How to Develop the Perfect Healthcare App

By Jake Peterson May 3, 2021
healthcare app development

In today’s age of smart technology and the ability to instantly find information and communicate online, it is important for healthcare facilities to stay up to date with these technologies and not fall behind the technological curve. One such way that this can be achieved is through the implementation of a smartphone-based app. Apps enable organizations to easily communicate with users, expand their technological facilities, and overall simplify their user experience. 

With nearly 50,000 mobile health apps on Google Play and over 300,000 on the App Store available to the public, knowing the process of how to develop a healthcare app is vital to its overall success. However, prior to design, there are a handful of key items to consider in order to maximize your app’s performance. 

Identify Your Who and What

During the first steps and idea generation of your healthcare app development, there are three simple questions that you need to answer: who, what, and why. 

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Arguably one of the most significant considerations in healthcare app development is identifying your targeted users. For example, is your targeted demographic the patients that your facility sees on a regular basis, or are you trying to attract new ones?

Do you want to gear your app towards physicians and empower them with expanded mobile accessibility to their work? You may even want to facilitate conversations between patients and physicians through the app, meaning you need to consider the accessibility of patients, physicians, and healthcare staff. 

Age is also a key demographic you need to focus on while creating your healthcare mobile app. A recent survey about app usage shows that a majority of app users are between 18-54 years old and that, on average, users access mobile apps 8.3 times every day.

This information means that you should prioritize the wants and needs of users within this age bracket in order to ensure maximum engagement for the app. While these statistics may represent the average user, don’t fail to look at the demographics of your organization as they may be different and warrant additional considerations. 

When you have successfully identified the “who” of your app, you will be better prepared to address the needs of your users and mitigate their potential challenges with the app. 

What Features and Functionalities Should Be Included with Your Healthcare App?

Once you have identified your desired user, the next step is deciding what you want users to be able to do on your app. It is essential that this step be thoroughly considered as not meeting the desires of your users may result in negative reviews for your app.  

When viewing the app trends in the healthcare industry, a majority of apps fall short of user expectations and subsequently suffer from poor engagement. This is primarily due to the lack of understanding of what current healthcare patients want from their mobile healthcare experience. Patients are looking for three main features when using a healthcare app:

  1. Ease of access to their personal medical records 
  2. Ability to request refills on their prescriptions 
  3. Options to schedule, cancel or reschedule appointments 

These capabilities are just the minimum standards of what patients are looking for, and while these capabilities may seem simple, many healthcare apps only offer at least one of these features. This is why a majority of apps from healthcare providers receive minimal downloads.  

By simply taking the time to identify what your users want, you will be outperforming your industry peers and set your app up to succeed. 

Make Sure Your App Will Be HIPAA-Compliant

Of course, when it comes to developing a healthcare app, you need to make sure that any and all relevant HIPAA regulations are followed.  

There are several other HIPAA regulations for mobile apps that need to be followed, so make sure you and your developer understand and follow all requirements before releasing your app to the public. To make this simpler, the government has released an online tool to identify what laws apply to your specific healthcare app. 

Throughout the app development process, make sure your decisions comply with HIPAA to avoid any costly fees or penalties in the future. 

Focus on the User Experience

Satisfying your app users’ wants and knowing how to keep them happy with your features should be a priority during your development process. To ensure that a patient-facing app performs well, there are a handful of things that should be considered. 

User Friendliness and Engagement

healthcare app user experience

User engagement is vital in the success of your mobile healthcare app, so listening to the needs and wants of your users is essential prior to creating the app. 

Having an app with a dynamic appearance does not matter much if the interface is hard to navigate and not user-friendly. In fact, it is one of the major ways to lose engagement on your platform 

It is important not to overwhelm your users with information on the app or through constant notifications. Push notifications, though they can be helpful for reminding patients of upcoming appointments and other significant reminders, can cause users to delete the app if they occur too frequently or are notifications that they deem irrelevant.  

According to a recent study, an average person with a smartphone receives 46 push notifications from apps per day and, only 18 percent of app users find push notifications helpful. Keep your app users happy by limiting the number of notifications they receive to only ones of importance such as appointment reminders or new message notifications. 

Give Them More Than Bare Bones 

When you release your app, you will want more than just the bare essentials for your consumers. You want them to be excited by your software and see the benefit of using it immediately. Additional features to keep in consideration could include: 

  • A message center for patients to easily communicate with their provider  
  • A frequently asked questions (FAQ) section to get answers to common questions 
  • Notifications and reminders regarding vaccines (e.g., annual flu shots and the Covid-19 vaccine) or prescription refills 
  • Information about providers to give the app a more human touch 
  • Virtual doctor appointments through the app via video or voice 

A simple way to ensure optimal app performance is to research apps similar to yours that are performing well and implement features that your users would appreciate. Not sure of what your users want from your app? Consider surveying your patients and physicians to find out what they would recommend. 

Consider Additional Technology Integration

Standalone apps are still useful but can be drastically improved upon by providing additional integrations for users. Smart technology – particularly wearable technology – is a key integration that can add significant value to a healthcare app.  

Approximately 34% of adults in the U.S. have reported owning a smartwatch, Fitbit, or similar fitness tracker. When synced with a healthcare app, these smart devices can keep logs of activity levels, send reminders about appointments or prescriptions, and monitor key vitals such as heart rate. By providing this integration, you are helping users stay healthy and encouraging a more active lifestyle.  

healthcare app tips

Another important integration to consider is cloud-based technology. Cloud-based storage allows users to access their medical records at any time from anywhere easily over the Internet. This is a very convenient feature for users as they can request access to their health records when visiting a specialist or when they are out of town and need to go to a healthcare facility. 

This valuable integration is definitely something to consider if you decide to make a patient-facing healthcare app. Just make sure that when integrated with the cloud, your app is meeting the security guidelines specified in HIPAA. 

Find A Developer That Can Meet Your Specifications 

When it comes to making the decision of selecting a company to partner with within the development of your app, it is important to find one that is able to meet all of your specifications. 

Before searching for a developer, determine whether you want your app to be native, web-based, or a hybrid model. Native apps are designed utilizing a specific coding language with the intent of publishing the app on a mobile platform via the Apple App Store or Google Play. Web-based apps are accessed and operated through a web browser such as Safari, Google Chrome, or Firefox. Finally, hybrid applications combine certain aspects of native and web-based apps. These types of apps exist as  

Another way to make the process easier is by verifying that your developer has advanced experience developing healthcare apps and knows how to guarantee it is compliant with HIPAA. 

Why You Should Use Atiba for Your Healthcare App Development 

Finding a developer that can meet all of your app specifications is necessary to creating a successful product.  

Here at Atiba, we specialize in healthcare mobile app development and pride ourselves on our commitment to flawless communication and diverse offerings. Our half human, half geek approach to business means that we can effectively communicate with our clients about projects regardless of their technological knowledge. Whether you are new to the concept of app development or are well informed on the subject, we will make sure you know what is going on every step of the way.

With our diverse experience in coding languages, we will find the perfect language to help you build out your new app. Our experience and technical skills will also benefit you as we help keep your app up-to-date and can provide additional development options for you.  

Whether you are a small family-owned practice or a large hospital, our experts are prepared to navigate you through the design and development of your healthcare app, while helping ensure it complies with HIPAA regulations. Accomplish your goals and relax knowing you can trust Atiba with your healthcare app development. Reach out to us for a project quote today!




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