mobile app development

An End-to-End Guide to Hire Healthcare App Developers

Medical app developers number in the thousands. But how to cut through the clutter and separate the best from the average?

Hire Healthcare App Developers Guide

The Health sector is metamorphosing big time. This torpaedic change is aided by the influence and emergence of broadband connectivity and changing customer priorities. Healthcare services are shifting addresses from local clinics and landing directly into the pocket of anyone who can afford a smartphone (which is practically everyone). 

This change is cementing grounds for entrepreneurs to not just launch growable Health-tech startups, but also make significant contributions to the lives of people by adding convenience. The key pillar of such health tech startups are, more often than not, apps. If you are struggling with the question of how to develop (or get developed) your healthcare application by partnering with third party developers, then this article is for you. Let’s get the ball rolling. 

global mHealth market size

Layout Your Health App Requirements 

Before you hire a dedicated healthcare app developer it is vital to deliberate on the nature of your application. Healthcare, within the USA, is a multi-trillion dollar industry. In 2019 it generated revenues to the tune of US$ 2, 487.7 billion. It is but natural to come across myriad business models, each catering to a different set of users. In fact, we can create two parent categories under which the entire ecosystem of healthcare applications is concentrated: 

  • Applications for Health Service Providers 
  • Applications for end-users 

Now, let us fabricate each segment further as per the flurry of healthcare app ideas we find manifesting today.   

heath app usage

1. Applications for Health Service Providers

This community is constituted by those rendering any/every medical service under the sun, from doctors, to part-time care-takers and other miscellaneous strata of medical professionals. For general awareness, we’ve mentioned the most prevalent health app ideas below.

  • Electronic Health Record Software

You’d find profound diversity in EHRs. These are software used to store and process structured information such as patient health records, clinical recovery, and medical history among other things. Look up Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Electronic Patient Record (EPR) for further information. 

  • Medical Diagnosis Software 

Seasoned medical app developers are familiar with such software. It helps uncover ailments based on the inputted parameters by medical practitioners. Examples of such software include Holonic Diagnosis Systems and Generic Human Disease Ontology (GHDO). 

  • Hospital Management Software 

It is used more toward administering a well-coordinated hospital experience to the patients by the staff. Major specifications include facility management, insurance claims processing, invoicing, tax planning, and much more. 

  • Medical Research Software

Citing precise records for medicinal research is mission-critical. When records related to a particular field are concentrated in one place, scientists can address bigger questions and reduce primary research efforts and that is what this software achieves.

  • Medical Equipment Management

Medical hardware could be easily tied and run with smart algorithms that not just control operative movements but also analyze machine performance and predict downtime instances. The cycle is capable of saving establishments maintenance costs and delivering longer equipment life thus increasing the ROI.  

2. Applications for End-Users

This is where most of the first-time entrepreneurs with healthcare app ideas come to life. The solutions are targeted towards people at the tail-end of the supply chain. 

Applications for End-Users

  • Health Monitoring Apps 

The apps are designed to capture patient information in a sequential way that highlights health patterns to medical experts. In-built features allow users to consult doctors online and receive electronic prescriptions. 

  • Wellness Apps 

A series of self-improvement and personal well-being applications fall into this category. They target chronic ailments that reveal symptoms through longer timelines such as blood pressure, and diabetes. Many wearables come pre-loaded with such applications specially designed to service health-conscious people with features such as heart rate tracker, calories burned, weight changes, etc.

  • Personal Medical Records 

There is a growing movement around data preservation that has awakened the population to the significance of personal information. This applies equally to the healthcare sectors as it does anywhere else. Playing to the fear of preservation, many health app developers have officiated works on this online business model.  

  • Appointment Booking 

Quite often such apps act as aggregators. They offer a platform for health experts to accommodate the citizenry’s inquiries. In dire cases, patients can even book a home visit by the doctor. Although best suited to people living far-off from commercial health centers, such apps have actually picked up given the social distancing norms of COVID-19. Telemedicine is a prominent feature of such apps. 

  • Pharmacy Delivery 

Again, given the virulent circumstance, the world is toiling through, offline to online business models are the norm. And if everything can be delivered at the doorstep then why not medications. You’ll feel the heat of competition in this segment due to the overcrowding by me-too startups. 

Typical Features of Healthcare Apps 

Health and fitness app developers that have been long in the game acknowledge the reality of a few specifications being ever-present, notwithstanding the varying business model of apps. The following features would therefore formulate the skeletal structure of the app. 

1. Registration and Sign-in 

Getting into your app should be a piece of cake be it for first-time users or returning customers. With new registrations, you should offer auto-sign up with their emails or other contact details. Don’t complicate matters by asking too many security questions. For registered users, there should be no more than a click or two required to jump right in. 

Registration and Sign-in

2. Multi-lingual & Multimedia Support

Whether you hire a dedicated healthcare app developer or not, you cannot control the incoming traffic of users based on their socio-economic, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds. App developers should play it safe by powering their code with multi-lingual support catering to all the regional languages of at least their geography. 

