The current information era has not only affected healthcare industry itself, but also changed the patient behavioral patterns. Now, consultation and the subsequent prescription are not enough for us. We want to know exactly who is treating us, how and what do they use. We strive to receive advice from highly qualified specialists, to buy drugs from trusted manufacturers, to have access to adapted literature and keep abreast of the latest news related to the medical area. Healthcare industry workers, in their turn, want to get easy and quick access to a variety of thematic resources, be able to communicate with the patient virtually, get convenient access to data, and so on.
How to satisfy these needs? Of course, using specialized healthcare apps. The prospects of this area are difficult to overestimate. Global Market Insights predicts that by 2024, the global market for digital healthcare technologies, including IT solutions and wearable devices, will exceed $ 379 billion.
So, what do you need to know to take your place in this promising niche? How to develop an excellent web or mobile app? Let's figure it out.
What is healthcare app and how to use it?
Healthcare app is an application that simplifies tasks for various medical institutions, such as hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies, medical equipment manufacturers, medical clinics and medical research organizations. It also includes various medical startups.
Digital solutions make the medical system more personalized, allowing it to provide services anytime, anywhere. We are now witnessing the development of a new business model - a customer-oriented digital healthcare ecosystem.
The goal of digital healthcare is to create a single information space of varying scalability, from an autonomous clinical institution to a regional network, through the development of mobile apps, cloud computing, web technologies and the implementation of AI. Information systems and networks create a reliable connection between patients, medical consultants and healthcare providers, which is convenient and beneficial for all parties:
Benefits for Healthcare Organizations
- Improved diagnostics with reliable and comprehensive patient data and easy access to records
- Better process coordination as all information is stored in one place
- Availability of communications
- Lower costs by automating multiple tasks
- Improving the quality of medical services
- Increasing patient satisfaction and engagement
- The use of advanced technologies such as ML, AI, blockchain, etc.
Benefits for Clinical Professionals
- Exclusion of Daily Routine Work
- Easy load management with the help of electronic medical records
- Seamless management of all processes in hospitals
- Enhanced collaboration with colleagues thanks to telemedicine, even despite the geographical distance
- The ability to make an appointment and fill out documents remotely
- Easy communication with personal doctors through secure online channels
- Access to lab results and medical history via digital personal health records
- Additional educational information provided by specialists on various issues
- Reduction in the number of contacts
All of the above is achieved by the introduction of various types of healthcare apps. Let's take a closer look at them.
What types of healthcare apps are there?
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
This is a system that collects patient data and saves it digitally. This system can store several different parameters for patient care. This reduces the amount of tedious paperwork and streamlines the workflow in healthcare.
One example is the One Touch EMR. This is a free EHR app designed for doctors, so the workflow is built in an attempt to imitate their way of thinking. Its functionality includes patient registration, online form submission, billing apps, and an electronic prescription system. We have some great material in which we talk in detail about EHR. Take a look!
Medical Practice Management Software
Medical Practice Management Software (MPMS) is an integral part of the healthcare app family. This healthcare app handles day-to-day operations and streamlines clinical workflows. Technavio studies show that the MPMS market is expected to grow with an average annual growth rate of over 8% by 2021.
Using this type of healthcare app, providers can enter and track patient information (such as diagnoses and procedures) as well as process insurance and payment information. Examples of medical practice management apps include Prime Suite and eClinicalWorks.
Using electronic prescriptions, health professionals can send prescriptions directly to pharmacies electronically. This type of healthcare app allows you to discard illegible handwritten notes and instead send accurate and understandable prescriptions to the pharmacist, which greatly improves the quality of patient care. Examples of electronic prescriptions apps include DrChrono and DrFirst.
Hospital Management Software
Hospital Management Software (HMS) processes all patient data, information about doctors and medical staff, and hospital bills. The HMS system helps to manage all departments of the hospital: reception room, laboratories and so on. This improves processing efficiency.
The main goal of hospital management software is to make treatment more effective by controlling every aspect of hospital management. With hospital management apps, a healthcare organization can focus on real-time patient care. Examples of hospital management software include SoftClinic and Practo's Insta.
Emergency Aid Applications
The emergency application allows patients to skip the waiting room and receive the necessary treatment, wherever they are. Using the emergency care app, patients can get answers to health questions, read articles, and even find out when it is time to seek emergency care based on symptoms. Examples of emergency apps include HealthTap and Ecare.
Medical CRM is a software that helps healthcare organizations more effectively and efficiently acquire, develop and maintain customer relationships. CRM provides medical staff an opportunity to manage patient data, provide patients with up-to-date and timely information, and use marketing strategies as a starting point to learn more about their clients. Examples of CRM apps for healthcare are Deskera and DocEngage.
