Developing a healthcare app in 2023: types and features

The healthcare industry is changing at a rapid pace. With new technologies and digital platforms being introduced, the need for medical apps is growing more than ever before. According to Bloomberg, the global digital health market is estimated to hit over $367 billion by 2028. The proliferation of wearables, artificial intelligence, and the pandemic-induced crisis spearhead the market growth. 

In this article, we’ll explore what makes a good medical app and what types of apps dominate the digital health market.

What is a medical app?

A medical app is a software application that provides access to healthcare information and services. It can be used by patients, doctors, or nurses in the hospital.

The majority of health-related applications are subject to HIPAA regulations. However, fitness, wellness, and meditation applications don’t have to be HIPAA-compliant since they do not transmit protected patient data. Therefore, health apps are usually alluded to as solutions for the general public, while medical apps are associated with professional use.

Moreover, some applications rely on AI in healthcare to help the care team process and analyze patient data. Smart analysis, in turn, allows for more personalized treatments.

Types of medical apps

While some of the most popular medical apps are health and fitness apps, there are also general medical apps, clinical decision support (CDS) applications, and m-health products. Each application type has its differentiators that impact the set of core features and application objectives.

Clinical decision support apps

These types of applications allow clinicians to view patient data or make decisions in real-time. Typically, they are integrated with other software systems such as electronic health records (EHRs). CDS applications may include features like electronic patient record management software, drug monitoring systems, and decision support tools such as AI in healthcare algorithms.

Clinical decision support applications can be used for:

  • Analyzing a patient’s health history and current status, 
  • Assessing the risks and benefits of various treatments,
  • Providing information about new drugs on the market that might be useful for specific conditions, such as cancer treatment options or heart failure management plans.

Health and fitness apps

Many health and fitness apps can help you monitor your weight, track your diet, and exercise. Some of these include:

  • MyFitnessPal – This app allows you to track your daily calorie intake as well as the food you eat. You can also use it to log workouts and other activities like walking.
  • Strava – This app tracks cycling routes and runs with GPS technology. It also has a leaderboard system where everyone can see how fast they are traveling on their bike or footpath at any given moment in time.

Fitness applications are usually complemented with a wide range of features. The latter vary from interactive dashboards and guided workouts to live-streaming and pose tracking.

General medical apps

General medical apps are designed to help patients manage their health. They can help you monitor your progress, communicate with doctors and other healthcare professionals, find out more about the latest treatments, and more.

M-health apps

M-health apps are mobile apps that help people manage their health. They can be used to help people manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as weight issues.

The most common mHealth app is an app that tracks blood pressure on your phone or tablet. 

This can be helpful if you want to monitor your own heart health without having to go see your doctor every time you have a random spike in blood pressure. 

The hallmark of these applications is their ability to gather data from other devices. Wearables, health apps, and other help m-health solutions monitor symptoms and provide a full understanding of an individual’s wellbeing.

Patient engagement and reminder apps

Patient engagement and reminder apps help patients to stay on top of their treatment and maintain good health, by providing access to important information. With a shortage of specialists, this app category allows patients to stay involved in their treatment and get access to specialists without an offline appointment. 

The majority of patient engagement applications offer telehealth features, which allow individuals to get an online appointment with a doctor via audio, video, or instant messaging.

Patients can use these apps to:

  • Keep track of the medications they’re taking, as well as any side effects or interactions with other drugs.
  • Plan trips and appointments, including when they will be needed;
  • Communicate with their care team about health inquiries or concerns through instant messaging services, and others.

Risk prediction and management apps

Risk prediction and management apps can help patients with chronic diseases monitor their health, take action, and manage their medications. For example, a patient might use an app to monitor his or her blood pressure regularly. The app will send data to the patient’s doctor so that he or she can determine whether there are any warning signs of serious worthening of health status.

Why develop a medical app?

Developing medical apps can be a great investment for businesses and a useful tool for patients, depending on the purpose of the app.

Medical apps can help your customers with information about their health, including tools to track symptoms and conditions like diabetes or heart disease. You could also use this technology to offer discounts or other incentives as well as give patients more enablement in managing their health. Combined, this will increase customer satisfaction and build more trust between clinicians and patients.

Healthcare professionals can have seamless access to data from the electronic medical record (EMR), which contains all relevant information about a patient’s health history at any given time. This includes blood pressure readings taken by nurses during checkups, lab results, prescriptions, immunizations, and others.

However, creating an m-health application requires both technical and compliance excellence. Thus, to process data and predict patient outcomes, health-related applications need to have AI-based capabilities. Data collection, storage, and sharing must also be compliant with HIPAA regulations unless it’s de-anonymized. 

Telehealth features are also among the pillars of successful healthcare applications. They allow individuals to connect with healthcare providers, which is especially important for rural areas.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when developing medical applications. But with the right approach and planning, you can get your app up and running in no time. Make sure you have a solid vision of the product and secure the right team to develop the application. To ensure the long-term success of your medical app, consider including artificial intelligence, wearable integration, and telehealth features. This way, your medical application will help improve patient outcomes and increase healthcare accessibility for all individuals.