Codica

Healthcare App Development: Functionality, Approach and Tips

Today, many healthcare services have become more accessible with apps. Such solutions ease our lives with prompt appointment scheduling, immediate access to healthcare records, and convenient billing options. Healthcare mobile apps also assist in education for patients and medical professionals.

So, healthcare mobile app development is a viable idea. But you need to consider certain essential aspects that will help you create a functional solution.

This article gives a profound analysis of the key aspects that are vital for healthcare mobile app development. Read on to identify what they are to make your healthcare app delightful for the target audience.

Healthcare app: definition

A healthcare app is a software tool built for mobile devices that helps users to send data and monitor their health and health issues. Healthcare apps help users to get medical advice and keep electronic health records (EHRs). They also help submit insurance claims.

With the healthcare mobile app, you can monitor key health metrics. These are calorie intake, physical activity, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, etc.

Health app vs mobile medical app

There are different types of apps in the healthcare industry that help people. For example, people can use these apps to maintain their health and track their conditions. These apps fall into two main categories: health and medical apps.

People download such apps on smartphones, tablets, or desktops. The most common types of health apps include the following:

  • Physical activity monitoring;
  • Sleep pattern tracking;
  • Stress management tracking;
  • Nutrition and calorie counting.

On the other hand, medical apps connect patients and healthcare facilities or are created as guides for doctors. These apps serve the following purposes:

  • Telemedicine;
  • Remote patient monitoring;
  • EHRs access;
  • Chronic disease management;
  • Simplifying the consultation process;
  • Educating medical professionals.

In this article, we use the term health or healthcare app both for general health apps and medical apps.

Why is healthcare app development vital in 2022?

Digitalization in healthcare has become a priority due to the advantages it proved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital solutions play a key role in monitoring health. There are a few reasons for that. Let’s examine why patients and doctors win from using healthcare apps.

Receive immediate access to healthcare. Healthcare apps can be accessed from anywhere and through any device. You can reach a healthcare facility or a doctor 24/7 or as soon as possible. It ensures remote health monitoring from home, which is vital for the elderly and people limited in physical activity.

Easily track users’ health. Mobile health apps help track the physical and mental state of users. Health apps allow setting plans and tracking calorie and water intake personalized to individual needs. By tracking physical and mental health, users can get support, for instance, medical advice from their therapist.

Improve treatment process. An app allows physicians to access patients’ data near-real-time. So, the treatment process becomes faster and more accurate. Physicians take corrective measures if needed as soon as possible. Also, patients become more engaged in the treatment process as it is easy for them to adhere to the treatment plan with an app.

Reduce costs for medical services. Healthcare apps help to automate and streamline medical consultation processes. They include billing, scheduling appointments, and filling prescriptions. Patients can directly send their data, such as insurance cards. This will reduce the paperwork that doctors need to do.

Moreover, with the help of these apps, hospitals can serve patients without their visits. So it will decrease the need for human resources and the clinic's management costs.

Help prevent legal issues. Healthcare apps are created under regulations on patients’ data security. Also, the electronic turnover of health records makes access to patients’ information easier and more accurate. This reduces the risk of legal errors and loss of reimbursements for individuals.

Healthcare app market overview and stats

As healthcare keeps implementing digital tools, the mobile health (mHealth) app market size is projected to grow. The mHealth app market was valued at $38.2 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.8% from 2022 to 2030.

Number of mHealth apps available in the Google Play Store from 2015 to 2022

Source: Statista.com

The major factors projected to drive the healthcare mobile application market are as follows:

  • Promoting the adoption of health care apps by governmental and private organizations.
  • Continuous improvement of healthcare apps by developers.
  • Expanding usage of social media with app promotions.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the active adoption of mHealth apps. The healthcare mobile app development services allowed people to monitor their health state. Using these apps, people were also able to trace contacts and share information.

Types of healthcare apps

Despite the diversity of healthcare apps, there are two main types of them. The healthcare apps are developed for doctors and patients. Let’s find out what they are and how they help users monitor their health and do medical work.

Now we will consider the apps for doctors.

