Medical App Development Guide to Build HIPAA-compliant Software
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, healthcare companies that employed medical app developers to adapt to a new reality have prospered. The British medical diagnosis app Babylon included a COVID-19 symptom checker. As a result, the number of new UK registrations with the app grew by 140,000.
Yet, this is not only about COVID-19. Medical app development has bright prospects.
Statista predicts that by 2021 the mHealth market will reach 100 billion dollars, which is a five-fold increase compared to 2016. The range of areas in the healthcare industry that need digitalization is broad and new solutions are needed.
This article is a guide with the step by step process of medical app development that provides insight, namely:
- key types & examples of medical software to learn from
- detailed process to start with medical app development
- tips for how to define a value proposition for your project
- info on how to find great medical app developers to build your project
- description of functionality inside medical apps
- HIPAA, HITECH, FDA regulations one should follow
- potential cost & timeline to develop a medical app
Let’s get straight to these details!
The Challenges You Can Resolve with Medical App Development
When searching for healthcare app development services, entrepreneurs are always looking for their return on investment and a broad explanation about the benefits of this undertaking.
Medical app development mostly provides solutions that help to reduce costs, time, and a number of medical errors while providing enhanced services, removing bureaucracy, and so on.
Now we’ll describe these benefits of medical app development in greater detail with some vivid examples so that you can understand how your efforts will be rewarded:
1. Assistance with medical insurance
Verifying insurance coverage for a variety of medical services is a difficult task. Depending on the insurance plan, some services like specific surgeries or medications, may not be included.
To make sure a service provided is a service paid for, hospitals or practitioners hire high-cost third-party services to provide insurance checks. Launching a medical app with an insurance checking feature is definitely a great solution to cut costs.
Apps like Epocrates check if a patient's insurance plan covers the provided services and prescribed medications.
2. Documentation storage
Automation, and therefore less paperwork, allow physicians to focus more attention on patients. An average doctor visit lasts around 15 minutes.
The hustle caused by a high workload can lead to confusing scenarios like incorrect prescriptions and inaccurate diagnoses.
Mobile apps allow users to eliminate paper trails and keep records in an easy-to-access electronic form.
An app like Kareo, aside from being a great app for billing, lets users upload, download, and annotate medical documents, create notes and prescriptions, and view lab results in a centralized patient profile.
3. Improvement of workflow
In Australia, 43% of doctor’s office visitors complained that they had to wait too long for an appointment. In Japan, this number constituted 47% of respondents. Customer satisfaction might be higher if some doctor duties like billing or checking prescriptions were optimized.
Thanks to medical information apps, digitizing routine procedures including prescribing drugs, document exchange, recommendation tracking, and billing, gives doctors more time to spend on clinical decisions.
Any app in the mHealth domain intends to improve a workflow; currently, the best example is Medscape.
4. Simplified billing workflow
Since medical billing is a complex process, physicians hire specialists or third-party services to take care of the financial side of their practice.
An example of an app just for this is Kareo. This app allows doctors to bill automatically and get their payments more quickly.
5. Exchange of experience and knowledge
Being literate in new drugs, improved guidelines, or changes in treatment protocols is necessary to build effective recovery strategies.
Apps like DynaMed Plus and Lexicomp allow physicians to share information and reviews continually. Since the data gets updated several times a day, any doctor can rely on the newest information.
6. Medication tracking
An essential part of the recovery progress is timely medication intake. Medical health apps, like the MLSDev product Healixir, helps patients take the homeopathic product used for surgical recovery.
The app guides you through a specific recovery protocol, reminding you to take Healexir at regular intervals to ensure a speedy recovery.
Our medical app development company is eager to share our experience in building software for the healthcare industry. Feel free to check out more information about the value you can gain from our Healthcare App Developers.
7. Better decision-making and support
By aggregating medical records from different care points, a mobile health app keeps all the necessary information in one centralized resource. Therefore, a doctor's opinion is backed by a full picture of a patient’s medical history.
MLSDev helped to implement the Idana software to improve the process of communication between patients and doctors. Idana helps to optimize time during visits to doctors by collecting all of the preliminary information about a patient’s health conditions and symptoms before the appointment. Idana also stores the entire medical history for each patient so that doctors can easily access the required data.
8. Communication and care coordination
Hospital apps for patients allow users to keep track of messages and recommendations. Aside from this, they let a patient migrate between hospitals without the loss of essential data. This is possible via secure access in compliance with HIPAA regulations.
