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October 25, 2023

Mhealth App Development: Cost, Features, and Trends

October 25, 2023
Read 13 min

Alongside other industries, the advancement of technology is revolutionizing the healthcare sector. Mobile health, or mhealth apps, are leading the way reshaping the way we access and manage our well-being. And it’s great to see healthcare organizations around the world starting to leverage technology to meet the changing needs of patients.

This article explores the development of mhealth apps and the benefits they provide to patient care, operational efficiency, and the healthcare ecosystem as a whole. Whether you’re already considering building a mobile health app or just starting to explore the topic, this article provides valuable insights for mhealth app development. Keep reading to explore the various types of mhealth apps and their use cases, learn how to create a mhealth app from scratch, discover the key features it should include, and explore the latest trends in this field.

mobile health app development

Mhealth apps market overview

According to Grand View Research, the global mhealth apps market was valued at USD 43.5 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.6% from 2023 to 2030. The market is driven by the following factors:

  • growing adoption of fitness and medical apps for collecting and tracking health-related data using smartphones,
  • the increasing penetration of the internet and smartphones,
  • and the growing awareness of the importance of maintaining physical health and lifestyle.

The number of health applications available on app stores has exceeded 350,000, with users showing interest in managing chronic diseases and healthcare professionals recommending the use of mobile apps for better patient care. OrthoLive stated that 93% of healthcare professionals believed that mobile health applications can improve patients’ health.

However, not everything is as smooth as it may seem. Among the main challenges in the mhealth industry experts highlight concerns regarding data security and privacy. Issues such as unauthorized access to sensitive information, data breaches, and the lack of regulatory approval for mhealth apps may impede market expansion. To address these concerns, healthcare organizations collaborate and technology companies are looking for a solution that will enable secure and convenient mobile patient care while eliminating potential risks.

Mhealth apps: types, use cases, and trends

The term “mhealth app” includes a wide range of applications that cater to the needs of healthcare professionals and patients alike. These solutions have been revolutionizing healthcare delivery for a few years now, making it easier to access, more efficient, and focused on the patient. In the following sections, we will delve into two main types of mhealth apps: professional solutions and apps specifically designed for patients.

Type #1: Professional solutions

These apps are designed to assist and enhance the abilities of healthcare providers. Professional solutions include a variety of tools and resources specifically designed for clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, and other healthcare professionals. They improve communication, facilitate better decision-making, and result in more streamlined and impactful patient care.

Key features:

  • Electronic Health Record (EHR) integration
  • Secure messaging and communication
  • Telemedicine capabilities for remote consultations
  • Clinical decision support systems
  • Medication management and prescription tools

Type #2: Applications for patients

Patient-focused mhealth apps empower patients to effectively manage their health. These user-friendly platforms cater to various health-related needs by providing personalized health insights, medication reminders, symptom tracking, and direct access to medical records. Additionally, they facilitate communication between patients and healthcare providers, promoting a collaborative and informed approach to care.

Key features of applications for patients:

  • Personalized health and wellness tracking
  • Medication reminders and adherence monitoring
  • Symptom tracking and health journaling
  • Access to medical records and test results
  • Appointment scheduling and telehealth options

Mhealth apps use cases

Let’s explore some key areas where mhealth apps are making a significant impact.

1. Telemedicine

Telemedicine had been gaining popularity gradually, but it was during the pandemic that mhealth solutions became irreplaceable. Now, mhealth app solutions are widely used to enable patients to schedule appointments and connect with doctors through video or audio calls, improving access to care regardless of geographical limitations.

2. Health information exchange

Mhealth apps are extremely handy when it comes to patient data storage and exchange. For example, the EHR (Electronic Health Record) feature allows for accessing and updating patient records on the go, making patient data management more accurate and efficient. Mhealth apps also facilitate healthcare providers in easily and securely sharing patient information. This ensures that all individuals involved in a patient’s care are well-informed, leading to improved coordination of care.

3. Diagnosing

Mhealth app solutions can assist healthcare providers in making accurate diagnoses by incorporating diagnostic tools and algorithms. This is especially useful for preliminary assessments and decision support.

4. E-prescribing

Mhealth mobile apps simplify the prescription process by allowing healthcare providers to generate electronic prescriptions directly in the system. This not only saves time for care providers and patients but also reduces errors during checkout.

5. Medical billing

Mobile solutions facilitate the medical billing process, allowing healthcare providers to manage patient billing, insurance claims, and revenue cycles efficiently.

