There’s no better time to develop a healthcare app than today. Mobile MedTech app development is at an all-time high, with this report estimating a global $37 billion market this year. Another survey estimates over 318,000 health-related mobile apps available on global app stores, with around 200 added daily. The various niches and sectors you can focus on as a target group is enormous, and there’s plenty of room for innovation or improvement on an existing model.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re beginning development of a mobile healthcare app. Let’s look at a few.
Consider Your Platform
You always have to consider operating systems and applicable hardware when you are ideating your app. It all depends on who you want to make the app for. For fitness and wellness apps, you’ll want to focus on smartphone development in both Android and iOS platforms. Thinking of doctors and nurses as your target audience? You should definitely make it tablet-friendly, as you see these professional carrying tablets around constantly. Understanding which way your app will be consumed is crucial to ensure your target users will download and keep your app.
What Sector Should Your App Target?
There are so many options when considering developing a MedTech app. It’s certainly good practice to look into unexplored territory and capture a niche market. But, it’s also wise to see what developers think are the most popular healthcare sectors to develop an app in. This graph tells us that an app that activates a connection to a doctor is the most desired feature from a healthcare app. This is a very telling statistic; there are multiple ways to connect patients with doctors, and it can cut costs and save time for everyone involved. The next two popular sectors included were diabetes and heart disease, both chronic health conditions that Americans suffer from in record numbers. These are also tremendously expensive diseases to manage, so any app that helps patients manage these conditions will spark interest from patients, doctors, employers and administrators alike. If you find an underserved niche that should get attention (mental and behavioral health is quickly becoming a leading cause), you should research and pursue it. Just remember that examining the most popular sectors and discovering angles and pain points that haven’t been covered can be equally profitable.
Rules and Regulations
One of the most challenging areas to navigate in the healthcare mobile app world is all of the regulations that your app must conform to. Several federal agencies are charged with enforcing these rules, and they mean business; penalties for violations include massive fines and jail time. The main concern is patient privacy, and if you store, send, or even see personal health information (PHI), you are liable for conforming to the HIPAA regulations (much more about that here). While it’s very important to follow these rules, there are also ways to use it for optimizing your features. Secure communications, such as texts or emails between doctors about a certain patient, should always be an implemented feature if your app might involve this sort of interaction. Likewise, getting your app approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a long and tricky process; the FDA only reviews a few apps a year, but it’s an incredible endorsement if you happen to get it (see a partial list of FDA approved apps here). Following guidelines with nationally accredited healthcare professional groups is a good way to both build a medically sound app and potentially get recommendations from said professionals.
Many More Ways to Develop
There are probably ways to develop a MedTech app, as far as features and functions go, that you haven’t even considered yet. The healthcare industry is a massive machine with thousands of moving parts, so your app could focus on or include one or several of these features.
As you can see, there are several ways to approach development. Just keep a few tenets in mind:
- Does your app satisfy a pressing demand?
- Is the medical data secure and safe?
- Does your app work smoothly and intuitively?
Just like apps in any sector, user experience (UX) is crucial to success. Keep your design simple and easy to understand, stay away from hidden icons, and keep your art design, palette, and language positive and light. Comprehensive testing throughout is key, and developing a minimal viable product (MVP) for testing individual features on target audiences is the ideal way to proceed. You’ll also want to test for poor connectivity function, scalability, and compatibility with various browsers and devices.
Where Are Other Apps Falling Short?
We’ve said it over and over: the main component of a successful app is one that provides a solution to a common pain point. Doing your due diligence with research, feedback, and constant reading of reviews is a smart way to get potential solutions in motion. According to this report, mobile health apps are failing to deliver three basic needs: access to medical records, ability to book or change appointments, and the function of filling prescriptions. Whether these are features of a more comprehensive app, or if your app simply fills one or all of these specific needs, it’s instructive to identify this sort of opportunity when you see it. Not only that, but you’ll also have a head start on marketing and promotion with that target audience that needs those solutions. Depending on the sector, there are always points of friction that you can capitalize on and improve, even with existing apps. Point is, the more you know about the market and its fluctuations, the better you’ll be able to envision and develop an app that will provide solutions.
Are you looking for the right MedTech partner to help you with your app idea? Check out more information about our expertise in the MedTech space and don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation!