5-Step How-To Guide To Healthcare Application Development

12 Sep 2019
12 min
author avatar
Sergey L.

Health is your main wealth. And it is essential to monitor the health condition and visit doctors timely. Mobile apps help people keep up with this. And healthcare app can be a good idea for a startup. The digital health market is expected to $206 billion by 2020, especially mobile and wireless tech, as Statista says. But what do you need to create a high-performance and appealing app for your healthcare organization? First, you need to make use of reliable mobile app development services, and then… read this article to detect all particularities. Enjoy it!

Step 1: Main types of healthcare apps

First, you should know the main types of healthcare apps that exist. It will help you make the right decision on choosing the category that is necessary for your field of activity. It is worth noting that there are more existing types, but I will consider the most popular ones you may choose for custom healthcare software development.

Emergency apps. These apps are used in emergencies, and they can be convenient. For example, if a user feels bad, loses consciousness, or something else - they may tap a Help button, and it will send a request or make a call to the hospital, and the location will be indicated. Or users may find themselves nearby clinics on maps and take a taxi if their health condition is not critical. Thus, such apps may even save a life.

Reminders and medication tracking apps. It is a perfect app for everybody who forgets take pills on time and keep up with the schedule. Moreover, these apps also help patients track doses and regimens, so they always know what medication they should take, how many pills per one time, and when.

Healthy lifestyle apps. This type includes dozen of apps, and it is focused on apps that may be used for the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. For example, pregnant women may use to track dates of analysis, doctor’s appointments, drug regimen, and so on. Also, people who are on a diet may monitor the number of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates eaten today. Fitness apps may also be included in this list since their goal is to maintain health conditions on a high level.

EHR/EMR apps. Electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR) apps. EHR apps store data about all diseases of each patient where medical records are official information for clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare service providers. EMR app stores the information only about one specific disease, and it serves as the electronic copy of disease history. By the way, you can find out how to create a custom EHR app in our guide.

app development for healthcare

Types of healthcare apps

So, choose your type and then proceed to the next step!

Healthcare app benefits to know

Before I review the next step, it is necessary to pay attention to the strong sides of healthcare mobile app development and why you need one.

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Improved efficiency

Undoubtedly, productivity is increased since the workflow is improved due to digitized services and automation of some routine processes. Doctors may work with an app that replaces a pile of documents.

Time-saving software

Doctors may communicate with patients directly via the healthcare app, and it saves time for both parties. Besides that, doctors may quickly find the information they need in the software.

Permanent access

Patients get access to the expertise of doctors any time they need it, regardless of day or night. Thus, patients may find the answer to their questions using a healthcare app, connect with their family doctor, or reading some documents.

Costs reduction

When patients may chat with doctors without the necessity to visit them personally, it reduces expenses and helps patients optimize all the expenses. Besides, healthcare apps don’t require a large number of administrative work.

Higher productivity

As doctors may use healthcare apps anywhere using their tablet or smartphone, they may solve arising issues faster and more efficiently. It is much more convenient since they don’t need to carry a lot of documents.

The decision-making process goes faster

Sometimes physicians need a complete history of diseases to make a precise diagnosis, and healthcare software development contributes to it. Physicians may consult a patient on what steps they need to take or whether they need to call an emergency service urgently until it is too late.

No boundaries

No matter how far a patient or physician is. It is always possible to communicate with each other; the only thing required is an Internet connection. Remote medical care will always be available.

A large number of features

Depending on the app type, patients can check lab results, chat with doctors, monitor their nutrition, track medications, and so on. Healthcare app includes many capabilities, and healthcare app developers will integrate everything you need.

custom healthcare software development

Strong sides of healthcare software

Well, now it is time to see the next step!

Step 2: Main features to include

Well, now let’s keep on following steps to build your custom healthcare app. This step will show you what features your healthcare app should consist of. But also don’t ignore some healthcare mobile apps trends, they may enhance your app as well.


Integrated map service like Google Maps is a perfect way to let patients find nearby clinics and hospitals when it is necessary. In turn, geolocation helps find a patient in case of an emergency. So mind adding Google Maps API or API of any other third-party map service.


This feature will help your patients get reminders about drug regimen, appointment, and so on.

Example: I would like to specify HG Care app created by UCLA Health healthcare provider. This app is designed for pregnant women who suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), a condition during pregnancy characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. HG Care app makes it possible for women to monitor their conditions, communicate with doctors, and get reminders to take medications timely.

Real-time chat

It is an excellent way to integrate real-time chat and enable it in your app o let patients and doctors communicate. By the way, our mobile development team at Cleveroad has created a feature set that makes it possible to integrate various features faster, and Chat feature is one of them. It leads to time reduction during your healthcare application development or any other.

Example: Mayo Clinic, based in the US, created the app for patients and doctors that allows them communicating using a secure messaging system. Also, patients can schedule appointments, see lab results, and get express care.

Payment gateway integration

All medical services must be paid, and payment gateway integration is a must. The payment option should be available, and mind to secure it properly with PCI-DSS standards. You will know more about PCI-DSS compliance below.

Example: Singapore-based SingHealth clinic has built Health Buddy app that has integrated Mobile Pay feature that allows patients to pay their bills at their convenience after visits to doctors. It has secure access using SingPass technology. Besides, users can find information about various diseases, get queue number to visit doctor, etc.