Professional healthcare apps for doctors

These apps are helpful for doctors, nurses, physicians, and other staff in medical organizations. So, they include advanced features and are adapted to handle complex tasks for medical workers.

Medical record apps

These are the typical medical apps available on the market. The apps let collect information on the patients’ health and record it. The app allows a doctor to record data on physical indicators, family history, chronic diseases, and current conditions. Also, a doctor can record the data on examinations, appointments, and prescriptions.

  • Intergy,
  • SimplePractice,
  • Celerity.

Medical prescription apps

These apps let doctors select the right drugs for a patient and wrap them in a list. The apps help prescribe the drugs in the right dosage and cancel them at any time. If necessary, you can print the prescription and show it to a pharmacy. The following are examples of prescription apps.

  • STAT,
  • RxEasy,
  • GoodRx.

Billing apps

Such apps help medical professionals steer the processes of charging fees. Also, they help manage claims, do accounting, and process payments. Top billing apps include the following:

  • Pabau,
  • Jane,
  • MyClients Plus.

Electronic history/medical records

Typically, mobile medical apps allow you to streamline the process of keeping records and billing for medical facilities. Thus, the healthcare application combines the functions of keeping records and taking charges.

Today, health apps have the functionality of keeping patient records as default. It combines with billing options. Such a combination allows doctors to have the necessary information on hand. The apps keep records of patients’ physical data, chronic diseases, and current conditions. Also, the healthcare application gives information on the current medical treatment and family history.

Moreover, the apps allow you to charge and record the collected fees. So, you can make invoices, manage claims, and do accounting. You can choose between the following popular solutions:

  • DrChrono,
  • Kareo,
  • CureMD,
  • CareCloud.

Telehealth apps

These apps allow doctors to make appointments and provide consultations to users via in-app messages or video calls. Telemedicine apps help reduce “no-shows” by 50%. Also, clients can receive the consultation while they are at home. The popular telehealth apps are the following:

  • Amwell,
  • ViTel Net,
  • Caregility,
  • Visual Dx.

For instance, Visual Dx is the healthcare mobile app helps doctors to give correct diagnoses with a rich database of images collected over 20 years. It allows doctors to verify their diagnoses in dermatology, internal medicine, pediatrics, and more.

The data gathered in the health mobile app include summaries of more than 3,200 diagnoses. Visual Dx allows doctors to review patients’ histories, allergies, and recent travels. This helps to provide an accurate and unbiased diagnosis.

Medical networking

Physicians and nurses must keep up with the latest medical trends and keep their knowledge as fresh as possible. Networking and communication on social media are one of the means to follow the recent medical trends. The popular networking apps for medical staff are the following:

  • Daily Rounds,
  • Doximity,
  • Sermo,
  • UpToDate,
  • Epocrates.

The Epocrates app integrates many features for doctors to help in their practice. It includes a wide range of research pieces and discoveries. Epocrates provides doctors with Symptom Checker, Disease Database, Drug References, and Medicine Specific Calculator, to name a few. Doctors can connect with each other through an app using the service called Athena Text.

Another advantage of the app is that it can work offline. So, doctors can use it even with a poor Internet connection. Currently, over one million specialists use the app.

Epocrates healthcare app

There are plenty of healthcare mobile apps for patients. Let’s consider some of them.

Healthcare apps for patients

Healthcare mobile apps for patients help assess the key physical indicators. Such apps are diverse and help users understand their health state. Also, the apps contain recommendations on wellness. Let’s see what the types of patient apps are and how they assist users in monitoring their health.

Health monitoring

These apps are designed for remote patient monitoring. They can check symptoms, prompt medication intake, or give treatment advice. They can also help track chronic conditions, like cancer and diabetes.

  • Ada,
  • Welltory,
  • Ornament,
  • Teladoc.

It is a leading telehealth and telemedicine app. Teladoc provides mobile healthcare help 24/7 globally. You can talk with certified specialists about the common symptoms. For example, discuss symptoms of cold or flu, skin issues, mental or psychological aspects, and nutrition.

The process of contacting a doctor is streamlined, and the costs are kept transparent. The app integrates with the Apple’s HealthKit enabling patients to upload their physical data for review to Teladoc’s specialist. Teladoc offers its app for patients, healthcare vendors, and doctors.