Additionally, medical apps create a whole new communication playground – patient communities that make a powerful tool for sharing experiences, reviews, and offering psychological support.
For example, a product by MLSDev, the Doctorate that allows patients to rate and review their experience with physicians. Based on patient feedback, the app builds recommendations for helping patients choose the right doctor.
If the above advantages spark your interest in medical app development, and you want to learn more about how to implement your own medical information app, you may request a free consultation with medical app developers from MLSDev.
Types and Examples of Medical Apps
- Treatment monitoring apps
Examples: Cerner Physician Express II, Cerner Millennium, Epic Haiku
Hospital apps for doctors help track a patient's health during the treatment process. They integrate with electronic health records (EHR), clinic schedules, patient lists, and notes.
Cerner Millennium, for example, helps staff shift planning, enables real-life bed management, presents interactive clinical dashboards, and allows users to make in-app notes on recovery.
- Patient engagement apps
Examples: AdviceCoach, Practice Fusion
Patient engagement apps cater to personalized recovery programs. Thanks to these programs, every individual receives a recovery plan instead of following generic recommendations .
AdviceCoach offers a wide range of videos, articles, photos, and schemes that can fit the needs of different customers. Thus, patients are better able to complete their treatment plans correctly. Additionally, they are more engaged and recover faster.
- Telemedicine apps (telehealth apps)
Examples: KRY, Ada, Doctor On Demand, MyDoctor, Telemedicine IntelliCare
Substituting face-to-face doctor visits is the primary goal of medical app development. Although not all medical issues can be solved via online sessions, telemedicine has proven to be successful with non-acute cases of cold and flu, depression, anxiety, allergies, etc.
Telemedicine software has been especially beneficial during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, while it is important to receive medical services while maintaining social distancing.
HealthTap allows users to arrange appointments with doctors, send e-prescriptions and lab results, utilize an AI-powered symptom checker, and take advantage of built-in reminders based on a treatment plan created by a doctor.
Want to build a telemedicine app of your own?
We have prepared a detailed guide on creating a telemedicine application. The guide includes technical advice, what features to include, tips on monetization strategies, and important considerations regarding legal compliance. You can find much more in our article: Telemedicine App Development: Trends, Challenges, Features, and Cost
- Medication management and e-prescription apps
Generally, e-prescribing allows medical professionals to send accurate prescriptions from the point of care (either an appointment room or a virtual cabinet) to a pharmacy. Then, the patient receives the prescribed medications. Advanced apps also allow users to track different prescription paths and receive alerts about incompatible medications.
The iPrescribe app allows customers to receive prescriptions more quickly and simultaneously sends clinical alerts. As well, it enables doctors to send in-app recommendations.
- Medical reference apps
Examples: Medscape, Epocrates, Visual DX
This category is made up of apps responsible for keeping medical workers informed about what’s new in the field. They combine news alerts, drug information, medical calculations, and upcoming educational events like seminars.
Medspace has access to an illustrated database of about 4,000 medical conditions, guidelines, and prescription information for about 8,000 drugs, news alerts, medical dosage calculators, educational videos, and directories of pharmacies and doctor offices.
- Electronic healthcare record (EHR) apps
Examples: eClinicalWorks, Allscripts, PrognoCIS EHR
Traditionally, electronic health record software has been developed for desktops, yet many services have mobile app versions too. Thus, doctors can get access to the necessary information from anywhere, at any time.
PrognoCIS EHR allows physicians to access patient charts and prescriptions, order and view lab results, etc. There is also a patient interface that allows users to view their health records, see lab results, and chat with their doctors.
Have an idea for some great EHR software, but have little understanding of how to implement it?
You can find a complete guide on how to build EHR software that includes info on types of EHR software, the time and costs required to build it, and technical tips to consider in our article: EHR Development: Powerful Tips for Modern Healthcare Solutions
- Chronic disease management apps
Example: Medisafe, Fooducate, Pain Diary, My Medical Info
Treating chronic diseases requires a long-term, or even lifetime, medication regimen, repetitive medical procedures, and a special diet and sleep cycle. A chronic disease management app should respond to all these challenges.
For example, the Medisafe app helps patients manage their medication intake and share this information with their pharmacist and physician.
- Professional networking apps
Example: Daily Rounds, Figure 1, Doximity
Information exchange among physicians is an integral part of the treatment process; therefore, digital communication between doctors must be HIPAA compliant.
