How To

3 Important Steps To Take When You Create A Medical App For Finding Doctors

13 Feb 2018
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11 min

Why do medical services remain a popular niche in software business? Digital solutions help patients deal with many issues they usually face like easy communication with doctors, for example. Using a special medical app for finding doctors, patients can find a right doctor they need fast. That is why a medical app development can become a good investment. Read about important aspects you should consider when you launch such app and main features it should include.

Why is medical app a valuable startup idea?

According to Research Now data collection agency, nearly half (47%) of UK-based medical specialists plans to use mobile apps to communicate with patients within the following 3-4 years.

iOS and Android medical apps for doctors and patients will help doctors know their patients better, learn their common problems and chronic diseases. Also, the level of treatment efficiency will grow, doctors will improve their interaction with patients.

And the main advantage of the medical app is data collection and its analysis. When all necessary data about each patient is stored in one app without a pile of paper documents. Mobile app for finding doctors is aimed at patients first, that is why the main goal of an entrepreneur to solve demands of the end user.

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It is worth noting that not more than 10% of all relevant medical apps can boast about useful features that patients really need:

  • access to electronic medical documents;
  • monitoring of doctor's schedule; 
  • change, reserve or reject the doctor's prescription; 
  • access to laboratory tests' results; 
  • reminder about visit; reminder about prescription; 
  • make a request for treatment prescription; 
  • upload test results and X-Ray images, ultrasonography, MRI etc.; 
  • get doctor's help online; 
  • browse doctors' profiles, their publications, records, credentials; 
  • maps that show the route to the hospital, ward. 

So it is very important to take all these factors into account to start a first-rate app development.

Important issues you should consider

To initiate a development process, you should understand what important development aspects you will face and how to manage them. To create medical data services, apart from front-end and mobile clients (Android and iOS), our developers need to create backend where a database of doctors will be stored and it is required for processing business logic of your app. And here you need to pay attention to some issues your app cannot function properly.

There are 3 key steps you should pay your attention to: 

  • data collection;
  • medical license verification; 
  • medical data protection.

Data collection

For a start, you should determine what app type you need to create. It can be two types of doctor appointment app:

  • If you need a common app that can be used by all clinics and doctors, you should have a database of doctors. To get this database, you need to settle this issue with a healthcare organization in your country. If they have a good database, you should explain to them the goal of your app, why it will be useful and sign documents that you undertake to comply with federal regulations concerning medical data protection and non-disclosure of data to third parties.
  • A medical app created for a specific network of clinics. Here you need to ask doctors to provide their personal data and documents that verify qualifications.

Afterward, the goal of our developers is to create a database on the server that we will develop upon your request. Then, we need to fill this database, but how it will be filled - everything will depend on your country and even on a specific case. We offer you three ways how to supplement database with doctors:

#1. A doctor registers in the app as a doctor. Then doctors can indicate their location, personal data, their business hours. Then a registered patient can contact this doctor.

#2. A person in charge (admin) registers a doctor who wants to register in the app via admin panel. Admin provides a doctor with an account. Then everything is implemented according to the scenario in #1 item.

#3. If there is a ready-made file with doctors' details, developers can write a script that will export records from this file (CSV file or Google doc) and import them to our database.

A hint from Cleveroad: Our advice is to use option #1. Because even if healthcare organization provide you with details of doctors, it is better for them to register on their own in your app. Because the availability of a doctor's data doesn't mean that this doctor knows about his participation in your app. So you'd better create medical apps for doctors and patients where both doctors and patients will register by themselves.

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Verification of medical license

It is highly important for you not to forget about the medical license that all doctors must have. Therefore, registration for doctors should be impossible if they don't upload the scan of their license and diploma. Their qualification must be verified since patients must feel trust to each doctor, and trust is the basis of your medical app to find a doctor. The verification process can be performed with the help of a special algorithm that verifies the license by its ID number.

Then, if all issues mentioned above are settled, you shouldn't forget about protection of your medical app. That is what software developers should consider obligatorily, and next section will show you how medical data must be protected properly to provide users with the best doctor appointment app.

Medical data protection

There are a few key steps that must be implemented to protect medical data.

Authorization

To log in, both patients and doctors should enter a password, and also it is possible to add a range of security questions where each user selects a question and gives its unique reply. Thus, it will help increase a security level of the app and help on protecting patient data.

Encryption

Every user of medical app wants to be sure that their data won't be stolen and it won't be visible to third parties. That is why developers should apply encryption in such app. It is considered to be one of the best options to protect all personal data when it is moving from client to the server and vice versa. The goal of encryption is to protect important personal files on server, databases, messages in internal chats.