  • MyChart.

MyChart is one of the most popular apps for patients and has been downloaded over 10 million times on the Google App Store. It is a comprehensive healthcare mobile app that offers a vast spectrum of services. You can handle the information that you provide and get during your visits to medical facilities.

With the app, you can communicate with the healthcare team and get appointments for in-person and video visits. The app shows examination results, prescriptions, and medical history.

The excellence of the app also lies in the fact that you can connect with many healthcare facilities. The only necessity here is that the facilities should support using MyChart. The app also integrates with a popular GoogleFit app. So, you can retrieve your health data from GoogleFit to MyChart.

MyChart healthcare app

Medication tracking apps

Medication trackers are quite widespread due to their simplicity and usefulness. Such apps help people to take their medication on time by scheduling and reminding them. Also, they monitor drugs in the local pharmacies and help find the cheapest ones. You can select the following apps that users appreciate:

  • ScriptSave WellRX,
  • Medisafe Pill Reminder,
  • MyTherapy Pill Reminder,
  • Dosecast.

Mental health apps

Mental healthcare applications aim to help users to access therapy in the comfort of their homes or wherever they need it. The apps contain relaxing meditations and breathing exercises. They help cope with stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

The apps help detect behavior changes and signal the need for help. Also, they will connect you with a peer counselor or health care specialist. The apps that people enjoy using are as follows:

  • Talkspace,
  • iBreathe,
  • Calm.

Wellness apps

This group embraces healthy lifestyle apps that help you stay fit and healthy. With the wellness app for patients, you can choose body and brain exercises and self-improvement habits. You can choose between the following prominent apps:

  • Remente,
  • BetterMe,
  • FollowMyHealth.

The FollowMyHealth healthcare mobile app has the necessary functionality to take active care of your health. Many patients and physicians use the app to handle healthcare activities. With the app, you can schedule and change appointments and fill in pre-appointment information.

FollowMyHealth provides a secure environment to review medical records and view test and lab results. You can update your personal information in this healthcare mobile app at any time. Also, the app allows you to view and pay bills.

  • MindPal - Brain Training.

Nutrition apps

These apps help you plan and maintain healthy nutrition habits. Essential features for such apps include calorie counter, menu planning, and recipes database. Also, such apps may include a food scanning feature that counts the calories of the food you are eating now. The apps people trust include the following:

  • MyFitnessPal: Calorie Counter,
  • Lifesum: Healthy Eating and Diet,
  • Calorie Counter App: Fooducate.

Medical education apps

These apps create an up-to-date database for doctors, students, and users who want to know more about healthcare. Medical education apps include virtual classes, online assessments, gamification, and other features. Notable examples of such apps include the following:

  • Medscape,
  • Lecturio Medical Education,
  • MedLear - Medical Education.

Compliances for healthcare apps: local and international guidelines

The factors that hold back the mHealth market include security concerns and data privacy. As mHealth apps store persons’ health data, the risks of data leaks should be minimized. The leaks can be in the following forms:

  • Unauthorized data access;
  • Hacking;
  • Data breaches;
  • Malware programs.

Also, mHealth apps need to be approved by relevant organizations in the healthcare industry for compliance with regulations. The tech side of the healthcare application must ensure data security. This factor hampers the market growth as it takes time and costs to develop a complying app and get approval for it.

Health mobile app development requires strict compliance with local and international regulations. Such compliances ensure secure app functioning and data confidentiality. The following is the list of regulations that apply to healthcare applications.

  • HIPAA. This standard applies to the apps that transmit, record, and keep protected healthcare information (PHI). Such apps, created for the United States market, must comply with this standard. This standard has protected healthcare data confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility since 1996.

Below you can see what main requirements must HIPAA compliant app meet.

HIPAA requirements for healthcare apps

Source: Bigid.com

  • HiTECH. These regulations are adopted in the United States and strengthen the HIPAA standard. HiTECH incentivized the wider introduction of electronic healthcare records in healthcare facilities. Thus, the standard advanced healthcare and improved care coordination.