Doximity allows users to exchange sensitive information via a HIPAA-compliant messaging functionality. The app also allows users to view open positions for medical employees, compare salaries, access educational materials, and connect with leading specialists.
- Patient healthcare tracking apps
Example: VitalHub, Chart
If a person utilizes different medical establishments and services throughout their lifetime, it is important to have a unified picture of their health history. The main goal of medical app developers in this case is building a machine that stores info from different sources.
The VitalHub app aggregates info from different sources (EHR systems, third-party hardware) and presents data in a well-organized, user-friendly interface.
- Medical appointment booking apps
Examples: Zocdoc, Doc Aid
Medical appointment apps allow patients to book appointments instantly, receive medical advice via in-app calls, get prescriptions, and build reports.
Aside from the actual scheduling of an appointment, an app like Zocdoc allows users to pick doctors by location, upload health-related documents, pay inside the app, save their treatment history, and leave reviews.
- Medical calculator apps
Example: MDCalc, Calculate by QxMD, Easy Drug Dose Calculator, Nursing Calculator
Medical calculator apps allow us to establish, adjust, track, and report medicines taken.
MDCalc includes about 270 clinical decision tools including equations, formulas, algorithms, risk scores, and dose calculators. Part of the functionality of the app even works in offline mode. Improper inputs trigger an alert with error warnings.
- Educational apps
Examples: QxMD Read, Docphin, Case
Professional educational medical info apps keep doctors informed of the latest developments in their area of expertise by providing access to scientific publications, research, and updated statistics.
The Case app simplifies the reading of preferred medical journals. The app lets users set up preferences and notifications, and provides a state-of-the-art search functionality based on 100K medical keywords.
Mental health apps
Examples: Moodfit, Modmission, Talkspace, Sanvello, Headspace, Happily
These apps determine patients’ mental health issues and build a system of goals recommended for emotional recovery.
Some apps go even further than that. Moodfit, beyond just the usual symptom survey, includes articles and videos to help you understand your emotions. The app generates a list of actions to improve your mood. Additionally, you can create a customized tracker to see how different items like foods, routines, and hobbies affect your mood.
Examples: 8Fit, Samsung Health, Wellness, BetterMe, Google Fit
Based on integration with wearables, these medical service apps perform tracking and reporting activities, and build recommendations. The number of actions and vital signs to track is vast: sleep, workouts, insulin level, temperature, menstrual cycle, blood pressure, water intake, caffeine intake, and more.
Samsung Health is one of the best medical applications for Android. The app records and analyzes various lifestyle indicators like sleep, running, and caffeine intake to build a pattern of recommendations.
Based on the set of features, your app can belong to one or several categories. Based on CB Insights research, clinical intelligence and enablement is a top area with tools that help to make clinical decisions to deliver care more effectively and efficiently.
Once you’ve decided on a category to proceed with, your next move is learning how to create a medical app, step-by-step.
How to Create a Medical App: Step-by-Step Process
So, how does one develop a medical app? The flow is simple: you start medical app development by defining your strategic goals, composing a unique value proposition, and finalizing the app type and concept. Then, with a professional team of medical app developers, you proceed with the functional specifications, UX/UI design, actual app development, testing, and release. As well, do not forget to market your medical product effectively.
Let’s review each of these steps more closely.
1. Learning the needs of your target audience
Medical app development starts with finalizing a great idea, vision, and strategic goals. There is a particular methodology for nurturing your idea for a medical app.
You may find your vision very convincing, but that doesn’t mean your clients will like it.
During this step, you must present the idea to as many people as possible, conduct some polling among your potential target audience, ask medical staff for recommendations, and carefully document all of this feedback.
The methodology to work with the target audience is simple and consists of three actions:
- Divide them into groups and define your customer profile
- Collect their thoughts, needs, problems, and similar data (through polls, questionnaires, and interviews)
- Identify your early adopters (potential customers)
Those who will be most interested in your app will be your early adopters. This is the group that expects your app to solve one of their pressing problems immediately. Your task is to center your attention on their needs.
2. Document Your Medical App Requirements
You should document everything you consider necessary for your medical app development.
Note: If you find out that your idea has already been implemented by someone else, it’s a great starting point to create something new instead. You may refer to competitors’ ideas, check out feedback from other customers, and make a better product. You may narrow or broaden the specialization of your product as a result.
Through every step of the medical app development process, you should check your assumptions with the target audience.
