For the past few years, healthcare mobile app development has accelerated at an unprecedented speed. Clear as a bell that mHealth apps are starting to shape its industry with a great number of various products presented on the market.
Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), full tilt progress of mobile technologies, and the constant security enhancements, medical apps are giving a solid base for groundbreaking solutions we could not possibly imagine some years ago.
Not only vast opportunities but also numbers tell us that the peak growth is yet to come. According to some researches CARG (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for 2019 to 2025 for the global mobile health apps market is 38.26%. A figure to think about.
mHealth apps market forecast in the United States from 2018 to 2025, by type
Top 5 Considerations to Focus on When Developing an mHealth App
Designing a product and finding a proper solution for a particular issue can be a complex process. In order to create an impeccable app that satisfies all interested parties, it is wise to mind some considerations and focus on the crucial points.
Here are the key healthcare mobile app development tips to walk through with us.
1. Interoperability and Compatibility
When working on mHealth apps, interoperability is one of the most significant considerations. It refers to the ability of the applications, devices, and systems to successfully connect and coordinate with each other.
Hospital staff may use a great variety of software and equipment: Practice Management Systems and EHR solutions, dermatological sensors, scheduling applications, etc. Thus, you need to ensure that the app you are creating can effectively interact with all existing software applications in a typical for your healthcare facility ecosystem.
Another fact to take into account is hosting. The benefits of the cloud are essential: it protects data from the loss by hosting it on different servers, provides higher performance and 100% uptime. That is why a vast majority of enterprise healthcare mobility solutions like scheduling applications rely on it.
Nevertheless, many hospitals still tend to install traditional hosting – shared or dedicated – associating it with a less expensive solution compared to a cloud one. Therefore, a compatibility layer built in your app would be an asset that will bring your app to function with the existing setup.
2. Data Security and Regulatory Compliance
Security is a crucial point in app development at all times, notably in the healthcare environment. Medical software is home to a trove of sensitive data and private information. Hence, the responsibility for safety and privacy is not subject to neglect.
Storing app data on devices would not be the best choice in terms of extra security measures. Storing data on the app server – that is initially built for speed and efficiency, not for security – may also cause possible data leakage. Sounds puzzling?
The solution, in this case, would be ensuring confidentiality through encryption and the use of secure communication channels. Think about applying end-to-end encryption that can provide further means to protect sensitive healthcare data.
Implement the right multi-factor authentication method, where it is needed the most. By protecting access to your app, this additional guard layer will mitigate the authentication risks. Avoid misusing it, for you do not want to burden the workflows for clinicians and staff.
Be ready to face the menaces and protect your app from possible penetration. Forewarned is forearmed. Hacker, social engineer, or man-in-the-middle attacks can threaten your app. Focus on double-checking all possible breaches and eliminating security flaws.
Another focal point is rules and laws regulating medical data. They vary depending on the region and the type of medical content. Conduct research before developing your app to make it safe according to these rules.
Healthcare messaging standards and general requirements for protecting personal health information – HIPAA, FHIR, CDA, Direct, etc. – provide a secure way of data exchange. Make sure your app is compliant with them.
Not as easy as ABC? If you only begin your way in this field, opt for an experienced team of developers as they are aware of what standards to follow and know what set of policies medical data should fall under.
3. UI and UX Considerations
Another subject whose importance is never faded is user experience and user interface design. While developing a healthcare mobile app and polishing its particulars, UI/UX should draw your careful attention. Practically speaking, it plays a major role in keeping the audience involved.
These days both doctors and patients frequently use medical applications and dedicate a lot of time to entering varied data. Thus, try to eliminate complex design solutions and emphasize the ease of use. Stay simple. Visuals should be relevant and harmonious, containing plain target elements.
Most likely, patients using the app suffer from conditions or might be under treatment in a vulnerable state. Following this, peaceful and comforting emotions are the best message design could deliver. It would not be superfluous to mindfully choose fonts, sizes, colors, and keep an eye on overall readability. Anything that bewilders or causes spending extra time on acting will inevitably drive away your users.
