Comprehensive Guide to Successful Hospital Mobile App Development

03 Jul 2023

20 Min




Currently, we are working with a US-based rehab clinic that offers remote care and online consultation. Its Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system in use was developed by a 3rd party and distributed as a SaaS solution. The clinic personnel had to use several scattered systems, which was highly inconvenient. The customer came to the Cleveroad team with the need to find a reliable healthcare IT provider to create a bespoke clinic management system. We’ve submitted the proposal and started working on the project.

We at Cleveroad understand all the peculiarities and challenges of developing an app for hospitals, and in this article, we’ll talk about key considerations and best practices for developing hospital apps that cater to the specific needs of your medical organization.

Why You May Need a Hospital App

A hospital application development can be an essential tool for optimizing and improving medical care. It offers many benefits for the hospital, medical staff, and patients and can address a variety of tasks. Here are some of the entities and purposes that the hospital app can fulfill:

  • Improve accessibility of medical information. Hospital staff and patients are able to access important medical information such as medical records, lab results, prescriptions, diagnoses, and treatment plans. This improves physician efficiency and gives patients easier access to their data.
  • Making appointments and managing schedules. With hospital apps, patients are allowed to make doctor's appointments and cancel or reschedule appointments conveniently. Such a feature of the app reduces the front desk workload and allows patients to manage their appointments without having to call the hospital.
  • Improved communication. The hospital app provides a platform for easy and quick communication between medical staff and patients. Doctors can chat with patients, send notifications of results and treatment plans, and patients can ask questions and get answers without having to visit the hospital.
  • Improved medical monitoring. You are able to integrate your hospital software with medical devices, providing patients with an opportunity to monitor their vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, sugar levels, etc. Therefore, doctors can monitor patients in real-time and alert them to potential problems.
  • Integration with other healthcare systems. The app can integrate with other healthcare management systems, such as patient management and EMR systems, enabling data sharing and facilitating the work of medical staff.
  • Reduced infection spreading risks. Healthcare apps, such as virtual hospital waiting room, allow to avoid crowds in clinics, keeping patients and staff safe from the spread of infectious diseases.

The core focus of the hospital application development is to refine the efficiency and quality of medical care, enhance convenience for patients and employees, and grow patient participation and self-management in the healthcare process. It can also help optimize the hospital's business processes and take overall patient satisfaction to a whole new stage.

These benefits highlight the relevance of hospital app development in our digital age. Due to Statista's insights, the mHealth market is poised for significant growth in the foreseeable future, with projections indicating it will surpass 300 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.

As health trends and concerns evolve, the applications of mHealth are expected to expand and adapt accordingly. For instance, with the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the United States, hospital apps have the potential to play a crucial role in diabetes care and prevention, making it a prominent therapy field for app developers in the mHealth sector, according to the same source.

Moreover, the global COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to act as a boost for the digital health industry. During the initial wave of the pandemic, there was a notable surge in downloads of hospital apps, highlighting the growing relevance of mobile solutions.

Discover the broad spectrum of values healthcare software development services can bring to your hospital business

Key types of mobile application for hospitals

Before starting hospital mobile app development, you should take your time to define which type of software is relevant for your business. Let’s observe the options you may choose from, as well as real-life examples of each solution:

Patient data and record-management apps

Leveraging such apps, patients are able to access and manage their medical records, test results, and appointment schedules, improving the convenience and involvement of patients in their healthcare journey.

MyChart is a market illustration of patient data and record-management apps that allows patients to securely access their medical records, test results and communicate with healthcare providers.

Patient satisfaction and feedback apps

The key purpose of such apps is to collect feedback from patients to measure and improve their satisfaction with healthcare experiences, enhancing the quality of care provided.

Press Ganey app is a good example of creating a hospital app for this type. It provides a platform for patients to provide feedback on their healthcare experiences, helping hospitals measure and enhance patient satisfaction.