  • CCPA. This United States act regulates how organizations collect, process, and delete personal information. This act is similar to the European GDPR. Under CCPA, you can request information on what data are collected and how it is processed and stored. Also, you can request that the organization deletes your data.

  • PIPEDA. This is an act adopted in Canada relating to data privacy. The standard helps to secure users’ data stored in the apps. It requires that healthcare apps encrypt the data transmission and provide reliable authentication. The data under this act must be collected with users' consent.

  • GDPR. These rules were introduced in the European Union in 2018 to protect personal data. Thus, apps used in the European Union must comply with this regulation. The important note is that the regulation applies both to companies that collect personal data and companies that process it.

  • DPA. This act applies to healthcare apps operating in the United Kingdom. The act supplements GDPR and protects personal data gathered, processed, and stored in development. It regulates the conditions before collecting personal data and third-party access to such data.

Data protection regulations for healthcare apps

Healthcare app features

Despite the diversity of healthcare applications serving different purposes, there are certain features that make such apps helpful for users. Let’s look more closely at what they are.

Typical healthcare app features

There are some basic and popular features for your health app. But what exactly are we talking about?

Convenient registration and login

The login feature allows users to promptly input their information and, thus, reduces waiting time for an appointment. The login feature in your app should be streamlined to deliver the best user experience. Login and registration should allow users to input any information to create and access their profiles easily.

For example, below is a registration form for referral management software created by Codica. As it works in Israel, its login form is in Hebrew.

Referrals system login form

Doctor profile search

The healthcare mobile app that you create should provide an opportunity for individuals to choose the doctor they want to see. The doctor profile lookup feature is necessary if your app offers in-person registration or virtual appointments.

Thus, patients will look through the doctor’s credentials. Also, they can choose a professional based on reviews from other users. Including geolocation will help patients to choose a doctor in the vicinity depending on their location.

Appointment booking

Appointment scheduling is one of the core features of your healthcare app. It allows patients and doctors to select, change or cancel an appointment, saving time for the scheduling process.

The app should show the free slots for an appointment from which patients can choose the convenient one. When a physician or an admin approves the appointment, a patient gets confirmation.

For example, this feature is the core of the Zocdoc app.

Zocdoc app has an appointment booking

Reminders and notifications

In-app reminders and push notifications are essential features that you should implement in your app. They are helpful but should not be intrusive. When you do them correctly, reminders and notifications improve user experience. For example, they remind users about appointments.

Also, you can preset reminders and help patients take medicine on time. Such nuance will enhance the healthcare process.

Video conferencing for doctor and patient

Virtual consultations have gone mainstream in the form of telemedicine. Many hospitals and healthcare professionals move to this form of communication with patients. Thus, the secure audio and video consultation feature is a useful tool for your app.

Also, you can add a feature for accessing patients’ history records during consultation. This way, you will bring the efficiency of the healthcare process to a new level.

Note that data collection, storage, and exchange must comply with HIPAA or another applicable standard.

Symptom checker

This feature allows patients to check typical symptoms with the healthcare mobile app. The comprehensive database of verified medical information makes the checker a valuable tool. Techno-savvy users will enjoy it.

Chatbots and in-app chats

Introducing chatbots with artificial intelligence will assist patients in first-level medical care. Regarding the symptoms, chatbots with AI and machine learning will define the next actions for a patient.

Also, a chatbot can offer to book an appointment with a doctor if needed. If a patient does not want to schedule an appointment, a chatbot can lead them to a chat with a medical specialist.

You can enrich chats with a file-sharing feature. Patients can send clinical test results and reports to practitioners. This will facilitate diagnosing process.

For example, the Woebot chatbot helps to maintain emotional health.

Woebot emotional health chatbot

Integration with electronic health records (EHR/EMR)

Access to medical history data with an app allows doctors and patients to see their data immediately. Electronic healthcare records keep track of the treatment process. For this, they comprise laboratory tests, radiographic pictures, and medication history. It means that patients’ data are processed promptly and gathered at one point.

Viewing EHR in the app saves time for doctors to diagnose patients. Also, access to medical records is useful when a patient needs to be referred to a professional.

Integration with medical devices

Data drive the future of healthcare apps. Data collected by medical devices empowers physicians when they determine the treatment.

