Last Updated | July 22, 2022
Overview: Developing a Medical App
Public health issues are on the rise. Most of the population today is affected by disparities, mental disorders, and concerns that need the right healthcare communication to enforce recovery.
According to Healthy People 2010, healthcare communication is “the art and technique of informing, influencing, and motivating individual, institutional, and public audiences about important health issues.”
To reinforce effective communication in America and around the world, the healthcare sector is embracing innovations in information technology and the medical device industry. This fundamental paradigm shift in health communication is supported by a growing number of medical apps.
The reach and impact of healthcare communication have never been as great as today when numerous medical apps are addressing various health concerns throughout the US and the world.
The best thing about medical apps is that they fund opportunities for disseminating information on various health issues- from maternal disparities to child abuse health concerns to people.
However, this technology is still in its early stages.
To reach its full potential, healthcare communication through medical apps significantly needs more research, especially the study of prevailing health issues and how to address them and increase their reach to the underserved population.
So, if you want to create a medical app (we assume you do, which is why you are here), we hope you have set out to build an app that can genuinely solve a problem and serve people’s lives.
Let’s assume you have figured out the pain points in the industry, but do you know what steps you can take to create an app that can add value to people’s lives?
If you don’t, we suggest you skim through our guide to cover all the basics. But before we start, let us first go through some basic fundamentals.
Explaining the Basics of a Medical App
A medical app is application software used for delivering healthcare services. Medical apps use multimedia technologies, and like common mobile applications, they are installed on smartphones or tablets.
These apps are used for various purposes, including general health tracking, fitness tracking, remote patient monitoring, disease management, consultations, etc.
But medical apps are not built for general public health issues. Instead, they address specific health concerns, which is why patients use them after being prescribed by their physicians.
Since you are deciding to create a medical app, try to spot where the gap or pain points exist and then address them through your app.
On the popular application stores like Google Play Store, there are already 65,000+ medical apps for android users (while another research into health-related apps claimed 325,000.) Your app is simply going to get lost among these digits if you do not identify the real value your app can bring.
So, how do you find that value?
Let’s help you understand what value you can offer while taking you through the seven worthwhile tips.
Developing a Medical App: 7 Tips to Get You Started
- Do Your Research – Know Your Target Audience and What They Want/Need
In 2022, simply creating a medical app does not qualify it for immediate adoption.
You know how many health apps Google Play Store alone has. In the healthcare app market, the saturation is high, and so are patients’ and providers’ expectations. Therefore, before you finalize what app you need to develop, do some user search.
If you search for the top 100 ranking apps on the store, you will find yourself scrolling through lots and lots of fitness trackers, calorie trackers, and meditation products before you come across a decent piece of tech.
However, the number of downloads for the top eight apps barely scratches the surface of what the health and fitness categories generate. So, if you want to target the general public, focusing on fitness and meditation areas will definitely get you further.
Nevertheless, when your idea is to cater to patients, you do not need to look at the trending apps. Simply, make sure to build something that adequately fulfills the needs of the patients.
Interestingly, medical apps are effective instruments to enhance communication between doctors and patients, or they are just educational tools.
So, you can either choose to build a worthwhile application to simplify healthcare learning or a tool to facilitate patient-physician communication.
Yet, if you have no idea what app to develop and who the audience will be, consider the numerous types of applications that assist in performing different healthcare tasks. Most of these apps are gravitating toward three audiences: medical personnel, patients, and administration.
Here is a list of different applications for each type of audience:
Medical Apps for Patients
- Fitness and wellness
- Appointment scheduling along with reminders
- Social networking
- Habit tracking
- Mental health
- Women’s health
Medical Apps for Medical Personnel
- Medicine reference
- Clinical communication
- Remote patient monitoring
- Appointment management
- Clinical communication
Medical Apps for Administration
- EHR/ EMR
- Inventory management
- Doctor or nurse marketplace
- Practice management systems
As you can see, you have a number of options. We jotted them down for you to take their reference and decide what you want to build.
- Plan Out the Features of Your App and How It Will Work
Healthcare apps are of different types, so you need different features and functionality.
The features depend on your audience’s needs. To align the medical apps with user needs and make them responsive, you must include all must-have features.
Take an example of Text4Baby, the first national health messaging service. It’s a free app that delivers personalized and critical health information to users via text messages. The app targets expectant women and new moms to help them get more aware of their health and educate them on giving the best possible life to their babies.
The app includes all necessary features such as:
- Health and safety content for different stages of gestation
- A weekly planning list with calendar items on development, health, and lifestyle
- Polls for women to learn what other moms think about topics, like early signs of child-bearing, infant development, etc.
Text4Baby has all the essential features that support the initiative of helping new moms overcome anxiety.
Likewise, the features on your app have to be in association with the idea behind developing the app.
You will most likely have two primary audiences for your app: physicians and patients. If you are building a clinical app, focus on doctors only. But, if your app will be for patients, think about what they are looking for.
Once you know their needs, add those features and functions to your app and make sure to keep it as straightforward and intuitive as possible.
