mHealth (mobile health) is a term used to describe the integration of mobile technology in healthcare. Mobile health app development has become a highly competitive marketplace, with only a few products actually picking up speed.
Statistics show that there are now over 318,000 mHealth apps available in major app stores. With momentum building up in the industry, this is the best time to invest in a mobile health app.
But to break ground in this niche, you need to differentiate from the hundreds of thousands of apps already on the market. A common mistake that new entrants make is focussing on their idea without running a competitor analysis.
If your mHealth app is like every other app on the market, you won’t convince anyone to use your app. The secret is to find ideas that bring value and solve a pain point in an innovative way.
Healthcare Mobile App Development Trends in 2019
Mobius MD reports that 90% of physicians are using smartphones for work-related purposes, be it to access health records, collaborate with colleagues, or organize their schedule.
At the same time, mobile patient engagement is on the rise. A 2016 study by Boston Technology Corporation found that 74% of patients endorse mHealth tools. In 2019, this number is definitely higher.
Two market segments distinguish themselves when it comes to mHealth apps. Let’s look at where the opportunities lie.
Mobile Apps for Healthcare Providers
Healthcare providers are leveraging the added value of digital healthcare to optimise their practice. Medical apps for doctors are helpful in streamlining a number of processes, improving the efficiency of the medical service. Some of the benefits include:
- Improving communication between doctors and patients
- Enabling easy access to medical records and patient data
- Facilitating collaboration among healthcare professionals
- Providing networking opportunities
Launched in 2013, it took Figure 1 a few years to become the largest network of healthcare experts in the world. This mHealth app allows physicians to share information and seek advice on rare conditions.
Built with a clear value proposition, the app guarantees patient privacy. Its face-blocking feature, as well as the built-in patient consent forms, allow all identifying data to be removed for maximum confidentiality.
Medical Apps for Patients
The main purpose of medical apps for patients should be to improve their daily lives and help sustain long-term wellbeing. Some of the benefits that you want to center your unique value proposition (USP) around may include:
- Improving access to healthcare for remote or rural communities
- Making it easier for patients to seek medical care (for a small fee, a doctor is always just one tap away)
- Allowing patients to keep an accurate record of their medical parameters (such as blood pressure, blood sugar, or weight)
- Providing a database of medical advice that they can refer to for minor health issues
- Offering patients the possibility to buy their medicines online
Forgetting to take medicine is a common pain point for many patients. Medisafe set out to solve this problem by offering personalized digital health solutions.
The medication management app serves as a virtual pillbox that notifies users when their medication is due. In addition to this, it allows synching with family and caregivers’ accounts for added convenience.
A relatable and compelling USP will make your end users more likely to engage with your app. The more stakeholders can benefit from your service (think doctors, patients, caregivers), the more value you’re creating.
What other considerations should you keep in mind when developing a mobile healthcare app?
Start With an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
Once you’ve found a brilliant idea for your mobile health app, you may be tempted to go all in on development. After all, you’ve planned each feature in such detail there’s no way yours won’t be the best app out there.
The truth is, things aren’t that simple. A healthcare mobile app may take up to several years to reach its full functionality. Trying to build it in one day is a doomed endeavour and will depleteyour resources and chances of success.
After you’ve gathered enough feedback from early users, implement it and iterate your prototype. Some of your initial assumptions may be dismantled; surprising new insights might surface. The way in which you respond to user feedback will determine the success of your venture.
No mobile app can make it to the market without prior testing. Quality assurance becomes the more so important when it comes to mHealth software, as it stores confidential data about patients.
By following the best practices to build your MVP, you ensure that the concept is thoroughly tested before launching it to the market. This reduces the likelihood of errors that can be fatal further down the line.
Here’s what you should be looking out for when QA testing a healthcare mobile app:
- Data security and privacy features: Eliminate all weaknesses and vulnerabilities that may result in data breaches
- Geolocation API: Ensure seamless integration, especially in the case of fitness apps such as Fitbit, that use GPS data to deliver certain features
- App performance under stress conditions: Assess the app’s behavior with poor network connectivity or high user load to simulate real-life scenarios
- Cross-platform compatibility: Validate your app’s compatibility by testing it on multiple devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop), in various platforms (such as Android and iOS) and browsers
There is huge potential for growth in the digital healthcare industry, as technology is progressing. Entering the niche with a healthcare mobile app can take your business to a whole new level of efficiency and market relevance.
mHealth solutions require a customer-centric approach. However, healthcare mobile app development services should also focus on your business and how they can boost your performance.
Partnering with the right software development provider can ensure long-term prosperity. From concept validation to product launch, a strategic approach will place you among the 4% mobile health app publishers that achieve > 1 million downloads per year (Research2Guidance).