Creating viable, engaging mobile applications can be a challenge. But when it comes to the world of healthcare, where there are a huge amount of regulations and restrictions, getting it right is even more difficult without the right guidance. With healthcare mobile apps becoming more and more widespread, understanding the ways this technology can be used – and implemented appropriately – is a must. The healthcare industry is in the midst of a mobile app development boom – here’s what you need to consider to stand out, and stay within the law.
We take a look at some of the main ways the healthcare industry utilises mobile app technology, as well as some of the most significant considerations you should look at to ensure a platform is safe, secure and in-line with current regulations. Read on to find out more:
What kind of apps exist in the healthcare market?
From logging and tracking symptoms and conditions to making virtual appointments with patients, remote healthcare is a popular choice of mobile application. Typically, these kinds of apps are designed to connect doctors and specialists with patients, allowing for remote diagnosis and treatment planning.
Often used in tandem with peripherals like heart-rate monitors, watches and similar technology, telehealth mobile applications offer a way for professionals to monitor and examine the condition of their patients entirely remotely. Increasingly popular worldwide, telehealth offers a fast and convenient way for data to be passed to medical professionals.
Communicating directly with patients is one of the ways that mobile apps change the healthcare experience. Whether it’s automated contact for appointments or active messaging between a medical professional and patient, these apps open a more consistent line of communication and patient engagement.
Medical records capture
Whether for use with other healthcare platforms or to provide an overview of medical details to patients, medical record capture apps serve a specific niche. These apps may also be used to inform emergency services of existing health conditions using inbuilt health apps on various smartphone models. These kind of apps have a huge impact on decreaing manual paperwork and data entry.
Fitness and treatment
Fitness and treatment apps are a prevalent part of the healthcare market, from yoga classes to physio to 30-day challenges. With a range of different fitness-related apps to suit a wide variety of individuals, these services often offer a gym-from-home service as an alternative to attending in-person sessions.
Diet and nutrition
Diet and nutrition-focused apps are some of the most popular healthcare platforms in the world, providing ways for patients to track their food, understand nutrition and start weight loss, gain or maintenance. Some of these diet-related apps are partnerships to real-world weight loss plans and can be used together or separately.
What should you consider when creating a healthcare mobile app?
HIPAA compliant architecture
When it comes to HIPAA requirements, security is your number one concern. For healthcare applications and software, providing the highest standard of data security is a must across the board. Every healthcare-focused app should meet all of HIPAA’s regulatory requirements, and if possible, go above and beyond to provide the best possible security to users. That means using secure hosting, secure cloud storage and secure messaging with no exceptions. The top responsibility that we have is keeping that data safe, secure, and out of the wrong hands.
Data security & privacy
There’s no such thing as too much encryption. Whether the app is in use or just in the background, we make it an automatic requirement that everything that’s done within the platform is always 100% encrypted. This means that all apps meet HIPAA compliance regulations, as well as further protecting the data and information of users against third parties, viruses, and other means of access. Part of that security is clearly communicating it to the user, as well as providing high-quality UX/UI to ensure a lower rate of user error.
An app is only as good as the framework it’s made on, and a service that has a lot of downtime isn’t one that meets the needs of the healthcare market. That’s why we put plenty of time and effort into ensuring the maximum amount of uptime, which can be the difference between life or death for the success of a healthcare application. This also means easy maintenance, with live updates where possible, as well as plenty of scalabilities to meet user demand without requiring significant time offline. For critical healthcare software, constant availability is a must.
Intuitive design & user experience
A high-quality, purpose-designed piece of software is going to be far more fit for purpose than a generic or adapted template. A focus on experience from the start ensures users can navigate, access, and make full use of a healthcare app in the ways they need to. Great design reduces user error, streamlines essential healthcare processes, and keeps users coming back to a service. We put user experience at the top of the list, ensuring an experience that’s both engaging and safely compliant with all current regulations.
Considering the needs and wants of your market is important for healthcare, but considering their limitations is essential too. Our goal is to make our mobile applications as accessible as possible for the audience. That means ensuring that people of all ages, disabilities, socio-economic backgrounds and technological understanding can make full use of the platform. This is vitally important for telehealth and patient-focused applications, where a range of different users must be accommodated. That means conforming to WCAG accessibility guidelines, reviewing accessibility regularly and tailoring as needed to meet user goals and requirements.
So, what does it take for a healthcare mobile app to be successful? The focus needs to be on your users. By designing an application that’s robust, engaging, intuitive and secure, you can ensure you’re providing optimal access to the audience in question. By following HIPAA guidelines and WCAG accessibility advice, we can build applications from the ground-up that perfectly suit their purpose.
Interested in what we do at Elko? Get in touch with our friendly team today to discuss how our mobile app development could be the right fit for your healthcare business or practice.
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