Hospital app development or developing apps for hospitals is more common than you think.
Mobile applications have made our lives easy. We can get everything on our fingertips. For instance, we can order our favorite meal through food delivery apps such as Uber eats.
Apart from food application, people are using healthcare applications for consultation or checkups. For instance, around 64% American adults were reported to use an application for health checkups.
Also, as per Pew Research Center, usage of health and medical apps by Americans aged 12 and older increased by 53% due to growth in smartphone penetration. Therefore, these numbers suggest the need for every hospital to have an app for smooth diagnosis and management.
Why Your Hospital Needs a Mobile Application
There are numerous reasons why your hospital needs a full-fledged mobile application. These are as follows:
1. More Loyal Patients At The Hospital
A hospital app attracts more patients because people are habitual of conducting several tasks online such as bill payments, hotel/flight bookings, grocery shopping, and much more. Further, a general surgeon from Houston – Rafael Lugo, said that digital marketing is not an option anymore for hospitals who are looking to capture more patients.
Also, push messaging and wayfinding are effective ways to attract patients with a mobile hospital app.
2. Better Efficiency
With hospital apps integrated with a database, physicians can access patients’ EMR (Electronic Medical Records), scrutinize test results, and prescribe medications in an easy way. Also, a with a mobile app, a doctor can give ample time to patients, thus improving quality of care.
3. A Promotional Tool
Hospitals can use mobile apps for marketing their services, departments, and brand. By using push notification tactic, hospitals can inform consumers about special offers, news, and new healthcare changes.
Smartphone applications improve user engagement, enhance brand awareness, gives competitive edge, and much more.
4. User-Friendly Payments
Patients are benefited with contactless payment options and is easy for the hospitals to handle money flow. As per Laurie Hurwitz, executive director of revenue cycle at Gundersen Health System, patients are expecting similar type of convenience while paying healthcare bills as they do for other type of bills.
5. Easy to Schedule Hospital Appointments
Often, patients call hospital receptionist or visit OPD to book appointment or to know about doctor’s routine. However, with a mobile app, a user can track physician’s routine, book appointment accordingly, and set a reminder.
This is an effective way to release burden of bookings for the patients, even in times of emergencies. For instance, Doctor on Demand, a hospital mobile application enables patients to find a physician in emergencies and book appointment as per their convenience.
6. Accurate Patient Diagnosis
Doctors can acquire real-time data on patient’s diagnosis and checkups, thus preventing fatalities for the patient. Sensors placed in healthcare apps monitor and track health parameters such as heart rate, oxygen content, sleep time, etc. This information is useful for quality care and efficiency in hospitals services.
7. Access to Medical Records
With a hospital app, patients needn’t rush to laboratories to acquire test reports, they can easily get it online and access it anywhere. For example, OLR is a medical app which provides lab reports online.
With the reduction in paperwork, hospital management are relieved of storage, report collection, and distribution.
8. IoT in Healthcare
IoT monitors health parameters and alerts the doctor if it increases beyond the threshold value. Also, IoT assures management of huge goods and organize them systematically. Real-time data collection, prevention of upcoming diseases, in-clinic management, and in-hospital services includes IoT devices.
How to Develop a Hospital Mobile Application
Here is the complete guide one must know about hospital app development.
1. Define Your Target
Who is the hospital app for? Who is your target audience? These questions will determine the potential users of application. As per statista.com, 4% of US adults use a healthcare app for emergencies. 10% healthcare workers use app for medical emergencies. 8% US adults use app to track health metrics.
As per this data, there are various types of users, from healthcare workers to adults. Hence, one must know target audience beforehand.
2. Selecting a Platform
There are two major operating systems – Android and iOS. iOS continues to dominate the market, holding more than half of market share in May 2021. Analyzing preference of platform geographically can help hospitals to opt for suitable option.
Further, based on objective and features of app choosing AR, VR, or IoMT integration. If a hospital wished to implement realistic scenarios and a great user experience, then virtual reality is a good option.
3. Design Scalable Architecture
A scalable architecture is designed to handle the capacity of growing workloads of the software and hardware. Further, a hospital app needs a central server for syncing data.
The approach would be to incorporate microservice architecture because it is developed to improve scalability. Each microservice has the capacity of running autonomously, thus making it easier to remove, add, delete, and scale each microservices.
One of the best examples of microservices is Netflix. This mobile app refactored its monolithic application in horizontal scale of microservice, which runs on Amazon AWS.
A prototype of an app is a version designed for product demonstration that replicates features and functions of the app. A prototype helps to determine functionality, feel, and look of the final mobile app. It will tell you how users might react while operating hospital app.
Prototype aids to conclude the outcome of the app, user-friendliness, and efficiency of the application. Also, it will help to attract investors, identify app flaws, and improve iteration significantly.
5. Developing an MVP
A minimum viable product is a development methodology for generating core functions and features to solve problems. It’s the basic model of the app which fulfills the main aim to be achieved.
For developing an MVP for a hospital app, one needs to understand business needs, what the user wants, and core features or functions of the app. While building MVP do not incorporate many features or functions initially. This will leave the user confused and app might look clumsy.
For instance, the initial versions of the Facebook app were different from what you see now. Several features such as pages, stories, and reels were added recently in the app and the application has evolved over a period of time.
6. Check for Compliance
All functions in the app must comply with the HIPAA guidelines and deal with PHI (Protected Health Information). Medical records contain private information of patients’ personal life and breach of this data results in legal and financial risks. One
must pay penalties in case of privacy breach under HIPAA.
For instance, 6th December 2021, two healthcare workers were pleaded guilty in two cases for the criminal misuse of patient data while on duty.
Apart from this, consider two-factor authentication, biometric recognition, auto logout options, and data encryption for building safe hospital apps.
7. Testing of App
Perform QA analysis at every step during the MVP generation and when a new feature is added. Carry out code testing as this saves time while manual quality assurance checks. Further, tests should consist of integration and module checks, ensuring interconnectivity of modules. After the final test, run a full-fledged HIPAA audit.
8. App Deployment
Usually, there are two main categories of app deployment. First being, deploying API (Application Programming Interface) into the production. The second one is to deploy app in Apple Play Store or Google Play Store.
Apps need back-end server for functioning smoothly. Server deployed to an environment which is scalable such as RackSpace or AWS, is better at handling traffic surges.
For releasing apps to Play Store, ensure that the hospital app is configured. Post this, submit forms for every store along with screenshots, marketing methods, and description. Apple checks all materials and can ask for changes, so that the app can comply with their regulations. Your hospital app developers should be able to handle all these for you.
Once app is approved, it will be live on Google Play the same day and in Apple Play Store after a few days.
Cost of Hospital App Development
Pricing of a hospital mobile application depends on aspects such as features, platforms, integrations, development team, and much more. As per a survey of 2,400 healthcare applications, the average expense of a hospital app development is around $150,000, but here’s a detailed guide to the cost of medical app development that you can refer to.
A hospital mobile app can prove to be useful for patients with severe health conditions and save time on hospital visits. They are great for both healthcare workers and patients for tracking recovery, consultations, and accessing patients’ data. Technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data in medical apps are useful in saving precious lives.