The mobile industry is rapidly growing. The number of mobile apps has skyrocketed, and there are now over 100 billion downloads per year. How can healthcare providers take advantage of this? A successful hospital mobile application can connect with patients, promote health literacy, improve patient care quality, reduce emergency room overcrowding, educate clinicians on best practices for care delivery to specific populations or health conditions. Furthermore, an effective mobile application can improve staff productivity and prevent medication errors. The patient’s journey from seeking care to receiving it in a healthcare environment has become increasingly complex, leading to a large proportion of non-utilizers of health services due to the fragmented nature of healthcare delivery.
According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, approximately 70% of patients with chronic disease are not receiving the recommended level of care, resulting in $100 billion in avoidable costs each year. As a result, mobile health applications can help implement a patient centered medical home, where the patient is the center of attention and receives personalized care. These benefits come with costs. While some healthcare applications raise millions of dollars in venture capital funding, others achieve no funding at all. A good healthcare IT company can provide an upfront solution that is scalable and sustainable. The funding, the manpower and the technology are all available to a successful healthcare IT company.
What is a Health App? Benefits of Healthcare apps
Health apps are mobile applications designed to improve individuals’ quality of life and health, addressing common issues such as obesity and the spread of disease. Health apps are designed to enable patients to manage their health and well-being. Benefits of mobile health apps include:
- Gives patients faster access to providers and care. Unlike traditional care, where patients must schedule appointments, patients have access to healthcare providers through their mobile devices 24/7.
- Provides a personal touch to care and support. Traditional channels of healthcare delivery are impersonal and impersonalize healthcare by removing the human element of care. Filling in forms, waiting for video visit referrals can be a highly frustrating experience for patients who want quick and efficient care.
- Makes remote patient monitoring possible and easy. Remote patient monitoring has never been easier with mobile devices. Patients can measure their own well-being, aiding in the process of self-management of healthcare.
- Provides a unique way to deliver health promotion messages and education. Traditional methods of communication (like print or verbal) are limited in their effectiveness as they assume that the patient already knows what they need to know.
Key Features of a Health Application
Healthcare apps carry many advantages. They provide a quick, easy and non-emergency way for patients to access their doctors. A healthcare mobile app can provide an interactive way to communicate with patients and help to educate them on their disease and treatment. Therefore, healthcare app development services and key features include:
- Ease of use: The app must be easy to navigate, intuitive and accessible at all times, providing patients with quick access to their healthcare providers on their mobile devices.
- Security: Hospitals must ensure the security of both their electronic medical records and patient data, as it is highly regulated by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Mobile applications need to keep patient data secure while giving patients full control over who can see their information.
- Patient engagement: Patient engagement drives better health outcomes by helping patients become advocates for themselves. Based on patient feedback, healthcare providers can tailor their messages to the needs and motivations of the patient.
- Ease of use and customization: App developers must ensure that the app is an easy-to-use, intuitive and flexible tool that can be quickly configured as an extension of one’s physician’s practice.
- Prescription tracking: When a patient fills a prescription for a drug, there is valuable data that can be taken from the app to reduce errors in patient administration and improve the quality of drugs being prescribed.
Steps to Create Successful Medical App
Healthcare app developers need to take a systematic approach to creating a successful mobile app. Medical app development is not as simple as it may seem. The proper procedure in creating quality mobile apps is critical to the success of a healthcare application. How to create a health app:
1. Market Research and Customer Feedback
The best healthcare apps are those that are first formed through strong market research. The goal of market research is to provide app developers with the critical information they need to know in order to design a quality app. In order to create a medical app, an app developer should first conduct an extensive market research to understand the target group of the healthcare app.
2. Chose the Type of Healthcare app
The next step in creating a medical app is to choose which type of mobile application will best suit the healthcare provider. There are different types of mobile apps that healthcare providers can use: doctor appointment app, e-prescription app, electronic medical records app, and mobile healthcare communication app. Therefore, selecting the most appropriate type of application is crucial to the success of the healthcare app.
3. Define your Target Audience
Before the app developer can design an application to meet the needs of their target audience, they must first define who the target audience is. Typical healthcare providers will have multiple target audience groups for their apps, including doctors, nurses, and patients. Each group has different needs that an app must address in order for it to be successful.
4. Decide Which Platforms and Devices to Support
The next step in creating a medical app is to decide which platforms and devices to support. Even though creating an app for all devices is ideal, it is not always possible. What may be more feasible for the healthcare provider is to develop an app for one group of people and then expand it to include other groups. This would be the most cost effective approach. In addition, the app developer will know which device best fits their target audience and can develop an app to be exactly what is needed by that group of people.
5. App design process
The next step in creating a medical app is designing the app. Creating an effective healthcare app cannot be done on a whim and without doing research first. Many aspects of a mobile application must be perfect and combined to create the most effective application possible. Each aspect must be considered and tested to develop the most successful healthcare app. In addition, the app developer must take into consideration the design of the platform and device that they are designing for.
6. Make it Secure
The final step in the healthcare app development process is making it secure. Healthcare providers must ensure their information and patient data security, as it is highly regulated by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Mobile applications need to keep patient data secure while giving patients full control over who can see their information. In addition, the various types of mobile devices and operating systems will require different design patterns to make the app more effective. Therefore, any platform should be tested to determine which design will work best on that system.
7. Test and Promote
The next step for healthcare app designers is to test the application and then promote it. To deliver a quality product, an app should be tested to ensure that it works on each of the mobile devices and platforms that they have selected. Then, once it has been thoroughly tested, the healthcare provider needs to promote their app so that people will know about its existence and what services it provides. Promoting a mobile application is crucial to getting people to discover the application and utilize its services.
How Much Does it Cost to Create Healthcare Apps?
From country to country, the hourly rate of resources varies. According to industry expertise in mobile app development, simple digital health apps for a single platform will cost $45,000-$80,000. Complex mHealth apps for various platforms will cost between $80,000 and $120,000. (for only the development phase). So, on average, a full-fledged, error-free healthcare app will cost $400K to develop, launch, and maintain.
Building a medical app is a great way for a healthcare provider to provide their patients with more convenient, efficient access to their services. Mobile applications are easily accessible on smartphones and tablets and provide users with a unique way to effectively communicate with their healthcare provider. Healthcare mobile app development can enhance patient satisfaction and overall health care delivery.
In addition, simple mobile health applications for quick and easy access can help patients manage their healthcare issues to improve the quality of life. Moreover, healthcare applications provide healthcare providers with a budget-friendly way to keep patients coming in and reduce the number of emergency room visits that they have to make. Creating healthcare apps is a valuable step towards increasing the efficiency of healthcare providers and improving the quality of life for their patients.
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