Healthcare giants like Pfizer Inc, Aetna and McKesson Corporation know how digital technologies can transform medicine and they have already entered the mobile app industry with their solutions for early disease detection, providing access for doctors to up to date agendas, getting better medical outcomes and many more. Undoubtedly, technology-driven medicine has provided many beneficial opportunities for healthcare professionals. And that is why medical apps for doctors are so popular.
Statistics and facts tell us that the mobile health industry is expected to reach 60 billion dollars by 2020 . According to Physicians Practice 2018 Mobile Health Survey 69% of physicians use mobile phones in their practices. There will be over 3.7 billion mobile medical app downloads worldwide in the coming years. The information suggests that there is a demand on apps for medical practitioners. If you know what doctors need in such apps and thought about building your own app for the medical practice so go for it.
This article will clear up the big mystery of how to create a successful mobile app for healthcare professionals. Let's get started.
Important issues of healthcare app development
First of all, let's find out the essential elements of a mobile app for doctors that set apart such apps from any other to help you figure out what medical apps development looks like.
Our team believes that the most important characteristic that distinguishes a medical app for doctors and physicians from other is a requirement for security. If your app will be used by HIPAA covered entities or will store the patient's private data, you have to make sure that the data will be stored within a protected environment. At Anadea, we are sticking to HIPAA standards and best practices from Apple and Google to maintain the high level of security as well as encrypt personal data by means of modern and reliable technologies in medical app development.
The healthcare industry is very unique since it deals with very sensitive data. It is related not only to the danger of exposure but also to the information itself, which should be collected and presented in a very polite form. The potential patients should not be scared off by the requested data and they should not be misled by the presented results.
- Vladimir Galaiko, Project Manager and Business Analyst at Anadea Inc.
Another thing to consider while developing a mobile product for the medical industry is the regulations. Many procedures are regulated by law, thereby one should always think of how to implement the workflows designed decades ago for manual processing within the modern technological capabilities.
How the main functionality of apps for medical professionals is formed
Medical apps provide various opportunities. Some of them assist in finding the diagnosis, others serve as reference tools for physicians.
The key features of medical apps for doctors may be as followed:
- Providing medical reference information
- Informing on important medical news or conferences
- Remote monitoring of patients
- Medical appointment scheduling
- Various medical calculators
- File sharing between doctors and doctors, between doctors and patients
- Placing laboratory orders
- Reviewing diagnostic records via the app, and many others.
Thus, the goal of the app influences what the set of features is going to be and therefore the cost of developing a medical app.
Things to pay special attention to in medical app development
Now that we have found out the distinctive characteristics and the key features of mobile apps for medical staff, let's touch upon important things to focus on in the development of such apps. In our experience, the following issues should be properly designed when you create a mobile medical app for doctors.
Access to the data
Mobile applications for doctors have raised new concerns about medical confidentiality. For example, sometimes a doctor may need a comment by a colleague on some rare case. Medical apps in this way allow sharing such experiences with a large number of physicians without violating medical confidentiality by blocking the images of a person and deleting identifying information. You need to focus on who can access which data in the Dr's app and how to prevent unauthorized access even by accident.
Medical data relating to health is one of the most personal categories of information, the disclosure of which may lead to negative results for the person. In late May 2017 a hacking group calling themselves "Tsar Team" published on the Web more than 25 thousand photos and personal information of patients of the Lithuanian clinic of plastic surgery. Hackers demanded a ransom of 50 to 2 thousand pounds sterling in bitcoin from patients.
Therefore, always remember that after hacking a smartphone, a personal data of users could become the prey of attackers. There should be no way to receive patients' sensitive data by breaking into the system or by hijacking the data flows. Our healthcare app developers insist that the data security is very important for medical mobile and web applications for doctors and physicians and follow international standards for the coding and exchange of medical information such as HL7, FHIR, LOINC, and others.
The Internet knows no boundaries and the users of your app may be from anywhere in the world. Make sure your app does not violate any existing laws in the medical field in the country where your app will be used. It is always worth to doublecheck it with respective lawyers. For example, in the European Union all medical mobile apps fall under the jurisdiction of Directive2002/58/EC on Privacy and Electronic Communications - and in the USA of the US Food and Drug Association.
