Top 5 Tips for Healthcare App Development

Imagine yourself with the bad flu, in need of an emergency antibiotic prescription, or doing lab tests that might send you running in 10 different directions. You open your clinic’s mobile app, and you’re graced with news about doctors’ latest local volunteering activities, but there is no option to set up an appointment or access your test results. For the majority of healthcare app users, this is a fairly common experience – and it’s about time that healthcare app developers take a hint.

Healthcare app development is a thriving business – two-thirds of the U.S. hospitals have their own mobile apps. However, the enthusiasm does not transcend across the aisle – only 2 percent of the patients are using them. Why? Most of these apps do not have any practical value and do not enable patients to access their medical records, schedule an appointment or have their prescriptions refilled. How come? It turns out that healthcare app developers rarely ask for patients’ opinions and avoid the pesky logistics behind making an efficient mobile app.

Here are the five ways to turn competitors’ shortfalls into opportunities for your healthcare app development.

1. Healthcare App Survey

Figuring out what patients want doesn’t require an enormous stretch of the imagination – we’ve all been in the same sickbed. Being practical is the essential quality of a healthcare app, and there is not much need for reinventing the wheel – the gist of it comes down to “on-the-go” way to cut the waiting, cut the walking, cut the searching and cut the talking. If your app is not doing one of those things, you’re doing it wrong.

As a patient, you want your smartphone to provide you with the following conveniences of 21st-century progress:

  • Access to medical records, lab results, and doctor’s reports
  • Appointment scheduling system
  • Drug prescription management system
  • News and reminders
  • Waiting time estimates
  • Access to the database of practicing physicians
  • Payment system
  • Maps with detailed locations and directions
  • Medical information and options for tracking health metrics

Once the basics are established, there are a few pitfalls that might turn a great idea into a failed project.

2. Healthcare App Development Goals

It may sound alluring to create an app that can meet all the patient’s requirements in one click and one place. But think again – you don’t want to end up with a massive labyrinth that promises an entire clinic on patient’s palm and then bugs out when the user tries to schedule an appointment.

Define your primary goal. If your app’s purpose is to cut the patient’s time in the waiting room, make sure you gather relevant data about the healthcare institution in question. Where is the patient flow busy? Do you want to focus on the entire clinic, or on known hot spots?

Same goes for apps that track health metrics or serve to inform and educate users – it is better to focus on one specific area and provide detailed, insightful analysis than to offer a little bit of nothing about everything.

3. Network to Get Work

If you want to be thorough, get ready to dial a few numbers and knock on many doors. Everything matters – from macro to micro level. Consider this – while one app can work great in a country where average doctor to patient ratio is 1:350, it may be rendered useless in countries where one doctor serves more than a thousand people.

The approach to scheduling, billing system or drug prescription differs significantly for users with private insurance and those who are under the auspices of universal free healthcare. In Australia, patients have a choice between universal Medicare and private plans – and each app should be able to address particular problems and priorities of these two groups of users.

4. Privacy is Non-Negotiable

The sanctity of patient’s right to privacy, famously enshrined in Hippocratic Oath, does not apply only to doctors – it applies to you too, in a way. In Australia, you are considered a “health service provider” if you provide any health service and hold health information.

Thus you are obliged to meet relevant domestic legal guidelines about privacy – The Privacy Act (1988), the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act (2012), and Healthcare Identifiers Act (2010).

The privacy policy should be clearly outlined to the user before the app is downloaded. Data encryption, strict authentication requirements during the sign-in process and enabling an app for a limited amount of time are some of the security measures that will add layers of credibility to your product and your customer’s protection.

5. Make it Look Good

If a person is sick, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t depress and irritate them further with either bland and boring or overly flashy, complicated design.

For a patient who is using your app to schedule an appointment, create a visual antidote to an impending visit to a sterile hospital environment. Offer some cheerful, colorful design to users who track and manage their chronic condition.

But tweaks that glue people to their smartphone screens aren’t limited to sound looks – many developers recommend adding games and quizzes for enhanced users’ experience. For example, you could do this with educational apps developed for medical professionals.


One of the most ironic twists of healthcare apps’ failure to deliver is probably the fact that medical professionals are largely ignored target audience. The app store is buzzing with thousands of fitness, wellness and dieting apps that look like each other – mostly because they are easier to make. Apps that make dreaded visits to the doctor easier are far fewer and involve serious logistics – and they are the key to your success.

Although the risk of wading into uncharted waters may seem a bit discouraging, it is a pool of original ideas which can materialize into unique and successful projects. More importantly, the development of logistics- and medical professionals-oriented apps can help you assert yourself as an innovator and leader in the field that is still unforgivably unexplored.  The market value for healthcare applications recently reached $26 billion – so why wouldn’t a chunk of that progress and profit belong to you?

Our fast-growing team of 40+ mobile app developers have experience across iPhone app development, Android app development, native app development, responsive websites, system integration & cloud technologies. We will tailor our approach to suit your needs.

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