Profit of the medical CRM market in the USA. Source: RubyGarage
Unique custom healthcare apps
A universal approach does not fit all sectors, and healthcare is no exception. This is why most healthcare organizations turn their attention to apps specifically designed for healthcare and suit their needs and goals best.
When it comes to creating custom healthcare apps, organizations have two options:
- They can use one of many open source platforms, developing a turnkey solution that can be customized without writing a lot of code.
- Outsourcing the entire process of developing custom healthcare apps to a trusted IT agency.
Whatever your choice is, the primary goal of healthcare apps development is to create a single platform for medical information. Reliable and scalable healthcare software solutions build relationships between healthcare consultants, patients and healthcare providers, which works for the benefit of all parties involved.
What should be considered when when developing a mobile and web version of the application?
The distinction between mobile healthcare apps and web apps traditionally designed for desktops and laptops is one of the most important tasks that medical organizations face when modernizing their IT infrastructure. This is due to the bandwidth of the devices.
According to Medigram CEO Sherry Douville, hardware in mobile devices limits their computing speed, memory size and wireless bandwidth. Device memory problems contribute to app crashes due to packet loss.
Capacity planning for enterprise application development has traditionally depended on the ability to manage the production and end-user environments, such as an office business park rather than a hospital. Since health networks are constantly working, it is impossible to predict, for example, memory consumption. That’s why applications designed in terms of tools do not meet healthcare requirements.
Understanding that software on a mobile device behaves differently than it does on a desktop computer and therefore needs to be developed differently is critical to the success of mobile and web apps. Particularly, consideration of this issue this has been a great help in developing a web app for optimizing hospital records and medical records for the Hospital Group. Taking into account all the technological nuances and business logic allowed the MassMedia Group to deliver a truly high-quality product for setting up and managing inpatient services in US hospitals at a completely new level.
Thus, developers, as well as the project owner, need a clear vision of how the product will be used. Then it will be possible to develop even both options that will complement each other.
Another factor that also needs to be considered when organizing mHealth is connection security. Confidentiality of information may be compromised, as it is transferred between the patient and the provider of medical services through mobile apps. In this regard, mHealth devices and apps should be developed in compliance with all security requirements, and optimally develop custom solutions, since their security level is obviously higher.
So what needs to be done to successfully develop a healthcare app?
Determine the needs of target audience and how to solve them
Before developing specialized medical software, take a step back and understand who your typical end-user is and why he or she needs it.
A deep analysis and understanding of your target audience, as well as their desires, preferences and requirements, will help you develop a solution that solves their specific problems and meets their needs. Knowing your target audience inside and out is the key factor in identification of important functions, technologies and components for inclusion in a software solution.
Next, you need to find a team to develop your solution, which:
- will be able to transform the idea and requirements into architecture, functionality
The structure of software always depends on its functions. Once you can determine what functions your app will perform, you can visualize its structure.
- will be able to protect data
The collection of medical data using digital healthcare technologies, as well as their storage and processing pose a huge risk of leakage of confidential personal information and cyberattacks. Therefore, security must be a priority. Any medical software must comply with the standards and requirements of the country or region where it is manufactured and implemented. For example, in the European Union, decisions must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- can develop convenient user interface / UX
It is not possible to develop successful software without developing an intuitive interface, as this is the main tool for end users. If this tool is complex and illogical, users will avoid it. To create a consistent and easy-to-use solution, software engineers and designers work together to develop a user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) based on the expectations of end customers. Pay attention to the choice of color schemes, fonts, button size, alignment of text, icons and images.
- conducts integration with other systems
Integration with previous systems is really important because numerous documents or services must be stored and seamlessly transferred to the new system. Planning the integration process is a difficult task: on the one hand, solutions must be compatible with other systems, on the other hand, migration must be done in such a way that customers do not experience delays or downtime. Therefore, at the initial stage, it is important to include integration strategies in your development plan to synchronize the application with the website, the clinic management system with accounting solutions, etc.
- conducts uptime after release
After the application is released and users have appeared, everything is just beginning. It is important to look for a team that will not abandon the project after the release, but will be engaged in its maintenance and support.
- ensures development of new versions
The healthcare app development should never stop. It must constantly evolve, adapting to new requirements of patients and medical staff. That’s why it is highly important to search a team that can ensure the further development of the project.
Every year, more and more medical workers take steps to facilitate the interaction of their business with internal processes. However, choosing the right one for your business may seem a bit confusing. That is why you should keep in mind experts who are ready to take on all the difficulties regarding the technical part of the project so that you can focus on the rest.