It could be used as a medical device
Keep in mind that your app might be considered as a medical device if it in addition to collecting and displaying data is engaged in their interpretation, which brings the app to the absolutely new level of regulations. Before starting the development, make sure to check which are the characteristics of a medical device and which are not, and think if you want your app to be one. If not, consider changing requirements.
If there is no way to avoid creating features that would turn your app into the medical device, consider splitting the application into two separate apps. The first one should be quite small and strictly medical and the second one should contain all the additional features (like social part or any purchase/booking functionality). That would allow you to cut the amount of documentation created and would also help you to keep your app for doctors and healthcare offices clean and within all the regulations.
At the beginning of your product implementation, you have to create reliable but at the same time scalable and flexible architecture that allows you to ensure smooth data flow in the system. Keep in mind that if your medical app uses patients data, the architecture should be based on HIPAA requirements.
The app should solve the tasks, i.e. help doctors in their practice, and perform its functions well. This includes reliability, safety, performance and the ability to cope with increasing loads. Be prepared for the changes if you are going to integrate third-party services or integrate with the existing infrastructure of a clinic/hospital/data center.
Having developed architecture, you will start to create user experience, but having a strict requirement for the security within the mobile app for medical specialists can make UX an odd and not user-friendly for an end user. So within this process, you have to find a compromise between security and user friendliness.
Make sure you know the audience. If there will be patients using your app, make sure you know the symptoms of the disease your app is used for, maybe there are people with fine motor skills issues or those who cannot see well. You need to make sure you consider that when creating the design.
Innovations in apps for healthcare practitioners
You may wonder why you need innovations in your medical app. Let's imagine we need an accountant and we opted for 2 applicants with the same level of qualifications. Both applicants assure us that our accounts are in good hands and one applicant takes out abacus and tones of dark brown paper file folders, another person - just a laptop. Of course, 99% of modern people will choose the second person, and we are no different.
The same thing with your medical app. Having narrowed the choice of a needed app down to two, a user will choose the one with innovations like artificial intelligence, chatbots, augmented reality, blockchain even just for the sake of curiosity. Here are some of the innovations in medical mobile applications that are currently used:
Augmented reality. This technology is already used not only for training medical students, it also finds the implementation in mobile healthcare app development. VeinSeek Pro is a real-life example of an augmented reality app for health care practitioners that helps to see veins.
Blockchain. The blockchain technology offers interesting and promising possibilities for storing, transmitting and managing data which is very relevant in healthcare space. For example, Medical Ledger is a blockchain-based system that stores safely patient healthcare data.
Artificial Intelligence. Today AI is a computer science that makes doctors life better and easier. AI, like a person, learns on data, and the more data is needed to recognize, the more accurate and clear the results become. And there is a lot of data in medicine. MediTimes For Doctors - MIND helps to modernize practice of any physician by using machine learning and AI tools.
However, in IT world innovations frequently become obsolete within a short period of time. So the advice that we can give you is to put your healthcare app for doctors on the market as soon as possible. Do not wait until you create the perfect and flawless app because this time may never come. Being the first on the market will give you the most valuable thing, it is feedback from users. The idea in the developer's head may differ from an end-user perception of the app, so having their feedback on a frequent basis will give you leverage on the market. Create medical app not for yourself but for users.
The future of mobile apps for healthcare professionals
We think it is the healthcare future that already came. All advanced countries are trying to shift data from paper processing to digital one. The issue that these countries face with is legislation limitations.
- Andrey Dovbysh, Project Manager at Anadea Inc.
The same process happened when people created apps for banking. At the beginning of the process, it took time to persuade people to use the app because they were afraid that their money would be stolen. Nowadays, people do their financial operations online instead of going to a bank which is really convenient.
So, the same thing will happen with healthcare domain, it is just a matter of time.
Healthcare app development company you trust to develop your project
A positive experience of medical app development depends on the right choice of a medical software development company. Web and mobile medical apps developed by Anadea solve business problems, and not create them. We are ready to understand your business logic, we are open to new challenges, we can help you to become the next Steve Jobs in medical apps. And these are prized qualities when you create a medical startup. Our extensive experience in the field of healthcare app development is always at your service.