As well, it is possible to study the App Store and Google Play, as well as related forums, to collect user feedback, pain points, potential requests, and similar data.
After going through the steps above, you should have the following takeaways:
- Concept for medical app project
- Defined customer portrait
- List of expectations and requests from your target audience
- Competitor and market research
3. Compose Your Unique Value Proposition
Defining the UVP is something you should do before sending your idea to a team of medical app developers. When correctly set, the UVP simplifies marketing efforts significantly.
After thorough research and customer interviews, you may define the UVP in one sentence.
- Zocdoc: Find the right doctor right now with Zocdoc
- Medscape: Your one-stop resource for medical news, clinical reference, and education
- iPrescribe: Prescribing made painless
- Practice Fusion: Meet the EHR that helps independent practices thrive
Your UVP should answer 3 questions: "What?," "Who?," and "How?"
For example: (What?) iPrescribe app - helps (Who?) doctors write prescriptions - (How?) by automating procedures.
Here is the table that provides VP examples for different category of users.
|Customer||Example of Value Proposition|
|Patients||Improve the quality of life of the patient and/or informal caregivers (family)
Improve quality of care
Improve health status
Improve knowledge about disease (health education)
Improve independent living
|Health & social care provider||Improve work conditions for healthcare professionals
Improve quality of care and patient satisfaction
|Public authorities & public insurances||Improve quality of care
Improve health status of the population, resolve public health issues
Improve citizen satisfaction
|Private insurances||Improve quality of care and services
Improve customer satisfaction
Innovate marketing, differentiate from competitors
|Companies||Improve productivity of employees thanks to better health
Reduce care costs of employees
Innovate marketing, social responsibility, attract employee profiles
4. Test your app’s assumptions
Your vision for a future medical services app depends on personal assumptions that may be false. During this stage, you should sort out erroneous assumptions by testing them.
There are several methods to test the ideas of your app: create a landing page with product offering, create polls and interviews, ask experts, and run heap ad campaigns.
Tip: you can build a landing page describing the idea of your app with a “Download” button and run an ad campaign on social media. In the end, you’ll see how many people clicked on or liked your app.
Now the task is to modify the original approach. Based on the collected critical points from respondents, it is necessary to finalize your idea and adjust the medical app’s functionality.
5 . Create a medical app sketch
It is never too early to build a prototype of your future app. No matter what things you want to check, the design or functionality, having a prototype will help you have an overview of the whole system and be better able to test the software interface in the early medical app development stages.
Tip: You may use tools like Figma, Proto.io, Marvel, Balsamiq, and UXPin to create an initial medical app sketch.
6. Find Professional Medical App Developers
The search for a reliable team of medical app developers requires a lot of effort if you do not know where to start. Just make use of our recommendations as you read further.
These days, it is popular to outsource medical app development due to cost and time saving benefits. There are a plethora of outsourcing destinations in the world. Still, we want to elaborate on the one that is traditionally the most reliable in terms of quality and pricing - and that is Eastern Europe.
The prices for software development in Eastern Europe, mainly in Ukraine, are considerably lower than those in Western Europe and the USA. The average rates in EE for software development range from $30 to $40 per hour. This makes a great difference when compared with the $70 to $150 rates in Europe and the USA. This is due to a taxation subvention implemented by the government for the growth of the IT sector.
When it comes to quality, Ukraine is ranked eleventh worldwide for software development services, according to HackerRank.
If you want to find out more about the possibilities of outsourcing medical app development, learn about the risks and rewards of software development outsourcing, the top global outsourcing destinations, and learn how to get started with software outsourcing successfully - read the article Outsourcing Software Development.
To begin with outsourcing software development, you have to do your homework first. That includes developing a project description, business goals, tech requirements, and preparing some questions you’ll want to ask medical app developers.
Next, you’ll have to list all of the web and mobile app development companies and conduct a screening project. A professional app development company will have a solid portfolio, references, a considerable number of successful projects, and some history on the market.
After you choose a list of medical app developers, you have to be involved personally in every stage of your medical app project. Your involvement and readiness to come up with feedback is an inevitable ingredient for success.
Check out the diagram below for a visual presentation of how to outsource medical app development.
7. Build a Solid Medical App
Every company follows its own software development models that have proved to be productive for them. At MLSDev, we divide the whole process into two major stages: Discovery and Development.
The process of medical app development starts with the initial discussion of your business idea and ends up with our ongoing support and maintenance of the completed product.
