Healthcare Mobile App Development: Types, Trends, & Features

7 min readMar 5, 2019


The FDA mentions that 1.7 billion smartphone users are going to adopt healthcare mobile apps by 2018. Thus, this is definitely the right time for healthcare mobile app development, and this piece should help you to:

  • Analyze the best healthcare apps
  • Check out technology trends within the healthcare mobile industry
  • Understand the future of the mHealth app market
  • Determine ways to make a successful healthcare app
  • Check out design, MVP healthcare app development, monetization tips

Types of Healthcare Apps

All healthcare applications can be divided into two categories: professional apps and healthcare apps for patients.

Professional Healthcare Apps

  • Medical reference & database apps
  • Professional networking apps
  • Patient medical health tracking apps
  • Doctor appointment & clinical assistance apps
  • Telehealth mobile apps (doctor-on-demand apps)

Mobile Health Apps for Patients

  • Patient medical education apps
  • Reminder apps -includes medical tracking apps or some health habit
  • Diagnosis apps for preventive purposes
  • Healthy lifestyle apps
  • Monitoring apps for chronic conditions
  • Mental health apps
  • Dieting apps
  • Women’s health apps

Best Medical & Healthcare Apps

Medical Apps

The best medical app is Sanford Guide: Antimicrobial Rx targeted at clinicians and provides information about infectious diseases.

Also, among the top 10 grossing medical apps in that Apple Store and Google Play are:

  • Human Anatomy Atlas 2019: Complete 3D Human Body
  • EMT: Pocket Prep
  • Davis’ Drug Guide for Nurses
  • Tarascon Pharmacopoeia

Healthcare & Fitness Apps

The best grossing health app in 2018 on Google Play is Headspace, which is used for meditation & mindfulness and reached more than $1m in revenue.

App Annie, the world’s leading provider of mobile application data, lists the following apps as being commercially successful within the Health & Fitness app category on iOS and Android:

  • Calm — Meditate, Sleep, Relax
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Headspace: Guided Meditation
  • Sweat: Kayla Itsines Fitness
  • BetterMe: Weight Loss Workouts
  • WW (Weight Watchers)
  • 30 Day Fitness Challenge
  • Fitbod Strength Training
  • The Tapping Solution
  • Weight Loss Fitness by Verv
  • Carb Manager: Keto & Low Carb Diet
  • Lose It: Calorie Counter
  • Strava: Running and Cycling Tracker
  • Noom: Health & Weight
  • 8fit: Workouts & Meal Planner

9 Healthcare Mobile App Development Trends

These are tech innovations influencing the healthcare industry nowadays.

  1. Telemedicine Services
  2. Cloud Solutions
  3. Internet-of-Things
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. Blockchain
  6. Data Security

7. Health Insurance Companies as a Distribution Channel

8. Big Data & Analytics

9. Mobile Payments

Detailed Process of Healthcare Mobile App Development

Step 1: Identify a Problem

Check out the diagram below to understand why it is so important to check up on your competitors.

The key idea of successful healthcare mobile app development is its practical use. Also, a general recommendation is to start with a simple MVP healthcare project.

The graphs above show the projected therapy fields, where the top 3 issues experienced by the majority are: diabetes, obesity, and depression. These medical fields show the greatest market potential for app development.

Step 2: Get to Know your TA

75% of the US hospitals that attempted to offer the healthcare app without preliminary analysis of its target user; in reality, only 2% among all the patients used the service.

Another important element is to analyze the market and environment where your MVP healthcare app is kicked off. The most important aspect is meeting all the mobile healthcare regulations in a country you are targeting. The most favorable countries to offer digital health solutions — the USA, the UK, and Germany.

Step 3: Start with MVP Healthcare App

The best approach to start any healthcare project is to begin with, is a minimum viable product. MVP in healthcare app development is building a prototype with the most viable functionality.

Step 4: Test & Receive Feedback

The main purpose in MVP app development is to test the concept. With the results at hands, you can add the necessary functionality to your MVP, avoid errors on a large scale, or completely change your MVP concept.

