The healthcare industry is a sphere wide open to innovation and new tech solutions of various kinds. In considering healthcare technologies, you can’t underestimate the role of mobile healthcare apps and, consequently, mHealth app development. The global mHealth market reached $87 billion in 2022, and experts predict this figure could rise to $640 billion by 2031, which means that the projected CAGR for the period 2023-2031 will be over 29.6%.
This group of solutions encompasses apps for mobile phones, wearables, and tablets that are intended to promote wellness and support users’ physical and mental health. By partnering with a custom healthcare software development company, you can transform practically any idea into a real product. But it’s important to understand that, to become successful, your solution needs to correspond to ongoing market needs and demands. In this article, we’ll discuss different types of healthcare apps, their core features, and their benefits.
Types of mHealth apps
There are many types of mobile apps that help people address various aspects of their physical and mental health. But the majority fall into one of the categories described below.
Remote monitoring apps
This type of solution helps healthcare providers track changes in patients’ vitals even at a distance. Often these applications are coupled with different types of IoMT (the Internet of Medical Things) devices intended to measure various factors, such as blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, etc. Based on the gathered data, a doctor can get a full picture of developments in the patient’s condition and react in a timely way to emergency situations.
Symptom checking apps
These apps are intended for health tracking that can be executed by people on their own. Such solutions usually allow users to track various conditions, such as blood pressure or coughing fits or headaches experienced per day or week. Thanks to these applications, users can get access to analytics and reports as well as various recommendations prepared by healthcare providers. Healthcare apps of this type can’t replace normal medical appointments, but they can help users not miss the moment when it is crucial to see a doctor.
Mental health apps
The key goal of these applications is to make therapy more flexible and accessible to people. Mental health applications may offer pre-recorded breathing exercises, meditations, and various music tracks that help to combat stress, depression, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.
Healthy living apps
This group consists of apps that help people change bad habits and develop a healthier lifestyle. Among these are various fitness solutions and applications for dieting.
Clinical and diagnostic apps
These healthcare apps provide a single hub for storing healthcare records, treatments, and disease history. By having such information right at hand, doctors can better predict episodes of illness and find the most effective treatment.
These medical apps gained popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, when a lot of people were deprived of the ability to visit medical centers. Thanks to telemedicine solutions, users can get consultations with their healthcare providers without having to leave home. As a rule, consultations are available in three formats: voice calls, video calls, and online chats.
Many solutions have been developed for use by healthcare providers to increase office efficiency. They can help staff create schedules, organize health records, or translate oral speech into written text.
Medical app development can also include mobile solutions that remind users of their upcoming appointments or when it’s time to take their medication. These can consist of stand-alone apps or be part of larger applications.
Using these applications, doctors can prescribe medicines to patients and indicate the right dosages via an e-prescription, which in turn can be used to purchase necessary drugs at a traditional pharmacy or online.
As you can see, while some of these apps are intended for use by doctors or patients privately, some may include shared access. Some solutions include functionality that combines several types of the mentioned uses. For example, a telemedicine app can also have a feature allowing the patient to get e-prescriptions. Symptom-checking applications can be enriched with reminders to take a pill or visit a doctor.
Benefits of medical apps for healthcare providers
What benefits do both target audiences receive thanks to these mobile software solutions?
The range of new opportunities enjoyed by doctors, as well as other medical and administrative staff, depends on the type of app being implemented. But here’s a list of the most important ones.
- Hospital management apps help optimize workflows, streamline various processes, eliminate huge volumes of manual operations, and facilitate many tasks for employees.
- Doctors can track the state of their patients without a physical examination.
- Health records can be brought together in one place, organized, and efficiently exchanged between different clinics and institutions.
- Healthcare app development gives doctors powerful diagnostic solutions that help them make better decisions regarding treatment.
- Thanks to analytics and prediction tools, doctors can better understand possible scenarios of disease development and take timely action.