- Create a Prototype to Test the Feasibility of Your App
Do not throw yourself into creating the app just because you know what features to add.
Before building the app, test your idea by prototyping your app.
Prototyping is creating a representation of the app before the final product to test and gain confidence in the product you are developing.
Healthcare solutions have seen significant evolution. Today’s models need to be human-centered, and their design should ultimately serve the users.
Therefore, directly launching the finished app involves multiple risks like your product may not function well or does not provide for the desired user intent.
So, it is always a viable option to evaluate the final design, material, and functions at the prototype level.
Prototyping involves analyzing the app at multi-level parameters in the end-user environment.
Considering the app at the idea level might look revolutionary, but the real 3D format or prototype of the app can help bring the problems to the front.
- Develop a Marketing Strategy to Promote Your App
When you know your target audience, you are halfway through a successful marketing strategy.
With the right targeting, you can run paid ads on social media to attract lots of traffic. You can target an audience based on age, sex, location, and interests.
If you want to target a global audience, you may want to go for an ad network to run ads for your app.
The other way is to promote it on social media groups and forums. They are very profitable for this purpose and have a good impact on revenue.
There are more ways to promote the app, most of which are paid. You can pitch media or run email marketing campaigns.
If social media does not bring good results, you may consider pairing up with pharmaceutical reps to demo your app to key doctors directly.
Another practical way is to attend a study club in your vicinity to get market feedback on what social networks doctors frequently use for medical tools. Then, look to advertise on those channels.
- Get Feedback From Users and Make Changes Accordingly
Creating an app takes a heck of a lot of time, and success is never guaranteed until users confirm it.
Yes, when you have fully developed the app, do not sit back. Present it to users and be open to making improvements and fixes as they revert.
Instead of assuming what healthcare users want out of the app, get feedback from them and learn the changes that matter most to users.
This step makes a big difference in development by limiting the number of guesses you make and moving the process fast to create the final product.
There are a couple of ways to get feedback. You can use the tools for feedback inside your app.
A great way to encourage users to leave feedback is by telling them you want to hear it. Whenever you ask for feedback, let users know where they can leave it and show them you are listening. To get real-time feedback, point out places where you are available and ready to listen.
- Secure Funding for Development and Marketing
After the pandemic, investment in healthcare (not just in medical apps but any telehealth solutions) has spiked by nearly 300%, as reported by CB Insights.
We see plenty of incredible apps making news in the market and raising incredible amounts of funds.
This means there are enough sources of funds.
So, if your app idea is wonderful, you can also secure funds when you promote it the right way.
Funds can expedite the process of development and take you closer to launch.
If you want to win the right funding, here are a few things that you need to do:
- Develop your medical app with a minimal budget (as Minimal Viable Product or MVP). Investors would love to see you being able to develop your app within your means. If you have a little more money to spend, you can also work with our medical app developers.
- Get seed funding. The possible sources of this funding are your family, friends, or people in your circle who believe in your idea. This funding is small and ranges to a few thousand dollars which is enough to build your app efficiently and market to a small target group. You may also get seed funding from venture specialists or the government on a trial basis. Besides, search for the funds you stand eligible for and get initial funds flowing from wherever they come.
- If you want to try it free from risks, there are plenty of crowdfunding platforms where you can raise money. Here, you need to put your best foot forward with a little creativity. Create a stellar campaign that portrays your idea for the best application you want to build. A great write-up coupled with an interactive video will get the right attention. So, all you need to do is develop the campaign and promote it to get your desired funding goal.
- Polish up Your App Before Release
Taking considerable time to prepare and consider various parameters is better than rushing for the launch.
Before you launch your app on the app store, you will want to optimize it to increase its visibility. Depending on the category of your app, decide on what keywords should be part of your app’s title.
For example, if your app is for tracking steps while running, you may get confused between “run”, “running”, or “runner” as to which keyword is more appropriate for the title.
To get your first idea of keywords, run a live search on popular search engines. The search will show the immediate results for the top apps that rank for the keyword, so you can check if they are similar to yours.
Considering the above example, you will see that “running” is commonly used for apps in the health and fitness category.
You get the idea, right?
So, after you know the keywords, the next step to optimizing your app is to look into your competitor’s creative strategies. Of course, your product will bring a different value, but understanding the best practices for medical app creatives will help you reinforce your visual asset to appeal to users from the start.
Designing appealing creatives include app icons, inside layouts, features, and more.
Other than optimization and design, you may also find other areas that need modifications. As you analyze your app, gradually eliminate the hiccups and polish your app. So, when you launch it in the market, your app outshines the competition.
The Benefits of Developing a Medical App with Folio3
Despite the market being full of healthcare apps, the users are still underserved.
One of the reasons patients are underserved by effective medical apps is because the best ideas to develop apps come from medical practitioners and not from software developers.
In most cases, medical professionals lack the specialized knowledge to take the medical app development from concept to market.
This is why medical professionals need software development teams.
Folio3 is a leading mobile app development company serving the USA with life-saving mobile applications. We endeavor together with medical professionals to improve the quality of public health and deliver reliable solutions for better health results.