During the discovery stage of medical app development, we discuss, analyze, and prepare everything needed for the technical implementation of your software, as well as cover the business objectives.
Once the Discovery Stage is complete, you will then receive a rough cost and time estimate, product design represented by user experience and user interface, functional specifications and product backlog, and prepared project architecture for further development stages. On demand, our team can also conduct market and competitor research.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the Discovery stage deliverables:
- Business analysis (functional specifications, product backlog)
- Design (UX/UI design)
- Project architecture (architecture vision)
- Market & Competitor analysis (on-demand)
During the Development stage, our medical app developers bring your idea for a medical app to life. We offer native app development for Android and iOS platforms. During this stage, we develop the back- and front-end functionality and test your product.
|Front-end development||Technical implementation of your design; or, how your app will look and interact with a user|
|Back-end development||Server, application, and database development; or, how your app will actually work|
|Android development (native)||Technical implementation and app optimization for devices operating on Android OS|
|iOS development (native)||Technical implementation and app optimization for Apple devices|
|Quality assurance and testing||Bug fixes and app preparation for launch. Testing services: functional, non-functional, performance, usability, regression, UAT, localization, etc.|
It’s worth mentioning that our team pays special attention to software testing in all stages of development, so that all possible flaws are eliminated before the app’s release.
Many teams end collaboration with a client at this stage, but we offer ongoing support and product development in response to the ongoing, changing needs of the market.
Note: Our team can also ensure app support and maintenance that implies rapid incident management, occasional fixes, and regular updates in design and functionality for the consequent versions of your product.
8. Launch Your Service Correctly
The best way to introduce the app to the market is to start with the early adopters. This tactic has a huge benefit, since this segment of your audience already has expectations about your app and will be generous with feedback.
It is great to present your early adopters with different versions of your medical app in order to run AB testing to see which variant of the user interface is more readily accepted by the public, and therefore pick the right option for further development.
9. Market Your Medical App
After you’ve introduced the app to early adopters and received their feedback, you can market it to a broader audience. Note that your strategy depends then on the medical app concept you decided to create.
Here are a couple of ways to do it:
- Use social media marketing to announce the app
- Use paid ads (on Facebook, Google)
- Content marketing
- Build a referral network (let other resources, like bloggers, talk up your app)
- Finally, ask your first clients for referrals
As with any other stages, marketing will require a lot of probing and corrections.
You should now have an overall idea of a complete cycle of medical app development. Now it’s time for you to learn about which features to include in your app.
The whole process of medical app development can be finalized in a product strategy presented in the form of a Business Model Canvas and the forces influencing its creation. This model showcases a high-level overview of all the components, roles, resources, and activities to ensure the project’s success.
Have a great idea for a medical app, but don’t know how to bring your vision to life?
Contact the MLSDev team to outsource your idea and find reliable medical app development services that will offer you high quality expertise and dedication. We will provide you with a free consultation and an estimate of the cost and timeline.
Features for Custom Medical App Development
Successful medical app development is possible only if you are sure about what features to implement.
We have researched the main features of the most popular apps to help you make a decision faster.
- Video conferencing feature
Medical video conferencing has two tasks: security and productivity. To reach the first target, software developers must invest a lot of time and effort into security.
You must make your video conferencing feature compliant with HIPAA regulations. A great example of this is Zoom for Healthcare, which provides HIPAA and HITECH compliant video conferencing.
You may want to go beyond merely video. It would be great if your app could allow users to share CT scans, lab results, and health record information during a call. As well, you can implement integration with a robotic camera to let doctors provide remote examinations. VSee is a great example of this functionality.
For technical implementation of feature-rich and secure video conferencing, you may also refer to the vSee User Management API and vSee URI API.
- Speech recognition (SR)
In medical practice, speech recognition is necessary to receive a transcript of a call so that doctors don’t skip important details that may cost someone’s life. Another benefit you get with this feature is the ability to leave important notes during an examination via a speech-to-text recorder.
Both speech-to-text and text-to-speech functionality increase the overall effectiveness of medical processes. Working with an app via voice commands saves a lot of time and allows users to focus on important things.
For the technical implementation of these features, refer to:
- Web Speech Specification API - text-to-speech functionality
- Web Speech API - voice recognition
- Google Cloud Speech API - transcription
HPE Haven OnDemand Speech Recognition API - speech-to-text functionality
Patient and doctor profiles
Any user should be able to log into a system without much effort - via social media accounts or by creating a profile using email.