Benefits of healthcare apps for patients
Today patients have access not only to hospital apps but also to solutions that can support their wellness and well-being on a daily basis. Thanks to the variety of available software products, users can find a solution to address practically any need related to their overall health.
- With mobile apps, people can develop new healthy habits, track their physical activity and quality of sleep, and introduce positive changes to their nutrition and lifestyle.
- Healthcare services become more accessible and affordable when there is no need to go to a medical center every time a consultation is required.
- Users can conveniently store all data related to their health status on one app.
- Modern solutions allow users to track their vitals and symptoms on their own.
- Thanks to mobile apps with different types of notifications, the treatment process can be more effective. An app can remind people not to forget to take a pill or to visit a doctor.
Features of mHealth apps
The functionality of a new healthcare mobile app will be determined after you clearly set the goals that you want to achieve. In other words, you should have a full understanding of the type of solution you want to build, its target audience, and cases when it will be used, before deciding the exact set of features to build. Take a look below at some of the most popular features being created for healthcare apps.
- Health tracking. This feature helps monitor and analyze changes in vital signs used for determining health conditions.
- Calendar and reminders. A calendar with indicated appointments is a must for apps for doctors and patients.
- Appointments. Healthcare apps can be enriched with functionality for choosing specialists and requesting appointments.
- Medical information database. Very often apps provide access to health records, reports, prescriptions, and disease history.
- Real-time chats. This feature allows patients to get real-time consultations with doctors or medical staff.
- Payment gateways. It’s convenient when users can pay for medical services directly via an app.
- Reviews. Users can be allowed to write reviews after visiting a clinic and communicating with doctors.
- Reports and analytics. Modern apps can provide extensive analytics based on the added medical data.
mHealth app development process
Healthcare app development resembles the process of building any other custom software solution. Here is a list of the typical key steps.
- Studying needs and defining goals. First of all, you need to understand the key idea of your project and the set of tasks your target audience will be able to fulfill with it.
- Analyzing the market and preparing requirements. We recommend you start with market analysis, find similar solutions, and study what they do well and what can be improved. At this step, think about what features would make your app unique.
- Finding a development partner. There are a lot of companies offering medical app development services today. To be on the safe side, carefully scrutinize the company’s portfolio, reviews, and rankings, before making any decisions.
- Discussing the requirements and developing a roadmap. After considering your idea, the team will provide you with estimates for your mHealth app development project, define timelines, and explain their approach to realizing the project.
- Validating your idea. One of the most popular and convenient ways to do this is to build an MVP — a version of your app with a minimal set of features that will allow users to understand the idea of your solution. The development of this product requires less time and money than creating a full-scale one, but it helps to test your idea and implement the required improvements based on users’ feedback.
- Design, development, and testing. Designers will create user interfaces based on your requirements and the desired functionality. Developers will be responsible for building the necessary features. And QA engineers will conduct tests and evaluate the correctness of the app's functioning. At this step, it’s vital to fix all the bugs and to make sure everything works as expected.
- Release and post-launch support. When the app is well-tested, it can be launched. But don’t forget that it will need continuous monitoring in order to address any vulnerabilities in a timely way. You should regularly gather feedback from users, to understand whether something should be enhanced or modernized to boost their satisfaction.
Our professional developers have a very deep understanding of this industry and are always ready to help you. Just share your ideas with us!
Healthcare app development trends
Custom mHealth app development allows creation of different types of solutions with distinctive functionality. But a market analysis can help define key trends in medical app development and the most highly demanded functionality.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI and ML are expected to greatly help healthcare providers enhance the way they prescribe treatment and boost its efficacy. Thanks to AI-powered tools, doctors can make better decisions and rely on predictive analytics functionality to avoid critical situations. Experts see huge potential in such tools for diagnosing disease earlier.
