San Diego is endowed with not just long white beaches and great weather but also a robust and high-quality healthcare system in all Southern California. According to Tracxn, there are 186 HealthTech startups in San Diego. The global mHealth market is expected to reach USD 111.8 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 44.2%.
The purposes of HealthTech apps are to increase access to healthcare and health-related information (particularly for hard-to-reach populations), improve users’ ability to diagnose and track diseases, and expand access to ongoing medical education and training for health workers.
Developing a mobile app for healthcare is one step closure to the journey of digitization. At the same time, developing a mHealth app is quite challenging.
Here, we are going to take a sneak peek regarding the essential considerations that one must keep in mind before getting to start with a mHealth app.
1. Decide the type of mHealth app you want to build
With every passing day, technology is advancing at galloping progressions which is a clear indication that in the coming times the need and requirements of healthcare applications are only going to increase.
Primarily, mHealth applications are used to inform patients and healthcare professionals about various healthcare measures that can be undertaken in order to prevent their occurrences. It does not stop there, it also informs about the treatment support, tracking the progress and assisting in clinical trials.
So the first and foremost step towards building a healthcare app depends upon your target user and their utility of a particular healthcare segment. Broadly it can be classified under the following headings:
Professional healthcare apps:
- Database and reference apps.
- Professional networking apps.
- Health tracking apps.
- Appointment and clinical assistance apps.
- Apps for the doctor on demand.
mHealth Apps for patients:
- Medical education apps
- Diagnosis apps for preventive purposes
- Lifestyle apps
- Monitoring apps for chronic conditions
- Women’s health-centric applications.
2. Compliance with regulatory guidelines is a must:
This is the point where healthcare applications differ greatly from others. No matter which segment of healthcare you cater to there are regulations to which you must comply.
Among them, HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) are the most important regulations, adherence to which is a must.
By the very name, it is clear that the framers of these guidelines have set accountability as its top priority. Introduced first in 2002, HIPAA’s primary responsibility was to protect patient confidentiality without obstructing the flow of information that is required to conduct the treatment.
The Protected Health Information or PHI is defined as the specific health information that can reveal a patient’s identity.
Information may include but not limited to, such as name, address, ZIP code or telephone number. It may also relate to:
- the past, present or future physical or mental condition of a patient,
- the provision of any treatment or healthcare service to a patient, or
- the past, present, or future payment for treatment or healthcare services to a patient.
You can find more details on HIPAA here!
The act became law and came into force on February 17, 2009, as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 economic stimulus bill. The primary objective was to stimulate the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) by providing monetary incentives to healthcare providers till 2015 failing which any healthcare provider could be penalized if found to be tampering with EHR.
What changed with HITECH? / HITECH Impact
One of the major achievements of HITECH legislation is that it facilitated EHR adoption by many eligible hospitals that led to the increase in rate from 3.2 percent to a whopping 14.2 percent during the interim period of 2008-2015.
The ambit of the HITECH act can be read here.
3. Understand the end-user and target market
Digital interaction is the sole expectation of the consumer of today. Any healthcare service provider that ignores this fact is bound to lose users to competitors and disruptor healthcare apps. You as a provider of a healthcare mobile app should make a thorough study of what the end-user wants and its synchronization with the market trends.
Be clear on the problem you intend to solve with mHealth app. It is a universal law in the world of app development irrespective of industry. As a healthcare provider simply making an app will not do any good to you unless you analyze the factors that will solve the issues facing the users.
Your app should be targeted towards a solution. So, if you are a hospital and want to build an app for the patients, make sure that it solves some problems.
So here’s the bottom line — don’t just make an app for the sake of it.
4. Leverage the latest technologies
AI in healthcare
Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), have penetrated the healthcare industry in a big way. From digital consultations to personalized medicine to robot surgeons. It is everywhere.
Though the biggest hurdle that stands in the way is that the US healthcare industry has legacy systems that are not capable to handle this rapid technological leap.
Above is the example of Babylon health, an AI-based app available on Google Play and iStore that not only serves as an information provider but also doctor consultation within minutes of symptom analysis. Some of the diseases that are treated are food poisoning, glandular fever, impetigo, and stomach pain.
IoT in healthcare
Like AI, IoT is also one of the emerging technologies that have taken the healthcare sector by a storm where patient data can be used on a continuous basis to analyze and improve the quality of care.
By infusing Machine Learning technology through a combination of hardware, predictive analytics, and mobile apps – wearable devices have a profound impact on user health.
The launch of Apple’s CareKit and ResearchKit in 2016 and its interconnectivity with the wearable apps for nearly everything are clear indications that now we can manage life-threatening conditions much better.
With wearable devices, it is now possible to share health records in real-time. For example, Apple’s Smartwatch 4 series received FDA approval that allows users to detect atrial fibrillations. It will alert the user if it senses irregular heart rhythm.
5. Find an experienced app development partner
And finally, you should be careful and exercise precision while choosing the app development partner. 59 percent of US consumers opine that they expect healthcare apps to have similar user experience as that of Amazon etc. With an experienced app developer of healthcare, you can reduce the possibility of the existing churn rate.
Though it is good news that the healthcare industry and all associated sectors are continuously evolving to make way for new technological adaptation, at the same time, it should be done keeping in mind the end-user experience of mHealth apps.