 Multi-lingual & Multimedia Support

3. Data Collection

The introduction of GDPR and similar data protection acts around the globe is strangulating the ease with which digital businesses used to collect and abuse user data. Now that data malpractices are getting curbed, it’s in the interest of health and wellness apps to collect only the information central to their product. They must also adhere unflinchingly to the statute laid down by the authorities for data use after the user has unsubscribed from the service. 

Data Collection

4. Authentication 

As you hire healthcare app developers make sure to emphasize the inclusion of multi-factor authentication in your app to protect sensitive medical info such as customer history from being stolen. 2FA is the industry standard anyway and should be there, to say the least. 

Authentication 

5. API compatibility 

It is for a reason that Apple & Google release their APIs which is to facilitate professionals such as health app developers to maximize in-app functionality. For instance, integrating the Box API makes possible secure document storage. The Doximity API allows patient-doctor interaction which is a key pillar of many medical apps.  

API compatibility 

6. Telemedicine 

This feature allows online consultations to transpire without any bumps. Especially now that in-person visits are advised against, patients can communicate their ailments to the respective experts via the telemedicine feature. It is because of telemedicine, that video conferencing and on-demand doctored advice are considered a bare essential of any mobile health app.  

Telemedicine

7. A Good UI UX

Technically, these aren’t features but interdependent domains. The reason we gave it an honorable mention is because a well thought out UI UX lays the groundwork for customer satisfaction. When you satisfy the audience, they demand less out of the app, saving the cost to the company for modifications in design later. Just remember one concept, do things right the first, and the only time. 

A Good UI UX

Run a Thorough Competitive Analysis 

Awesome, you have made up your mind for the business model along with a preliminary picture of the in-app features. It would also be wise to take a closer look at the nature of adversaries you would have to overcome. Make no mistake, your marketing strategy as well as the premium functionality of the product would depend upon the volume of competition. 

Analyse how others are excelling and what is their USP within your niche. Is it their legacy that attracts strong subscribers or do they give value for money? The answers could help you refix your understanding of customer expectations and the means required to achieve the same. 

If nothing strikes you initially either you are looking in the wrong places or the questions you ask need refining. Perform a SWOT analysis to cut down on relevant Agencies you would lock horns with. 

Shortlist & Prioritize the Developers 

When you venture forward to find a suitable app development ally, you would be faced with 3 critical questions namely: 

1. Should you entrust the project to an in-house team?

Inhouse teams are a no-brainer. Since they share the same workspace with you, coordination is no big deal and communication is prompt. Moreover, if there is a genuine camaraderie between your peers, extending over-the-top favors comes as a bonus. But in-house teams are not everybody’s cup of tea for they could pose the following challenges: 

  • The cost to the company will increase as you’re obligated to pay full-time salaries, even compensating unplanned leaves for workers. 
  • Maintenance and utility expenditures will rise as a result of the workforce clocking in extra shifts to meet deadlines. 
  • Special projects cannot be accorded to the run of the mill managers. You need to hire subject matter experts which then add to your expense woes. 

2. Should you outsource the gig to an App Development Agency? 

Outsourcing can save you a lot of time. Given that there are hundreds of medical app development companies to choose from, with a proper hiring framework, you can leverage the following advantages: 

  • You can pick the creme de la creme of medical app development companies since you are not bound by geography. 
  • While contracting, you can set a scope of work restricting the development to phases and assessing the progress. In case the work is not to your liking the remainder of the development process can be outsourced to someone else. 
  • Contractual workers are hired on a pay-as-you-go basis and compensated in hourly commissions. You’ll add a lot to the CTC-savings. 
  • You have the liberty to hire a niche healthcare application development company, one that can be vetted easily (more on it later). 

We must point out that as you outsource decisions to remote teams that probably operate across time zones, communicating requirements could be a challenge. 

3. Could freelancers help you save the day?  

A freelance healthcare mobile app developer could fill in ad-hoc, 11th-hour requirements. The work distribution is directly linked to your in-house teams’ competency to manage tasks. But of all the three questions asked, this is the one with the greatest drawbacks: 

  • A freelance healthcare mobile app developer could forfeit the project mid-way leaving your hopes of going to market in tatters. Freelancers could take on multiple projects that could in turn adversely affect your deliverables. 
  • It is understood that such workers invest time and energy at will. Therefore, real-time communication is a distant dream when you work with them. 

Weighing all the pros and cons in the previous section, the safest bet is to hire a healthcare app development company as it offers the lowest downsides. 

How to find Your Ideal App Development Partner?

When you hire a dedicated healthcare app developer, follow the below guidelines to unravel all the essential qualities of your soon-to-be technological partners. 

1. Gauge an All-Encompassing Understanding 

  • When you are in the zone to hire healthcare mobile app developers the first place to begin acquiring information is the social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram should offer enough fodder to bite into and verify the identities of the app development team. Conformity of their existence and especially their work location entails the details whether the workers are local hires or contribute virtually. 
  • Next, go through their portfolio and look for awards and recognition. If that is not enough, try and peruse the case studies usually posted by developers on their website to showcase how they overcame challenges. In due process, you would have a list of customers to contact and verify their experience. 
  • Everything said and done, you can move on to breaking the ice and sharing your interest to set up talks. 

