended option to monetize an app by placing advertisements inside it.
7. Focus on the motivation
Ensure that your mHealth application sets health goals and helps your customers achieve them. Focus on their results, since it will motivate your customers to set new health goals and achieve them, becoming healthier, stronger, and happier.
8. Don’t forget about a gamification
A patient facing a medical issue is hungry for information and typically has to embark on a new lifestyle that incorporates healthier choices. Yet, way too often it may not seem like a lot of fun. So why not to try to make it more engaging with a gaming approach?
Gamification is an interactive way to motivate. Make your app more interesting and your users will be excited to use it again and again.
Although an efficiency of the gamification varies for different age groups, in the most cases it helps to increase a user engagement for up to 10-15%.
Healthcare app development is here to stay. Mobile health is what we are all moving towards. Not only can such applications refine the hospital work, but also help people stay healthier.
So, don’t miss the opportunity to enter this business while it’s on the rise. Contact us for a professional consultation. Our team will help you build the best implementations of your ideas.