Current trends in mobile health apps

The field of mobile health apps is always changing, influenced by new technology and the changing expectations of patients. Let’s explore some recent trends that highlight how technology is shaping modern healthcare.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

RPM apps are becoming more popular. They let healthcare providers keep track of patients’ vital signs, chronic conditions, and recovery progress from a distance. These apps improve patient care and lower the number of times patients have to go back to the hospital.

Wearable health devices integration

Mobile health apps are becoming more compatible with wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers. This allows for seamless data synchronization, enabling comprehensive health and wellness tracking.

Gamification of health and wellness

Apps are integrating gamification elements to engage users in their health and wellness journeys. This makes it enjoyable and rewarding to achieve health goals.

AI-enhanced diagnostics

Mobile health apps are using AI to improve diagnostics. Some apps can analyze medical images such as X-rays and MRI scans.

Examples of successful mhealth apps

The healthcare app industry is thriving with innovative solutions that have significantly improved patient care, increased efficiency, and enhanced the overall approach to healthcare. Here are three examples of healthcare apps that have been gaining attention recently.

1. Calm

Calm is a popular meditation and mindfulness app that focuses on promoting mental well-being and reducing stress. While it may not be considered a conventional medical app, Calm plays a crucial role in the larger healthcare ecosystem. It provides a wide range of guided meditation sessions, soothing sleep stories, and relaxation exercises, providing users with effective tools to cope with stress and anxiety and enhance their overall well-being. With more than 100 million downloads, Calm has become a top player in the mhealth field, showing that mental health importance is increasingly recognized.

2. Doximity

Doximity is a professional medical network and healthcare communication platform. It connects over 1.8 million healthcare professionals, enabling them to collaborate, communicate securely, and access important medical resources. Doximity simplifies communication among healthcare providers, makes referrals easier, and provides secure telehealth capabilities. The platform has made significant progress in improving healthcare collaboration and has become a helpful tool for medical professionals seeking secure professional connections and safe options for data sharing.

3. Zocdoc

Zocdoc makes it easy to find and book appointments with healthcare providers. It enables users to quickly search for doctors based on their specialty, location, accepted insurance, and availability. The app also provides access to patient reviews. Zocdoc’s success stems from its ability to solve a common healthcare challenge – getting timely care. With partnerships with thousands of healthcare providers, Zocdoc streamlines the entire healthcare process, saving patients time and reducing stress.

How to develop an mhealth app?

Custom mhealth app development is an exciting journey that involves several steps. Depending on the complexity and your goals, it can be a bit challenging at times. But don’t worry – below, you’ll find a friendly roadmap that will guide you through the mhealth app development process.

  • Shape an idea. It all starts with an idea. Ask yourself, “What healthcare challenge can we tackle with a mobile app?”. Whether it’s enhancing patient engagement, simplifying administrative tasks, or facilitating access to medical information, your idea should address a real healthcare need. Let your creativity flow and draw inspiration from everyday healthcare encounters.
  • Conduct market research and gather customer feedback. It is important to conduct thorough market research in order to gain a deep understanding of the competition, user preferences, and industry trends. Engaging with potential users, healthcare providers, and stakeholders will provide invaluable insights. It is also crucial to collect feedback in order to refine your concept and ensure that it resonates with your target audience. Remember, the input from others can greatly contribute to the viability of your idea.
  • Validate your hypotheses. Before diving into development, it’s crucial to validate your business ideas. Give your concept a test run on a smaller scale to determine its feasibility. This step will not only help you identify any potential obstacles but also provide valuable insights into the viability of your app.
  • Build an MVP. Start with a small step and create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It’s important to include only the essential features of your app without any unnecessary extras. This simplified version will allow you to release your app to users faster, gather their valuable feedback, and make continuous improvements.
  • Design. User experience is crucial in healthcare apps – a convenient and intuitive interface can make a tremendous difference. Therefore, it is vital to prioritize user-centric design to guarantee that both patients and healthcare professionals discover the app effortlessly to navigate and a pleasure to use.

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Must-have features in a health application

These features lay the groundwork for an efficient health application that caters to a wide range of healthcare needs.

  1. User authentication – secure and convenient user login options, ensuring data privacy and personalization.
  2. Electronic Health Records (EHR) integration – seamless access to patient records, allowing healthcare providers to access and manage medical information.
  3. Telemedicine functionality – in-app video or audio consultations, expanding access to care, especially in remote or urgent situations.
  4. Prescription management – helps users schedule and track medications, with reminders and dosage information to ensure adherence.
  5. Symptom checker – a reliable symptom checker for users to assess their conditions and make informed decisions about seeking medical help.
  6. Appointment scheduling – allows users to book appointments with healthcare providers, streamlining the patient-doctor interaction.
  7. Health and fitness tracking – enable users to monitor their physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and other health-related metrics, promoting wellness.
  8. Secure messaging – facilitates communication between patients and healthcare providers, ensuring privacy and convenience.
  9. Emergency services locator – provides users with the ability to locate nearby hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in times of urgency.
  10. Data analytics and insights – offer personalized health insights and data-driven recommendations, helping users make informed choices for their well-being.

