Digital healthcare initiatives are currently in full-force and choosing the right development partner can make or break the success of your mobile healthcare solution.
Since the first modern smartphone, about 13 years ago, digital solutions for everyday use have grown exponentially. Especially this past year, healthcare app development has sneaked its way into becoming essential for medical care and how developers, doctors, pharma companies, and patients interact. Considering that the worldwide medical app market is forecasted to reach $11 billion by 2025, it is safe to say we live in the era of digital healthcare. Furthermore, Quin found that 26% of people would prefer to use healthcare apps than visit their doctor. Consequently, the usage of healthcare apps during the pandemic has increased by 37%. These numbers are a testament to the fact that healthcare app proliferation improves medical services quality, not just for patients but for all healthcare participants.
With healthcare apps, the medical industry has bridged the gap between laboratories, hospitals, and patients. In the same fashion, they propelled authentic patient engagement and have paved the way for more efficient interfaces in healthcare practices. Not only can patients store their medical records and get telehealth services, but doctors can monitor several patients at once and have instant access to health data.
Pharma companies and hospitals can patient records, share academic material, and enrich drug and vaccine research. The benefits are manifold, but what is the glue that holds all of these interactions together? App and software developers. Whatever its purpose may be, a healthcare app’s success lies in choosing the right development partner. Healthcare app development implies a different skill set than other app categories, from data protection assurances to specific UX/UI design. Medical organizations and interested parties cannot overlook the importance of selecting a capable, healthcare-focused development company.
As long-time experts in healthcare app development, here are some of our recommendations when choosing the best app development partner for you.
Types of Healthcare Apps
The digital healthcare environment encompasses such a broad spectrum of participants and information channels that it is necessary to understand the different types of healthcare apps. Understanding precisely the kind of app you will be needing is the crucial starting point of a successful partnership with your app developer.
• Apps for Patients
Apps targeted at patients are created for regular people and the recipients of healthcare services. They allow the users to connect with doctors, identify their symptoms and diseases, access prescriptions, test results, tips and articles, ambulance services, telemedicine, and pharmaceutical services. This category is by far the most common and widespread type of healthcare app. It is the most versatile one due to the broadness of its target audience. Patient-app usage has skyrocketed due to the pandemic because they enable social distancing and keep all parties at a safe distance. On that same token, patient app downloads upped by 47% in 2020, according to a study, which represents a 130% increase from 2017.
• Apps for Healthcare professionals
Healthcare apps aimed at physicians and other healthcare professionals focus on patient monitoring and providing documentation on several matters relevant to their profession. On the one hand, this kind of apps facilitates connections with their patients through telemedicine platforms providing rooms to store and check medical records, pathology reports, images, VR simulations for diagnoses, and easy access to PHI. On the other hand, they enable communication channels with pharmaceutical companies and hospital management by giving them access to new drug studies, disease papers, medical science innovations, blogs, calculators, academic files, medical association chats, and uploading of other relevant data. Medical professionals of all ages embrace apps for their practices, as shown by a study where 93% of the surveyed physicians said apps could improve patients’ conditions through mobile solutions.
• Apps for Pharmaceutical Companies
Mobile solutions for pharmaceutical companies provide a pathway to communicate with physicians and create a rapport with them to enable learning. Academic content, drug studies, and papers on medical innovations can be readily available for physicians to nurture their expertise. Pharma-focused apps can also harbor medical tools such as calculators and simulators to provide a trustworthy solution for common problems. For patients, pharma apps can also be useful for prescription management, medicine information, learning tools, and promotional content to be shared through the apps.
• Apps for Hospitals
Healthcare apps for hospitals help with the general management of departments, staff, and patient data. Hospital staff members can use them to log patient information, work hours, billing, drug usage and inventory, shift information, and other administrative tasks. After patients leave the hospitals, apps have helped to monitor them remotely. Studies have shown that 84% of hospital staff members use mobile technology for this purpose.
Choosing the Best Healthcare App Development Partner
With different types of healthcare apps and the countless tools and platforms available for app development, choosing your app developer can be daunting. Here are some of our guidelines to help you make the best choice.
Experience in Building Healthcare Apps
With the app proliferation the world is currently witnessing, developers are now found in every nook and cranny worldwide. However, be wary of establishing a partnership with any development company you come across. Healthcare app development is a particular craft that involves numerous standards, security measures, and practices that other app types like gaming or e-commerce lack.
