Healthcare apps are revolutionizing the healthcare industry, and it’s not just another bold claim. Just in the past couple of years, the number of mobile healthcare apps across iOS and Android stores doubled, paving the way for more affordable and efficient medical care.
In this article, we’d like to highlight the value of health tracking apps for the healthcare industry and businesses that operate within it. We will also introduce you to the most common types of health software and reveal the essentials for successful healthcare mobile app development. Let’s go!
Types of Healthcare Apps
It’s easy to understand why people like using healthcare apps: they improve efficiency and automate tedious health tracking procedures, regardless if it’s maintaining a healthy lifestyle or taking care of chronic diseases. For hospitals, using healthcare apps means less bureaucracy and monotonous tasks. And each healthcare application type has its devoted users
General Health & Fitness Apps
The most popular types of health and fitness apps are, of course, general health tracking apps, weight management tools, and fitness apps.
General health apps help people maintain their wellbeing according to their individual parameters, while fitness apps allow users to build their physical activity programs around specific needs. Users prefer these types of apps most because they offer 24/7 access to physicians or personal trainers.
This leads us to the best way of monetizing these types of apps -- partnering with physicians or hospitals, gyms, and fitness brands. MyFitnessPal, Headspace, SleepCycle, and HealthTap are excellent examples of doing just that.
Chronic Care Management Apps
Often referred to as Chronic Disease Management software or CDM, such apps are powered by hospitals to remotely support their patients with chronic health conditions.
Chronic care apps are a game-changer for people with diabetes, heart or lung diseases, and even mental health patients. With the help of this software, people can continue their everyday activities without organizing their lives around doctor appointments. There are plenty of apps like this on the market, including Medisafe, Pain Diary, ZocDoc, and CPT Coach.
Medication Tracking Apps
These apps assist users in following the prescribed therapy plan. While it may sound like a trivial app, its importance shouldn’t be underestimated as 39% of people simply forget to take their medication, and 50% don’t take their meds as prescribed.
Medication tracking apps eliminate the error in dosage, make sure the user doesn’t miss a pill, and remind them to replenish supplies. But if you add AI, apps like these will be able to offer even more. AI-based medication management apps can devise the ultimate therapy schedule by combining individual user data and prescription information.
The most known examples of medication tracking apps are Medisafe, MyMeds, and Pill Reminder by Drugs.com.
Women’s Health Tracking Apps
Female physiology differs from male and is much more demanding. That is why female health apps are a thing. A very popular, actually -- 25% of US women of childbearing age who have a smartphone use health apps. These apps can be divided into three categories:
- Fertility or period monitoring mobile apps. Help women keep track of their periods to know when a woman is fertile or not.
- Pregnancy trackers. Allow pregnant women to track their baby growth and their wellbeing over the course of the pregnancy. Many of these are also acting as a social network that’s connecting moms-to-be with each other.
- Motherhood planning apps. Help new moms schedule or track breastfeeding, sleeping, vaccinations, checkups for both the mother and the baby.
The female mobile app market is huge, but the most well-known apps in this segment are I’m Expecting, Glow, Clue, and Hey! Vina.
Personal Health Records Apps
If patients visit more than one doctor, they have to drag their medical records from one specialist to another. And if that’s not enough, if a doctor requires additional information, patients would have to go back to the previous clinic or doctor’s office and request it. Fortunately, personal health records apps relieve patients of the hassle.
Also referred to as electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) software, these apps are often developed by hospitals. In this case, doctors are the ones who create and store patients’ information in the system.
The most known personal health records apps are Medical Records, Patient Medical Records & Appointments for Doctors, and HealthVault.
The telemedicine or telehealth application market experienced significant growth during the COVID-19 lockdown. They became essential once people weren’t able to get an offline doctor appointment.
In non-emergency cases, medical consulting apps help users get medical advice and required prescriptions without visiting clinics. Many of these application vendors partner up with pharmacies and can even ship the prescribed medicine. Scheduling automatic refills is another bonus of these apps.
Examples include Teledoc, Doctor on Demand, MDLIVE, and many more.
Medical Reference & E-Learning Apps for Doctors
Medical workers have to always keep up with the new information that’s constantly appearing in the healthcare industry. Plus, doctors often have to double-check their treatment or subscriptions and align them with the latest practices. Medical reference apps were designed to help them with this.
While these apps are targeting practicing doctors, e-learning tools are focused on helping med students, PG aspirants, and interns keep up with their programs.
