The world is now experiencing an active development of IT sphere and, in particular, innovative healthcare. Bureaucracy is gradually becoming a thing of the past. Mobile apps are one of the main factors contributing to this.
A variety of healthcare programs are designed to help users effectively manage their health, fitness goals, hospital visits, or insurance benefits. Mobile applications often include telemedicine functions – receiving laboratory results, storing prescriptions, making an appointment, and much more.
What is telemedicine
Telemedicine is the use of modern technologies for the remote delivery of medical services. Thanks to digitalization, doctors can not only remotely examine patients, but also conduct consultations, collect anamnesis, request and send information about the progress of diseases, prescribe treatment and issue sick leaves
Telemedicine allows doctors and patients to simplify the consultation process and stay connected. Private doctors no longer need to rent a workplace. Hospitals can reduce readmissions. In addition, all healthcare providers have access to an efficient new channel for the distribution of services.
Most often, messengers and video call applications are used to communicate with the patient. However, in the conditions of modern trends, medical organizations need to develop applications in order to provide high-quality services remotely.
According to forecasts of Statista – a company specializing in market and consumer data, the global telemedicine market will reach $277.9 billion by 2025, and $459.8 billion by 2030. Data shows that remote services volume will only grow, prevailing over the healthcare we are used to.
Pros and cons of medical applications
Customer loyalty is the biggest benefit of medical application development. Patients are more likely to choose those clinics with a convenient access to all their health data, where they can quickly get all necessary information online, as well as make an appointment or view the results of laboratory tests.
Other undoubted advantages of creating an application are:
- optimization of health data collection;
- timely assistance, regardless of the patient’s location;
- minimization of medical errors;
- reducing the financial costs for patients;
- increasing customer loyalty;
- saving time of medical personnel.
However, don’t forget that with all the positive aspects, there will always be a place for disadvantages. When developing an mHealth application, you can face some difficulties. Statistically, about 90% of startups fail. There can be many reasons for this: an uncompetitive selling offer, long development times, the application is difficult to use, the lack of professionalism of the developers and so on.
The legal framework can become a serious problem in the way of creating and using a medical app. Despite the fact that telehealthcare is gaining momentum around the world, not all states have time to keep up with the times. In many countries, telemedicine services are not regulated by law, which can lead to further problems for both service providers and patients.
Basic steps in developing a mobile app
As in the process of developing any application, you need to understand the purpose. There can be many types and topics for mHealth apps. What needs will it cover, what problems will it solve? Is it a fitness app, a medication delivery service, or a patient's cabinet at the clinic? All further development will depend on these factors.
The second step is to identify the target audience. It's not just people who will be using the app. This is a whole market, segmented by many factors: country of residence, age, education, average income, and much more. Learning and understanding the target users is extremely important. You need to decide on the region in which the application will be available, because there can be a huge difference in the size of the audience, its needs and local rules.
The functionality will vary depending on the target users. For example, for patients it may be the ability to find a doctor and make an appointment, a personal profile for keeping medical history, a feedback form, and so on. As for pharmaceutical applications, their main features will be drug databases, a search form and filters, drug categories, the ability to compare them by different characteristics (active substance, price, etc.).
Popular mHealth services
Before starting the development, you need to study the market and evaluate competitors. For example, popular in Europe Medibabble is designed to make it easy for doctors and administrative staff to interact with non-English speaking patients. The app contains simple and clear survey questions in common languages: French, Spanish, Russian and German.
Lybrate is another information management app that allows doctors and staff to add patients to the list of appointments, track payments, and record submitted procedures.
In Russia, the most popular service is Yandex.Health. Using a text chat or a video call, you can get advice from specialists in various fields: neurologists, dermatologists, gastroenterologists, pediatricians and many others. They answer questions, create medical records and decode test results.
Another popular service is SberZdorovye, allowing to consult a doctor, as well as receive prescriptions, get diagnostics or examinations.
Development of mHealth mobile application is a rather laborious, complex and costly process. It requires the involvement of many people – from developers and healthcare professionals to business consultants and marketing experts. Understanding the goal and team professionalism will be the key to a high-quality and popular product.