- Video conferencing. Live streaming isn’t new, but its uses have gone far beyond live broadcasting of conferences. Video conferencing tools have become an important part of telemedicine apps, allowing doctors to provide consultations remotely. They may not be able to touch the bodies of their patients, but they can see their reactions and evaluate their physical appearance, which may be important for making the right decisions regarding their diagnosis.
- IoMT. The Internet of Medical Things helps healthcare providers in a variety of ways, including remote monitoring of their vital parameters, paired with real-time data exchange. Another highly promising application is using surgeon-driven robots in complicated, challenging surgeries that require the highest level of precision.
Key challenges in mHealth app development
If you are considering relying on a custom mHealth app development provider, you should be aware of the challenges your project team may face.
- Compliance issues. All healthcare apps must be compliant with relevant regulations that are in force in the chosen jurisdiction. This segment of software solutions is highly regulated. If you are building an app for the US, these regulations are HIPAA and PHI. In Canada, it is PIPEDA. In the EU, it is GDPR. The most serious challenge comes when you want to build an app for a global audience, meaning that your solution should be compliant with the regulations of all countries.
- Security issues. Every healthcare mobile app deals with sensitive information, which makes it attractive to hackers. Early in development, your team needs to think about the tools and measures that will be aimed at ensuring data protection. Among the most efficient ways to protect sensitive information is to control access to the app via two-factor authentication and apply data encryption tools.
- Interoperability issues. Because patients, doctors, and medical staff often use different mobile devices, it is impossible to make sure all of them will use the same apps. As a result, a lot of different apps compatible with different platforms may be used for the same purposes and for gathering the same information. But it can be challenging to organize reliable data exchange between them or to ensure the access of all users to the same solutions.
Our experience in custom mHealth app development
At Cogniteq, we work with clients from numerous industries, but healthcare is among the markets we focus on. Our portfolio includes a wide range of successfully launched products, and we’d like to share just a couple of them.
The first example is a mobile app for Android devices targeted at people with diabetes. The application helps them monitor their health state and control their disease.
Users can add to the app different types of data, such as their meals, the level of blood sugar, etc. The application can provide them with overviews for 1-3 months, customized reports, and analytics. The app can be coupled easily with fitness trackers. There is a pro version that also offers the bolus calculator, which helps calculate the required dose of insulin or carbs.
The second app we’d like to mention here is an Android app for people with cognitive disabilities, called Connected Kitchen. On this project, we worked with the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom. The key goal of our cooperation was to build an application that helps people with neurological disorders cook independently. The solution contains simple recipes, with detailed, step-by-step instructions.
Our team ensured voice control for the app and made it possible to synchronize this application with a special bracelet. If, after starting cooking, the user moves outside the kitchen zone, the bracelet will vibrate and make sounds as an alert. The bracelet also acts as a reminder in the cooking process. Today the app has already proven its usefulness.
As you can see, mobile healthcare apps offer a broad range of possibilities. This category encompasses a lot of different types of mobile solutions aimed at helping people take care of their health and get access to medical services. mHealth app development projects have a huge social role to play, as they are aimed at improving the lifestyle of users and increasing the efficacy of treatment.
If you are interested in building a custom solution but don’t have in-house resources for this project, our team is always at your disposal. With our rich expertise in working with healthcare institutions and clinics, we’re sure to offer you the best solution. Just contact us and get a consultation with our healthcare app development specialists.
How much does it cost to develop a mHealth app?
The price of medical app development always depends on numerous factors, including but not limited to its type, task complexity, tech stack, and size of the team that will be engaged in your project. When you choose a company that will create a healthcare mobile app, you will get more precise estimates.
What are examples of mobile medical apps?
This category of solutions includes a wide range of mobile software products, such as:
- remote monitoring apps;
- symptom checking apps;
- mental health apps;
- healthy living apps;
- productivity apps;
- clinical and diagnostic apps
- telemedicine apps;
- reminder apps;
- prescription apps.
Among the best-known mHealth applications are HealthTap, Headspace, and Mayo Clinic.