Today, technology has advanced a lot as man even attempts to conquer the entire Universe. From developing a wheel to flying rockets, it’s been a giant leap. However, healthcare is an area that seems to lie neglected. There are a number of startups that are now turning their attention to healthcare app development but still some questions need to be answered. Why is it so that despite having technically advanced devices for treating very hazardous diseases, there are still growing number of patients? Why are not the existing patients getting the treatment they are entitled to? Well there could be various reasons for this. Some of them could be:
1) The patients are unable to approach the right doctor for them. Ignorant patients would just go to a family doctor and continue their treatment with him until it’s too late. Then it would not be possible for the right doctor to save them.
2) Preventive care is not being provided to the patients despite the patient paying heaps of money for the treatment. Despite the patients getting the treatment from the doctor or the hospital, they are not being properly looked after. Preventive care is not being taken. This only exaggerates thing in the worse direction. A wound would only get worse if not washed and properly covered with cotton and bandage.
3) Between the Doctor and the Patient is a long line of those people who delay the things to make their own ends meet. They are like the person who makes the patients meet the seeress only after charging a coin from them (‘The Dark Prince’ by David Gemmel) while the seeress does not charge anything.
These and many more reasons exist for the gap between a normal person and a patient. So what’s the way out? Or is there any way out? There is. If the doctors can connect directly to the patient, if the doctor’s advice is available to the patients the moment they require it, a great many lives could be saved. This is what many startups came to understand and now there are a number of such apps available on the App Store or Google Play which are helpful in such cases. These apps besides providing health tips and prescriptions also allow you to talk to an online physician for more advice on the problem. Certain healthcare apps are available for free while others are available at very nominal prices.
There are different areas in which a healthcare app can be developed including:
- Healthcare App for Women
- Fitness Management Apps
- Mental Health Monitoring
Healthcare App for Chronic Disease Management
Online Doctor App
But what are the ways in which such apps can be developed? To begin with there are certain things to keep in mind. These are:
The Target Hardware: These days all apps are being developed for almost every type of hardware. An app these days may run on a smartphone, tablet, or a desktop. As such it has to be responsive i.e. respond to the hardware on which it is executing. Developers must take great care that they don’t put in any such option that is not available on the platform they are targeting.
Interoperability: Interoperability means that all the staff are using the same app for handling all the hospitals operations. Nowadays this has become a popular feature of the banking applications already but is yet to fit in the hospital sector.
A Good User Interface: A good user interface, especially one that is easy to understand and work with both by the doctor and by the patient is a desirable feature of a healthcare app. An app offering a lot of features but in quite a complex manner will not earn the liking of the users. Such an app may find its reach to a limited number of users only.
Privacy and Security: The patients will be entering all their personal data into the app. So will the doctors. These days all the data is being stored in the cloud and there are more chances to the data being leaked out or fall into malicious hands. The app needs to use a technology that keeps all the data of the patients and the doctors secure. There are regulations such as HIPPA in the USA and the GDPR in the European nations that must be complied with in order to guard the private data of the users from such hackers.
App Testing: When we talk of Healthcare apps, one of the most important features is its testing. If a healthcare app is not properly tested before it was released, it may come up with unexpected results. The app needs to be tested for
- Healthcare Workflows
- Geo-location services in a Fitness Tracking App
- Poor Connectivity
- Medical Imaging
- Mobile Platforms and Browser compatibilities
- Load and Performance benchmarks
- Usability Testing
Minimum Viable Product: The app that is being published must have a minimum basic functionality. However, this does not mean that the entire amount allocated for the project goes into this MVP itself. There will be more features that need to be added later on also. The developers will need to keep this in mind.
Device Security: Everybody knows this that iOS is more secure than Android. Certain developers are even against the idea of developing apps for Android. However, the security holes are now being fulfilled by the developers themselves. Of course, it is only a matter of few lines of code that need to be added to the supporting OS but things are only going to change for the better if Google steps in and makes the required corrections to its most sought after OS (Android has a market share of 80%).
Features that form the basis of a good healthcare app include:
Patient’s & Doctor’s Profile: A patient must be able to create a profile of his own to access his history with the doctor through this app. The profile may be accessed through a registered id with the app. Certain apps also allow the user to access the app through Social Media logins such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google. The doctor’s profile must be visible to the patient. This will build a bond between the two as they come to know each other.
Appointments: Every healthcare app must have a feature for appointments. If a patient wants to see a doctor, there should be an option to book an appointment. An appointment can also be cancelled and as such there should be an option for the same.
Reports & Prescriptions: The patient’s history, reports and doctor’s prescriptions must be available to the patient and the doctor though this healthcare app. If at any time the patient wishes to retrieve his prescription of report or even images pertaining to MRIs or X-RAY they should be readily available.
Maps: Maps are an optional but good feature in any app. A map will help the patient locate the doctor in case the patient is unable to find the address of his doctor