The medical devices and app integration is helpful with a dashboard feature. It helps doctors and specialists view the health results. When patients see the data on the medical device, they better understand their health state. This way, they become more engaged in the treatment process.

Prescriptions and pharmacy lookup

The ePrescription feature allows physicians to create and send prescriptions to patients via the app. They show the needed medicine and dosage clearly.

Also, you can add a pharmacy lookup feature. It can help patients check drug availability in a pharmacy. Also, patients can see the information on drug interactions and possible side effects.

Billing and payments

These features allow patients to pay for consultations with doctors. Still, pay attention that they require strict encryption and implementation of high-security systems. This will ensure safe connectivity when a user pays for a consultation with a doctor or laboratory tests.

Below is an example app of MDBilling helping doctors creating claims for patients.

Patient community

Including discussion, the feature enhances patients’ engagement in the treatment process. The community feature allows users to share information on common issues. For example, this can be coping with chronic or other continuous conditions. Thus, the feature improves treatment outcomes.

Health education

This feature allows patients to access wide information on health and well-being. App users can read about the human body, mental health, exercise, and nutrition.

The apps also can provide up-date medical information to doctors ensuring continuous education. You can include terminology, medical reference, and access to medical literature and journals. This is useful for medical students and practitioners.

Next-generation functionality in health apps

As of 2022, the healthcare app industry has trends that will move healthcare apps in the future. These trends help users and thus remain in demand. Healthcare needs to meet the demand as the requirements change from users, both patients and doctors.

The apps need to be up-to-date and serve the aim of making correct diagnosing and treatment. Therefore, understanding current healthcare trends will help your app meet the demand.

By adding the next-generation features to your healthcare mobile app, you can improve user experiences. Also, you can guarantee higher involvement rates among the target audience.

Advanced technologies for building health apps

Let’s discover what the trends for healthcare apps are and how they can improve user experience.

Interoperability

It means that a healthcare application can work on different devices. Interoperability helps patients to make smarter medical decisions and better outcomes of treatment. But this also involves care about patient data that institutions not covered by HIPAA or other standards must transmit.

So, this means challenges as the apps still must be secure and provide the best user experience. This approach ensures that patients will be able to receive medical care remotely if they need it.

Remote patients’ health control

Modern technologies help enhance the treatment process through remote interaction. Today, there are apps helping track the patient's health and overcome issues with chronic diseases. This way, individuals get medical assistance without leaving the comfort of their homes. If a patient needs rapid help, the healthcare application helps access an appointment with a doctor.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine apps have been used over recent years and proved their profitability. The main driver for using telehealth apps was the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are other contributors, like the high costs of traditional medicine and the increase in digital health users. The telemedicine market is projected to reach nearly $460 billion by 2030.

Forecast for telemedicine market by Statista for 2019 - 2030

Source: Statista.com

Telemedical apps cannot replace traditional medical services. However, they are useful for common cases and prescriptions. Thanks to the online exchange of information, patients do not have to visit a clinic physically. This saves patients' and doctors' time, so critical patients receive consultation sooner.

Medical equipment integration

Integrating the app with medical equipment is a unique process and depends on the type of software and facility. After that, doctors can access the latest patient data on their health conditions.

Integration can be made using API transmitting health information from users’ wearable devices. Thus, doctors will be informed on time of the patient's condition. The connection also can be made with health monitoring devices like blood sugar meters, pace monitors, or pulsimeters.

Gamification

As healthcare apps rise, they must stay engaging for users. It helps users care about themselves and make your app unique.

So, what is gamification? It is an approach to using game techniques in non-gaming apps. This method helps users achieve the set goals and keep them engaged with the healthcare mobile app. According to the survey from ResearchDive, the global healthcare gamification market will grow at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2019 to 2026.

Game elements do more than entertain users. There are a few aspects that make their mission meaningful. Gamification is useful for a healthcare app because it brings the following benefits:

  • Raising user engagement and motivation;
  • Attracting new customers;
  • Improving the state of health.