Patient communication and remote health monitoring systems

Implementing this type of software, you can facilitate communication between patients and healthcare providers, as well as enable remote monitoring of health conditions. This, in turn, leads to timely interventions and personalized care.

Medtronic CareLink is an instance of remote monitoring solution. The platform enables patients with implanted medical devices to securely transmit data to healthcare providers for remote monitoring and management.

Virtual nursing applications

As we may understand from the name, this type of solution, including patient medication management software, primarily offers virtual nursing support, covering medication reminders, personalized care plans, and guidance for patients managing chronic conditions.

Johnson & Johnson's Care4Today provides virtual nursing support, medication reminders, and personalized care plans for patients managing chronic conditions.

Medical second-opinion telemedicine platforms

The key role of such software is to connect patients with healthcare professionals for virtual consultations and second opinions, expanding access to specialized expertise.

Teladoc Health is a popular telemedicine platform illustrating medical second-opinion telemedicine platforms. Its key purpose is connecting patients with healthcare professionals for virtual consultations and second opinions.

Health management platforms and applications

These apps help individuals manage their overall health and wellness by tracking nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.

MyFitnessPal is a widely-used health management app that allows users to track nutrition, exercise, and set wellness goals.

Chronic illness management apps

Patients make use of this type of app as they deliver assistance in managing chronic conditions by tracking symptoms and medications and providing educational resources.

Glucose Buddy is designed for chronic illness management- diabities, helping users track blood sugar levels, medications, and lifestyle factors.

Prescription information and order-management applications

Users are provided with access to prescription information, medication reminders, and the ability to refill prescriptions conveniently.

Walgreens app allows users to refill prescriptions, receive medication reminders, and access prescription information and dosage instructions.

By exploring these solutions from competitors, you can find out the purpose and functionality of each type of clinic mobile app development, catering to different aspects of patient care, communication, and health management.

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Technical Side Of Clinic App Development: Features To Add

Here’s an exemplary list of features to implement when developing an app for hospitals and considering cost of implementing telehealth to plan development budget. Depending on your specific case, the functionality may accordingly vary, yet, we recommend considering the following features for better guidance:

Secure user registration and profile management

This feature refers to implementing a secure user registration process, which requires authentication and validation to ensure that only authorized individuals can create accounts. Users should be able to manage their profiles, update personal information, and securely store and access their medical history, allergies, and preferences.

Appointment booking and management

Developing a user-friendly interface is a key priority to execute, as the hospital app should be usable and intuitive for patients of all ages. It should allow patients to browse available appointment slots, select preferred healthcare providers, and book appointments conveniently. With the hospital app development, your medical institution can provide real-time availability updates, enable rescheduling or cancellation of appointments, and send reminders to patients.

Electronic Health Records (EHR) access

Integrate the app with the hospital's electronic health record system, assuring secure access to patient medical records, laboratory results, radiology reports, and treatment history. Implement appropriate security measures, such as encryption and access controls, to protect sensitive patient data.

Messaging and communication

It is also highly important to build a secure messaging platform within the app to facilitate communication between patients and healthcare providers. Patients should be able to send messages, ask questions, and receive timely responses from their care vendor. Implement features like message notifications, attachments for sharing documents or images, and message threading for organized conversations.

Prescription management

This feature allows patients to request prescription refills and view their current medications, dosage instructions, and any associated warnings. Implement medication reminders to help patients adhere to their prescribed medication schedules. Integration with pharmacy systems can automate prescription processing and facilitate seamless medication management.

Virtual consultations

For remote communication, it’s required to integrate video or audio calling functionality within the app to enable virtual consultations between healthcare providers and patients. Implement secure and encrypted communication channels to protect patient privacy. Provide a scheduling system for virtual appointments and ensure seamless connectivity for high-quality audio and video interactions.

Emergency services and contact information

This dedicated section within the hospital app development provides emergency contact information, including local emergency services, helplines, and the hospital's emergency department contact details. Implement features like one-tap dialing for emergencies or location-based services to guide users to the nearest emergency facility.