Step 5: Security & Privacy is a Core Component

All the mHealth apps dealing with personal patient information have to meet HIPAA guidelines. The app should be upfront with the privacy policy to be checked by consumers. Also, the precise attention should be paid to correct work regarding push notifications and messaging within the app.

Step 6: Widespread Distribution

Health apps that are solely for a specific group can be downloaded from a generated link. If a wide audience is going to use an app inside a particular organization, it makes sense to create a private enterprise app store.

Why Healthcare Apps Fail

The most common reasons why a healthcare app can fail are:

  • poor app usability
  • lack of feedback from, and involvement of, clinicians
  • development without concrete app concept & purpose
  • mediocre understanding of the healthcare environment
  • failure to use user-friendly content and language

Mobile Health Consumer App Design Aspects

The following design characteristics are good to keep in mind when creating a healthcare app.

  1. Get familiar with colors
  2. Apply proper notification design
  3. Take into account Android & iOS design differences
  4. Get insights from the target audience analysis

In any healthcare app development, it is important to consider the following disabilities during the design phase:

  • blindness or sensory impairments
  • deafness
  • low vision
  • dyslexia
  • attention deficit
  • physical disability

5. Simplicity and usability of healthcare app design

Features for Healthcare Mobile App Development

Let’s now check out the most common features included in healthcare apps:

  • Tracking
  • Scheduling
  • Payment
  • Appointments
  • Social integration
  • Photo gallery
  • Reviews
  • Analytics
  • Prescriptions
  • Access to EHR/EMR
  • Notifications (push notifications)

Depending on the purpose of healthcare application, the project may include next functionalities:

BA, QA, & PM Services in Healthcare Mobile App Development

Customized healthcare mobile app development companies provide all-in-one solutions. Aside from the technical skills to code the healthcare application, many additional services are required to launch the final product. Among these are Business Analysis, Quality Assurance, and Project Management.

The deliverables from the Business Analysis service include:

  • Conduct market analysis
  • Conduct competitor analysis
  • Prepare concept mind map
  • Develop functional specifications
  • Prepare sketches (preliminary interface design of an app)

At MLSDev, the following QA tests are executed:

  • Functional testing
  • Security and Access Control testing
  • Performance and Load testing
  • Usability testing

APIs in mHealth Applications

In order to integrate a new mHealth application into the existing healthcare environment, different third-party services and APIs are used. The most common are:

  • Box API
  • Human API
  • BetterDoctor
  • Doximity
  • Drchrono
  • Apple HealthKit API and SDK

Healthcare Mobile App Monetization

The majority of healthcare apps available on Google Play or App Store are free of charge, but are monetized in one of a few ways, namely:

  • via device or medicine sales
  • advertisement
  • subscription model
  • in-app purchase model

Benefits of Healthcare App Development

  • Electronic access to medical records, lab results, scans
  • Monitor patient information
  • Remote monitoring & data collection
  • Manage schedule with various healthcare professionals
  • Evaluate different doctors based on reviews, photos, records, etc.
  • Get notifications about scheduled appointments
  • Possibility to book, reschedule, cancel a doctor appointment easily
  • Receive reminders for medicine & drug prescriptions
  • Keep in touch with your doctor and clinic personnel
  • Easier communication for doctors and patients
  • Get access to a specific, thematic health community
  • Stay up-to-date with hospital events
  • Get information about the hospitals, directions, and departments
  • Possibility to get prompt medical aid via emergency calls
  • Stay updated as to physical state and health vitals
  • Used for better time management for both doctors & patients
  • Receive useful news and information about the healthcare industry
  • Get medical knowledge and better education
  • Management of chronic diseases

If you have a healthcare app idea in mind, you are welcome to reach out to our team. We can work through your idea, offer our propositions, and prepare the right healthcare solution.

This is a brief summary of an article published on MLSDev blog. If you would like to learn more about healthcare app development, read the full article.




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