Otherwise known as mHealth (Mobile health), the healthcare apps market was valued at $40 billion in the year 2020 and is likely to increase by 17% from the year 2021 to 2028. According to a report by Statista, there were nearly 50k healthcare apps available in the third quarter of 2020 on the Google Play Store alone.

Healthcare app providers are now in search of comprehensive solutions to expand their market or recommend to their patients. Especially in today’s world, where there’s huge for healthcare, even a slight mistake could be incredibly costly. An in-depth understanding of the healthcare market, stakeholders, requirements, and constraints is extremely critical for the success of the application.

Here are 4 steps to building a healthcare application

  1. Identify the problem you are going to solve

For any business, having a mobile application is not enough in 2021. The app market saturation is high and so are the expectations of users and healthcare providers. Before you start talking to an agency or a developer, you should know why you are developing the app. The fundamental step to developing the right mobile app is identifying what problem you are going to solve.

Let’s say you have a problem that you can solve using your app, it is recommended to check again even on a small group of people that you are planning to target. This way, you can ensure that you are approaching the problem from the right angle or find out more or better ways that you can explore which would be beneficial for your end customers.

There are two things that you need to consider before developing a healthcare application.

It is better to start with something small rather than trying to achieve something big right from day one. For instance, try improving one element of a healthcare value chain that your customers are struggling with.

Second, focus on the value that you want to provide to your end customers via your healthcare app. More often than not, healthcare applications copy a healthcare function rather than enhancing the workflow or a patient’s journey via the healthcare system. One question that you need to ask yourself “What is the added value of this application or feature that I’m providing to my user?” This will help you in prioritizing and navigating your application in the right direction.

  1. Identify who your target audience is

Regardless of the industry or the purpose of the app, all mobile applications need to be customer-centric or user-driven. This case is especially true for the healthcare industry as it looks for comprehensive solutions.

Knowing the requirements and priorities of your target audience will let you build a better product that has much greater potential to reach a wider audience than an application based on assumptions and a hit-and-miss strategy.

For instance, there are several mobile apps for consumers that focus on gamification of the experience to keep their customers engaged. However, this feature is not for healthcare apps as it is made for a completely different purpose. Understanding your target audience is what makes your mobile app development easier. When you know your application’s priorities, any experienced developer or app agency can guide you on the technology, UX/UI, and the right platform for your application’s best user adoption.

  1. Design for scalability

Once you make the first version of your app live on Play Store/App Store, it can only do a few things as it has limited functionalities. And there’s nothing with that. As mentioned earlier, albeit small, a better-targeted application that solves one specific problem can provide more value to the end customers along with better reach and visibility.

But it doesn’t mean that you build an app that has no scope for scalability. Chances are high that your target audience and personas research will grow over time, and you will keep on adding more features and functionalities to improve the user experience of the application. So taking care of the code and design guidelines right from the beginning will spare you a lot of time and money.

  1. Don’t underestimate testing

No matter what kind of app you are developing, never underestimate the value of testing. Testing your application right from day one will let you improve user experience and development issues, and let you react to the feedback and enhance the application in real-time.

Third-party device integration not only needs a stable communication protocol but these things are also regulated. For instance, for certain digital health apps, HIPAA offers certain guidelines that apps must follow.

When developing a healthcare application, you have to be extra careful of the country and region and privacy regulations. Again, it depends on what kind of healthcare app it is, what data it will store, and with whom it shares, etc. However, healthcare rules are not globally unified. So before you enter into a new market, make sure you adjust the app according to the regional law depending on where you are planning to release it.

For example, in European countries, all applications have to be compliant with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). In the US, patients’ health information is protected by HIPAA. PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) is in Canada.