2. Enquire about the Team 

  • The contact details posted on the website leads customers to sales representatives. To appear serious (which you should be) in your quest to hire healthcare mobile app developers request a session with the development team. 
  • Use this one-on-one time to find out their specializations, experience, work interests and level of creativity. Although going too far, nevertheless you may ask them to present you their CVs. 
  • Ask for references and links to their work on the App Store. 

3. Level-off Communication Gaps 

  • Language barriers aren’t the only issue you could face. There are cultural sensitivities one needs to bear in mind before expressing opinion to foreigners. In addition to this there should be a platform to communicate readily other than emails. The thumb rule dictates English proficiency to be a must in the enlisted companies from whom you will hire healthcare app developers.
  • Applications like Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Skype are something that are easy to operate and use based on a consensus. However, for security reasons, the developers could recommend their in-house tools as well.

4. Find out about the SDLC 

  • It should be clear which Software Development Life Cycle model is deployed. General consensus is that Agile methodology is the preferred choice for mobile app developers. Gain clarity on the developers to be allocated to your project, their niche (android, iOS), and the turnaround time for each stage of the SDLC.
  • To avoid re-runs in writing code, commitment is needed at the troubleshooting and debugging phases. Question the approach of the team players in this regard.
  • After-sales support has to be part of the deal. As you build a user base feedback would pour in mandating interactive changes every now and then. Engineers should have your backs when such a calling comes. 

5. Prepare Service Level Agreements

  • It is always good practice to enter into Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) with outsourcing design agencies. 
  • The first quote is never the last. On the contrary it is the beginning of negotiations to find mutual ground. Both you as well as the design agency should come to the table with an open mind. 
  • Hourly rates, payment timelines, their form (wire transfers, digital currency etc.) as well as the token amount should be agreed upon beforehand.

Key criteria to choose app developers

Top 3 Questions to Ask before hiring ANY App Development Agency  

We cannot stress the gravity of this section. This ain’t your everyday doubt clearing session. There are some straightforward, difficult to face, and uncomfortable questions that need answering before money changes hands between two parties. Knowing the nature of the partnership you will harness with the app development agency is mission-critical. Below we suggest our top 3 picks of such questions you should memorize and throw at the vendors like a bullet from the gun. 

1. Who Will Own the Code?  

A complete handover is but natural but buried deep under the SLAs there could be a clause that lets the vendor walk away with the code. A worst-case scenario could see you face recurring bugs to resolve with the app agency might give you a runaround and shell out extra cash. Clear this beforehand, than rue on it later. 

2. What Happens When Deadlines Aren’t Met?

Time ticks fast, especially when you have sleepless nights. We hope you don’t and it is to avoid an outburst of blood-pressure and emotions when the penultimate delivery date is delayed, that you pose this question. How would the agency compensate for the time lost? The devil is in the details, don’t let it lurk in ambiguity. 

3. How Does a Mid-way Exit Work?

It would not be amicable, yet the word needs to be set in writing. An exit strategy is what the smartest people look at first because they know we’re all humans (mostly) and **it happens. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst should be your guiding principle. 

Common Pitfalls While Choosing a Healthcare App Developer

We’re almost through this guide on how to partner with a healthcare application development company, but for one last consideration. The mistakes that you could make do. You need to be regard-ful of these. 

1. Hire the cheapest vendor on the market 

Quality doesn’t come cheap. Price war is one thing among health and fitness app developers, to cut the asking rate below the industry threshold, is totally another. If you’ve done your due diligence like we instructed above, the high price point of a truly expert healthcare app development company shouldn’t be a problem. 

2. Keeping price as the deciding factor

Again, money is not the standalone metric based on which you should join hands with someone. It is a multi-factor calculated risk that includes parameters such as company reputation, human capital, domain expertise and more. Don’t let passion get the better of reason. 

3. Not doing enough background checks

This would be a suicidal folly. The first phone call you make should be based on the conclusions drawn during the information gathering stage. Make sure there is visible, verifiable proof of the successes that the market players claim. 

4. Apps are not optimized 

App Store optimization is an art and proves that work doesn’t end with code completion. Ask for previously developed apps that are hosted on the app store. Download and see the level of optimization achieved. 

5. Not valuing project expenses 

Project estimation must be handled beforehand and not while you are being cornered to infuse more cash by the developers. Ground your projections on a summary of functional requirements, timelines and marketing strategy. 

6. Not making advance preparation for the post-launch app phase 

It is just as essential to market the immense effort that has gone into developing the product as it is to engineer it. You should not be facing the now what question right after the app has been published on the app stores. 

Conclusion 

Mobile App Daily is your informal yellow-pages publication with one the most comprehensive registries for top healthcare mobile app development companies. Having gone through the guide there is only one thing left to do. Execute it. 

Aparna <span>Growth Strategist</span>
Written By
Aparna Growth Strategist

Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.

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