Critical 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 healthcare 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 healthcare app can be a combination of any of the below mentioned:

Healthcare App Features for Patients

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. Arkenea has developed several telemedicine platforms for various clients. One such example is Feelya.

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.

11. Health Education

Chronic illnesses are estimated to account for $2.7 trillion in yearly healthcare costs in the United States. As a result, healthcare mobile applications are believed to be effective in both preventing and slowing the advancement of chronic illnesses. As an example, one of these attempts is the dissemination of adequate and updated health education via the use of mobile applications.

Health education is an important element, and this generation gains a great deal from health apps, which make it simple for them to obtain the knowledge they need to help understand their physiology and the science that underpins their health.

It’s critical that consumers have access to knowledge about diet, exercise, the human body, mental health, and other issues related to wellbeing. Users also need knowledge about ailments and how to treat or manage them.

One of the most useful health apps provides anatomy, terminology, medical reference, and even accessibility to statistics and journals and literature, all in one place. These are also incredibly beneficial to medical students. It has the ability to educate anybody who is eager to study and stay aware of their health.

Healthcare App Features for Doctors

1. EHR/EMR Integration

Integration of electronic health records (EHR) improves the viability of telemedicine applications.

EMR maintains track of your treatment history, while EHR digitally retains all of your blood work, laboratory tests, radiographic pictures, medications, and all of your valuable treating physicians’ information.

It saves time for both patients and physicians in terms of monitoring and inspecting their health.

The telehealth app, which is integrated with the EHR, ensures that patient data are processed immediately and are gathered in one place. Moreover, eliminating redundant data from virtual visits.

Telemedicine software with an integrated EHR function provides smooth telehealth billing services, as well as a slew of other benefits, including:

  • HIPAA compliance for telemedicine apps and data protection
  • Simple to use
  • Early detection is crucial.
  • Patient treatment that is more efficient
  • Patient data collecting has been improved.
  • Telemedicine visit data should be processed properly.
  • Telemedicine billing has been simplified.
  • Telehealth reimbursement that is cost-effective
  • Payment systems that are integrated

2. ePrescriptions

It’s a necessary feature since e-prescriptions assist pharmacies, patients, and prescribing physicians by speeding up the delivery of healthcare services.

In recent times, e-prescription technology has been accessible. This is convenient and saves time for both the doctor and the patient. Doctors may use an e-prescription function to produce and distribute prescriptions, complete with all of the necessary information.

You might include a function that checks nearby pharmacies to verify whether a patient’s recommended drug is accessible to enhance the user experience even further.

With this functionality enabled, telemedicine mobile applications are already compatible with telemedicine laws such as:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Electronic Prior Authorization)
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted to make health insurance more (HIPAA)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Meaningful Use Stage 1 (MU-1) and Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU-2) are two stages of the HITECH Meaningful Use Program (MU-2)

With an e-prescription tool, doctors can create and deliver prescriptions without making any mistakes. It will assist save time while also improving communication and patient satisfaction.

Physicians may also view data on the health coverage form, and all information is available in electronically connected pharmacies.

Advantages

  • It includes a comprehensive list of drugs as well as dose directions.
  • The number of pharmacy and prescription errors has decreased.
  • The process has been streamlined, and patient care has increased.
  • Medication renewal is simple and quick.
  • E – prescribing business for pharmacies that provide the same medications.
  • It is easier for the doctor to comprehend the patient’s history.
  • Medication costs are lower.
  • Re-hospitalization was reduced.
  • Medication diary

3. HIPAA Compliance

Patients must guarantee that their health information is secured so that their privacy is not jeopardized. Many individuals are wary about disclosing medical information since it is also used to determine insurance coverage.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that safeguards sensitive data and patient information. HIPAA requirements and security protocols must be followed by any application that accesses PHI (Personal Health Information).

Getting Started With Developing Your Healthcare App

Developing a healthcare application 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.

Simple User Experience (UI/UX)

Modern mobile application users demand a seamless and interesting user experience. Customers will uninstall the app if they have a poor user experience.

This is particularly true among millennials, who are more likely to remove an app if the user experience is poor.

With the number of people aged 50 and above using mHealth applications on the rise, it’s critical to design apps specifically for this audience. Those over the age of 50 who did not grow up with cell phones are more likely to regard the customer experience to be a barrier to usage.

Flashy elements that may attract younger audiences might irritate others with less smartphone app experience, therefore minimalism in Functionality And user Interface design is critical.

Accessibility

Patients nowadays expect their data to be accessible everywhere. The cloud eliminates this issue, and most applications now store their data on the cloud and make it accessible to users wherever they have an internet connection. Many patients want to access their data quickly and easily through the cloud.

Cloud Advantages in Healthcare Apps:

  • Enhanced operations
  • Scalability and adaptability
  • Internal cooperation and communication have improved.
  • Lowering of operating expenses
  • Optimized, agile, and inventive

However, the advantages come at a cost. Any PHI data stored in the cloud necessitates the installation of HIPAA compliance in the cloud as well. Data protection and data security must be ensured in any medical and healthcare mobile applications.

Finding The Right Healthcare App Development Partner

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.

Arkenea is one of the only custom healthcare software development companies that is 100% focused only on the healthcare industry. Arkenea designs and develops custom healthcare software across multiple platforms such as the web and mobile, working with medical practices, physicians and surgeons, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and HealthTech startups.

The company was founded in 2011 and has a team of 50 that has a wealth of experience in developing healthcare applications that are also HIPAA and HITRUST compliant. Arkenea has developed healthcare software such as telemedicine applications, EHRs, EMRs, patient engagement software, clinical trial management software and practice management software, among others.

See some of our case studies and clients success stories.

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

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