The examples of medical references and e-learning software would be Epocrates, Muscle, and Bone Anatomy 3D, Medscape.
Patient Information Management Apps
Patient management apps were developed to make it easy for doctors to get familiar with patients’ medical histories. This optimizes the doctors’ workload, which allows them to help more people.
Some of these apps are a component of larger telemedicine apps. But if we’re talking about standalone patient management apps, they are Cerner Physician Express II, Allscripts Remote+, and Epic Haiku.
Now that we’ve outlined the main types of medical apps, let’s look at what it takes to develop them.
What You Need to Know Before Developing Health Tracking Apps
As with any software, you have to know the peculiarities of the industry it’s designed for before building it. So before you get down to healthcare mobile app development, you need to:
Create a Strategy
- Define what type of app. You have to understand your target audience and make sure you are solving their essential problems.
- Study your competitors. Learn their pain points and see what their strengths are. And of course, try to outperform them.
- Define your monetization plan. Make sure your business idea is sustainable and align it with your development plan. Think of your long-term income goals every step of the way
- Test your idea. Build a simple MVP and test it on users. Learn from the test project results and rely on them when developing the final product.
Abide by Healthcare Regulations
Healthcare is one of the most strictly regulated sectors, and for a reason. Make sure you are aligned with the healthcare regulatory compliance of the country you will be operating in from the very beginning of your project.
Create an Outstanding User Experience
- Validate your idea with potential users. Make sure the product you are developing is relevant and easy-to-use. It means you have to perform regular surveys and testing.
- Hire professionals. If you don’t have a competent in-house team, find a software vendor that’s an expert in the healthcare niche. Vakoms, for example, has learned a lot during our healthcare software projects. By hiring experts, you dodge the possible rookie mistakes.
- Make the intuitive design your priority. Make sure your app’s interface is exceptional, yet intuitive. After all, people of all ages will be using your healthcare application.
Finally, it’s time to talk about the features to include in your mobile application.
Critical Features of Healthcare Mobile Apps
Entice users to use your app and make the registration process as simple as possible. Social media sign-ups make it extremely easy for a person to become a regular user and provide you with the valuable data they’ve already shared on social media.
Make sure the geolocation is working correctly. On top of letting the emergency know where a patient is, it can also connect users to nearby clinics, pharmacies, or hospitals, depending on the app’s specifics.
Scheduling & Calendar Tools
Your app will probably have to take care of the user’s schedule, whether it’s taking meds, exercising, or showing an upcoming doctor’s appointment. Make sure this feature synchronizes across all devices and is user-friendly.
As your app will have to remind users of actions they have to take, you want to make sure push notifications are working correctly. Notification accuracy is especially important in healthcare apps.
Payment Gateway Integration
Whether the user will need to pay for a doctor’s appointment or purchase the prescribed drugs, the payment process must be seamless.
If you’re building a telemedicine app, doctors and patients will have to communicate directly in the app. It can be a video, a phone call, or users can simply chat. Decide what user roles will need to communicate and provide them with an excellent chatting experience.
On top of all these instructions, we also recommend keeping in mind the overall mobile development recommendations.
At Vakoms, we love developing healthcare apps because we believe in their importance. Perhaps, that is why our client’s healthcare software development to us.
Every tip we gave in this article has been tried and tested by the Vakoms team, and here are a couple of examples to show you that they really work.
Diabetic Community Support App
Chronic diseases can make people feel isolated, so it’s important to know you are not alone. Our client’s goal was to help patients with diabetes connect with each other, share their stories, and support each other in their struggle.
We built a mobile app where users can sign in with their Facebook accounts and access the community from their iOS or Android devices, as well as a browser. Later, we developed a separate app for people with diabetes that allows contacting urgent care service in case of an emergency.
Surgery Support App
This mobile application combines the features of the personal health record, medication, and chronic care management apps. It was designed to help patients cope with surgeries and give them a sense of calmness and control. The application developed by Vakoms supports patients and their families during the entire surgery process from preparation to recovery, updating users on the timeline and explaining the treatment.
Users also receive reminders about the necessary steps to take before the surgery. The app helps fill out the necessary documents, navigates them to the hospital on the day of the surgery, and gives all the essential postoperative instructions.
The Bottom Line
The HealthTech industry is at its peak. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world’s views on online medicine and increased the popularity of health tracking tools. Also, as overall health awareness improves, people keep figuring out new ways to take better care of themselves with the help of technology. And it’s definitely much easier to keep track of pregnancy or chronic health conditions when you have an app for that.