The mobile application market is rapidly maturing in healthcare. It makes sense: Patients and physicians with access to mobile healthcare applications are more satisfied with the care they give and receive, respectively. Mobile access has significantly reduced the rate of “no shows” by making it easier for patients to connect with caregivers and easier for staff to access key health information.
The challenge, however, is that not all applications are created equal. While great applications can streamline key processes and improve patient satisfaction, poorly made apps can have the opposite effect. As a result, organizations need a healthcare mobile app development strategy that prioritizes simplicity without sacrificing security, and reduces complexity without introducing compliance concerns.
Not sure where to start? We have you covered with a seven-step guide to success.
The Current State of Mobile Apps in Healthcare
Mobile apps are becoming commonplace in healthcare settings. Underpinned by the widespread adoption of electronic health and medical records (EHRs and ERMs), mobile apps make it possible for staff and patients to access critical data and services on demand.
It doesn’t stop there: New trends in healthcare mobile app development include the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) frameworks capable of collecting, curating and analyzing key patient data to provide on-demand insight for providers.
Coupled with the ongoing adoption of telehealth solutions that empower anytime, anywhere access, there’s massive opportunity in the mobile app market — if healthcare providers can design, develop and deploy effective applications.
7 Steps for Successful Mobile Healthcare Apps
While specific healthcare application needs differ based on workplace structure, patient demographics and data use cases, the core tenants of building and deploying successful apps remain the same. In practice, seven common steps apply to any application building strategy.
1. Consider Your Capabilities
First, consider your capabilities for in-house application development. Do you have enough IT staff members to handle a mobile application development project from design to build to deployment? Do they have the right skills for the job? Do you have the time and resources to dedicate to the task?
For most healthcare organizations, the answer to one (or more) of these questions is no. It’s often more cost-effective to connect with an experienced mobile application development provider that also understands the unique data security, privacy and compliance requirements of healthcare applications.
2. Pinpoint Your Needs
Next, organizations need to pinpoint their application needs. What does your mobile app need to do? What services will it offer? With what databases will it connect? Here, it’s critical to curate the scope of your application to help ensure it delivers on a specific function that meets a specific demand.
For example, you might identify the need for improved patient access to healthcare records via mobile apps. As a result, your build should focus on connecting your new application to relevant databases and creating robust authentication processes that help reduce the risk of compromise.
While it’s possible to shoot for the moon with a more generalized approach, this can create budget overruns and result in apps that offer minimal functionality across many areas rather than delivering top-tier experiences for a specific use case.
3. Identify Your Users
It’s also important to identify who’s using your application. Are doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals your primary user group? Is it a patient-facing application, or a mix of both? By identifying your user base before you start the design and building process, you can ensure that mobile app form and function are aligned with expectations.
4. Do Your Research
Does your application offer functionality that users want? While your initial concept may seem like a great idea to IT teams and C-suite executives, it won’t pay dividends if users aren’t interested in downloading and using it.
In practice, this means doing your research. Are there similar apps on the market that are successful? What are users saying about these applications, how they work and what they’re potentially missing?
It’s also a good idea to ask prospective users about what features and functions they want to see in a mobile application before you start building, so the result matches their expectations.
5. Design and Build Your App
Armed with information, it’s time to design and build your application. Working in tandem with your app development partner, this is the stage for brainstorming form and function, creating wireframes and UX/UI frameworks, and making sure that your vision of the app is feasible at scale.
The goal here? Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) that delivers on the key functions and services you require.
6. Test, Test, Test
While it’s step six here, testing should occur throughout the application development process. Why? Because the more you test — during design, build and deployment — the better your outcome. When testing happens in tandem with development, it’s easier to adjust and change design elements as required. Once applications go live, this process becomes much more challenging.
7. Assess Your Outcomes
Once your app is up and running, the work isn’t done. Instead, a successful mobile app strategy includes ongoing monitoring and assessment to confirm apps are working as intended. Continual monitoring can also pinpoint user pain points and inform the development and integration of new features over time.
Making the Most of Mobile With MXOtech
Mobile app development is no easy task, especially for healthcare organizations already managing the shift to hybrid work and the evolving need to meet patients where and when they’re most comfortable.
MXOtech is here to help. Our experienced teams of agile healthcare application developers can help build mobile apps that meet current needs and set the stage for ongoing success.
Put simply, we know healthcare. With more than a decade worth of experience, we can help your team design and build apps for complex care management, HEDIS data collection, value-based care, 837 compliance and quality improvement initiatives.
Ready to make the most of mobile in your healthcare application development strategy? Start with MXOtech.