Billing and payment

Develop a secure payment gateway within the app that allows patients to view and pay their medical bills electronically. Implement features like invoice generation, bill itemization, and integration with insurance systems for claims processing. Don’t neglect to guarantee compliance with relevant payment industry standards to protect financial data.

Push notifications

Utilize push notification functionality to send timely alerts, reminders, and updates to patients. This may comprise appointment reminders, test result availability notifications, personalized health tips, or general healthcare information. You may also consider implementing opt-in/opt-out options to allow users to customize their notification preferences.

By incorporating these exemplary features into a hospital mobile app development, you can create a comprehensive and user-friendly platform that enhances the patient experience, improves healthcare accessibility, and streamlines various aspects of clinic operations.

Example of appointment management interface by Cleveroad

Example of appointment management interface built by Cleveroad

Cleveroad Telemedicine Solutions Success Story

We want to share with you some examples of telehealth projects we successfully designed and built for healthcare providers:

Clinic management system for rehab services provider

Our client is a rehabilitation clinic based in the United States that provides remote care and online consultations. They were using a third-party Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system that was distributed as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. However, they encountered challenges with the system as it included approximately 40% of features that were unnecessary for their specific needs. This resulted in the client having to pay excessive bills for a service that didn't fully meet their requirements.

As a result, they sought a technical partner who could:

  • Develop a custom platform that would be more flexible and tailored to the unique needs, allowing to optimize of clinical operations and improving efficiency instead of the SaaS platform
  • Create software that will cover appointments management and the whole process in the bespoke solution
  • Guarantee compliance with HIPAA guidelines and regulations

Through our collaboration, we developed a comprehensive clinic management system for our client that addressed their specific requirements. The focus was on designing a solution that integrated appointment scheduling, billing, user management, and workflow into a single system. We deployed the solution on AWS cloud hosting, ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations for secure data storage.

As a result, our customer received a comprehensive solution that encompasses various functionalities such as appointment booking, real-time scheduling, human resources management, accounting, payments, and prescriptions. This all-in-one solution enables the clinic to effectively manage its processes, optimize workflow, and minimize the risk of schedule conflicts. Additionally, we ensured the secure transfer of the clinic's data to a new storage system, mitigating any legal risks associated with HIPAA cases.

Clinic management system by Cleveroad

Clinic management system developed by Cleveroad

Telemedicine appointments management system

Our client is a UK-based healthcare provider that offers consultations with National Health Service-trained general practitioners and clinicians. Our client needed a turnkey system to automate their business processes and master the telemedicine niche. So the company applied to the Cleveroad team to:

  • A telemedicine software ensuring medical service for patients via online appointments with UK-certified general practitioners and clinicians
  • The digital product complying GDPR, the UK KYC acts, and healthcare regulations (in particular, MHRA and CQC)
  • Intuitive software to automate business workflows, decrease time/workforce costs, and provide easy-to-use interface for all engaged parties (patients, doctors, and system admins)

Our team has developed a ready-to-use telemedicine system for our client, catering to both healthcare providers and patients. It facilitates seamless video and audio consultations, empowering healthcare professionals to connect remotely with patients. Additionally, we integrated an intuitive appointment booking system to simplify scheduling for patients.

To ensure compliance with GDPR and UK healthcare regulators like CQC and MHRA, we carefully designed the system's architecture and functionality. This enables secure management and protection of patient data while adhering to healthcare regulations.

As a result, our client got the tapGP platform, a fully functional solution tailored to the business model of UK-based telemedicine providers. The system meets Care Quality Commission requirements, UK healthcare regulations, and KYC policies. It underwent a thorough legal assessment. The tapGP platform's flexibility, thoughtful architecture, and process automation reduced manual operations, improved performance discipline, and decreased paperwork by 5-20%.