You must select a development partner that not only has experience developing healthcare apps but also propositive. That means an ally who can give value with ideas and features to the business model, understand the product roadmap and the target audience.
Whether developing for doctors, patients, pharma, or all three, your app developers must understand your roadmap and design specifically for it.
The development partner should design the architecture patterns and the appropriate UX and UI. Should also ensure cross-platform functionality, provide clear communication channels, and enforce safety and data protection for HIPAA compliance. Analyzing and developing web apps, mobile apps, desktop apps, and cloud-hosting services are also necessary to ensure its operability. If any of these elements fail, your product may not be successful and valuable resources will be wasted.
You can find a capable and experienced healthcare development company in reliable portals such as Clutch or Mobile App Daily. They provide rankings, reviews, and ratings based on customer satisfaction, apps produced, and ability to deliver, among other parameters. You’ll find all the relevant information you need to make an informed decision.
Data Security and Regulatory Compliance
Most, if not all, healthcare apps deal with the traffic of sensitive health and medical information. Let’s consider that between 2009 and 2020, there were 3,705 healthcare data breaches (268,189,693 healthcare records, which represent 81.72% of the United States population). Numbers like these make us understand that we cannot overlook the importance of safety and data protection measures. For instance, gaming apps do not deal with these regulatory standards, enforced by governmental laws. There is where one of the most crucial benefits of hiring a healthcare-focused app developer lies. An ideal healthcare app developer sees HIPAA and GDPR (for the UK) compliance as one of the first steps in mapping your mobile product. They will protect you from getting fined or sanctioned. Also, they apply the proper tools to enforce these measures and ensure the protection of the sensitive data your app will be handling.
At Foonkey Monkey, for example, we employ high-level user authentication and authorization tools such as encryption, Identity Access Management Tools, token-based authentication, and multi-Factor authentication, among others. We use these tools to ensure your mobile product will be HIPAA or GDPR compliant and will safely keep and protect user information.
Efficient Development Practices and Methodologies
Efficient healthcare development teams understand that staff members with different skill sets require interoperability between them to perform more efficiently and produce better mobile products. One of the approaches to interoperability is called DevOps. DevOps is a cross-disciplinary methodology aimed at creating a system-oriented approach to software development and shifting the IT paradigm of unidirectional working. Additionally, DevOps always employ automation tools and technology aides, like Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning techniques, to leverage the programming process and deliver top-quality products. Choosing a healthcare development partner that works under this approach will care you with cost-friendly, efficient mobile solutions that promote user engagement and increase customer satisfaction.
Remember, DevOps teams, like ours at Foonkey Monkey, have been proven to deliver 30 times more frequently than the traditional one-way development strategies.
As stated above, mobile healthcare solutions are multi-directional and often imply more than one way of communication between parties. Coordinating patient care, pharma resources, hospital management, insurance information, test results and diagnoses, and treatment approaches isn’t always a straightforward endeavor. Imagine having to call a patient’s insurance provider to gather insurance data, then call the lab for test results. After that, research their medical history, schedule a procedure, send the data over, then wait for a reply, and then start over again.
Without interoperability, processes are dragged out and take away from the efficiency principle of healthcare app implementation. Hospitals and healthcare institutions have existing software and data systems that need to be integrated with the app’s ecosystem. Here’s where a capable app developer comes in and ties all systems and resources together to create interoperability, clear communication channels, and keep data and resources always at hand.
An experienced healthcare app developer can create a 360-degree view of the patient, the hospital, doctor’s resources, and pharma research or documents through APIs. This tool acts as an intermediary that allows software programs or applications to communicate with one another, whichever the case. Additionally, due to the large amounts of data handled by healthcare organizations, different formats or languages often come into conflict. A capable developer will make sure to employ APIs for managing the flow of information between an organization’s internal applications and ensure that data is always available, readable, and manageable.
One of the most important aspects of any development process is delivering a product that maintains the user’s attention and promotes engagement. This statement is especially true for healthcare apps because their users rarely use them for fun or entertainment. Medical apps address health-related interactions. That means the mobile product’s usability and visuals need to be engaging enough to keep users comfortable, safe and improve their job performance. This set of features is what we call UX/UI, User Experience, and User Interface design.