A doctor’s profile should also include specializations and job history. If a doctor changes their place of work, this info should be automatically updated. Thus, the app will have to integrate with data sources from different hospitals.
It would be great if the system could provide reviews and listings, complete surveys, and benchmark specialists against each other.
This is possible with the application of APIs like SocialClimb API. To extract and collect healthcare data to create a full patient profile automatically, you may use Zweena API, which extracts and collects healthcare data from different points of care.
- Search functionality
Unstructured medical records can make it hard for a practitioner to find relevant information.
The solution is to use a search instrument that can handle both structured (patient profile) and unstructured (letters of reference, doctor notes, etc.) information.
To do this, the software needs to recognize different text entities and link them to relevant categories. You can use Ontotext S4 Semantic Biomedical Tagger API for this purpose.
- Listing functionality
To implement listing functionality, medical app developers may use APIs like The List API. This feature may be helpful to present lists of medical events, doctors, medicine, and much more.
- Offline access
Since there are unexpected situations in life, the offline access to healthcare data is a must. You can review this functionality in the ProWorkflow API.
- Booking feature
It is essential that a patient be able to book both a physical visit to a doctor and video-calls. This functionality is now present in most health apps; therefore, there are plenty of HIPAA compliant scheduling APIs explicitly created for medical services.
Examples include Walgreens Clinic Appointment Scheduler and YellowSchedule.
- E-prescription feature
This functionality allows doctors to create and send prescriptions and notes automatically. This saves time and reduces the risk of errors. If a patient consults with different specialists, e-prescribing allows users to aggregate prescriptions from various sources.
Another handy feature is the ability to claim drugs from a pharmacy automatically so that they can prepare the needed package in advance. You may also include incompatibility alerts if some medications can’t be taken together. Or, the app could send alerts regarding allergies if some groups of chemicals have had adverse effects on a patient’s health in the past.
You can check out the Pharmacy Prescription Refill API for this functionality.
- Activity feed
This feature may include components like rehab exercises, pills to take, or even hydration recommendations. Based on the activity feed, either collected from wearables or the patient's inputs, an app can build recommendations and reports.
APIs like Omron will be helpful in this case.
- Health dashboard
It is easier for doctors to make decisions if they are sure all the data has been properly collected and presented. It is easier when information is presented in dashboards. On the patient’s side, they would likely be happy to see information like the recovery path shown visually as well.
The Samsung Health app provides a great example of a user-friendly mHealth dashboard.
- Progress tracking and sharing feature
When it comes to fitness apps, users are very likely to share their achievements on social media or even with the in-app community.
- Medical records and calculation feature
An in-app medical record should include the customer’s name, date of birth, address, and data like blood type, weight, height, chronic diseases, and allergies. It is also important that this feature includes the phone number of a contact person in case of emergency.
Some apps allow the opportunity to sign-up for a donor program or put specific notes in an app. Others save the medication history, aside from the usual history of medical conditions.
A good healthcare app integrates health data from different sources into a single record. To develop this functionality, one may use APIs like Human Medical API or Patient Knows Best FHIR API.
- Symptom checker
A symptom checker is a list of follow-up questions that usually have three answer choices: yes, no, and I don’t know. The quality of a symptom checker depends on the elaboration and preciseness of questions.
The most popular medical services, like iTriage, rely on their own symptom-illness datasets.
If your service is new to medicine, you’ll have to hire a specialist to build a symptom dataset, or buy one.
For better visualization, some services use avatars so that a person can show an area of pain. The avatars may be supported by a list of symptoms for better precision. The symptoms may go along with a supportive list of causes.
According to Pharmacy Times, the best symptom checkers are still only 50-70% accurate.
You may develop this functionality with an ApiMedic Symptom Checker API.
- Messaging functionality
It is important that doctors and patients can exchange messages in real time via a secure medium. Therefore, a messaging and chat functionality should be compliant with regional medical data protection legislation.
Enabling chats between patients is also a great idea, as that can be a source of support and experience sharing.
As well, people like sending important info like lab results, CT-scans, etc, in real time. Therefore, it is important that a chat system includes document sharing and supports different image types.
This feature can be implemented through the use of APIs like QliqSOFT Messaging API and DataMotion Direct Messaging. These services put extra importance on HIPAA compliance and security.
- Custom notifications and reminders
From a reminder to take a pill to an immediate lab result, relevant notifications and reminders are a must-have feature for any healthcare app or web service.
