Smart digital healthcare solutions are doing wonders to eliminate the challenges and limitations that exist in the medical sector. No wonder, the past couple of years have witnessed a soaring demand curve for healthcare mobile apps. This demand has sky-rocketed in the year 2020, owing to a stay-at-home economy on account of the Covid19 outbreak. The on-going trend of social distancing is encouraging patients to switch to online doctor consultations, treatment, and remote monitoring. Doctors and other providers, too, now prefer digital healthcare services. Consequently, the rate of adoption of Healthcare app development has gone up.
As per the business data research portal Statista; ‘The value of the global market size of mobile healthcare applications was approximately 2.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 and is estimated to rise up by more than 11 billion dollars by the year 2025.’
It’s indeed a golden opportunity for a Mobile App Development Company to capitalize on the market demand. However, creating flawless medical apps that provide a rich user experience is no cakewalk. Thus, developers must carefully craft the healthcare app to make it universally acceptable. This article discusses the key considerations that a healthcare mobile app developer must keep in mind.
Key Factors to consider during Healthcare app development
Given below are the key factors to consider while developing healthcare mobile applications.
Understanding the targeted hardware
Healthcare apps usually target varied platforms like smartphones, tablets, and desktops to reach out to more users. But, developers must know that apps pertaining to enterprise healthcare solutions and patient engagement are mostly operated on tabs, whereas ‘call a doctor’ apps are mostly operated using smartphones. Also, user interaction and preferences are different in these gadgets. Yet, one must follow the common trend of designing apps that work on mobiles as well as tablets. So, building control-based applications should be avoided.
Enticing UI and UX designs
An easy-to-operate app design will not only help the patients to effortlessly enter appointment-related information and medical data; but also help the practitioners in updating the medical histories of patients and maintaining visit records with ease. Moreover, the colors, pictures, texts, and fonts used shouldn’t portray negativity, as it might make the patients feel more depressed. Attractive designs elevate the mood of the patient so that they are able to enjoy the benefits that the app offers and avoids rejection of the application.
Creating interoperable apps
Present-day healthcare spaces use diverse equipment and software like EHR solutions, Practice Management Systems, dermatological sensors, etc. Hence, your mHealth app must be interoperable. In other words, the app should be capable of connecting, communicating, and coordinating with the existing software systems present in the healthcare facility environment. Sometimes, developers may have to create a compatibility layer within the mHealth app to match it up with the erstwhile hospital setup, for successful implementation.
An API (Application Programming Interface) accomplishes a specified task and interacts with the software or the software module. APIs can be an internal or third party. APIs are essentially required by advertisers, social networking apps, etc to pass on information uninterruptedly, as well as by the user to connect their device with the remote server. Also, API components need to be added for allowing device access to the centralized patients’ repository containing engaging solutions. A clearly defined API documentation should be written to maintain privacy. In some cases, the app creators may need extra APIs from vendors or suppliers to ease out the workflow.
Adopting futuristic technologies
Integrating medical apps with revolutionary technologies like IoT, ML, and AI is the need of the hour as they enhance the app’s versatility. Such apps turn out to be smarter solutions offering improved treatment methodologies, remote healthcare services and enable faster recoveries. Integrating ML and AI technology in healthcare apps enable physicians to diagnose correctly, check symptoms, fight depression, detect cancer, etc.
Focus on Security
The healthcare ecosystem involves huge chunks of sensitive and confidential data that are prone to security threats and data breaches. Therefore, app developers must adopt high-security standards while building Health and fitness apps. The most important measures are:
- End-to-end data encryption
- Multifactor authentication
- Regulatory compliance like HIPAA, CDA, FHIR, Direct, etc. depending on the kind of medical data and the region.
An Iterative approach refers to developing apps by adding features gradually and progressing slowly in iterations during the developmental process. This approach facilitates creating flawless software applications. By following an agile methodology developers can deliver the working codes after every iteration for the review thereby reducing the rework efforts.
Errors in Healthcare apps may have dangerous repercussions. So, thorough testing is essential before deployment. Mobile app Developers must check the precision and reliability of Geo-location services, ability to function during poor connectivity, performance, app security, authenticities such as HIPAA compliance, PHII, PII, etc. and compatibility with various platforms and browsers.
Minimum Viable Product
Developing medical applications involve challenging requirements and huge investments. Hence, it is advisable for start-ups or firms with budgetary constraints to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) initially instead of a full-fledged application to validate its chances of success. Once satisfied with the adaptability amongst users, one must keep adding the desired functionalities to the application, in the form of updates, based on customer feedback.
The aforesaid considerations during Healthcare app development are crucial in deciding the fate of an application and gaining the trust of healthcare stake holders. A user-friendly application possessing high usability will never fail you and would fetch you unprecedented success.
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