It’s no secret that mobile technology is changing how we interact with the world. The healthcare industry has been mainly influenced by mobile technologies and is now promoting digital transformation to improve patient care, simplify administrative tasks and increase operational efficiency. To meet the needs of today’s healthcare consumers, many medical institutions are revamping their old software systems with more user-friendly mobile apps.
Suppose you work in healthcare or are looking for a job in this sector. In that case, you might be considering whether to specialize your skillset in a particular area by furthering your education. Perhaps you have already decided on a new career path as an app developer in healthcare IT. Whatever your situation may be, you must understand the dynamics of this ever-changing industry to pick the right career track sooner rather than later.
Main Challenges in Healthcare App Development
There are three significant challenges to keep in mind when developing healthcare apps: User experience, security, and compliance.
1. User Experience
It’s more important than ever to understand your target users and create apps that meet their specific needs. Consider the various devices, screen resolutions, and operating systems used to access your apps, and make sure they offer the best possible user experience on all of these platforms. Healthcare apps are used in many different ways.
While some apps might be used solely for administrative tasks, others might help with clinical functions such as ordering medications or monitoring patient conditions. Healthcare apps are also used in multiple locations: at a patient’s bedside, at the doctor’s office, at home, or even remotely by healthcare providers. All of these factors must be kept in mind when building healthcare apps.
Security threats and risks have become more complex and challenging today. Healthcare organizations must protect their sensitive information from external and internal threats, which extends to their IT systems. Healthcare organizations have increased their investment in cybersecurity, but reported breaches have also increased over the past few years.
Healthcare organizations must have a complete security strategy before building any systems. This will allow you to address any potential risks and vulnerabilities at the onset of your IT project, rather than trying to add security after the fact. Healthcare apps must be designed with the appropriate safeguards in place to protect PHI (protected health information) and other sensitive information. If a breach occurs, the affected organization must be able to quickly identify what information was affected, who was affected, and what needs to be done to contain the damage.
3. Complying with Regulations
Healthcare organizations are required to comply with many federal regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While HIPAA regulations were created before the advent of mobile technology, the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt mobile apps and other advanced technology.
Best Practices for Healthcare App Development
As you develop your healthcare app, keep these best practices in mind:
1. Extensive Testing
One of the most overlooked aspects of app development is extensive testing. You can’t just build an app and expect it to work perfectly on all devices. You must test it to ensure it works properly on each platform. If your healthcare app is designed to run on both an iOS and Android device, you’ll need to test it on various versions of each operating system and different screen sizes.
You’ll also need to test it on older versions of each OS to ensure it runs on previous versions of iOS and Android devices. You should also test it on a variety of different device models, including different brands and types of devices. Because many healthcare apps are installed by multiple providers, you must also test your app on multiple devices owned by different people so you know how it performs with different devices. If you’re part of a larger organization, you might be able to get some of these devices to test on, but if you are a smaller company, you might have to get creative and test on devices owned by friends and family.
2. Focus on Accessibility
If you’re developing an app that’s used to assist users with a disability, you must first make sure it’s fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are a number of ways you can do this, such as designing your app for voice activation or with large fonts. You can also ensure your app is compliant with Federal Communications Commission rules.
You must also make sure your app is accessible to people with visual impairments. You can provide audio cues to accompany your app’s visual cues. You must also keep in mind the different screen sizes, resolutions and brightness levels of various devices when designing your app. If your app relies on any type of visual cues, it must work on dimly lit devices as well.
3. Keep it Simple
As you develop your healthcare app, avoid overcomplicating it by trying to add too many features. You can always update your app with new features later on. You should also consider creating multiple apps with a specific purpose, rather than trying to include everything in a single app. This will help you avoid overcomplicating your app and make it much easier to maintain. Your app should also be intuitive and easy to use. This will help your app gain adoption and make it easier for your users to accomplish their tasks on the device.
4. Use of Newest Technologies
Healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt new technologies, but this is starting to change. If you’re developing an app for a healthcare organization, you should look for ways to incorporate the latest technologies into your app. In addition to incorporating new technologies, you must also make sure your app has a long lifespan. While it’s great to incorporate the latest technologies into your app, you must also make sure it’s supported by the manufacturer for many years to come. You don’t want your app to become obsolete after just a few years.
Healthcare apps are created to solve problems, increase engagement and provide better care. The healthcare industry is growing, as is the app development trend. The demand for more healthcare apps will only increase as more people adopt mobile technology. With the right approach and a few best practices, you can help meet this demand.
You’ll need to understand the challenges of building healthcare apps and know how to overcome them. You’ll also need to consider the different challenges involved in developing healthcare apps and use best practices to overcome them.