For example, you can grant your user with points for timely medication intake and finishing attending sessions. Also, you can offer discounts or free-of-charge examinations. Thus, the treatment process will be pleasant and satisfying for users of any age, from the youngest to elderly patients.

An interesting instance of gamification is the Loóna app that helps you get the right mood for sleep. It offers to tap on light boxes and see further steps. Completing them helps you feel less stressed before bedtime.

Gamification in the Loóna mood app

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI ensures the processing of large volumes of information and provides large knowledge databases. AI helps doctors to diagnose patients. It gives medical advice to patients, and provides virtual nurse assistance.

Also, AI is used in mental healthcare applications. Such apps include engaging events and games led by an AI instructor. AI is also used in chatbots that help cope with interpersonal challenges. Thus, AI-powered apps can be used for mental health counseling as an additional tool.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality in healthcare apps fills the social gaps for patients. For example, VR is used in the Floreo app to educate people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on typical social interactions. Also, VR apps help in treating psychological issues. These apps can educate surgeons and show therapeutic motion exercises.

Floreo app virtual reality

Virtual waiting rooms

This feature designs a waiting room for patients. It can be accessed via the healthcare application installed on a mobile device. When it’s time for an appointment, a user gets a notification that it’s time to enter. A user must complete a verification process to come in. After that, a patient enters and waits for the appointment.

It is similar to apps that allow the holding of virtual meetings, like Zoom. Crowded waiting rooms on healthcare premises are far from hygiene. So, it is useful to create in-app waiting rooms to minimize the risk of spreading diseases. Building a virtual waiting room is useful both for patients and doctors.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Smart wearable devices are the best examples of using IoT in healthcare app development. Wearables help gather physical data from users. It can be helpful for people with life-threatening diseases and those who cannot inform caregivers promptly.

Wearables have become popular recently. This is partially due to the COVID pandemic and the common shift to a healthy lifestyle. Fitness bracelets connect with smartphones. They work with Windows, iOS and Android. They help their owners count steps, calories, and water intake. Also, these bracelets measure heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep quality.

Blockchain for EHR

EHRs have been a priority in healthcare since they hold valuable patient data. Blockchain technology allows EHR to be safer and protected against data change. This helps track healthcare records and avoid mistakes. So, healthcare facilities can track the patients’ conditions. It is essential for choosing the right treatment.

RefDental functionality

Healthcare apps serve different purposes and are diverse in use. What is common for them is that they help streamline the working process for specialists in medical facilities. This was the case with Codica’s development of referral management software.

The solution aimed to ease the process of sending referrals to the digital imaging center from clinics. Our development team created the system as a minimum viable product. After the customer tested it with early users, we added more functionality that improved the user experience. Let’s see in more detail what features this progressive web application holds.

Clinic profile management

The system allows new clinics to register and sign up. After this, clinics can change details in their profiles. The sign-in option also includes the possibility of recovering a forgotten password. Also, with this feature, the clinic can change its profile if needed.

Referral form filling-up

Clinics fill in the form that is to be sent to the dental imaging center. The form requires you to fill in the patient’s and clinic’s details. Optionally, the clinic can indicate the imaging type and hard copies of documents in the checkbox.

Referral system application form

Uploading and viewing patient’s images

The PWA has a simple form with several fields that reflect the patient’s details, such as the insurance ID number. Thus, the form helps to verify that the referral request is legitimate. After receiving this form, the center approves or disapproves the referral. Also, this feature enables the center to view images full-screen.

Dashboard for the dental imaging center

The dashboard includes administrative features. The center can use them to manage patient referrals. The dashboard allows the center to see patients’ details, change the image status to completed, and approve image requests. Also, the center can give access to clinics enabling them to view images.

RefDental dashboard

Right-to-left input of information

As the center is located in Israel, we implemented the right-to-left input of information. So, Israeli users have an excellent experience with using the system in the Hebrew language.

Responsive interface

The Codica team created a responsive system for different types of devices. So, the PWA can be used both on desktops and mobile devices with the same quality of operation.

Below is a video presenting the core functionality of this referral management software.

Monetization models for healthcare apps

Mobile healthcare apps have several revenue sources. Let’s discuss how you can monetize your web solution and benefit from healthcare application development.

