Tips on Development of Functional mHealth Apps
Among the positive developments arising from the digitalization of nearly every single aspect of human life today, the exponential growth and adoption of healthcare mobile applications in recent years has been one of the most important. Statistics from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science shows that the global medical mobile apps market has more than 318,000 applications, with new app entries coming onboard almost daily.
The healthcare sector handles patient data that is both sensitive and complex by its very nature. However, this added complexity has not prevented industry stakeholders from leveraging advantages that other sectors have been able to accrue from mobile communications technology. In fact, app builders have been able to navigate these hurdles and pitfalls to provide the medical field with healthcare software systems capable of more versatility in their approach to healthcare.
Modern health mobile apps development, tailored to the specific needs of each patient, is also a process that eases the work of the doctor. The patient and doctor can comfortably interact via the app. Below, we discuss some of the main reasons the medical care industry remains a pacesetter in the ongoing mobile technology revolution:
- Fast, easy communication between doctor and patient.
- Easier scheduling of doctor appointments.
- Quicker diagnosis, initial medical issue awareness, and solutions.
- Availability of medical metrics on demand.
- Guided patient treatment process and better decision-making on clinical issues on the basis of real-time app data and information.
- Better, more accurate and quicker information due to a better insight into medical issues offered by mobile apps on the basis of exhaustive datasets and patient details.
- Saving of medical costs as well as facilitating better and timely bill payment for patients, government entities, and other stakeholders.
Given the wide variety of benefits obtained from mobile apps, is the huge and ever-increasing patient demand for software systems targeting the healthcare something not expected?
Types of Health-Related Mobile Applications
Any mHealth app built for the medical industry will typically aim at serving both patients and healthcare providers, yet there are so many varieties of apps available in today’s market. This is something that is quite surprising to many stakeholders in the industry and beyond.
Some of the different categories of health care support applications include:
- Clinical and Diagnostic Applications – Specialized healthcare and reference mobile apps provide personal health records (PHR), as well as digital imaging services (X-ray, MRI), lab testing results, e-chart reviews, symptoms checking and analysis, and patients’ health condition data.
- Healthcare Awareness and Fitness Applications – Human fertility and infant development mobile apps provide services and information aimed at easier management of diet and exercise before, during and after pregnancy. Weight control applications help monitor and manage nutrition and fitness processes, including weight tracking.
- Chronic Care & Medical Management Apps – mHealth applications can enable users to monitor and manage diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and mental problems. In addition, they also help facilitate medical prescriptions, physician appointments, the creation of alerts, as well as offering a platform for both doctors and patients to access medical references.
CoreValue has created a number of mHealth mobile apps for the medical field, all complying with HIPAA regulations. Over time, we have also strived to satisfy cross-platform demands, so far having built for both Android and iOS software platforms. CoreValue medical care applications incorporate the best UX design practices, performance stability, as well as data privacy and security.
So, What Does It Really Take to Create and Implement a Medical App?
Creating a medical app requires a plan and your adherence to it. The following steps will help you keep your project on track.
- Begin with a concept capable of long-term sustainability.
- Gain the requisite programming skills, or hire a programmer.
- Know your market, i.e., your target audience.
- Focus on design and implementation of app capabilities that will deliver an outstanding user experience.
Requisite Functionalities for Mobile Healthcare Apps
A medical application should have the necessary capabilities to offer optimum usability to its users, i.e., both patients and healthcare providers. The most sought-after features of a health-related app include:
- Push notifications.
- 3rd party integrations.
- Social integrations.
- Medical imaging.
- Pop-ups with routes and maps.
- Medical practitioner profiles.
- Comprehensive body health scans.
- Data analytics based on EHR and EMR information.
Healthcare software development professionals will tell you that technology has made it even easier to enhance the functionalities of already-deployed mobile apps. With the wide variety of requisite built-in features, a healthcare app must be able to accomplish its key mission: the analysis of medical information and records for meaningfully usable results. Great customer-focused apps mostly work from the viewpoint of the end-user. You can build such a mobile app by:
1. Identifying and Analyzing the Problem You Want to Solve Using Your Mobile App Solution
All solutions offered by a mobile health app should be founded on a clear comprehension of the use case and subject matter, which should be unambiguous on where the mobile app is applied and what benefits it will bring to concerned parties.
