Healthcare App Prototyping: The Complete Process

Key Takeaways

  • To build a successful prototype, take into account common issues faced by patients such as misdiagnosis, medical errors, data security, etc., then build a healthcare app solution.
  • Prioritize core features to avoid delays in project deliveries and incorporation of unnecessary features. Break down feature requirements in the form of user stories to speed up the prioritization process.
  • Hierarchy, hub and spoke, and nested doll are some of the preferred information architecture patterns for healthcare app prototyping.
  • An interactive prototype speeds up the process of getting feedback from potential users and reels stakeholders to invest in the healthcare app project.

Prototyping cuts all the unnecessary junk out of the way and ensures that the final product launches on time. Mobile app developers rely heavily on the process of healthcare app prototyping to wrap up a project with the least amount of errors.

The growing market size of mHealth apps and competition in the healthcare sector is pushing developers to build the best possible app for patients. Ultimately, patient satisfaction and experience are key aspects to be considered while developing a healthcare app prototyping.

Step-by-Step Process of Healthcare App Prototyping

1. Understand the Problems of Users

This is the key step to building a healthcare app prototype because if the end users don’t like the app design, then it’s meaningless to go ahead. It’s essential to grasp the problem that needs to be solved and what users are seeking currently in a healthcare app.

Some of the common issues that patients face are the occurrence of medical errors, misdiagnosis, data security, etc. These issues ultimately affect their overall health, hence it is a major concern for both patients and doctors alike.

A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore in 2021 stated that misdiagnosis was the cause of 40,000 to 80,000 deaths in the USA every year. Hence, considering this data, patients or users are likely to seek more reliant healthcare apps. Project managers need to assess such issues and statistics while working on healthcare app prototyping.

2. Determine Key Features

Features are an important part of any healthcare app prototype, as this determines whether they’re solving the problems faced by users. Consider breaking down feature requirements in the form of user stories. Then map out those features which will solve user issues efficiently.

Consider answering questions such as which features can resolve the identified issues. Or which features support the apps’ objectives? Further, in a prototype, implementing all features isn’t feasible, hence consider prioritizing them as per importance. This ensures that the most critical features are installed first in case the project timeline changes.

There can be times when an app development project extends and irrelevant features might take the development project off track. So, prioritizing core features and functionalities during prototyping helps to keep unnecessary stuff out of the way.

So, according to the above data, if misdiagnosis is a pertinent issue for patients, consider implementing features that rectify it. For example, features such as access to medical records, a personal log book, and a symptom checker can help to avoid misdiagnosis for users.

3. Keep an Eye on Privacy Guidelines

A healthcare app needs to comply with the varied regulations followed in a specific state. The app development team needs to be familiar with all the security and safety rules of healthcare data.

It is tough to manage surplus data and in today’s times, cloud data is predicted to reach 100 zettabytes by 2025. The exponential growth of data is driving the need for more stringent compliance rules for healthcare applications.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is one such rule that ensures the complete privacy and security of ePHI. This act is mandatory for all healthcare software, apps, and websites, including healthcare facilities. HIPAA guarantees the secure transmission of data across devices and debars from disclosing data without patient authorization.

4. Create Information Architecture

The key aim of information architecture (IA) is to make an app simple and intuitive to navigate. So, based on this healthcare app developers can make a list of all the content that’ll go in the app. This includes videos, audio, meta elements, titles, documents, etc.

The most crucial step while designing IA is to keep it simple. Mobile screens are smaller than tabs or desktops, hence it’s necessary to prioritize content components. The fewer the elements the better. Consider keeping the number of links less than 10 and ensure that menu options aren’t too long.

Additionally, think from the patient’s perspective while setting priorities. For instance, patients may prefer educational content in the form of videos and blogs, thus keeping that as a priority is essential. To determine whether the IA is user-friendly, find potential users and get feedback from them before the final app launch.

Some of the recommended information architecture patterns for healthcare app prototyping are as follows:

a. Hierarchy

This pattern is good for apps that have the same structure as desktop websites. However, after using this pattern, if the result is a multi-faceted structure, then it is inconvenient to use it on small screens. So, best consider another pattern with less complex navigation.

b. Hub and Spoke

This pattern works best for iPhone applications and for multi-functional apps where every feature has its internal navigation. However, this pattern isn’t an ideal choice if the target audience likes to multitask.

c. Nested Doll

This is a linear pattern that allows users to move from an index page that has a general view of all the contents, to more detailed pages. It is popular amongst Android platforms and is a great choice for apps that are focused on one topic.

5. Build Wireframes

The key purpose of wireframes is to provide clarity on page structure layout, user flow, IA, and functionalities. Wireframes represent the initial product, hence graphics, fonts, colors, and styling are kept to a minimum. They’re cheap and easy to create with just a pen and paper in hand.

With an abundance of tools available, wireframes can be built digitally within minutes. Seeing all the features on a wireframe helps to visualize how they’ll all work together.

Types of wireframes are low-fidelity, mid-fidelity, and high-fidelity wireframes. Each of these wireframes serves a different purpose as per the details they contain.

6. Design an Interactive Prototype

An interactive prototype brings an app to life. To understand functionalities completely, it is recommended to design a clickable healthcare app prototyping. An interactive prototype helps users to give accurate feedback on an application. Developers can then implement this feedback and make a fully-functional application.

Furthermore, an interactive design allows stakeholders to view an app as it was intended to be used, and in a manner close to the final product. In the case of static and non-interactive prototypes, more time is spent on discussing the working of a feature. However, with an interactive healthcare prototype, stakeholders can quickly understand the functions. This strengthens the buy-in process as well.

7. Testing of Prototype

The goal of testing healthcare app prototyping is to uncover issues with navigation and features. Consider locating potential users, but over-recruit as some may drop off due to their schedules.

Testing a good number of users will give diverse responses and help to scrutinize the app’s working better. After every round of user testing, analyze data and note the changes that’ll solve problems faced by users.

8. Convert the Prototype into a Functional Healthcare App

After successfully creating a healthcare app prototype and making all the necessary changes, it’s now time to create a fully functional application. The process of moving from an idea to a functional app takes time. It can take months to get something finalized.

So, it is recommended to partner with a specialized healthcare software development company, that can guide you through the entire healthcare app development process seamlessly. As a software development company 100% focused on healthcare, Arkenea helps organizations to create a world-class mobile healthcare application. Connect with us to build a cutting-edge healthcare app.