How to Build a Healthcare App – A Step by Step Guide to Development

The healthcare industry is experiencing a mobile revolution. The global mHealth app market is booming, projected to reach a staggering size of $311.98 billion by 2027. This explosive growth is fueled by two key trends: the ever-increasing number of smartphone users and the growing demand for convenient, personalized healthcare solutions.

The World Health Organization considers eHealth (the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health) as one of the fastest growing fields in health with the potential to dramatically change health services delivery and systems around the world. Mobile health, or mHealth, leverages mobile devices and wireless technology to empower patients and healthcare professionals alike. These innovative apps are transforming how we approach health, from raising awareness about preventative care to managing chronic conditions, tracking disease outbreaks, and even assisting treatment plans.

But how does a promising healthcare app concept transform into a user-friendly, secure, and impactful mobile application?

This blog post will unveil the key stages involved in the development process of a healthcare mobile app, equipping you with valuable insights, whether you’re a healthcare professional, entrepreneur, or simply curious about the journey from idea to app store.

1. Define Your Vision and Scope: Setting the Stage for Success

The first step is to clearly define the purpose and functionalities of your healthcare app.

Here’s what you need to consider:

a. Identifying the Problem:

What specific challenge or need within the healthcare sector does your app aim to address? Is it meant to improve medication adherence? Facilitate telemedicine consultations? Enhance patient education?

b. Target Audience:

Who are you building this app for? Will it be used by patients, healthcare providers, or both?

Patients? Doctors and healthcare providers? Once you have a clear picture of your goals and target users, you can move on to the next.

c. Core Features:

Outline the core functionalities that will bring your vision to life. Prioritize features based on user needs and potential impact.

2. Embrace User-Centric Design: Building for Your Audience

Understanding your target audience and their needs is paramount.

Consider conducting user research to gather valuable insights on:

a. User Pain Points:

What challenges or frustrations do your target users face related to healthcare?

b. User Habits and Preferences:

How do your users typically interact with mobile apps? What design elements resonate with them?

According to research on digital health by Accenture Labs,

86% of respondents agreed that the success of digital health solutions will depend on companies targeting the entire patient care pathway rather than specific products and services.

Accenture Labs

This information can be translated into the design phase, where the app’s User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) come into play:

a. UI Design:

UI design is the visual language of the app. Focus on creating a clean, uncluttered layout with intuitive controls and clear typography for enhanced readability. Accessibility considerations are crucial for an inclusive app.

b.UX Design:

This is about the overall user experience. It encompasses how users navigate the app, complete tasks, and interact with features. Prioritize a seamless and frustration-free experience.

3. Agile Development: Adapting and Refining

Many app development teams utilize the Agile Development Methodology. This iterative approach involves breaking down the development process into smaller, manageable sprints. Each sprint focuses on specific functionalities, followed by testing, feedback, and refinement before moving on to the next stage.

This approach offers several benefits:

a. Early Feedback:

Regular testing allows for early identification of issues and course correction.

b. Adaptability:

Changing requirements or new ideas can be incorporated throughout the development process.

c. Enhanced Quality:

Iterative development promotes continuous improvement and ensures a high-quality app.

Based on a McKinsey survey of leading voices in healthcare, 71% of respondents envisioned the “telemedicine to online pharmacy” patient journey as an ideal starting point for healthcare apps.

‘An agile development with a minimal viable patient journey as its starting point can help further solutions such as “symptom checker to telemedicine.” ‘

McKinsey & Company, 2021

By prioritizing the telemedicine-to-online-pharmacy journey, you can leverage key functionalities such as e-prescriptions (eRx), which hold significant potential to accelerate digitalization in healthcare. This holistic approach not only addresses immediate patient needs but also sets the stage for future enhancements, such as integrating features like a symptom checker to telemedicine.

4. Feature Development, Integration & HIPAA Compliance

Based on your defined functionalities, the development team will begin coding the app. This involves front-end development for the user interface, back-end development for server-side functionality, and API integration for connecting with external systems like electronic health records (EHR).

Security protocols and HIPAA compliance must be prioritized throughout this stage.For healthcare apps handling sensitive patient data, ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations is paramount. This involves implementing robust security measures to safeguard data privacy and integrity throughout the development process. Partnering with a development team experienced in HIPAA compliance is highly recommended.

5. Testing and Deployment: Putting Your App to the Test

Rigorous testing is crucial before releasing your app to the public. Here are some key areas of focus:

a.Functionality Testing:

Ensuring all features work as intended.

b. Performance Testing:

Evaluating app performance and stability on various devices and network conditions.

c. Security Testing:

Verifying the app’s security measures and identifying any potential vulnerabilities.

Once testing is complete and any identified issues are addressed, it’s time to deploy your app to the relevant app stores (Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

6. Post-Launch Support and Maintenance

The journey doesn’t end with app launch. Ongoing support and maintenance are crucial for:

a. Bug Fixes:

Addressing any bugs or technical issues reported by users.

b.Security Updates:

Implementing security patches to stay ahead of evolving threats.

c. New Feature Development:

Adding new features and functionalities based on user feedback and market trends.

By prioritizing continuous improvement, you can ensure your healthcare mobile app remains valuable and relevant to its users.

Summing Up

Developing a successful healthcare mobile app requires careful planning, a user-centric approach, and a commitment to ongoing improvement. By adhering to these key stages and prioritizing security and data privacy, you can translate your innovative idea into a valuable tool that empowers patients, improves healthcare delivery, and positions you as a leader in the digital transformation of healthcare.
If you have more questions about building healthcare apps, you can talk to us and leverage the Techtiz experience within the healthcare sector.