The global market for healthcare apps is growing fast, fueled by an uptick in telehealth preferences by patients, a pandemic-induced desire to improve overall health and well-being, and fierce competition among health organizations.
By 2028, the global is expected to increase to a staggering $ 314.60 billion.
If you’ve been considering developing a healthcare app to serve a new or existing audience, now is the time.
Whether you’re a budding startup or a well-established healthcare organization, launching the right healthcare app can help you attract and build loyalty with people who are hungry for new tools that make it easier for them to manage their own health.
But before you make plans to build the most comprehensive, feature-rich healthcare app the world has ever seen, take note:
You’re much better off starting with a minimum viable product (MVP) that only gives users the features they want and need most and following up with additional product features in future updates.
Building in this way can help you save on development costs, launch faster, and reach users before another competitor scoops them up.
But what does a healthcare MVP look like? Here are five popular features that other healthcare organizations are building into their applications:
Patients increasingly want to ability to schedule, cancel, and manage healthcare appointments without having to speak to someone on the phone.
In fact, Mend, a patient scheduling app, says that 77 percent of patients want online appointment self-scheduling, and nearly 90 percent of patients choose a healthcare organization based on the ability to schedule or reschedule appointments on their own.
Adding an appointment scheduling feature to your healthcare app using Crowdbotics usually takes between 5.4 and 6.6 hours and costs around $450.
Healthcare employees also want more ownership, access, and visibility when it comes to shift scheduling. Many healthcare organizations have built apps that make it easy for nurses, doctors, and other care providers to see their shifts from the convenience of their own phones. This means they don’t have to be on-site to find out when they work.
Shift scheduling also makes it easier for employees to request time off, trade shifts with each other, and make themselves available for extra shifts during months when they want to work and earn more.
More hospitals and clinics are also building apps that offer doctors and patients access to electronic health records (EHR).
Demand for this particular feature increased during the COVID-19 pandemic when hospitals were restricting in-person appointments and patients were less likely to want to leave their homes to communicate with doctors and receive care.
According to the Health Information National Trends Survey, “About six in 10 individuals nationwide were offered a patient portal in 2020 – this represents a 17 percentage point increase since 2014,” and “nearly four in 10 patient portal users accessed their health information using a smartphone health app in 2020.”
EHR apps are complex and require a lot of different moving parts. A standard EHR app will combine patient history, lab results, medication history, patient information, notes from care providers, multimedia, e-prescriptions, appointment scheduling, and communication tools.
In a 2020 consumer survey on digital health, Accenture found that “41% of Gen Z – and one-third of millennials – prefer digital encounters with physicians over in-person visits.”
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care shares data that puts the portion of millennials who would choose telemedicine over in-person care closer to 75 percent.
What once may have been a nice-to-have feature has now become a must-have for any healthcare organization that interacts directly with patients.
By adding patient messaging as one of the core features in your MVP app, you can immediately start reducing the amount of time your employees spend interacting with patients in person, which in turn can save you money.
Most patient messaging apps give users the ability to schedule or manage appointments, chat with a nurse or care provider, share photos and videos, and get auto-reminders about upcoming appointments, prescriptions, and lab results.
Communication features are also being created for employees at hospitals and clinics, who want a more convenient way to communicate internally about work schedules and patient management.
In addition to wanting more control and visibility when it comes to their care, healthcare app users are also hungry for more education.
With the rising popularity of apps like Headspace, there’s an opportunity to attract and engage with users by providing them with more educational content that they can use to take control of their own health and wellness.
A typical CMS feature within a healthcare app will include:
When building your healthcare app, think about the audience you’re serving and the type of questions they need help answering. You could use a CMS to offer general advice and education about health and wellness, or you could use it to create content around a specific niche, such as pregnancy, aging, or fitness.
Prescription management and auto-reminders have also grown in popularity in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. As more people warm up to the idea of receiving care virtually, hospitals and clinics need to respond with more digital tools that ensure a seamless experience for patients from beginning to end.
A prescription management feature allows healthcare providers to securely authorize refills digitally and send them to pharmacies for pickup.
A prescription reminder system sends automated alerts to patients when they need to take their medication, or when they need to get a prescription refilled by a doctor.
These features are often built together with patient messaging features to ensure a seamless user experience.
Before deciding which features to include in your MVP healthcare app, it’s best to take time to talk with your intended users first. Survey and interview them to find out which features matter most to them, and which ones they would be OK having access to at a later date.
Try not to make assumptions as a team—back your ideas up with qualitative and quantitative data that comes directly from the source.
September 7, 2022