Freemium model

The freemium model is excellent for attracting users as you offer your health app for free. Yet, you need also to introduce advanced paid features that will bring you revenue. Payment can be one-time or subscription-based.

The freemium model is great for winning new users and raising awareness of your app. But it may mean spending extra cash to support customers using your app for free. In this case, an app owner should carefully plan their reserve, time, and resources for converting users into paid customers. The result should be that paid and unpaid users are even.

There are a few tips on how to make this model work best for you:

  • Limit free trials to a certain period, for example, a month;
  • Send offers to users on upgrading regularly;
  • Explore the usage patterns to identify promising conversions.

The prominent healthcare applications using the freemium model are Fitbit, Lifesum, and MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal freemium model

Advertising

This app monetization method is a popular choice as it takes the least effort to include it. Still, user experience should be a priority, and ads should not disrupt it. So, you need to offer personalized ads and make them as useful for customers as possible. This is the key to your success with this model.

Advanced technologies can help you to personalize ads for users. You can use RFID (radio-frequency identification), NFC (near-field communication), and beacon transmitters.

These technologies help to produce targeted mobile ads according to your users’ location. For example, being near a pharmacy with a beacon, a user can get a notification on discounts for the medicine they often buy.

The successful healthcare applications using in-app ads include K Health, MyTherapy, and Doctor on Demand.

Subscription model

The subscription model is the most flexible compared to other revenue methods. This revenue model is useful because many health and medical apps connect patients and doctors. For example, you can charge a fee monthly, quarterly, or yearly for using your app.

To keep the target audience engaged with your app, you must make continuous bug fixes and updates with new features. Also, the app should bring personalized experiences for users.

Doxy.me, Teladoc, and StedyMD are the prominent apps that use a subscription model.

Pay-per-download

Charging for app downloads was a popular revenue method when apps first appeared in the mobile world. This model is less used today as owners mostly apply freemium or subscription models. The reason is simple: users are not eager to pay for an app they have not used yet.

Also, when calculating the viable price for app download, consider the price of future app support and updates.

The popular healthcare applications that use such a model are SnoreGym, Freya, and FlashRX.

The choice of healthcare app development partner

At Codica, we have more than seven years of experience in creating successful web products that users like. We also can help you with healthcare app development. But how can we do this?

The Codica team uses the agile methodology to create highly-performed and lucrative web products. Agile is a flexible management system, the best suited for IT. Applying the agile method means dividing the project into short cycles, called sprints. At the end of the sprint, the client obtains a certain product.

Below is a diagram that shows our software development life cycle.

Software development process at Codica

Our development process is divided into stages. These are the project discovery phase, designing, developing, and testing. We also provide maintenance and support of the delivered web product. By the way, you can read more about our development process here: How to Create a Successful Custom Web Product Step by Step: Codica's Experience.

Surely, you have few options for healthcare application development. You can apply to a professional web development team, like us, or select a cheaper option. The last one is using a template-based solution like Adobe Commerce, for example. However, this variant has its disadvantages, such as the same design and limited functionality.

Whether you choose a custom healthcare app development or a ready-made solution, check the reviews on GoodFirms and Clutch. Also, contacting previous clients of your future healthcare mobile app development partner will be helpful. Why? Because in such a way, you can make a more informed decision and pick the best software development partner.

Tech stack for healthcare app development

Our web development team has huge experience in building high-performing and reliable software. So, we recommend the tech stack that ensures stable healthcare app work. It comprises the following technologies:

  • Frontend: Next.js framework (React-based)
  • Backend: Node.js or Ruby on Rails
  • Database: PostgreSQL
  • Search: ElasticSearch
  • Cloud hosting: AWS
  • Integrations: Gitlab, Stripe, Sentry.
Tech stack for healthcare app development at Codica
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Aspects to consider in healthcare mobile app development

When developing a healthcare app, consider certain aspects to make it reliable and delightful for the target audience. The following aspects will help you to reach that goal.

Security

Security leaks may cost healthcare mobile app owners a fortune. To make your app secure, use the best safety practices. They include multi-factor authentication, strong encryption, and storing health data in backups. Also, apply a principle of the least privilege to control operations that your app normally does.

