Healthcare app development can be a solution for the modern market. Despite the popularity of this area, the demand for apps that can solve the ever-expanding range of problems is constantly high.
The COVID-19 epidemic has influenced the booming popularity of such software a lot, creating a whole new level of customer needs concerning remote healthcare and health monitoring.
However, not every app will become successful. The high market demand for healthcare apps has also conditioned high customer requirements. The competition in the industry is harsh, therefore, developers need to maintain a certain level of quality of their products to make them successful.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the factors that make building a health app successful. But first, let’s get the basics sorted out.
Types of Mobile Healthcare Apps
There are a ton of different mobile healthcare apps out there, but all of them can be divided into two categories: wellness apps and medical apps. Let’s briefly review what applications fall into each category, and what’s the main difference between wellness and medical applications.
When it comes to wellness apps, the most often seen sub-categories for them are:
- Nutrition applications
- Apps for meditation and restorative yoga
- Pregnancy tracking and advisory apps
- Sleep-aiding apps
As you can see, wellness applications are dedicated to providing information that helps to increase users’ quality of life and track user habits and activities.
The data provided by such apps, however, bears purely advisory value, and cannot be used to make clinical decisions upon it. A better understanding of your sleep patterns can really improve your overall well-being, but it is too vague and uncategorized to be treated as clinical data.
This is where mobile health (or mHealth) applications come into play.
Mobile health applications are specifically developed to deliver health data from patients to doctors and vice versa. Despite being certified medical software, they can be used not only with specialized medical equipment but with mobile phones, tablets, and other personal devices as well. Areas that use mobile applications include:
- Management of chronic diseases
- Remote monitoring
- Gathering of medical data
- Diagnostic support
- Medication compliance
MHealth solutions proved their usefulness by drastically changing the efficiency of remote care.
A lot of mHealth solutions are focused on providing the gathering and sharing of medical information. It can be done by patients themselves, via electronic survey forms, or data from sensors. Such apps are fitted with an encrypted communication system that provides data sharing between the app for patients and clinical equipment.
Some applications make use of multiple devices, not limited to phones and tablets: certified medical equipment can also be used in such a chain, helping doctors with treating and monitoring patients.
Wellness applications and applications used for mHealth have a lot in common, but there is one crucial difference between them: wellness apps can be used by anyone for personal purposes, while mobile medical solutions are strictly certified and should be used on professional request.
As a rule of thumb, wellness apps are much cheaper than a custom mHealth app development, because of many regulations and certifications the latter require.`
Now that we have cleared various kinds of mobile health applications, let’s get to the core: what crucial features should such applications have in order to be successful?
Must-have features for a modern mobile healthcare application
Must-have features for wellness applications would be heavily dependent on the specifics of a particular app. Therefore, most of the features mentioned below will be mHealth-specific, though some features also apply to wellness apps as well.
Easy registration process
The first thing any user meets when interacting with a mobile application is the process of user registration (and following logging in).
To make your healthcare application attractive, this process should be made as simple as possible. Don’t clutter your customer with unnecessary details, the less they need to fill in order to proceed with an application the better.
Also, make sure that users can log in to the application without any problems; using an e-mail address or a phone number might be the optimal way. However, if your application deals with sensitive information (as many mHealth apps do), adding two-factor authentication might be necessary for additional security.
Comfortable profile options
For wellness applications and the patient side of mHealth apps, profile modification just has to be simple and accessible. Let them upload photos and any data they believe necessary to share. All the important clinical information used for mHealth would be gathered during medical sessions anyway.
For the doctor’s side, however, profile information should be somewhat less deliberate. The profile of a medical professional must include all the information that will help clients during the search and selection process: specialty, place of work, contact info, and experience. It also has to include required legal data, such as a medical practitioner license number.
Selection of medical professionals
This is where all the profile data filled in by doctors becomes useful. A well-built application must include a decent filter that patients can use. The doctor’s specialty, feedback from his previous patients, fee, and experience all should be available to filter by.
It also would be a good idea to include a button for fast contact with the chosen professional, with an email or messenger link. Alternatively, the application might include an online consultation booking option.
From the doctor’s side, an mHealth application should provide an easy and accessible way to manage incoming appointment requests, including approving/denying options and a possibility to get in contact with the patient to discuss possible appointment changes if needed.
A great option for healthcare mobile applications, reminders are invaluable for customers with regularly scheduled events, such as doctor appointments, or pill intake.
Usually, the information gathered in the process of using mobile health applications needs to be easily accessible anywhere. That’s what cloud storage is for — with cloud support, both customers and doctors can access necessary information fast and from any authorized device.
Remote consultations and assistance
The digital age allows not only for video online consultations but also provides the possibility for the doctor to check a patient’s vitals and symptoms right during the session, without the need for a personal visit. Of course, online diagnosis has its limitations and in order to make more precise assumptions the patient would need to eventually visit the hospital, but the rapidity of such clinical decisions and resulting effectiveness of treatment is increased manyfold.
Okay, let’s assume we’ve included all these features and more, and the future app looks really promising. How do we turn it from promising to profitable though? To do that, we’d need the right monetization strategy for our app.
Healthcare application monetization strategies
There are several ways to make your app profitable; you might want to use some of them, or all of them, depending on the specifics of your app and your vision of its future. Let’s cover some of the most effective ones.
- Registration and subscription fees
This is the most obvious, simple, efficient, and straightforward way of monetizing your app. Users pay a one-time registration fee or subscribe to your services and pay regularly.
In-app purchases are a huge deal in modern healthcare app development: statistics show that they amount to almost half of all profits from healthcare applications.
In-app purchases include anything users can spend their money on while using the application. If you develop a yoga application, you can sell additional sets of exercises, and in the case of an mHealth app, there are options of pre-paying doctor visits or purchasing supplements.
Publishing a certain amount of pay-to-see content is a great way to ensure the profitability of your application. For example, you can provide some free content for medical professionals inside your app and make further content certified; if the free content is useful enough, doctors will be inclined to purchase full access.
The freemium model is based on offering two versions of your application: a free version with basic functionality and a premium version, full of additional powerful features. The idea behind this model is that your users will be able to try your application for free, and pay for its full potential if they like it.
Advertising as a whole in healthcare apps should be treated with extreme care. People tend to get frustrated by advertising, especially when it comes to such delicate matters as healthcare. However, you can still include advertisements in your app, but they would be much more efficient if you tailor them to your customer’s experience.
Let’s assume that a patient just had an online consultation with a doctor and got some pill prescriptions as a result; it would be great if your advertisement system could instantly send them a message with the location of the nearest pharmacy (that you have a contract with) along with a discount coupon. Two birds with one stone.
Final thoughts on the matter
The attempt to develop a healthcare app should be treated with utmost precision, especially if you’re planning on creating a medical health solution. This should not discourage you, though — the market is booming, and users are always enthusiastic about each new solution to the ever-expanding field of healthcare issues.
We hope that our article will help you get your future app to be as profitable as possible.