Top 7 Trends in Healthcare Application Development

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The development of healthcare applications has increased in recent years, helping both patients and physicians

Developing an in-demand healthcare app that’s trendy requires more in-depth knowledge

It’s easy to complain about mobile apps. Is it just another thing that distracts you from your conversation? Why not put the phone away, at least for dinner? Do you need to track sugar levels now? Do you really want Google to know your blood pressure?

But critics fall short of the immense interest and usefulness of such apps. All over the world, patients are increasingly trusting mobile assistants.

> See also: The future of technology in the health sector: wearables?

Healthcare application development companies have more to offer than consumers are willing to buy. Feels weird? Let’s look at the numbers:

• 66% of Americans use mobile platforms to manage their health problems. 79% would use a wearable device (Pulse of Online Health, 2015).
• Almost 100,000 health-related apps have been added to the market by 13,000 new publishers since 2015. At that time, there were already 259,000 medical apps in major app stores (Research2Guidance Annual mHealth Report, 2016).
• Download growth slowed in 2016 compared to 2015 (35% to 7%) (Research2Guidance Annual mHealth Report, 2016).
• The graph below shows who the users of these platforms are and what exactly these users want.

The market opportunity seems obvious. But how do you make applications that will actually be downloaded? It is important to look at the forefront of mHealth R&D. Here’s what we found out about the top 7 trends in healthcare app development.

Trends and functions

Trends emerge where new customer needs emerge (or new technologies that meet those needs). So, before tackling the technical issues of mHealth, it is helpful to take a look at the healthcare industry as a whole.

> See also: The future of the Internet of Things in healthcare

In the previous infographic, we saw who and why uses apps in this business. Now let’s talk about “how” they use it and the functions of the software inside and outside the clinics.

Here’s how patients are using mobile services to manage their health:
1. as reference books and tutorials (first aid kits and databases like Epocrates or WebMD);
2. as a tool to quickly share their data with physicians and get feedback (ShareSmart);
3. to compare prices, locations and specialists (aggregators like GoodRx);
4. to track all kinds of biological data (Eve tracks menstrual cycle, Asthma® helps fight asthma, SugarSense monitors sugar level);
5. in the form of journals and reminders (ZocDoc, RoundHealth);
6. for training (Glues off, Motion Traxx etc.);
7. to find donors, clinicians and nurses (networking apps like Doctor on Demand or Red Cross Blood Donor).

In a graphic below, we show where new technologies meet these needs.

7 key trends in the development of mobile healthcare applications

1. Business applications

When people hear about health app design, they tend to think of fitness trackers. In fact, 66 of the 100 largest hospitals in the United States design and develop their own applications (Accenture Technology).

> See also: The next necessary step in healthcare: remote mobile solutions

Institutions like hospitals and insurance companies can build healthcare app and profit from it. It also makes sense to develop a mobile app for a health consulting firm. The only thing to keep in mind is that the app should have a great user experience for consumers and hospital staff.

2. Encryption

Many internet users already feel uncomfortable that Facebook is tracking their coffee drinking habits. But if the records of pregnancy or the use of antidepressants suddenly go public … well, scandal is guaranteed.

Companies like Morpheo use blockchain to protect their data. Google’s DeepMind encrypts all of its texts and images. It records all the data used and audits them according to the best standards.

3. Artificial intelligence

AI has two main uses:

It’s a great way to personalize customer service, especially with voice recognition.

Health assistants like Babylon help people identify their illnesses. AI can also serve as a reminder to take pills or perform health-related procedures, creating a personalized plan for each user.

The NHS and other institutions are using deep learning to prevent deadly diseases at an early stage. Watson for Oncology (currently tested by IBM developers) makes cancer predictions.

> See also: Watch out for hackers: people deserve a safer healthcare system

A Stanford algorithm studies more than 100 images of skin formations to indicate skin cancer. DeepMind also learns from eye scans.

4. Video chats

Robots haven’t completely replaced humans. People always need doctors, and the best way to connect with them is through video calls. Ada, a very stable solution for a startup, and offers both reference information and video chats with health experts.

There is a special cost to making a request for health care of this type: the content of the chosen professionals must be peer reviewed. Ideally, there should also be a set of requirements for physicians.

5. Geolocation

How much does it take to get to the nearest emergency care unit? Where can I get this antibiotic? Apps like Your.MD give location-based answers. Other apps use GPS to find out where you are, what you are doing, and whether this activity is against medical advice.

6. Wearable technology

The healthcare sector has a lot to gain outside of the classic iOS or Android applications for smartphones.

> See also: Data backup: the growing challenge in the world of healthcare IT?

The market for smart fitness trackers, pulse oximeters, sugar, blood pressure, and heart rate monitors is expected to grow 35% in 2021 (ABI). Lumify, for example, which is one of the 2016 Webby winners, works like a smart ultrasound machine.

7. Gamification

Medical routines are stressful. Working on healthy habits drives customers crazy. The answer? Play with them. Why just run if you can run away from the zombies? (the application using this information is called “Zombies, Run!”).

WebMD offers pregnancy quizzes for women. If you want to build an app for the healthcare industry, gamification will help you stand out.

Best practices

Certainly, it is not enough to know the basics of the latest trends. Developing a popular and trendy healthcare app requires more in-depth knowledge.

> See also: What is the medical approach to IoT security?

To sum up, here are three best practices to use to improve your future medical application:

• Know your target audience. Applications for clinicians differ from those designed for individual consumers.
• Concern for the customer experience. When the price of high-quality solutions seems too high, consider other ideas.
• Use the apps as part of the overall customer-centric process. End users have many more ways to connect with you rather than apps. These paths should not be overlooked.

Derived from softermi.com

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