When selecting your healthcare app developer, look for a company with an impeccable track record at creating beautiful interfaces with intuitive flows. Remember, this will be the face of your app, and it will make or break your users’ engagement with your app. Studies show that 52% of users are less likely to engage with a company that doesn’t perform responsive mobile design. Moreover, 79% of the users place the highest level of importance on an app’s usability.
• UX/UI design best practices
A healthcare app developer that prioritizes the UX/UI design will deliver a usable and intuitive product based on the next best practices:
- Target research.
- Research state of the art among other apps inside the target’s usage and competitors.
- User Interface design.
- User feedback analysis.
Additionally, capable app development partners should enforce efficient and fast data traffic. They need to analyze all user stories, make the right balance between style and performance, optimize image and video sizes, manage redirects, and maintain overall functionality. Look for a developer who understands that healthcare UX/UI design is very particular. The doctors, pharma personnel, and patients who frequently use these types of apps want to steer clear from complex designs, intricate navigation, and complicated interfaces.
At Foonkey Monkey, we can give you the added value of having tech-savvy UX/UI designers among our staff. The benefits of employing these multidisciplinary professionals range from more efficient processes and troubleshooting to lower hiring costs. Learn more about how our tech-focused designers will further enhance your product’s features.
Proper Technology, Procedures, and Tools
To implement and make the best of all the features stated above, you need to choose an app development partner that understands and helps their employees grow professionally. Striving to always be on top of the latest technologies, procedures, and tools that enhance the app development process is also necessary for the developer partner. In a world with more than 592 million daily app downloads, app developers need to stay at the forefront of technological advances to deliver apps that stand the test of time, capture the users’ attention, and avoid fading into oblivion.
Your app development partner needs to understand and master programming languages such as Java or PHP. They need to implement frameworks, such as React Native or Xamarin, and use Artificial Intelligence for chatbots and Machine Learning to automate processes like database management. An ideal development partner also performs an initial analysis to establish your app’s requirements, which will result in a clear roadmap and an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), if applicable. They will also employ tools for effective UX/UI design, as we learned earlier. They will develop the architectural roadmap to put together your app’s structural aspects, with testing phases to ensure proper functioning. Lastly, the security measures, which are pivotal parts of any viable healthcare app, need to be implemented with tools like Auth0 that promote data security and ensure HIPAA compliance.
Options for Outsourcing
Outsourcing talent has become commonplace in the app development industry due to its benefits to any company, especially startups. Its popularity has spread worldwide, which has brought about the birth of approaches like nearshoring and offshoring. Healthcare app developers that offer these types of hiring options are what you should be looking for, especially during the pandemic when remote working is imperative for public health. Depending on your location, any outsourcing option has countless benefits that trump hiring in-house developers. Nearshore or offshore development teams are cost-efficient, culturally compatible, talented, and efficient, perfect for your development project. Your company can focus more resources and energy on expanding while your outsourced development project is in the hands of a capable, prepared partner.
Keep in mind that the healthcare development company you choose has the operational capacity and experience to work on your project long-distance. This developer partner should also have capable professional team members at hand to work on developing your new healthcare app. Foonkie Monkey offers both outsourcing options, so you can count on an experienced, highly professional staff whenever you need them. We share your corporate culture, time zone, language, and we allow you to optimize costs and development times.
App development for the medical field delivers digital medical solutions that optimize business processes for patients, doctors, pharma companies, and healthcare facilities. All these benefits brought about by the mobile healthcare boom are only possible with the proper development process behind them. Healthcare app developers are the forerunners who deliver efficient mobile solutions to simplify patient routing among medical and pharma organizations. An experienced and capable healthcare app development partner will help you maximizing user engagement and satisfaction while helping you save money, time, and energy. They will also ensure functional, safe, and intuitive mobile solutions that will stand the test of time and tackle the variability that often comes with the medical field.
At Foonkey Monkey, we have been providing healthcare software and development services for over ten years. We always strive to draw from the leading technologies, tools, practices, and latest trends to deploy high-quality HIPAA (or other regulations) compliant products. Our experts are more than prepared to apply their skill set to any healthcare project and to implement their knowledge in any stage of the app’s life cycle, whether it be research, UX/UI design, architecture, programming, testing, or deployment.