Telemedicine appointments management system by Cleveroad

Telemedicine appointments management system built by Cleveroad

Clinic App Development Process

Let’s disclose the list of the key steps required to fulfill the clinic app development flow seamlessly and successfully:

Idea validation

The first and most important step is to formulate your app idea and validate it. You need to clearly define the goals and functionality of your app. Determine what value it will bring to your clinic and patients and how unique the idea is in the healthcare market. Do your research on your competitors and identify your competitive advantages. Then take your idea to the app development provider or development team to begin the further process. However, you can go through this stage with your IT provider. The team of tech experts will take your idea at a raw stage and assist in the market as well as competitor analysis.

Solution design stage

This primary stage involves a detailed study of your requirements and goals for creating an application for the clinic. It is important to define the problems your app should solve and the functionality it should provide to the clinic and its patients. Subsequently, your tech vendor will schedule a meeting with the Solution Team, during which the team will engage in an in-depth discussion to explore your project and clarify all requirements thoroughly. Your application and preliminary information are then carefully analyzed and processed by the Solution Design team, which typically comprises business analysts (BAs), a solution architect (SA), and, if needed, a designer. The team's primary responsibility is to define the following aspects: business goals, work scope, main concerns, and basic quality attributes.

Discovery phase

Discovery Phase assists in transforming project requirements into a well-defined plan, enhancing development speed and product quality. You and your tech partner delve into the previously gathered requirements, which encompass the desired platforms, included features, and integration of third-party services. Here, the development team actively engages with you to conduct in-depth research and understand your needs, preferences, and expectations for the app. By examining the key business challenges and goals, your IT provider outlines the key features, interface design, and user experience needed to create a user-friendly and effective app are identified.

Product development

After defining the functional requirements and key features that the application should provide, developers and designers begin working with you to prototype the application, visualize the user interface (UI), and define the user experience (UX). There may also be discussion sessions with clinics and potential users to get feedback and make changes to the design and functionality. Then the developers implement the app, including programming, database creation, functionality implementation, and integration with third-party health systems, such as patient management and EMR systems. Developers also create APIs (application programming interfaces) to exchange data with other systems.

An important aspect of this step is integrating the application with other health management systems:

  • Integration with a patient management system to retrieve patient information, record and cancel appointments, manage their medical records, etc.
  • Integration with an electronic health record (EHR) system to access a patient's medical history, lab results, prescriptions, etc.
  • Integration with the lab management system to send lab test requests, receive results and integrate them into the patient's medical record.

Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) is integral. Developers run various tests to make sure the application works without errors and meets safety and performance requirements.

  • Functional testing
  • User interface testing
  • Compatibility testing

The entire application development process involves constant interaction with clinics and user groups to get feedback, discuss changes, and make improvements to the application.

Delivery and maintenance

Once the app is developed and tested, it is ready for delivery to your staff members and patients. The app can be deployed to a platform appropriate for your target audience (e.g., mobile devices, web platforms, etc.). Developers will monitor the deployment process and verify that all components, including APIs and integrations, are working properly.

We've described the main steps you have to pass while building a hospital mobile app. The same steps you can use to answer how to develop a hospital management system. If you have more questions, apply to our experts, and they will eagerly give responses to them.

Challenges You May Face During Hospital App Development

The process of developing an app for hospitals is pretty complex, so you should execute it with a reliable tech vendor who will have solid experience in handling the following list of challenges:

Security and compliance

Ensuring the security of patient data and complying with privacy regulations are critical challenges in hospital app development. Examples of regulations that may apply include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. Developers must implement robust security measures, such as encryption, secure authentication, and data access controls, to protect sensitive patient information.

Find out everything about HIPAA compliant software development

Data integration and interoperability

Integrating the hospital app with existing healthcare systems, such as electronic health records (EHR) or laboratory information systems, can be complex. The challenge lies in achieving seamless data exchange and interoperability between different systems with varying data formats and standards. Developers need to design and implement effective data integration strategies to ensure smooth data flow and accessibility across the healthcare ecosystem.

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)

Creating a user-friendly and intuitive UI/UX is crucial for the success of a hospital app. Balancing the need for comprehensive functionality with a clean and easy-to-navigate interface can be challenging. App designers must conduct thorough user research and usability testing to understand user preferences, optimize workflows, and deliver a seamless and engaging user experience.

