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How to Build a Medical Mobile App for Finding Doctors?

The healthcare and more recently health tech markets are booming. While medicine is a tough nut in terms of tech adoption, we are already seeing the early progress – from digitalization of health records and payments to telemedicine and VR training for surgeons.

For startups, this market is particularly ripe thanks to the abundant funding available.

According to a recent report from Health Startup, the current midyear funding has gone record high and now tops $3.9 billion. VCs are investing equally active in Seed and Series A rounds, meaning that early-stage companies are striving. Yet, at the same time, having a validated app idea can significantly increase your chances of closing a larger round.

The top-5 largest deals in 2016 so far were the following:

  • Ping An Good Doctor – a Chinese patient scheduling/booking app obtained $500 million from undisclosed investors.
  • Oscar – a startup disrupting the health insurance market received $400 million.
  • Human Longevity Inc. – a company addressing aging-related issues received $220 million from GE Ventures.
  • Flatiron Health – a startup that is redefining oncology technology and treatment has received $175 million from Roche.
  • Clover – a company aiming to become a more affordable alternative to Medicare received $160 million in funding.

Here’s a quick overview of the most active healthcare markets in 2016:

active-markets

Suppose it is safe to say that medical app development is on the rise. And now may be the right time to make a mobile app for finding doctors as the user demand and the funding is obviously there.

How to Build a Medical Mobile App for Finding Doctors?

Before you call the developers, there’s a bit of homework you need to do.

First, let’s talk about your target market and competition. Here are a few simple questions to ask yourself first:

  • Which areas do you plan to target? After all, apart from attracting users to your app, you’ll need to sign on practitioners they can choose to book. Starting locally and gradually expanding, later on, may be the optimal route for smaller companies.
  • Should I build an iOS or Android app first? The answer will depend on the gadget’s popularity in your region. Here’s a quick overview map:

Priority-platform-by-country

  • How will I manage doctors’ listings? There are two options here – you can either create the profiles for the doctors yourself and manage all the data from the admin panel or you can build a second doctor-only app, where they could add and update all their details themselves. Of course, building a second app will add an additional line to the development price, however, in the long run – it would ensure more accurate user data and less hassle for you as the business owner.
  • Should I build a web app as well? Again, that depends on your budgets. While you’ll certainly need a connected admin panel to manage all the in-app information and send booking requests to the practitioner’s office, having a separate web app isn’t necessarily if you are just starting out.

Key Features for a Custom App For Finding and Booking Doctors

While mhealth app development has just started gaining traction, there are already a few established market players out there:

zocdoc_app

ZocDoc is a popular web, iPhone and Android app now functioning in 24 major US cities. The app suggests you specialists in your area based on your insurance type and availability.

111214lunchpager_1280x720

Pager app, developed by the co-founder of Uber, offers on demand access to doctors. Patients can book a doctor for a house call, chat with the nurse for free to receive a preliminary diagnosis, order lab test and receive prescription refills.

practo2

Practo offers a more comprehensive approach to healthcare. Aimed at Indian market, the app allows you to find and book a doctor nearby, schedule an online consultation, order medicine refills/lab tests, securely stores your medical health records, sends reminders to take your medicine based on the prescription and offers a large library of health tips and general medical advice.

The question you should ask yourself is this: should you develop a mobile health application with a multitude of features or start with an MVP that only allows finding and booking an appointment?

If you opt for an MVP, here are the key features to include:

  • Powerful search refined by the variety of criteria – type of care/doctor specialty, area range, preferable time and date, supported insurance, price range.
  • Geolocation module to determine user’s current location. Additionally, you may want to implement routing functionality to suggest the best way to get to the doctor’s office.
  • Doctor profiles and listings – those should include a picture, name and specialty, address, current user rating and available appointment hours. Expanded profile view can include additional information such as all services available, education and professional certifications, short professional bio.
  • Map view of the doctor’s available to review all the specialists available based on the proximity.
  • Oneclick appointment booking – ask users to include only the essential information such as symptoms, full name and contact phone number.
  • Review functionality to encourage users to leave a quick comment and rating about their visit afterwards. You can follow up with a quick push message reminder to increase the amount of ratings.

A quick word on doctor’s profiles and listings – there should be a moderation in place. You don’t want your app to look spammy with profiles half-filled and outdated information listed. Ideally, you should design a simple mechanism for vetting new doctors and verifying their credentials and reputation to avoid any faux pas (or serious legal issues for the matter).

If you are up to build a more advanced mobile solution, here are some more functionality ideas:

Telemedicine and video conferencing functionality, which would allow patients to instantly get consultations without leaving their homes (and wasting time in the queue).

Emergency Room Check-ins and Waiting Times. Twisting an ankle and waiting hours in the ER can be frustrating. Your medical app can include information on the wait time for multiple hospitals so that patients can choose where and when to go. Additionally, some hospitals may be open to partnering together and allowing online check-ins in such cases. Patients with non-life threatening conditions can wait at home and show up closer to the scheduled admission time.

Prescription and medication tracker – a dedicated section of the app where doctors will include the details of the medication treatment and the app will then send reminders on when it’s time to take the pill, order a refill or pick up the pills from the drug store.

Electronic health records database and secure storage that can auto-sync with the practice’s EHR and offer immediate access to the doctor’s notes and medical files for patients.

You can expand the scope of on-demand services to booking home visits from nurses, chiropractors, nutritionists etc.

The Cost To Build a Medical Application on Android or iOS

In this case, the final price tag will heavily depend on the functionality you plan to implement. While a simple discovery and appointment booking app can cost you under $40,000 to build, a more advanced solution, especially the one with video functionality can easily go up and beyond $100,000.

If you choose to create a medical app for iOS, the development price will be slightly lower compared to an Android app (as those require more testing and debugging).

To get a more precise price estimate, you should create the initial list of app specifications. Here’s a big guide with the template to help you out. And if you have any questions – don’t be shy to contact us directly!

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