The 3 Biggest Challenges in Developing Healthcare Apps (and How to Overcome Them)

In developing healthcare apps, every step has risks, from securing patient data to ensuring the app operates across different platforms. Healthcare organizations, despite their best intentions, often face these challenges. They are committed to improving patient care through technology as digital solutions became highly relevant after the pandemic, but the road to achieving this is anything but straightforward.

Take the case of a regional hospital eager to launch an app that helps patients manage chronic conditions from home. The idea is sound, but the execution is complex. The organization must ensure the app is secure enough to protect sensitive health information, intuitive for users of all ages, and compliant with health regulations—a tall order.

Today, we’ll unpack the three major hurdles in healthcare app development. We’ll explore why these challenges are more than technical issues and offer targeted strategies to tackle them. 

Keep reading to understand the biggest health app development challenges!

Why Healthcare Apps are Important 

For patients, healthcare apps provide immediate access to medical information and services. Consider an elderly patient managing multiple medications. A well-designed healthcare app can remind them when to take each medication, reducing the risk of missed doses or accidental overduplicates.

Likewise, healthcare organizations benefit from these applications. For example, remote patient monitoring apps allow doctors to track patients’ health in real time. This feature is particularly useful for patients with chronic conditions, as it helps doctors monitor vital symptoms without needing the patient to visit the clinic. 

Moreover, these apps can improve administrative processes by letting patients book appointments, access test results, and communicate with their healthcare providers through a single platform. Such integration leads to better resource management and more personalized patient care, illustrating the importance of healthcare apps in modern medical practice.

Challenges of Building a Medical App

In 2020, over 90,000 healthcare apps focused on wellness tracking, chronic disease management, appointment booking, and similar functions existed. Owing to the convenience these apps bring, there are over 350,000 mHealth apps today. Such growth in the popularity of mHealth apps has further motivated healthcare organizations to launch their digital platforms to facilitate patient handling. 

However, multiple healthcare development challenges block these organizations’ way. Here are some top challenges of building a medical app and their impact:

1. Regulatory Compliance and Data Privacy

Healthcare apps are subject to various regulations that govern how patient information is collected, stored, and used. 

These regulations, such as HIPAA compliance for mobile apps in the United States, GDPR in Europe, and other local laws, protect patient privacy and ensure data security. Therefore, compliance with these regulations is mandatory. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines, legal repercussions, and a loss of trust among users.

For instance, consider a healthcare app that inadvertently allows unauthorized access to patient records. This breach can result in large fines from regulatory bodies and damage the organization’s reputation and users’ trust.

The Impact of Non-Compliance

Financial penalties aside, healthcare organizations may face operational disruptions and legal challenges. More critically, this could affect the patients whose data privacy has been compromised, potentially leading to personal and financial harm.

Tips to Ensure Compliance and Protect Data

Here are some steps healthcare organizations can take to avoid these healthcare app development challenges:

  • Regular audits of healthcare apps can help identify and address compliance gaps before they become issues. 
  • Encrypting data at rest and in transit ensures that even if data is intercepted, it remains secure from unauthorized access. 
  • Implementing strong user access controls can prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. It involves setting permissions and roles within the app to ensure that only authorized personnel can access specific data types.
  • Regular training ensures everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in protecting patient data and maintaining compliance.

2. Interoperability and Integration

Interoperability refers to the ability of different healthcare systems and devices to exchange, interpret, and use information without special effort from the user. 

Healthcare apps must integrate smoothly with electronic health records (EHRs), diagnostic tools, and other healthcare management systems. However, the diversity of protocols, standards, and technologies used across the sector makes this an ambitious task.

Lack of interoperability can mean fragmented care delivery, where important patient information might not be readily available across different care settings. As a result, it hampers the efficiency of healthcare delivery and can also lead to errors in patient care and diagnosis.

Impact of Poor Integration

When systems do not communicate effectively, updating patient records is delayed, tests are duplicated, and, ultimately, healthcare costs are increased. Also, without a seamless flow of data, healthcare providers may not have access to critical patient information when needed, potentially compromising patient care and safety. Healthcare providers might have to use multiple systems to access the information, leading to inefficiency and frustration among staff.

Strategies for Smart Integration

For overcoming mobile app development hurdles, healthcare organizations can adopt the following strategies:

  • One fundamental step is ensuring that all healthcare app ecosystem systems adhere to standardized data exchange protocols like HL7 or FHIR. 
  • Implementing well-designed application programming interfaces (APIs) can bridge the gaps between software systems. APIs enable different programs to communicate with each other without complex integration processes.
  • Rigorous testing across all stages of agile development for healthcare apps ensures the tool integrates well with existing systems. Doing so includes testing the app in real-world settings to identify and address potential integration issues.

3. User Experience and Engagement

User experience in healthcare apps includes the design and functionality that determine how easy and efficient the app is. A poor UX can result in frustration, errors, and disuse. Therefore, users need to find the app intuitive and helpful, or they may abandon it altogether.

Consequences of Poor User Engagement

If users are not engaging with the app, its intended health benefits may not be realized, reducing the effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Investments in developing and maintaining the app may not yield the expected return if engagement is low. Patients and providers may lose trust in the organization’s ability to deliver useful digital solutions.

Tips for Improving UX and Engagement

Here are some approaches to improving user interface design for medical apps:

  • The developer must engage with end-users, including patients and healthcare providers, during the design process, to understand their needs and preferences. 
  • Design the app to be easy to use, with clear instructions and a minimalistic interface. It’s also good to ensure that the app is accessible to users of all ages and abilities.
  • Incorporate interactive elements such as notifications, reminders, and gamification to keep users engaged and encourage regular use.


Developing a healthcare app comes with its fair share of challenges, but they’re nothing you need to tackle alone. 

At Techtiz, we understand what makes an app functional and fantastic. From complying with tough regulations to making sure your app is a joy to use, we’ve got the know-how to smooth out the bumps along the way. 

Think of us as your go-to for ensuring that your healthcare app does exactly what it needs to do without the headache. You can talk to us, here.