When developing this functionality, it is necessary to consider timing, the length of messages, and their frequency. Although, with medical app development, these criteria depend greatly on the client’s need (like a reminder to take a pill at a certain hour); it is also important to let users set a preferred number of reminders. Too many wordy notifications can annoy users.
Although there are plenty of APIs for notifications and reminders, services like Humana Push can give you a clue as to how to develop functionality geared specifically to the mHealth sector.
- Wearable connection
Accessing health data from wearable devices is possible with solutions like GETHealth API, Apple HealthKit API, and Google Cloud Healthcare API. These solutions enable wearable connections for iOS and Android platforms.
These APIs integrate with numerous devices that track weight, sleep, heartbeat, nutrition, and much more. Thanks to this functionality, a doctor can receive a real-life picture of a patient’s progress.
- Cloud integration
It is essential that patients and doctors can access the necessary information from anywhere. This is possible if you store the app data in the cloud. Cloud integration streamlines the process of allowing access to the needed info from anywhere without losing track of records. Additionally, it helps to cut costs.
- Payment processing
Today’s users prefer multiple payment methods. Most apps solve this demand by combining PayPal, credit card, bank transfer, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc, in one app. To manage online payments, medical app developers implement technologies like Stripe or Braintree.
Stripe is a set of payment APIs that help process online payments. Braintree, a division of PayPal, allows the integration of different payment services besides PayPal. These options can include credit and debit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay, or Venmo (in the US only).
Aside from a secure and simple payment, most users prefer seamless check-outs consisting of a maximum of 3 steps.
- CRM, Analytics, & Reporting
When building an analytics and reporting feature, it is necessary to note what sorts of reports will be used. These reports may include prescription history, drug-routes, diagnosis history, insurance reports, lab results, etc. The SanteSuite API will help in this case.
Another use of analytical software is the real-time reporting of health parameters like blood pressure, temperature, ECG, etc. Medtrics Analytics As Service (MaaS) API can be helpful to connect IoT sensors and medical software.
The described features may be used within different categories of apps.
Usage of Emerging Technologies in Medical App Development
The following emerging technologies find its appliance in a range of fields, including medical app development. Check out the information below and consider integrating this advanced functionality in a consequent version of the product.
- AI & ML integration
Integration with AI and ML solutions boosts the domain of digital diagnosing. When it is based on tons of data, an in-app symptom checker can be a great preliminary solution when helping a patient find the right doctor and prepare them for a visit.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, an AI-powered British health app Babylon helped to diagnose a high risk of infection in 15,000 users, out of the 31,000 that tried it, before they actually visited a hospital.
- Blockchain integration
Having an electronic medical record is comfortable, but not always safe. According to a 2018 survey by Accenture, 6% of respondents opted out of having a digital record. Implementing low-risk technology is the best way to eliminate a customer’s concerns.
The use of blockchain technology is a response to the elevated demand in highly secure solutions, as the amount of sensitive data to be stored grows exponentially.
Although, not every medical mobile app development company has specialists in this technology. Therefore, it is important to discuss this at the first meeting with your future medical app developers.
- VR-based functionality
VR-based solutions have various applications in medicine. From a better way to visualize an issue in medical studies, to use for its therapeutic effect, doctors have no plans to stop experimenting with VR.
Virtualmedicine.health uses VR for pain, anxiety, stress, depression, and even for stroke rehab. This creates great perspectives for VR-based medical app development.
Integration with connected devices expands the reach of mHealth solutions.
Robotic cameras help with remote examinations, and fitness trackers allow users to monitor essential health indicators 24/7. It is no wonder that mastering integration with IoT devices is a must-have skill of medical app developers.
Implementing emerging technology in your future app requires additional consultation and more expenses when it comes to actual medical app development.
MLSDev’s team of medical software developers would be happy to share their extensive expertise to help you with this topic.
If you want to figure out how to implement emerging technologies like IoT in your medical app development project, learn more about the prices and opportunities, and find a detailed explanation in our article IoT Healthcare: What the Future Holds for the Healthcare Industry.
Crucial Aspects in Any Medical App Development Process
The crucial aspects of medical app development involve compliance with privacy regulations, interoperability standards, and encryption.
1. Compliance with regulations
When it comes to medical app development, it is necessary to learn most of the safety and security regulations in the beginning. Every country has a specific set of privacy regulations. Below, we list the most essential privacy regulations to comply with by locales.
