Today, the healthcare industry is undergoing a major shift in how health-related services are consumed. mHealth – or mobile health – refers to the use of mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, wearables or other electronics to provide health-related services. mHealth offers a wide variety of value from connecting patients and healthcare providers, providing education and awareness to addressing world health crises through disease and epidemic outbreak tracking. With this growing global adoption of mHealth, we’re beginning to see more and more organizations enter the market place and offer mHealth solutions with the aim to provide an answer to today’s health-related challenges.
In this following article, we’ve put together a list of five crucial considerations that every organization should consider as they look to implement an mHealth application. As a top-tier mHealth development firm with over ten years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of organizations bring their mHealth application into the market. Now, we’re taking the time to apply what we’ve learned and help organizations along in the design, implementation and release lifecycle.
Address a Market Need
First and foremost, an organization must ask the question ‘what challenge are they answering?’ Of course, this seems easy enough, but the less common follow up question that needs just as much consideration is ‘does the marketplace need / will they be willing to pay for this solution?’ This is a common pitfall for organizations as they over assume their new proposed solution will be widely adopted by their target market, when in reality there isn’t as much demand as they expected. This is where design and market research can be critical. Here, producing a market variable beta product that can be brought to the market quickly, can allow an organization to assess market viability. This allows organizations to take market feedback and make critical design changes or additions as they build more market-ready solutions.
Assess Internal Team and Resources
Another critical consideration is to assess the resources of the development team and map that against the design requirements needed to finish the project on the target timeline. Here, it’s critically important to not overestimate the available resources of an internal development team. By overestimating the availability of a development team, and organizing can find themselves in a serious challenge when the resulting application is sub-optimal, and meanwhile other mission critical development projects went on hold.
The point is, your development team is phenomenal but they aren’t invincible. If you’re finding that you don’t have the manpower to dedicate to the development of this mHealth application, consider working with an outside development firm that is dedicated to HIPAA compliant software development within the healthcare space. You may find that by working with an outside firm that is dedicated to this type of development, you not only meet your design specifications, but they also help in the user-research, compliance, and PHI protection of your clients.
Consider User Interface and User Experience
User interface and user experience – sometimes known as UI/UX – is another major consideration for mHealth application design. You may have a phenomenal solution that truly addresses a market need, but if the application is hard to use, or doesn’t easily convey the value to the client, it’s not going to be as nearly successful as it could be. Here, it all comes down to implementing user interface and user experience research, testing and design into early stages of the development lifecycle. Our suggestion is to make user-interaction a top priority when building out a development roadmap and detailing the stages of your application development lifecycle. Consider testing user interface and user experience out-of-house to gain more objective and reliable feedback on the application’s usability.
Consider Compliance Requirements
For those organizations entering the mHealth space, remember that compliance is a top priority. Today, organizations that unintentionally expose client personal health information (PHI) or fail to maintain other health-related compliance requirements stated in HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, can sustain massive compliance failure fines on the order of millions of dollars. One unintentional slip of exposing or mismanaging PHI and an organization can sustain serious financial losses and ramifications. The smartest path is to leverage internal compliance resources such as a compliance officer to provide feedback on compliance requirements and alignment of the application in question. If you don’t have access to those resources internally, consider contracting this stage of the development process out-of-house to ensure you are following the best practices to maintain compliance.
Lastly, ROI. It’s important to give an objective analysis of the cost of the application in question. Consider the cost of internal resources, compliance considerations and UI/UX research and design. By assessing each of the factors laid out in this article, you’ll be able to assess the best path forward in bringing that application from concept to reality. Often, organizations have found that by leveraging an outside development firm, they can actually lower their total cost of development while improving quality and reducing time to market. If you’re looking for a mHealth development firm that can provide tailored development services, consider reaching out today.