In the highly competitive marketplace of today, an mHealth mobile application should not only be usable and useful but also provide additional value as a tool. It should be able to solve a definitive critical challenge and make medical care better. For example, tracking is evidently among the most important functionalities for mobile healthcare app users. Further than this, the application needs to offer more value by, say, combining scheduling appointments and mobile integration with payment software systems and/or insurance databases for patients.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
The modern user is not only comfortable but yearns for digital interaction. A successful mobile health app pays attention to the customer’s key needs and expectations in terms of mobility and doctor contact. Robust app functionality is what will bring the kind of value customers are looking for. Providers must understand what each specific target audience wants in a particular product.
For instance, in addition to basic consumer features, a medical care provider wants a mobile app capable of a wide range of other 3rd party integrations and EHR/EMR analytics. Similarly, a patient wants an app that can help them monitor and manage their weight loss process as well as measure calories, glucose level, and heart rate.
According to various demographics, design and usability preferences differ greatly. Mobile apps targeting people in their early 20s will most probably not have the same popularity among senior citizens. This concerns integration preferences, visuality, usability models and accessibility to information.
Gamification can also make a particular mobile app more attractive than others and contribute to the final objective of developing beneficial healthy habits. A number of medical organizations already incorporate quizzes and contests and even social media in a bid to maintain their app users’ interest high.
3. UI/UX Are Essential
A worthy healthcare app must incorporate all the most sought-after aspects of good user experience that correlates with its other important hospital functionalities. Both patients and medical practitioners want to see interest-arousing digital interfaces and a comfortable menu navigation. How well they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the native user experience of a particular hospital mobile or wellness application is what determines whether they will want to use the app or not.
Our experts in the design and development of mobile apps allude to the importance of building a dynamic digital user interface to make sure that any upgrades can be incorporated at the backend to improve user experience and the app developers’ work much more productive. This makes sense both in terms of cost and efficiency. Having an app with parts and components that can be upgraded or fixed independently enables uninterrupted workflow and reduction of costs.
In cases where easier access to patient data is a major feature, having a single point of entry can make the customer more comfortable with a similar user interface for EHR or a hospital portal/scheduling system, and thus raise the likelihood of the app adoption.
4. Comprehensively Test All Medical App Features
Quality assurance involves more than testing an app’s functionality. Map out all possible test case instances, visualizing every situation where the application can be applied, before testing these with no compromise. Just as experts have duly pointed out, A/B testing for all features of your mHealth app is paramount for success.
Analyzing a hospital application’s backend data can also give insight into how it is used. Are users finding the app popular or a bit confusing? Since making your customers happy and keeping them loyal is critical for success, the review of their ratings and feedback offers you a perfect opportunity to enhance customer experience. This phase is also essential for future iterations in the development cycle of the app.
5. Input From Security Experts Is Crucial
In the healthcare industry, data security and personal privacy are very serious, more so if the technology is brought into the mix. For health and wellness applications, being conformant with both privacy principles and government regulations like HIPPA is a top priority.
Secure design and development of medical mobile apps begin with the presence of well-aligned architecture that adheres to all security standards. The mobile software design team working on your app should be rigorously familiar with all the applicable policies and regulations so as to seal all possible loopholes for unauthorized access and/or hospital data leakage. Failing in this aspect can cause huge financial and legal liabilities.
With the safeguarding of both transmitted and stored health data, a critical priority in any medical app, encryption is a key step in the security of ICT systems. It is one of the most effective data security methods in the mobile communications industry. Encryption functions by using algorithms that convert the data being transmitted to a secret format or code that can only be accessed and/or read by specific people.
Handling consumers’ sensitive data and managing their protected health information (PHI) is a top priority for medical app customers. In addition to being absolutely sure of data privacy and security, users also want to see that all government regulations are adhered to even before they can download the mHealth app. With such complex security requirements in play, it is worth asking experts to run your medical app to make sure that apart from being sufficiently functional and easy to use, it is also secure.
6. Choice of Mobile Platform
Analysts have predicted that by 2022, the worldwide mHealth apps market will be valued at more than USD 102.43 billion. Right now, although the US is the biggest mobile healthcare apps marketplace, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are set to rival the American market in the next five years. Currently, over 70% of mHealth app creators and providers build for the Android and iOS platforms. It is, therefore, advisable that future products develop more multi-platform apps.
Without a doubt, mobile devices have simplified our lives. The creation of medical apps by CoreValue can help monitor and manage patient health conditions, or the management of care organization routines make users more comfortable with accessing health services. This has proved to be an efficient and convenient method of contact and scheduling an appointment with doctors and sharing health information for patients. This way, both sides can greatly leverage technology while also saving clinical effort and time for other administrative duties and services.
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