Here is an enthralling story from TEDx about why Healthcare UX, in general, is important and how it can be improved:
4. API Components
API makes it easy for software programs to interact with each other and exchange data. Imagine that there are two river banks – unrelated to each other apps – that are connected by a bridge, or API, allowing data to flow between them no matter how these apps were initially designed.
First of all, you will need APIs when integrating a new mHealth app with an existing healthcare environment and different third-party services and tools. In this case, your goal is to ensure interoperability, streamline operations, and provide patients with a higher quality of care.
Research the available solutions – make sure if they are open, have up-to-date documentation, and supported by the developer community. Consider that you might need to request additional API from vendors and suppliers to simplify workflows in some cases. Remember that not each of them is open to third parties.
Another scenario is to encourage healthcare providers and app developers to integrate their services with your solution. In this case, you need to provide an API.
When creating your own API stay focused on security and privacy concerns. It is vital to make sure that the records remain private and are accessed, for example, only by doctors, patients, or insurance companies. Consider writing well-defined API documentation.
5. Healthcare Mobile App Development and IoT Devices
There has been a growing buzz around IoT solutions for the past few years. Statistics prove that it is not just a hype or vague assumption. Based on the summary of Reports and Data, the IoT in Healthcare market is poised to hit 411.53 billion US$ by 2026 with a CAGR of 19.3%.
Today, health is wealth. An increasing number of people of all generations lead a healthier lifestyle stimulating the growth of the global health and wellness market. As public health awareness rises, it entails higher medical service requirements.
Here IoT devices come in handy being a better, faster, and in some cases cheaper solution. They help save time and simplify treatment by providing remote patient monitoring and medical assistance, enhanced chronic disease treatment, or smart hospital solutions.
So, what are the IoT devices leveraged in the healthcare sector? Here are some popular types:
- Healthcare charting
- Ingestible sensors
- Computer vision technology
Taking into account the complexity of the solved issues, a variety of devices and communication protocols or standards, there are a few challenges in medical IoT to keep in view:
We know that the data transfer flows from IoT devices and sensing units to a system and is usually kept in cloud storage after. Remain alert when applying cloud-based functionality. Consider deploying top-notch encryption and providing up-to-date protection.
Integration: multiple devices and protocols
IoT may connect a large number of devices. To create a flexible system, all of them should connect and aggregate information without a hindrance. Even if there is no uniformity of communication protocols yet, make sure that your app is developed according to such guidelines as HIPAA and FIPS that contain a lot of rules and regulations. Also, keep in mind API consideration we mentioned above.
IoT sensors and devices can generate a vast amount of data. When developing your IoT app, consider storage capability that would allow holding a colossal volume of information for an indefinite time. Get insights on the data size stored on the cloud. Skilled analytic engineers and data experts may help you to achieve this goal.
Facilitating Mobile Health Transformation
Today the potential of AI and ML for healthcare is hard to overestimate. By deriving fresh and meaningful insights from the enormous amount of data, the market comes with new solutions for the medical industry.
AI and ML functions built in the apps enable us to check symptoms, guide a patient to the correct care based on its diagnosis, detect cancer beforehand, assist radiology, or even fight depression.
Fast forward a couple of years, a great number of solutions can be expected in biopharmaceutical development, rare disease treatment, and cloud-based digital drug discovery.
IoT, AI, and ML invade digital markets and stimulate the transition and update of software systems and solutions. This all facilitates mobile health transformation. In a partnership with Blockchain technology, they can participate in forming a reliable, innovative mHealth app industry.
If you want to leave a mark in this field, remember about the importance of some facets while approaching the creation of your prominent app. Interoperability, easy-to-operate UX, and compatibility require your careful attention as their role is to make interactions, data transfer, and overall usability efficient. Security and regulatory compliance are not less if not more principal since they cover healthcare data safety and privacy.
Ready to Make a Breakthrough?
Healthcare mobile app development has a prosperous future. We can hope that in due time mHealth solutions will be a part of every medical ecosystem bringing service, quality, and customer satisfaction to the highest standards.
If you are looking for a customized healthcare solution, it is time to contact us. Our team is highly competent and ready to take on a challenge. Choosing Velvetech as a software vendor will smoothly guide you through the process of development of a competitive mHealth app.