Interoperability

Interoperability means that an app can exchange data with other systems. Interoperability has been one of the big concerns in the healthcare app market. To relieve it, Health Level Seven, a standards organization, released a modern data exchange protocol SMART on FHIR. It is an API for healthcare. Using it helps to synchronize an app with the electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Testing

Mobile app testing helps check the app's look and performance across various devices and operating systems. Healthcare apps track medication intake and are used in emergencies, they handle massive personal data. Thus, health app testing is especially important and must ensure its seamless work.

User interface

Healthcare apps should support efficient work for professionals and easy use for patients. Thus, the app interface should be simple. Prioritize the elements and display them clearly to make navigation intuitive. Also, the design should consider the different physical and psychological characteristics of people using the app.

Local and international regulations

Healthcare apps must comply with regulations protecting users’ personal data and health information. Each country has a standard that regulates the collecting, processing, and storing of people’s data in the healthcare mobile app. So, if you decide to develop a healthcare app, check the relevant regulations in the region where the app is expected to work.

Integration with third-party applications through API

Integration with third-party services in a healthcare mobile app reduces development costs. Why? Because you don’t need to develop services from scratch. Also, APIs help to migrate legacy systems to modern platforms without creating custom workflows. The top APIs for healthcare apps include the following:

  • Google Cloud Healthcare (the tool that helps manage and analyze data from a range of systems),
  • CharmHealth (cloud-based EHR solution),
  • HealthTap (this API allows healthcare app developers to access the data and functionality of the HealthTap network and build health apps more effectively),
  • ChangeHealthcare (this API verifies new applicants across multiple payers and delivers fast implementation for customers).

Cost for healthcare app development

Now, we approached one of the most crucial questions “how much does it cost to develop a medical app?”

The cost of healthcare mobile app development depends on the type of solution and integrations you want to include. Also, the cost includes the cost of development processes needed to build a healthcare HIPAA compliant app or an app corresponding to similar regulations.

We prepared a table below to answer the question, "how much does it cost to create the mHealth solution." The table includes the needed features and steps of healthcare mobile application development.

The estimated cost of creating a healthcare mobile app
FeaturesTime, hoursCost, $50/hour
Design
UX Development64 hours$3,200
UI Development96 hours$4,800
Architecture
Project setup16 hours$800
DB structure32 hours$1,600
Integrations
Payment (Stripe or PayPal)64 hours$3,200
Integration with medical devices96 hours$4,800
Integration with e-healthcare records64 hours$3,200
Main functionality
Authorization and Security48 hours$2,400
User Profiles42 hours$2,100
Home page84 hours$4,200
Search64 hours$3,200
Video consultation72 hours$3,600
Symptom checker72 hours$3,600
Chatbot64 hours$3,200
Reviews32 hours$1,600
Health education48 hours$2,400
Notifications48 hours$2,400
Maps with routes and geolocation64 hours$3,200
ePrescription dashboard64 hours$3,200
Medical billing API64 hours$3,200
Non development activity
Project management72 hours$3,600
Quality assurance64 hours$3,200
Code review64 hours$3,200
Total1398 hours$69,900

The price of $69,900 is actual if you apply to a healthcare app development company in Eastern Europe, for example, Ukraine. If you pick an agency from Western Europe or the US, the healthcare app development costs will be higher.

Surely, as healthcare apps vary in the purposes they serve, the cost will change in each particular case. Consult your healthcare mobile app development partner for an accurate estimate of your app’s cost.

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Conclusion

Building a health app is a multi-faceted development process that requires a diligent approach. Healthcare application development involves creating useful functionality that meets the users’ needs. An app for medical professionals should be designed to streamline their work process. With the advanced technologies available nowadays, it is possible to create intuitive and stable health solutions.

The main challenge in creating a healthcare app is data security. The health app stores personal data and health information and processes payments. So, it is vital to use the best security practices to protect users’ health information. This can be ensured by following data protection regulations.

If you want to develop a healthcare solution, and looking for a reliable mobile app development company, contact us. Our web development team has vast experience in providing mobile app development services. These services will delight your customers and meet your business needs.

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