Technological advancements have taken the healthcare industry by storm. People have become heavily reliant on smartphones, wearables, tablets, and other devices for every activity of their daily lives. The increased practices of maintaining health, being fit, and ensuring personal safety at reduced costs have given rise to mobile health (mHealth) apps. The rising healthcare costs including medical insurance are another reason people are opting for mHealth apps. Patients and healthcare providers use Healthcare apps for various purposes such as treatment support, information on preventive healthcare measures, clinical trials, tracking health vitals, and progress.
As per statistics, the healthcare mobile app development market is estimated to reach $60 billion in 2020. Presently, about 325,000 health and fitness-related mobile apps exist in the app store. Therefore, if you are looking to leverage the market opportunities with your own healthcare app, here are the best 6 practices for developing mHealth mobile app that provides convenience to users, save costs, and are easy to access.
However, prior to discussing the best 6 practices to develop a healthcare app, there are two cores steps one should follow:
- Understanding the need of the users – Before starting with the development process, you should set an intent for the app. The intent would be based on the needs and expectations of the users and the design of the app would be influenced by the intent. The target audience for the app should be clear and the app’s language should be understandable by the target audience.
- Complying with laws and regulations – Healthcare apps carry private and confidential information about patients that needs to be secured. Therefore, before developing a healthcare app, one should ensure that all the necessary laws and regulations should be complied with. In the US, it is mandatory for all the mHealth apps to comply with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability App (HIPAA). Similarly, healthcare apps in Canada should comply with (PIPEDA) Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
What are the best 6 practices for developing mHealth mobile app?
Research suggests that the core features expected by users of healthcare apps are access to information, efficiency, and availability of direct communication. To develop an attractive yet useful mHealth app, you should follow the below 6 practices.
The design of the app should focus on attracting target users. You would need to identify if the app will cater to patients or healthcare providers, physicians, and doctors. Further, the design should be able to eliminate errors while recording patient data and reduce the time taken to complete a task. The best way to understand the users’ expectations from the app is to gather their feedback. Then implement a design based on the feedback as well as the current market trend.
Ease of Access
A healthcare app may have all age groups as the potential users, and therefore should provide ease of access. Therefore, the app flow and functionalities should be simple and easy for users to easily navigate within the app. Similarly, the login and signup process should ask for minimum information from the user to facilitate a quick sign in. It is essential to understand the user’s psychology when developing a healthcare app.
For instance, a healthcare app for patients should reduce the number of incidental questions asked or too many screens and clicks to get to the required outcome, as the patient may be in distress and in urgent need of help. Therefore, a healthcare app irrespective of the target users should offer ease of access and usage.
Focus on the Purpose
It is absolutely essential to focus on the primary objective and not be swayed by the design, functionality, features, and creatives of the app. Certainly, the mHealth app would require good functionality, useful features, and should be attractive by design as well. However, the main objective of the app is to serve the healthcare providers and patients, offering them information on health, fitness, and wellness or medical provisions. The app should be like an informative guide to access medical reports, information, etc. It is best to develop a proof-of-concept that would show a demo of the look and functioning of the app. It would also increase its adoption by your target audience.
The app design should enable users to analyze records through a timeline of records displayed on the screen. The viewable data on these records may consist of patient history, medical condition status, etc. The users, which can include both the patient and physician, should also have an option to share, download, or print the medical records, to track the patient’s progress. The users can also stay stress-free about losing their medical records and other important information by saving the data on the cloud.
Perhaps the most important factor for mHealth mobile app is minimal screens to reach the desired outcome. The users lose interest if they have to get through many screens to reach their end goal. For a healthcare app, it is essential to enable users to reach the end goal by requesting minimal information. The main functionalities of the app should be delivered with minimum configurations and a minimal process. The app should also reduce distractions such as extra tabs, articles, or advertisements that hamper app usability.
One of the biggest challenges faced by mHealth apps in their adoption is the security of the data and the patient’s privacy. Private information and medical records of patients are prone to being compromised if the security of the app is weak. This can also result in non-compliance with mandatory acts. To ensure security and protect sensitive data od the users, ensure the login usernames and passwords are in place. You can also build the healthcare app outside the EHR system. For instance, healthcare apps such as pregnancy apps, general health system apps, wayfinding apps, condition-specific apps can be built outside the electronic health system.
Healthcare apps need to embrace simplicity and maximize usability as time is a vital factor in the healthcare industry. These best 6 practices for developing a mHealth mobile app will make your app more reliable and trusted by your target users. You can entrust the development of a successful mHealth app in the hands of a professional healthcare app development company. The company would handle all the requirements with its development experience and expertise. Enuke Software is one such healthcare app development company that develops engaging and responsive mHealth applications. The apps enhance the user experience and improve the overall outcome for healthcare organizations.