10 Must Have Features to Include When Developing a Healthcare App

The healthcare mobile industry is rapidly transforming right before our eyes. The rise in technology is contributing to the digital revolution of mHealth apps. In 2021, the number of healthcare apps on Google Play Store stands at 53,054. Apple’s App Store also has a similar number of mHealth apps.

If you have an idea that involves the development of mHealth apps, the time is ripe for getting started with it. The first thing that you want to finalize may be the features that you can incorporate into your healthcare app. However, before diving into that, it is important to understand what problem you want the app to solve.

If you are a healthcare organization looking to develop your own app, you need to incorporate the features that would be most beneficial to the patients and caregivers who use the application. The ultimate aim of developing a mHealth app can be a combination of any of the below mentioned

  • Improving patient-doctor communication
  • Easy access to healthcare
  • Increasing patient engagement
  • Improving the health information system
  • Ease of healthcare delivery

Healthcare app features that you should incorporate within your application

1. Easy registration and login

In-app registration and user logins can let the users input their information, so that the wait times for the appointment are reduced. The login functionality in your healthcare app needs to be seamless to ensure a good user experience.

Login and registration can help patients create their own profile on the app and input any information that they need. However, any protected health information (PHI) that your app collects or stores needs to be safeguarded against malicious forces to remain compliant under HIPAA regulations.

2. Doctor profile look up

The healthcare app you develop needs to allow the patients to choose the doctor of their preference. A doctor profile look-up section is a must-have feature if you offer booking of in-person or virtual healthcare appointments.

Patients can look up the credentials, choose the doctor they like on the basis of their experience or the reviews of other users. You can also choose to add additional features such as geolocation that can help connect with doctors in their vicinity on the basis of their location.

3. Appointment scheduling

Appointment scheduling is one of the basic features and functionalities in a healthcare app that patients expect. Having appointment scheduling on-the-go through a healthcare app is beneficial for both patients as well as healthcare practitioners.

Your app needs to display the available slots for the appointment and allow the users to book one that is convenient for them. Once the physicians or admin approve the appointment, confirmation can be sent out to the users through the app ensuring a seamless user experience.

4. Reminders and notifications

In-app reminders and push notifications are an important feature that you should always incorporate in your healthcare app. Push notifications are a double edged sword so you have to be careful to ensure that they don’t end up being too intrusive.

However, when done correctly, they have proved effective in resulting in a marked increase in the levels of user engagement. You can leverage this feature to send out reminders for upcoming appointments and ensure that missed appointments are kept to a minimum.

You can also have medication reminders that send out notifications to the patients at pre-set times in order to increase the levels of medication adherence and play an important role in improving the overall health outcomes.

5. Doctor-patient communication through video conferencing

Telemedicine has gone mainstream in recent years with a number of hospitals and healthcare providers moving on the tech bandwagon to provide virtual consultations to the patients.

Secure and encrypted audio/video consultations between patients and providers is a must-have feature in your healthcare app.

You can also choose to add a feature through which the physicians can directly access the patient’s records while having virtual consultations to get access to the patient’s clinical history and bring in efficiency in the healthcare delivery process itself.

Any data collected, stored and transmitted via the app needs to be compliant with HIPAA security and privacy rules.

6. Symptom checker and in-app chats

As patients become increasingly techno-savvy, symptom checker applications and websites have become quite the rage.

Offering features like symptom checker within your application and having a database of verified healthcare information that the users can access through the app, can result in the app becoming the user’s preferred source of information.

You can also choose to add Chatbots that use artificial intelligence that can be the patient’s first level of interaction. Based on the severity of the symptoms, the AI and ML algorithms can determine the next courses of action and ask the patient to book an appointment with one of the doctors on the app if need be.

The chatbot can also direct the user to chat with a medical professional in case the patient does not want to book an in-person or virtual consultation.

You can also choose to integrate file sharing capabilities as a feature within the app. This allows the users to send files such as reports or clinical pictures to the physicians, facilitating better diagnosis.

7. Integration with medical devices

The future of healthcare is surely data-driven. Medical devices and healthcare wearables are a goldmine of patient data that needs to be leveraged to improve the overall health outcomes.

By having access to the data collected by the medical devices, the physicians can make data driven decisions regarding the patient’s treatment regimen.

Giving patients a comprehensive overview of the stats regarding their own health also makes them more engaged in their own health.

Integrating your healthcare app with medical devices and having a dashboard feature where patients can get the overview of their health status is something you should be considering, not just to boost healthcare delivery, but also to improve patient engagement.

8. Access to medical records

Accessibility is the need of the hour and patients expect to be able to access their medical records as and when they need it. Storing healthcare data on the cloud is not only secure, it also ensures that the medical records are available to the patients as well as the practitioners.

Secure sharing of healthcare data can also prove to be useful when a patient needs to be referred to a specialist. Having access to their own medical records also gives the patients better access to details pertaining to their health and empowers them at the same time.

Access to medical records by storing it on HIPAA compliant cloud servers is a feature that you should integrate when developing a healthcare app.

9. Prescription tracking

ePrescriptions allows doctors to generate and send prescriptions to patients through the app. This results in better clarity regarding the medications prescribed and the dosage schedule to be followed. The patients do not have to struggle deciphering the handwriting of the doctor with digital prescriptions.

You can also choose to add a pharmacy look-up feature within your app that allows the patients to check for medicine availability in the pharmacy, check for all drug related information such as possible drug interactions and side effects, and also look up alternative medications for the drug prescribed.

10. Patient Community

Enabling patient communication with each other has proven to be effective in enhancing healthy behaviors and giving patients the support they need to recover. A supportive community can go a long way in promoting engagement and improving outcomes.

Including a community feature within a healthcare app has proven to be successful in the past especially in case of apps aimed at combating specific medical conditions. It has also proven to be successful in apps for women’s health in particular.

Getting started with healthcare mobile app development

Healthcare app development can be diverse as the features vary depending on the problem that you aim to solve with your application. The above mentioned features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to developing a healthcare app.

It is easy to get consumed by the features you want to include in your app. However it is crucial that you stay true to your vision and shortlist the must-have features in your app to be included in the first version. The optional, nice-to-have features can be added in the future iterations of your app.

This approach of developing a minimum viable product first can help you better incorporate the user feedback and result in a functional mobile application that is not bloated with unnecessary features. It also keeps the development timelines realistic, allowing you to shorten the time to market of your application.

Partnering with an experienced healthcare software development company like Arkenea can help you bring your vision into reality by developing a feature rich, scalable healthcare application that offers a superlative user experience.

With more than a decade of experience developing numerous healthcare applications for a variety of clients ranging from healthcare entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, Arkenea is a trusted brand when it comes to healthcare software development.

Get in touch with our team of experts to discuss your app idea and turn it into reality.

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