MedTech apps are clearly making waves in the healthcare industry. Patients are the main beneficiaries of all these various apps: apps can now monitor crucial health conditions, help schedule and organize appointments and prescriptions, and instruct and encourage you to eat healthier and exercise more. Yet, healthcare is an enormous machine, which means there are countless opportunities to enter the MedTech mobile app development field. Apps that are focused towards doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and even health insurance companies can make a real difference in how they do business. Let’s go through eight different MedTech apps, and what you can learn from them.
Lesson: You can keep it simple.
Sometimes the simplest medical process is still an opening for an app to succeed. There are vision-related apps that can give you a rudimentary eye test, identify astigmatism, check for color blindness, and more. This is typically yet another appointment that you have to make in advance, arrange time off for work for, or get childcare arranged for…certainly not convenient. If there’s a doctor-approved app that can take care of some of the running around that eye appointments require, you better believe that it will draw significant interest. Think of other routine visits with specialists where an app would make things more convenient, or check existing ones to see how you could improve on them.
App: C25K (Couch to 5 K)
Lesson: Understand your niche.
There are hundreds of fitness apps out there that help you stay active. Most running apps feature GPS tracking, social connectivity, and calorie counters, all of which are geared towards moderate to experienced runners. That said, there’s a large sedentary population out there who want to start running and getting active, but are intimidated by getting started, especially with these high-performance apps. C25K was made to specifically address this population by easing them into activity with walking-to-running programs, gentle but firm motivational encouragements, and customizable playlists. They also have a forum where support groups can share in your triumphs and disappointments. Focusing any MedTech app on a niche group and conducting diligent beta testing will help you refine your app for these profitable target groups.
Lesson: Embrace the fact that people have busy lives.
Luna is an app that bridges physical therapists and patients who need physical therapy. The app allows physical therapists to make their own schedules and it allows patients to receive physical therapy care from the comfort of their own homes. Luna was created because many patients don’t follow through with their physical therapy care because of the commute or because of their busy schedules. Luna changed this by bringing physical therapists to patients’ homes. Luna disrupted the physical therapy realm by offering services such as an intuitive UI, electronic health record integration, real time chat, custom scheduling management, and more. Luna is used by thousands of physical therapists and tens of thousands of patients showing that offering care in a patient’s home leads to a successful app.
Lesson: Don’t stop thinking about what people need.
Health comes in all forms. Thinking through all the various ways you can make a positive impact on someone’s health, mental or physical, is a smart way to discover app territory that hasn’t been covered yet. A group of entrepreneurs teamed up with a Buddhist monk to create Headspace, a self-guided meditation app that appeals to all populations with different levels and methods, and has tens of millions of downloads. By proving the amazing results that meditation has, it’s even been used by corporate groups and sports teams. This particular genre may be crowded, but there’s always alternatives and improvements to be had. Improved UX or social connectivity, for example, may let you break into an existing app niche, if you can solve an issue that users might need.
App: Charity Miles
Lesson: Cause-related apps can pull in otherwise casual users.
We all have causes we believe in and feel passionate about. Supporting those charities will compel typically indifferent people to do all sorts of things they normally wouldn’t, and that absolutely includes using an app. Charity Miles is just another running app, but one that lets you “fundraise” for your favorite charity, like ASPCA, Special Olympics, or Wounded Warrior by pooling with your friends and joining corporate funders that are in on the cause. You can even sponsor other people, many with disabilities, to help them reach their fundraising goal. Cause-related business works, as much research has shown, so it’s quite a viable space to explore. Thinking of a novel yet simple way to raise money is a great ideation for an app, especially if you’re combining the fundraising with the condition or genre your app is focused on.
Lesson: Doctors need apps, also.
If you’ve been racking your brain trying to figure out what everyday users need, perhaps you should change your target group. Doctors have a tremendous amount of information to keep straight, and this was previously in the form of giant books and phone calls to colleagues. Now they use apps like Epocrates – the current giant in the doctor app space – to do things like research drug interactions, read peer-reviewed disease information and patient guidelines, and get the latest news on alternative medicine like herbs and supplements. It also has secure text messaging, so you can safely consult other doctors and healthcare providers. Remember, HIPAA regulations start the minute you start storing and sending any patient health information (you can read more about that here), so secure networks are a must. If you’re thinking about developing an app for doctors, start by researching and asking doctors where their pain points might be, and how your new app can provide solutions.
Lesson: Medical students need lots of help.
There may be no position more stressful and pressure-packed than that of a med student. This means they need all the help they can get, and also means lots of opportunity for student-targeted apps. Med students often use the same apps as doctors do; it’s all the same information, after all. This app, for example, helps keep track of and learn the various eponyms (i.e. how Barton’s fracture, Bennett’s fracture, and Colles’ fracture are different) that define different conditions. This specific app shows that any small niche of medicine still needs a helpful app, and that goes double for med students. Adding a flashcard/mock testing feature would make this much more appealing to students, so research various subjects and tests that med students study for.
App: Health eXpress
Lesson: Optimize a process that employers already recommend.
There are giant businesses and health insurance groups that offer and recommend remote healthcare visits via voice, video, or text chats. This encourages comprehensive initial and follow-up doctor visits without leaving your bed, home, or office. While many large employers offer this feature (as it’s a big money saver for them), only 20% report usage of 8% or higher, according to this survey. Again, here’s some room to improve on existing telemedicine apps. Health eXpress, for example, will find you a doctor (if you don’t have one) and set up a video consultation for a flat fee, or they also take insurance if it qualifies.
MedTech app opportunity is a growing space from improved UX and extra security to better access to mental and behavioral health doctors. See what’s out there, and consult with an expert app development partner to find that niche that the healthcare world needs.
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