In the first quarter of 2022, there were 52,565 healthcare apps in the Google Play Store. By 2025, the digital healthcare market will amount to $660 billion. Companies are interested in developing healthcare software solutions because they enhance internal operations, save money, and improve the quality of patient care. The main thing when developing a software product is to implement the functionality that users will like. Let’s consider the steps needed to add important functions and properly organize the development of a medical app.
Step 1. Create a portrait of the target audience
Software development begins with determining the target audience. It is necessary to understand who will use your app and what tasks the program will solve. So, it is easier to predict the behavior of visitors and trace their path. Business owners must understand what features should be implemented in their future software.
When analyzing the audience, it is important to determine:
- users’ age, gender, education, status, nationality, and income level;
- interests, needs, behavior, and attitude to health;
- whether the target audience trusts the app with information about the state of health.
By doing research, you will understand which segment of the audience you should focus on to create healthcare software solutions that will meet the interests of users. Thus, you will be able to develop successful marketing strategies, stand out among competitors, and grow your business.
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Step 2. Determine the type of healthcare app
As a rule, there is no universal platform that simultaneously solves the problems of all the parties involved in medical services (clinics, medical staff, patients, and pharmacists). It is better to create a separate solution to problems and integrate it with existing medical systems.
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Based on the development goals, it is necessary to choose the type of healthcare software:
- electronic medical records (EHR/EMR);
- doctor appointment app;
- medical practice management software;
- remote patient monitoring solution;
- hospital management software;
- medical data analysis platforms;
- diagnostics platforms;
- health information exchange software.
You must decide on which platform your app will run: through a browser (website), under OS control (desktop software), or on Android / iOS (mHealth). The choice depends on the technology stack that developers will use on the project and the structure of the team.
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Step 3. Decide on the functionality of your medical app
When a medical organization knows its target audience, it can think through the main and secondary functions of a program. For example, a clinic plans to create an online doctor or an online pharmacy appointment platform. The priority features for such software are:
– user registration form;
– doctors’ schedule with a calendar;
– appointment form;
– integration with EHRs;
– payment options for visits.
Appointment reminders, sorting doctors by category or experience, address book, and health news are useful secondary features. Without them, an app will be able to work and serve patients, but with them, customers will get additional convenience and positive impressions.
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Step 4: Create a user guide
If there are some functions in custom healthcare software that are not entirely clear to the audience, you should think over a user manual in advance. This is a simple and convenient instruction that should not overload customers with information.
It is better to present the manual as a step-by-step instruction with animation elements or graphics. It must tell the audience what features the application has and why they are useful. If the program is adapted for people with visual impairments and hearing loss, take care that they can understand the manual. The instruction must be tested on real users. Make sure that it is understandable to people and makes it easier to work with the software.
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Step 5: Prepare business requirements for your product
The information collected above forms the basis of a document called “Business Requirements”. The customer describes how they see the medical app:
- goals and context;
- list of interested parties;
- problems that the business wants to solve with the help of software;
- schedule and terms of development;
- benefit/cost analysis;
- assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the product, its opportunities, and risks.
This documentation is the starting point for business analysis in healthcare. Taking all these issues into account, a Business Analyst will prepare a software requirements specification. A healthcare software development team relies on an SRS when specialists implement relevant and high-quality functionality.
Step 6. Define what your business expects from UI/UX design
The development team to which the customer will transfer the medical project will include a UI/UX designer. You should indicate your expectations from the app design so that you do not have to redo it several times. This is a long, costly, and difficult job.
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You should determine who will use the software and what diseases these people have. Thus, you will know whether the interface needs to be adapted for them. For visually impaired people, a version with a large font, contrasting colors, and large buttons will be useful. And for people with mental disorders, you should simplify the registration or authentication process, because any hitch becomes an obstacle for them.
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Step 7: Find an outsourcing healthcare software development company
After you have identified important points for starting a medical project, it’s time to look for an experienced healthcare software development company capable of meeting your requirements. When choosing a technology partner, you should consider such points as:
- experience in healthcare software development;
- portfolio of medical projects;
- tech stack;
- availability of HIPAA, GDPR, and ISO certification;
- the possibility of increasing/reducing the team upon request.
You should pay particular attention to the requirements for the security of medical apps. Patients’ personal information must be kept strictly confidential and securely protected from cyberattacks. IT companies must comply with national standards and know various encryption methods to protect customers and the owner of medical software.
Step 8: Don’t forget to test your healthcare app
If there are many obvious errors in a healthcare software product, users will not trust the system with personal data. The quality of an app affects not only the reputation of the owner. It puts the life of patients at risk. The more features a system has, the longer it takes to test it.
Therefore, you should involve quality specialists in the development team. They will make sure that the app has no bugs and assess the software for compliance with industry legislation. Such professionals will help to release a product that the users will trust.
Step 9. Understand that a project does not end with the development
Healthcare software, like any other, needs to be maintained after release. It is important to regularly collect user reviews, analyze them, and improve the functionality of the system based on their suggestions.
You need to test changes and submit an updated version to production, fix bugs that occur in the production environment, update libraries and frameworks, and keep the program up to date. Make sure you constantly monitor system performance and make regular backups and restores. Enlist the support of engineers who will ensure the smooth operation of custom healthcare software.
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By following these steps, a business will thoroughly prepare for a healthcare software development project and create a solid foundation for a quick and successful start. If the customer does not have the time and resources for such preparation, they can turn to an IT outsourcing company. Experienced specialists will conduct market research, collect business requirements for the product, assign the development team, create, and release the app. The main thing is that the technology partner must have experience in developing custom healthcare software and meet the criteria described above.
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