We seek to bring in apps in healthcare to provide innovative solutions that foster better patient engagement and empower professionals with great insights for decision making.
We work in close association with medical professionals and hospitals to develop customized medical apps, ensuring our products and teams deliver you the following benefits:
Compliance with Modern Standards
Folio3 enables medical app security to comply with leading security frameworks and standards like HIPAA and HITECH. Ensuring security makes our apps free of bugs, privacy concerns, and design flaws.
24/7 Technical Support
To improvise for product performance, our teams ensure premium, practical solutions for your technical issues. With our full-time technical support, you get uninterruptible uptime.
From helping you understand end-user behavior to analyzing the market and undertaking competitive analysis, we specialize in providing a wide range of solutions.
Seamless In-House Development
We have a team of certified developers to build feature-rich apps for a diverse range of use cases under the requirements of the FDA and the HIPAA law. The development happens in-house under the supervision of our app development experts.
How do you establish a timeline for development and launch?
These days, it is easy to get the help of professionals and develop a medical app. All you need is a basic idea and budget for the app.
But, how do you know how long the development will take?
You get to know when you decide the timeline. The timeline depends on the complexity of the product you want to develop.
To give you an idea of how long the creation process can take, here’s a tentative app development timeline:
- First 2-3 weeks of the planning stage
- Next 2-3 weeks for business analysis
- The design and pre-development stage takes 5-7 weeks
- Spend 3-4 weeks in the UI design stage
- The development stage takes 8-10 weeks
- 6-8 weeks for back-end development
- Next 6-8 weeks for front-end development
- 2 weeks for the testing stage
- Product finalization and launch take 1 week
This timeline may not apply to your project because the time frame fluctuates for each application idea. For more information about the timeline for your app development, get in touch with us.
After the COVID-19 spell, mobile app development for healthcare has gained traction.
This has brought many on-demand apps, namely, doctor booking, medicine delivery, lab report delivery, and more which are now ruling the healthcare industry with a huge profit.
When there is so much competition, the app you are thinking of bringing into the market must offer high user satisfaction, provide security, and make service widely available at affordable prices.
To create such an app, the most common steps are as follows:
- Doing market analysis and studying different niches to learn about competitors, their strengths and weak points, and how your app can make a difference.
- Searching and studying your audience by conducting interviews or surveys. The idea is to get to their pain points.
- Choosing the healthcare app type to determine app functionality and goal.
- Designing the app with a user-friendly interface and very few touch points
- Making application HIPAA compliant and building MVP
The topic of healthcare is very sensitive. Thus, developing a health app is not simple. As you develop the app, it is essential to make it HIPAA compliant.
To be sure about the app’s compliance with HIPAA, implement the practices that ensure patients’ protected health information (PHI) stays secure within the app.
You can do it this way:
- Limit access to health data by defining specific user roles. The treating doctor should be the only one to access a patient’s profile.
- Develop high-security protocols to protect all health information
- Create policies and follow guidelines as specified by security standards to ensure you are not breaking rules
For building a medical app, the average cost is approximately $150,000. This price involves custom healthcare app development services for creating an app for iOS or Android with full-stack development and design. It also covers QA, product management, and team communication services.
How to market your app?
Marketing a medical app involves using paid or unpaid techniques.
To drive unpaid users, you may want to try practical promotions like reaching the end-users and marketing to them directly.
Another way is to have some budget and try out these marketing options:
- Create a Website
You can use hosting services that will host your site and provide you with templates and tools to create an amazing landing page. Displaying interesting details about your app and a simple call to action can help you cast a net for conversions, triggering users to download the app.
- Social media pages
You have options to run free promotions on social media pages or promote your app with paid advertising. Marketing on social media pages might be a slower process. But, if you go for Facebook advertising, it offers you lots of tools and resources that can potentially help you reach your target audience in a set time.
- Promotional materials
Creating promotional materials involves virtually anything you can use to market your app to users. To be exact, the material can be reviews, endorsements, recommendations from influencers, or highlights of what makes your app different.
Is Folio3 the best electronic health records software company?
Folio3 is a telemedicine software development company that specializes in building healthcare software and applications with the best user experience (UX). UX design in healthcare by Folio3 is based on market research and our team’s expertise in making health apps accessible and inclusive.
We at Folio3 offer various healthcare solutions, including but not limited to:
- Folio3 healthcare ERP systems & solutions
- Medical Diagnostic Software Solutions
- Folio3 Cerner HL7 integration solutions
- Health mobile app development services
In healthcare app development, the primary focus is the end-user. As you get into this and start your search to pick the pain points, be ready to face challenges since you would be dealing with users’ personal health information.
This is why it is essential to make your app HIPAA compliant and follow all security rules. Otherwise, you will be at risk of getting a penalty.
We at Folio3 have extensive experience in medical app development, so we know what it takes to develop a HIPAA-compliant app.
You can get our help to build and launch your dream venture with the best possible amenities at an affordable price and quality standard.
If you are looking to learn more about how valuable professional medical app development services are, schedule a trial with our medical app expert.