The market for health apps is growing rapidly. There are thousands of healthcare applications for both consumers and healthcare professionals on the App Store and Google Play. Wonder if it’s worth creating a healthcare mobile app? The short answer is yes.
Today, people use healthcare apps to schedule/cancel appointments, review prescriptions, access medical records, connect with doctors via video calls, track fitness goals, etc. According to Statista, the mobile health market is predicted to exceed $300 billion by 2025.
The problem is you’re not sure where to start, right? Read on for some helpful tips on how to create a mobile healthcare app, what technologies to use, and how to make money with your new health app.
The future of healthcare mobile app development
It’s no secret that advanced technologies have revolutionized the healthcare industry. Today, patients are using personal healthcare apps more than ever for health advice, video call examinations, e-prescriptions, etc.
As of 2017, there were over 325,000 mHealth apps. The demand for such applications increased in the past few years, largely due to COVID-19. Social distancing guidelines and closures have led to a growing demand for remote health and fitness classes, diagnosing, and filing prescriptions. And thanks to real-time chat and video, patients can even connect with doctors to discuss diagnoses and treatments.
Simply put, there is a growing demand for medical IT solutions. So, if you’ve been thinking about creating a new medical app, there’s no time like the present.
What technology is used in mobile healthcare apps?
Part of developing a business around a technology boom is understanding what is currently relevant and what technology is growing in the space. Below are some trends in mobile healthcare app development you should be aware of in 2021.
AI is integral to most major healthcare app systems. Diagnostics, treatment, analyzing data from medical records, and drug development are just a few high-level examples. It not only helps startups automate processes but integrating it into mobile app development can help minimize errors and streamline solutions for healthcare providers.
Yes, you read that right. Blockchain is not only changing the fintech industry, but it is also revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Integrating blockchain technology into healthcare mobile apps enables doctors and patients to share and store sensitive data at low risk. In other words, it ensures high-level security and confidentiality of patient data on healthcare apps.
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In healthcare, Virtual Reality solutions are transforming patient lives and how doctors work. VR-based mobile applications provide aid during the treatment of different diseases (autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, phobias, etc.). In addition, VR-based apps help future doctors practice and plan surgical procedures.
The potential for VR in the healthcare sector is huge. VR will be used more and more to improve patients’ lives and physicians’ work.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT has already penetrated the healthcare sector and transformed medical practices. IoT enables doctors to monitor patient’s health continuously and make recommendations accordingly. On top of that, by connecting a special medical device to a smartphone, users can constantly monitor health data like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, heart rate, etc. Cool, right?
Telemedicine offers many advantages over traditional healthcare visits, but until recently, no one seemed to talk about the benefits of telemedicine apps. Then the need for remote appointments, medical care, and clinical visits changed all that, making telemedicine more important than ever.
How to create a healthcare mobile app?
What can you do to build a successful healthcare mobile application? Here are a few steps to develop your mobile app.
1. Market research
As with any business, you need to have an understanding of your competition, the overall market and determine if there’s a need for your solution. Performing market research will give you answers to the following questions:
- What type of healthcare mobile app am I going to build?
- What problem will the app solve?
- Who will use it and why?
- Who are my competitors? What do they offer?
- How will my app be different from other medical apps?
During this process, you’ll want to take the time to actually chat with potential customers. Conducting focus groups, surveys, or even shadowing healthcare professionals can give you a better idea of what they need, and if your app is valuable. Once you can determine if there’s a need, it’s time to look into development.
2. Determine what platforms and mHealth technologies to use
iOS or Android? Hmm, it’s not an easy choice. In fact, deciding whether to build an app for Android or iOS depends on several factors: your audience, app features, project timeline, budget, etc.
Don’t forget to consider the geographic location of your target audience when choosing between these two platforms. For example, iOS devices are more popular in Western Europe or North America, while Android is more popular in other parts of the world.
Of course, you can also create native apps for both iOS and Android in order to reach a great number of users.
3. Create an MVP
Building a healthcare mobile app can take years — seriously. The good news is that you can begin with a minimum viable product (MVP), get your product to market quicker, and minimize development costs.
So find a trusted development company to build an MVP. Ideally, you should consider hiring a company with experience in mHealth app development.
However, you don’t just want to hand off a project with no clear direction. You’ll want to have a thorough understanding of the necessary functionality, the UI/UX design, and privacy and compliance need beforehand. Additionally, you’ll want to thoroughly vet any developers. Here are a few questions worth asking:
- Have you built an app that required HIPAA compliance before?
- Do you know how to build apps that integrate with existing EHR/ EMR systems?
- Have you built an app that uses Apple Healthkit?
- Why is building apps in the healthcare space so important to you and your team?
Once you’ve selected a developer, or brought it in-house, be sure that you focus on creating a clean and accessible codebase. Keep in mind, your app is only as good as the way you build it.
4. Test your new healthcare app before launch
Medical apps should be easy to use, simple to understand, and most importantly, they should ensure high-level security and confidentiality of patient data (aka be compliant with HIPAA in the USA and GDPR in Europe).
Of course, any mobile app should be thoroughly tested before it goes live. However, mobile health apps have more development and testing requirements than other apps. It goes without saying that releasing your mHealth app without proper testing could have fatal consequences.
So before launching your new health app on the App Store or Google Play, make sure your application is rigorously tested and ready to launch.
What are the best revenue models for your healthcare mobile app?
Moving forward, the next question we’re going to discuss is how you can make money with your free mHealth app. Please, pay attention to one keyword here: FREE.
Of course, you may think that charging users for downloading your medical app is the easiest way to earn money. Well, let me tell you something: the highest-grossing apps in the App Store or Google Play are free to download. The thing is there are many other ways to make money with apps. Let’s talk about the best monetization models for healthcare apps in detail.
Freemium (free + premium) model is one of the most popular app monetization strategies. As the name suggests, this model offers two versions of the same application. The free version gives access to the basic functionality, while the premium version lets app users access additional features not available in the free version. The idea is that users download your mHealth app for free and enjoy it so much that they pay to get full access to functionality.
One of the most popular ways of making money from apps is advertising. But there is one problem: people hate ads. The good news is people usually don’t mind good ads. In other words, your medical application should offer only relevant advertising. For example, you can choose brand partners that use GPS, Wi-Fi, or beacons to localize ads. Users are more likely to click on a mobile ad when they’re close to a store rather than when they’re at home. For instance, users close to a drugstore may get push notifications about discounts on some popular products they often buy.
Registration and subscription fees
Yes, you read that right! While offering an app free of charge is the best option, registration and subscription fees are still one of the most common ways of making money from apps. Let’s say you are building a platform that connects physicians to patients (aka patients schedule appointments with doctors). In this case, you can charge doctors (not patients) a monthly fee and let them get registered to connect with patients.
On the other hand, if you really want users to pay for your app, you can offer patients free access to all features for a fixed time. After a free trial ends, users will need to choose their subscription plan and make monthly payments.
Access to advanced content
This is another monetization strategy that works perfectly well for apps that offer valuable content to healthcare sector employees. For instance, doctors can access a fixed amount of content for free. To get access to more content, users need to pay.