Scalability and performance

Hospital apps must be designed to handle a large volume of users and data without compromising performance. As the user base grows, the app should scale effectively to accommodate increased usage and data processing demands. Developers need to optimize the app's architecture, backend infrastructure, and database management to ensure scalability and maintain high-performance levels.

Stakeholder collaboration and adoption

Hospital app development often involves multiple stakeholders, including healthcare providers, administrators, IT departments, and patients. Aligning their expectations, gaining buy-in, and fostering collaboration can be challenging. Developers need to actively engage stakeholders throughout the development process, seek their input, address concerns, and ensure effective adoption and usage of the app. Regulatory Approval and Compliance:

Depending on the country or region, hospital apps may need to undergo regulatory approval processes before deployment. These approvals ensure that the app meets specific safety, efficacy, and quality standards. Developers need to familiarize themselves with the relevant regulations and guidelines governing medical app development and ensure compliance throughout the development and deployment phases.

These challenges require careful consideration and your IT provider’s expertise to overcome during hospital app development. By addressing these challenges effectively, you’ll get a secure and compliant hospital app that enhances healthcare delivery and enhances patient outcomes.

Hospital Application Development Price

Providing an exact price for a project upfront can be challenging in the early stages of development. The cost of developing a solution can vary depending on several factors, making it difficult for IT vendor to calculate an immediate price estimate.

On average, the development of a solution like a hospital app can range from $90,000 and go up to $250,000. These numbers are based on our personal experience in developing healthcare solutions.

The final cost depends on various factors, including:

  • Scope and complexity. The size and complexity of the project, including the number of features, integrations, and customizations required, directly impact the development cost. A more extensive and intricate solution typically requires more time and resources, leading to a higher cost.
  • Design and user experience. Creating an intuitive and visually appealing user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is crucial for the success of a hospital app. The complexity and intricacy of the design elements, animations, and user interactions can influence the cost.
  • Backend infrastructure and integrations. The development and integration of backend systems, such as databases, servers, and APIs, play a significant role in the overall cost. Integrating the app with external systems, such as electronic health records (EHR) or payment gateways, can also affect the development cost.
  • Security and compliance. Implementing robust security measures and ensuring compliance with industry regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR, require additional resources and expertise. The level of security and compliance required can impact the cost of development.
  • Platform and device compatibility. Developing an app for hospitals supporting multiple platforms, such as iOS and Android, and ensuring compatibility with different devices can increase the complexity and cost of development.
  • Testing and Quality Assurance. Thorough testing and quality assurance processes are crucial to ensure the app functions correctly and provides a seamless user experience. The level of testing required and the complexity of the app can influence the cost.

Let us introduce how we estimate hospital app development services’ costs at Cleveroad. We complete the two estimates to improve the accuracy of the calculations: the rough and detailed one.

Rough estimate

A rough estimate is an approximate figure provided to give the customer an idea of the expected cost and development stages of a project. It serves as an informative tool to help the client understand the financial implications and provide an overview of the project's key milestones. In our development process, we create two rough estimates to improve cost accuracy gradually:

  • The first estimate is compiled after conducting a Solution Design Workshop. This initial estimate provides a high-level overview of the project, taking into account the experience of our Solution Team from previous similar projects. During this workshop, we define project goals, outline the main scope of work, assess complexity, identify potential risks, and establish core non-functional requirements. Based on this information, we generate the estimate and proposal for the client. We present three options: an optimistic estimate, a realistic estimate, and a pessimistic estimate. This helps the client determine the strategy, whether to include all desired features within the budget or focus on essential features while meeting the required quality level.
  • The second rough estimate is prepared after the Discovery Phase. This estimate is more refined as we delve into detailed analysis of the client's business processes, establish a precise feature list, address specific development nuances, and work out non-functional requirements and architectural solutions. The Discovery Phase allows us to gather more comprehensive information and provides a basis for a more accurate estimate. These rough estimates are instrumental in giving the client a general understanding of the project scope and expected costs. They serve as starting points for further discussions and adjustments as the project progresses and more detailed information becomes available.