Social sign-in

The registration process should be as easy as possible. So social sign-in via existing social media accounts must be available. FB or LinkedIn accounts may be used as the main pages to sign in. However, EHR apps may require more information from users to secure their accounts, so everything depends on the app type you need.


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Push notifications

Notifications about everything that occurs in a healthcare app. They pop up on the screen of a device, and users stay updated about all changes.


It is worth noting that many e-commerce and FinTech services use chatbots since they increase customers’ loyalty and built more trust for the product. So healthcare apps will also benefit from it. If a doctor isn’t available at the moment, a patient may ask chatbots a question and get a detailed response. Chatbots are usually enriched with machine learning algorithms, and they are improved continuously. Also, check it out steps to create a chatbot.

Reviews and ratings

If your healthcare organization provides medical staff, patients should have an opportunity to find a doctor by a good rating, read reviews about them. So this feature will be helpful during healthcare app development.

health app developers

MVP features for your custom healthcare app

You probably understand that this feature-list is not full. Since everything depends on the app’s type, and it may include some specific features. Therefore, draw up the required features for your healthcare app to share it with a healthcare software developer.

Step 3: Legal and security regulations

The healthcare app is the one that should comply with specific legal and privacy regulations since it processes personal data along with payment details. That is why I will describe legal rules for a few regions for your acquaintance and particularities to publish an app to App Store or Google Play. All healthcare mobile app development companies also need to pay attention to this step.

The United States

Any healthcare app built for the US market that processes, records, and stores Protected Healthcare Information (PHI) must comply with HIPAA regulations. If you click the link, you will be forwarded to the official website of the HHS department that controls the compliance with HIPAA. That is why, if your target market is the USA, you should make sure that your healthcare app meets all HIPAA security rules.

The European Union

In case if the EU is the arena for your healthcare app distribution, you need to make sure your app is GDPR-compliant. GDPR rules were enacted on May 2018, and now they cover all regulations related to the processing and storing of personal data. To learn more about GDPR, you may also check this comprehensive guide.

The United Kingdom

Healthcare apps built for the UK will require compliance with the Data Protection Act of 1988. This Act covers the most important guidelines and rules your healthcare software should meet.


And last but not least region I would like to mention is Canada, and this country also has its security rules concerning healthcare apps. Everything is described in PIPEDA, and this Act regulates all personal data processing, including healthcare software.

Don’t forget about PCI-DSS compliance!

PCI-DSS is the set of security standards related to payment processing. This step is also crucial since healthcare apps always have a payment feature, and they store personal payment details and card information. To make sure your healthcare app complies with all the standards, you will need to prepare it according to their instruction and get official licenses from the PCI SSC organization who is in charge of it.

Publication to app stores

Also, it is worth mentioning the publication process to the leading app stores such as App Store and Google Play when health app development is finished.

To publish your healthcare app on iOS platform, you should follow strict Apple guidelines. Not to spend your time, you should pay more attention to Health and Health Research section.

As for Google Play, its rules are less strict than Apple guidelines. It doesn’t have specific restrictions on healthcare apps, but there is Privacy, Security, and Deception section you should follow.

However, at Cleveroad, our healthcare mobile app developers may be in charge of app publication to app stores, so it won’t be your headache.

Step 4: Find a reliable software development company

Well, you should focus on this step since a conscientious healthcare app development company will build a high-quality and high-performance app for you. To find a good company, you need to use trustworthy resources like Clutch or GoodFirms. You will find reviews and ratings right there, and you will see what fields the company is more experienced in.

As for Cleveroad, our company has enough experience in various development sectors like FinTech, healthcare, e-commerce, sports, social networks, and so on. For example, we have created the app for monitoring mental health conditions for Nedley Health Solutions. Besides that, we are working on the app for finding doctors.

Thus, the company should have good reviews and vast experience in healthcare software development services. And you will not fail. However, there are some other pitfalls you should avoid - the last section is about it.

Step 5: Reasons why some healthcare apps fail

I will cover four reasons why your healthcare app may sink into oblivion and fail.

healthcare app weak sides

Pitfalls to avoid when you build healthcare apps

Poor UX

If the user experience of your healthcare app is unreasoned, users cannot deal with it and intuitively use your app, chances that you will succeed are low. That is why UI/UX designers of healthcare developers you will find must focus on appealing and well-thought UX.

Lack of skills

That is what we talked about above. If a software development company has no high level of skills in the development of the healthcare app, your app won’t become successful since it will be created not considering important nuances. Besides, it would be an excellent option to hire an expert in the medical area.

Privacy rules are not complied with

You should make your healthcare app compliant with local regulations, depending on the region you create an app for. In the section above concerning legal regulations, you will all the necessary information.

The app is not tested properly

Healthcare app should undergo all the necessary testing types since if it includes many bugs and failures, it may even cost someone’s life. Inaccurate results and diagnosis will become a severe problem for patients and doctors; that is why you need to make sure that QA services are fulfilled adequately.


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I hope this guide would be helpful for you if you plan healthcare product development. These five steps explain to you what you should undertake and what services you need to use. Legal regulation compliance is the most important in this article since you won’t succeed until your app isn’t be protected duly. Don’t hesitate to contact our requirements managers and get an estimation for your future project!

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