3 Things You Should Know Before Building A Healthcare App

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November 19, 2015 • Product Success

Healthcare technology, and specifically mobile health is booming.

According to a report from Allied Market Research, the global mobile health market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 33.5% between 2015 and 2020.

Growth in coverage of mobile cellular networks, increasing chronic conditions, and growing awareness among patient population in developed and emerging economies alike have churned out better opportunities for mobile health market.

Healthcare is one of the few industries that has gained more from recent innovations in technology.

So, if you are one who is planning to leverage the mobile healthcare sector growth to build your startup in this domain, here are 3 things you should know before getting started:

#1 The unique UI/UX considerations

Just think what a clean interface on a healthcare app could do for a patient who has to enter the his/her medical records everyday or every few hours. Similarly, for a physician performing home visits, and updating every patient’s medical history after a visit will be so much easier if the app’s design is clean and easy to use.

Good UI/UX is required for every app, but with the high frequency of data input and amount of data, healthcare apps need some extra effort.

In order to develop great healthcare apps, you must consider the importance of UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design.

The key is to create design that make the patient process flow as seamless as possible. If the healthcare app is patient-centric, then everything we do must have the user experience of the patient in mind.

In most of the healthcare apps, the users are vulnerable and are seeking solutions for their medical issues. So, the whole app experience shouldn’t portray anything which is negative. Be it the colours, fonts, text, etc. The UI should be personal and supportive, which strives to make people feel better and more positive.

A great UI/UX design can get users excited about inputting their personal health data. Check out these screenshots of our latest healthcare app called Sternfit.

how to build a healthcare appbest healthcare apps

To expand the scope of what healthcare app can accomplish it is important that user is allowed to integrate other features of the phone. For example, while building the app, if you feel the app can work better if the doctor access the patient via the front camera of the phone, then allow your app to have such integration.

Jess Kadar, product manager for a collaborative care platform, says, “When designing for medical applications reduce chrome/decoration and carefully design data visualizations that create meaning and are actionable.

He further adds, “Design clear visual designs. If you are designing for people age 40+ and/or people with chronic diseases, contrast and type hierarchy are particularly important. Focus on optimizing the signal-to-noise ratio in the UI. Get the design in the browser as early as possible and observe patients using the app.

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#2 Privacy and security concerns

Medical and healthcare apps have a lot of barriers to pass.

Since, the healthcare data is so sensitive that it can directly affect user’s safety and privacy, there are several regulations for such apps.

For example, if you are building an app for the U.S. market and your app stores or exchanges in any way with sensitive patient data, you must comply with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Similarly, if you are building an app for the European market, your app will come under the vigilance of EU data protection laws, such as, Data Protection Directive 1995/46/EC (Section 2.1) and the e-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC (Section 2.2).

The Canadian government has the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) that set parameters for the administration of personal data by businesses.

So, if you plan to have a healthcare app that collects any sensitive information from users, you must include a privacy policy that explains what information is being collected and how it will be used. As the owner of a healthcare app you need to keep patients’ protected health information (PHI) a top priority.

It is not advisable to risk and breach any of these regulations, because even the app stores are very particular about the healthcare guidelines. Apple has rejected several healthcare apps in past on the basis of privacy issues.

Infact, Apple has a huge list of review guidelines for healthcare apps, and most of them are related to privacy and security of healthcare data.

apple healthkit

#3 Testing healthcare applications

App testing is an important step in building a great app.

However, when it comes to healthcare apps, not testing the functionality before the release of the app can have some serious implications.

If your healthcare app failed to function properly, there is a huge risk of giving out negative or undesirable results. For instance, sensitive data pertaining to a patient’s medical history must be saved and processed accurately, failure to do so could be fatal.

Whether you opt for manual testing or test automation tools, it is important you test your healthcare app for the following:

  • It’s important to test the security and authenticity for PII, PHI and other regulations such as HIPAA compliance.
  • Test functional capabilities of your healthcare app, including testing of healthcare workflows.
  • If you have a health app which needs geo-location services, such as fitness tracking apps, check the accuracy of those services.
  • If the app interprets data from certain inputs, check the inputs in different units, from different devices, networks, and locations. It should pull correct information every time.
  • Test with poor connectivity to simulate real world use cases.
  • Test medical imaging apps for medical imaging.
  • Test your app on different mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows etc.), and browsers for compatibility.
  • Test your app against load and performance benchmarks.
  • Usability testing is another effective technique at providing valuable insights into how a real user would use your app.

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