Advanced features

These are advanced features that utilize modern technology to boost the capabilities and scope of your mhealth mobile app, making it even more useful.

  1. ML-powered predictive analytics – implement machine learning algorithms to analyze user data and provide personalized health insights and recommendations.
  2. IoT integration – connect your app with IoT devices, such as wearables and medical sensors, to collect real-time health data, to allow for continuous monitoring and analysis.
  3. Blockchain-based health records – blockchain technology helps to enhance the security and integrity of electronic health records, ensuring immutable and tamper-proof health data.
  4. AR for medical training – augmented reality can be used for medical professionals’ training and surgical simulations, offering a realistic, immersive learning experience.
  5. Geospatial health data – this feature enables location-based health services, such as identifying health risks in specific areas and providing tailored health information for travelers.

How to monetize your mhealth app

Even if you’re developing an app for internal usage in a hospital, it can still generate income. However, the strategy will differ depending on the app’s specifics. Let’s explore several options for monetizing your mhealth solution.

  • Paid apps (users purchase the app upfront) – this model is suitable for apps offering premium features or specialized medical content.
  • In-app purchases – basic features are free, but advanced functionalities or content require in-app purchases.
  • Subscription-based model – implement subscription plans, such as monthly or annual payments, for access to advanced features and content or telemedicine services.
  • Telemedicine consultation fees – charge users or healthcare providers for telemedicine consultations conducted through your app.
  • Advertising and sponsorship – you can display targeted healthcare-related advertisements to users (or charge for access to the app without ads) and seek sponsorships from healthcare organizations to promote their services.
  • Data licensing and sales – offer anonymized, aggregated healthcare data to researchers, pharmaceutical companies, or healthcare institutions for insights and analytics.
  • Affiliate marketing – partner with healthcare products or service providers, earning a commission on referrals or sales generated through your app.
  • Health insurance integration – collaborate with health insurance companies to provide users with discounts or rewards based on their health and wellness activities tracked through your app.
  • B2B model – offer your app as a white-label solution to healthcare organizations and institutions.

How much does it cost to develop a healthcare app?

The final cost of mhealth app development services depends on the team’s hourly rate, which averages at $50. Developing a basic app typically requires around 10,000 hours, resulting in a cost of $50,000. More complex solutions with advanced features can cost up to $250,000 or more.

Please note that these estimations are relevant for outsourcing the project to a mhealth app development company. If you are planning to hire an in-house team, the cost will increase because, in addition to salaries, you will have to cover operational costs.

How to choose an mhealth app development company

Selecting the right healthcare app development company is crucial to the overall success of your project. Here are some essential tips to help you make the right choice.

Tip #1: Experience is key

Look for a team that has a demonstrated history of creating healthcare apps. Their knowledge of industry regulations and best practices will help ensure a seamless development process and a dependable final product.

Tip #2: User-centric approach

Opt for a company that prioritizes users and their needs. Your mhealth app should be easy to use and enjoyable for both patients and healthcare professionals. A development team that understands the role of user experience will create an efficient and user-friendly app, increasing chances for its success.

Tip #3: Security and compliance expertise

Ensuring the safety of health data is crucial, therefore, it is important to choose an mhealth app development company that has expertise in security and compliance. The privacy of your users and the reputation of your app depend on it, so make sure the company has a HIPAA-compliant healthcare solution in their portfolio and can provide a strong security plan for your app.

Tip #4: Communication and collaboration

Effective communication is essential for a successful app development project. When selecting a company, look for one that actively involves you in the process, listens to your needs, and provides transparent progress updates. Choosing a collaborative partner who is aligned with your goals will greatly enhance the effectiveness of achieving your mhealth app objectives.

Summary

To compete and succeed in the rapidly expanding field of mhealth apps, it is crucial that your solution is secure, convenient, and user-friendly. An experienced and reliable mhealth app development partner can help you achieve this.

At Itexus, we have technical proficiency and extensive knowledge of the mobile health sector. Combined with our user-centric approach, this enables us to develop solutions that deliver value. Whether you want to develop an app from scratch or improve an existing one, we are here to assist you. Contact us to learn more about the services we offer.

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