HIPAA regulations set the standards for managing sensitive data and when it comes to medical application development for the US market. You can get more specific information on the topic in the HIPAA Security Rule Toolkit.
Many specialists are now also referring to the HITECH Act, implemented during the Obama administration. This act aimed to close the loopholes in HIPAA regulations, yet later both documents were merged, and the latest version of HIPAA guidelines contains HITECH rules by default.
In Canada, the most authoritative privacy legislation is The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
In the United Kingdom, mobile medical app developers will have to stick with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
If your medical app is designed for the EU market, it needs to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations, which extends user rights to control the use of sensitive information significantly.
Medical app development services in the Asia Pacific region stick to Asia Pacific Data Protection and Cybersecurity Regulation.
Aside from regional regulations, there are international standards for medical app development:
- IEC 62304 standard for the development of medical software and the software of medical devices.
- The ISO/IEC 27000 standard enables organizations to securely manage financial information, employee details, and other sensitive information.
- SOC Type 2 regulations refer to the management of data entrusted to third parties.
As well, there are guidelines for data safety included in platform-specific documentation for iOS and Android systems. For example, medical iPhone app development should be aligned with the Human Interface Guidelines for HealthKit.
When it comes to connected devices like trackers or headphones, they have to receive an MFI (Made for iPhone certification). This means the devices are secure to use with the apps designed for Apple.
Medical record apps for Android also have platform-specific requirements that are listed in the Android OS Health Guidelines.
2. Improving interoperability
The loss of clinical information causes a lot of problems for medical health apps, which may harm patients.
To maintain the interoperability of medical services, the US Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has created a nationwide interoperability roadmap.
This regulation improves the infrastructure of digital medical services. Sticking to interoperability standards is a must for successful medical app development.
3. Data protection and encryption
Sensitive medical information should be protected from malicious attacks. It is possible to achieve this protection through data encryption and the use of safe protocols like HTTPS and TLS/SSL.
Aside from this, it is important to implement multiple levels of authorization and record all access sessions and change history carefully.
By maintaining all the safety standards during the medical app development process, you thereby ensure the security of personal and medical information.
Medical App Development Cost
We hope that the information mentioned has brought you an understanding of how to build software applications of different complexities, and what human resources you need to involve in the medical app development process.
The only question that remains unanswered is how much it costs to build a medical app.
The medical app development cost for basic functionality starts from $60,000 for one platform and client (iOS, Android, or web). For example, the minimum price of medical iPhone app development for a doctor and a patient will be around $90,000 - $110,000+. The medical project of a larger complexity operating on Android and Apple devices will cost you from $250,000+.
In general, the cost of development will depend on the functionality and the number of medical app developers involved in the project, design complexity, etc.
For example, if you decide to implement VR-based functionality, the cost of medical mobile app development will be much higher.
The following table will help to make a preliminary calculation of the medical app development cost:
|Basic version (core feature set, 1 platform)||Medium app (more features and design of a larger complexity, 1 platform)||Large app (complex app design, development, and support, 2 platforms)|
|Time||~3-6 months||~6-9 months||9+ months (ongoing)|
Note: the prices are based on the average hourly rate of medical software developers in Ukraine, which is USD 40/hour.
You can find additional insight about the rates of mobile medical app developers, the cost of functionality, and factors influencing the software development process in our detailed guide App Development Cost: Understand Your Budget To Build Powerful Apps.
Concluding Thoughts from Medical App Developers
This article is a broad explanation of, and response to, the question of how to develop a medical app.
As the owner of a future medical mobile app, you are lucky to have selected the medical app development domain, which is on the rise. Among the majority of the app types, you can check out the segment that will best suit your idea or combine several ones.
You just have to carefully select which features will bring value to future users, and then discuss with medical software developers whether this functionality fits within your budget.
In general, here are the main stages of medical app development:
- Idea validation
- Medical app concept development
- Market and competitor research
- Cooperation with a reliable team of medical app developers
- Medical app development (Discovery & Development)
- Project testing and release
- Marketing and ongoing support
The key to success in your future project is the right choice of a medical mobile app development company. The best option is one that will offer high quality services at moderate prices.
Thinking about how to create a medical app and implement it in your medical business successfully?
Do you have a great idea for an application, but have little understanding of how to start the actual medical app development? Our team would be glad to share our expertise in the healthcare domain. You can receive a consultation from our Business Analyst and Software Architect who can share valuable insight into the tech and business aspects of your project.