The number of mobile health apps reached an all-time high last year. Over 90,000 new mobile solutions entered the market in 2020, according to a new report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science on digital health trends. It makes the overall number of mHealth solutions amount to more than 350,000 digital health apps available to users.
Also, we cannot underestimate the impact of the pandemic on the healthcare industry. Thus, the global market for Mobile Medical Apps is expected to reach a revised size of $20.7 billion by 2027, as the Globe NewsWire suggests.
This is certainly the best time to build a mobile health app and tap into the new, lucrative market.
If you’re mulling over investing in a medical app, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about how to build a health app.
Types of medical applications
Before diving into the mobile app development process, it is important to get the lay of the land. In particular, you need to look into the existing types of medical applications and the features that make them stand out.
Clinical and Diagnostic Apps
These apps allow doctors to collect, analyze, and exchange information about their patients. They usually include mobile access to electronic health records (EHRs), test results viewing, and digital imaging. Symptom checkers built within the device assist physicians and patients in promptly diagnosing illnesses and injuries. Patient scheduling is also made easier with these apps.
This type of mobile application caters to practitioners since mobile references allow healthcare providers to brush up their knowledge on any subject. Clinical reference applications offer digital access to drug dosages, urgent health-related concerns, and other specialized reference material helping to provide diagnoses.
Remote Patient Monitoring
App-enabled remote patient monitoring is an especially useful alternative amidst the pandemic. This type of app assists doctors in supervising stay-at-home patients virtually. Thus, healthcare providers can monitor changes in the patients’ health status, including vitals.
Doctor Appointment and Clinical Assistance Apps
A healthcare app specialized in medical appointment booking amplifies the doctor-patient interaction and makes it more effective. These mobile solutions aid in scheduling, mobile charting, remote dictation, and internal communication. In this case, the application keeps track of cancelations and appointments so that doctors will have a better idea of their workload and last-minute cancelations.
Lifestyle Tracking Apps
Getting enough sleep, staying active, and maintaining a medication regimen also play important roles in keeping your body and mind healthy. And this is exactly what lifestyle tracking apps do.
These apps collect critical parameters like heart rate, sleep, physical activity, etc. based on their target area. Habit trackers also allow you to check off accomplished habits and monitor your progress. You can become a better version of yourself by building long streaks of success and maintaining consistency in your healthy habits.
What are the Benefits of Mobile Health Applications?
The medical apps entail the potential for both sides. These include the patient, obtaining medical care, and the physician – rendering medical services. Mobile access to patient data makes it faster to perform diagnostics, get a holistic picture of one’s well-being, and brings patients closer to the doctors.
Among other things, the benefits of mobile solutions for the patient include:
- Healthcare apps offer virtual consultations
- Streamline appointment scheduling process
- Prevent frequent clinic visits
- Include updated information on healthcare-related topics, like vaccines
- Provide easier access to patient data
- Enable patients to monitor health conditions
- Include medication reminders
- Offer safe data storage
- Amplify more effective and personalized treatment
- Make healthcare more accessible to rural and far-flung areas
Benefits of mobile health apps for healthcare providers include:
- Increased customer loyalty and engagement by connecting directly with patients
- Automated repetitive tasks and paperwork
- More time allocated to providing healthcare services
- Reduced costs of healthcare provision
- Allowing patients to participate more in their own conditions
- Reduced risks of the wrong diagnosis
And these are just a sliver of all the benefits that medical apps bring to both sides. That is the main reason they are widely and wholeheartedly accepted by patients and clinics all over the world, which builds up the global demand for such solutions.
The Core Functionality of Healthcare Apps For Patients
The total of building a mobile app depends on various factors, including UI/UX design, number of platforms, prototyping, cooperation model, and much more. However, the complexity of your future application will always be one of the main cost drivers. So, every feature on your wishlist is going to get reflected on the bill.
In terms of medical applications, the list of core features looks like this:
- User login – for personalized and safe access
- User profile – for managing user accounts and vital patient data
- Push notifications – for keeping the user updated about upcoming appointments, cancellations, and incoming bills.
- Messaging system – for connecting doctors and patients
- Payment gates – for transferring payment data safely to the user
- Promo code/Referral code feature – for better customer engagement and loyalty
- Admin panel – for manipulating the data within the application
Based on your business needs, the core functionality can be integrated into your Minimum Viable Product to test your idea and further enhance the solution with more complex and expensive features.
After collecting feedback from end-users, you can turn the MVP into a full-fledged healthcare application. To do that, your development team will need to integrate the following features:
- Video calls – the video conferencing feature will enable both sides to run a remote-friendly healthcare practice.
- Medical device Integration – the MDI functionality will automatically collect and send patients’ vital signs data from various medical devices such as glucose monitors directly to the mobile application.
- Health activity tracking – this option will help patients and doctors monitor their health condition and enter daily measurements such as their physical activity or calorie intake.
- Cloud integration – cloud storage will guarantee 24/7 access to data from anywhere across the devices by logging into the accounts.
- Compliance – mHealth apps must meet federal regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR, which impose certain privacy and security requirements.
- Third-party integrations – APIs promote better data management and enhance access to electronic health records for doctors.
- Electronic prescriptions – digital prescriptions allow physicians to make and share prescriptions with patients without visiting the facility.
These are the most popular features that medical apps contain. The set of functionality may differ based on the app time. With that in mind, try not to squeeze all the functions into one application:
- Plan functionality and design around end-users
- Factor in the type of users: patient-facing or doctor-oriented
- Launch an MVP first to get rid of excessive features and include the most important ones.
How Much Does Healthcare Software Cost in 2021?
A full-fledged healthcare application includes a wide variety of features based on its type. Moreover, the cost of creating a healthcare mobile app depends on a great number of other factors like the type of mobile app, number of platforms, and others. Therefore, it’s quite difficult to name the exact cost of developing a healthcare mobile app.
Overall, the price range for building a custom mHealth solution varies from $60K to $500K. To have a better understanding of the future investments, you need to factor in the number of hours developers spend on building your app:
- A standard app with simple functionality can take up around 700 development hours.
- A medium complexity app takes up from 900 hours.
- A complex app with advanced functionality will require 1000+ hours to complete.
Mind that developer rates differ by country. Thus, the most well-paid mobile engineers are based in the US with an average of $80–250/hour. On the other hand, companies based in Eastern Europe charge around $70–150/hour for the same amount of work.
The Bottom Line
Healthcare applications owe their meteoric rise to the pandemic-induced reality. They hold great potential for improving the overall healthcare system, costs, and quality of healthcare services. That is why an increasing number of forward-looking business owners invest in building mobile medical solutions.
The total for developing health apps depends on a gamut of factors. These include the number of features, app complexity, location, and the type of app. Therefore, if you are looking to tap into this lucrative market, make sure to give thorough consideration to the process and technology vendor.