Detailed estimate

A detailed estimate is a highly accurate cost estimation in project management that involves the active participation of the developers who will be directly involved in creating the product. It is typically conducted after the Discovery Phase and during the development stage of the project.

To create a detailed estimate, the development team uses the requirements gathered during the Discovery Phase as a foundation and iteratively defines detailed requirements for each sprint or a couple of sprints ahead. The business analyst prepares user stories based on these requirements, which are then reviewed by the solution architect, technical team lead, or responsible developer. Each user story is evaluated, leading to the creation of a detailed estimate.

Several factors are considered when compiling a detailed estimate:

  • Comprehensive record-keeping. The future software solution's documentation, including wireframes, specifications, and other relevant records, is taken into account during the estimation process.
  • Non-development activities, integrations, and suggestions. The estimate includes the consideration of non-development tasks such as project management, quality assurance, and integrations with other systems or services. Additionally, any specific suggestions or requirements that have been identified are also factored into the estimate.
  • Quantities, costs, and rates: The estimate incorporates all the necessary information regarding quantities, costs, and rates required to complete the project. This includes factors such as labor rates, material costs, and any other expenses associated with the development process.

By conducting a detailed estimate, project teams can achieve a high level of accuracy in forecasting project costs and timelines, allowing for better planning, resource allocation, and decision-making throughout the development process.

Cleveroad — Your Reliable Partner In Hospital App Development

The Cleveroad team is your credible software development vendor with experience in Healthcare. We possess over 11 years of successfully implementing and delivering healthcare and telemedicine software solutions like telemedicine software, appointment and prescription management solutions, healthcare CRMs, and many more.

Hospital app development is an integral part of our competence. Our team of domain experts is ready to ensure high-quality healthcare software development services for all healthcare industry institutions, like clinics, healthcare practitioners, establishments, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. We are profound in implementing solutions for delivering medical services, telemedicine, and remote care, maintaining physical and mental well-being.

What benefits will you obtain from cooperation with us?

  • Custom healthcare software development services, including hospital app creation, enhancing your patient experience and treatment efficiency
  • Experience in implementing healthcare software, compliant with specific industry regulations, like HIPAA, HITECH, HL7, CDA, CCD, and more
  • Expertise in integrating healthcare systems, such as EHR, ERM, e-prescription, medical database, diagnosis, and billing solutions, for smooth interoperability
  • Consult with our senior Solution Architect on the choice of robust architectures and scalable infrastructure to support increased patient volumes and evolving hospital requirements
  • Sequential development processes and proven project management practices (change management, stakeholder involvement, monitoring, etc.)

Need to enhance hospital process?

Apply to our domain experts to get a reliable hospital app that will refine your patient serving

Frequently Asked Questions
How to develop an app for hospitals?

Developing an app for hospitals involves a systematic process that includes the following steps:

  • Idea validation
  • Solution design
  • Development
  • Testing and Quality Assurance
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance and updates
Which functionalities should be included in a hospital app?

Hospital apps can have various functionalities tailored to the specific needs of patients, healthcare providers, and administrators. Some common functionalities include secure user registration and profile management, appointment booking and management, access to electronic health records (EHR), messaging and communication between patients and healthcare providers, payment gateway, as well as prescription management, and medication reminders.

What are the benefits of hospital app development?

Hospital app development offers several benefits for both patients and healthcare providers, such as enhanced patient experience, improved efficiency, remote healthcare access, better communication, and engagement, as well as data-driven decision-making.

What problems can be overcome with hospital apps?

The application can help doctors and administrative staff manage the schedule of appointments and operations, enable patients to book appointments at the clinic online, contain the patient's electronic medical history, including information about previous visits, diagnoses, prescribed medications, and test results, conduct online consultations and remote appointments for patients

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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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