Simply put, all data transfer is turned into a rambling set of symbols that cannot be read. Any unauthorized individual that will try to breach patient data security will see nothing but such obscure symbols. To read this text, patients and doctors should have an encryption key. Our developers predominantly use TLS protocol that ensures an encrypted connection between client and server.

Following data security regulations

Also, we cannot ignore main data security regulations that your app must comply with. If your app is developed for US-based citizens, you should follow HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability of Act) that requires for any providers that use personal health information of other users to protect in the most efficient way with high encryption level.

If an app is aimed at EU-based citizens, and even you are not a resident of EU but you process personal data of EU residents, you should follow GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) terms in order to make your software reliable and legal.

Our development team is competent enough to consider all federal regulations when they create a medical app that process users' data. But mind that regulations may differ depending on the country.

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Medical data backup

HIPAA regulation also requires that all medical data should be backed up. Moreover, data should be moved from one location to another every day, and it is rather difficult to do it manually. In this case, it would be better to use SaaS (software-as-a-service) that make it possible to automate the backup process. Automated EMR backup sends all personal medical information to remote servers. This cloud-based solution can be developed by our programmers easily and it will help you save your time and costs eventually.

patient data privacy

Protect your medical data wisely

Basic features of medical mobile app

When developing an on-demand medical app, consider that you need to develop the app for both operating systems - Android and iOS. Of course, it will increase the development price, but in the long-term perspective, you will cover all target audience and you will avoid a problem of a short doctors list.

However, if you want to save money, you can order the development for one platform for a start. Moreover, your app may include only main features just to test how app will be popular among users. If everything goes well, you will enrich your app with additional features.

Search and advanced filters

For example, type of care, doctor's specialty, search area, preferable time and data, price range, available insurance and so on.

Geolocation module

To detect the location of the user. As we noted before, to make your online doctor appointment app more useful, you need to include a routing feature as well, it offers you different options of how to reach your doctor in the fastest and the most convenient way.

medical apps for iphone

Find pharmacies and doctors near you

In-app payment

When doctors provided patients with proper services and treatment, patients will be able to pay right away using integrated payment system.

Profile and list of doctors

Depending on what specialization your app will have, you will need to create personal profiles of doctors where credentials will be verified, they should contain a certification, reputation to avoid any serious legal issues. Apart from that, the personal profile should include photo, name and specialty, address, user's rating and business hours.

find my doctor app

Sample of doctors' list 

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As for security, when we created a Doctoring app, to deny access for extraneous users, the registration process was made in the following way: the doctor had to input name and GMC number. In case if everything is ok, authentication process has started.

Doctoring app

Doctoring app made by Cleveroad

And we implemented two ways of identity verification - via the professional e-mail address or administrator. In the first case, a user needs to click the link to confirm. If it is not a good alternative - the user should contact the admin and send documents that confirm his identity.

Database for EMR storage

This feature will allow the user to sync credentials with a database for storage of personal documents, upload files with patients' history and so on. It is necessary to consider the security since medical data is confidential information, as we told above.

Book an appointment with a doctor or phone talk

This feature may include input field where the user describes shortly his or her symptoms, name and phone number. And also make a request for treatment prescription or doctor's help online.

Notifications

It will remind about the visit time or the time to take medicines. It is an in-demand feature among users.

Additional features to integrate

We offer to add to your online doctor appointment application some additional features to enrich its functionality.

You can extend the scope of on-demand services, making it possible for patients to organize a home visit for the doctor, and it can be not only first aid doctor, they can call a nutritionist, pediatrician or masseur.

Video conferencing

If you include it in your app, it will provide the user with the capability to talk to the doctor directly without a personal visit, and some similar apps can offer this solution and this feature has positive feedback from users.

doctor appointment mobile app

Live appointment with a doctor

Medicines prescription and treatment tracker

It is a special section of the app where doctors can include details of the treatment, and the user can customize notifications to send him when it is time to take pills or just set a schedule.

app for booking doctor appointments

List of medications

Files uploading/downloading

To upload MRI scans, X-Ray images, prescriptions and so on, you should add this feature to simplify the process of important data transfer via the app.

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No matter what app you plan to invest money to, the only thing you need to remember is who is your end user and what he has problems and demands. Every product is targeted for the solution of users' problems and simplification of their life. If they trust you and acknowledge you, your app will get a success on the market. So if you need help in the medical app development, just contact us. And mind to subscribe to our blog - click on a button on the right side.

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