How to speed up medical app development
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How to speed up medical app development

APRIL 18, 2024 BHH Members Initiatives

The speed of creating an application is a fundamental issue for the customer, particularly in the healthcare sector. It is also important to get your product to market as quickly as possible, because this is how you can get ahead of the competition and make a name for yourself sooner, earning customer loyalty. This is why BHH member Software Development Hub's has developed a business analyst's guide about speeding up medical app development.

Consequently, ways to speed up the development and quick launch of an application are becoming more and more relevant.

Type of medical app

Developing a successful medical app begins with a clear understanding of its purpose and target audience. Identify the specific type of medical app you want to build, whether it's for patient engagement, telemedicine, diagnostic tools, or health monitoring. Tailoring your development process to the unique requirements of the chosen medical app type will set the foundation for a streamlined development cycle.

These timelines are estimates and can vary based on the app's complexity, features, integration requirements, and the development team's proficiency, as stated by SDH.

Type of Medical App:

  • Health Tracking Apps | Monitor health metrics (steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, calorie intake) | 4-6 months
  • Telemedicine Apps | Connect patients with doctors for remote consultations | 6-8 months
  • Medication Management Apps | Help manage medication schedules, dosages, and remind patients when to take their medicine | 5-7 months
  • Diagnostic Apps | Assist in diagnosing medical conditions through symptoms input and tracking | 6-9 months
  • EHR/EMR Apps | Electronic Health Records/Electronic Medical Records apps for managing patient data in healthcare facilities | 8-12 months
  • Medical Reference Apps | Provide medical information, guidelines, and reference material for healthcare professionals | 4-6 months
  • Fitness and Wellness Apps | Focus on physical exercises, mental wellness, diet plans, and overall fitness | 4-6 months
  • Appointment Scheduling Apps | Enable patients to book, reschedule, or cancel appointments with healthcare providers | 3-5 months

Ways SDH speeds up healthtech app development

1. Proper App Development Strategy

Having a well-defined strategy is important for the efficiency of medical app development. It's useful to clearly outline the project scope, objectives, and a roadmap with key milestones. A comprehensive strategy should also include anticipating potential challenges and preparing contingency plans. This level of preparedness can greatly diminish time spent on troubleshooting and rework throughout the development process.

2. Cross-Platform App Development

Adopting cross-platform app development can be beneficial to maximize reach and accessibility. Technologies such as React Native or Flutter make it possible to develop medical apps that operate smoothly on both iOS and Android devices. This method helps to minimize the need for separate development cycles for each platform, which can reduce the overall time and effort in development.

3. Building an MVP

The adoption of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach in medical app development can be advantageous. Initially focusing on core functionalities allows for the early release of a basic app version to gather user feedback. This feedback is instrumental in guiding further development stages, ensuring that the final product aligns well with user needs. An MVP approach can quicken the overall development process and reduce the risk of investing in features that might not meet user expectations.

“It's important to start with an MVP if you want to test your product idea, attract your first customers, reach your target group, and understand the market needs. Developing an MVP will help you to get investments in your startup and development opportunities,” — Vasyl Kuchma, Co-Founder of SDH, a software development company that build creates bespoke healthcare software products.

4. Shortening Release Cycles

To expedite medical app development, it's beneficial to condense release cycles. Dividing the project into smaller, manageable segments, each with its own set of features and improvements, can facilitate quicker releases. This iterative process allows for continuous integration of user feedback. Shorter release cycles not only hasten the time-to-market but also aid in adapting to changing user requirements.

There are several common-used methodologies that can be highly effective:

  • Agile focuses on iterative development, where the project is divided into small, manageable units. Each iteration involves planning, development, testing, and review, allowing for continuous improvement and quick adaptation to changing requirements.
  • Scrum framework organizes development into "sprints" — short, consistent development cycles (usually 2-4 weeks). Each sprint aims to produce a working increment of the product.
  • Kanban methodology is another Agile approach that focuses on visualizing the workflow, limiting work-in-progress, and maximizing efficiency. It allows teams to see the progress of various tasks and adjust their workload accordingly, leading to faster cycle times.
  • Lean development emphasizes efficiency by identifying and eliminating wasteful practices. Lean development focuses on delivering value to the customer as quickly as possible, which naturally leads to shorter release cycles.

5. Using APIs

API (Application Programming Interface) integration can be a significant way of speeding up app development, especially in the context of medical apps. APIs allow developers to leverage existing functionalities rather than building from scratch. For example, a medical app might use an API for a symptom checker, payment processing, or geolocation services.

Many processes in medical apps can be complex, such as integrating with electronic health records (EHR) or handling secure messaging. APIs that handle these complexities (Google Cloud Healthcare API, Amazon Comprehend Medical API, etc.) can simplify the development process, allowing developers to focus on other aspects of the app.

Many APIs are designed to be compliant with HL7® FHIR®, HL7® v2, and DICOM® standards, reducing the burden on the app developers to ensure regulatory compliance in these aspects.

Integrating with APIs reduces the overall cost of development. It saves resources because the development team does not need to invest time in creating functionalities that are already available via APIs. However, it's important to choose APIs wisely, considering factors like security, reliability, compliance with healthcare standards, and long-term viability.

6. Automating Testing

Efficient testing is key for the reliability and security of medical apps. Implementing automated testing can quicken the detection and fixing of bugs and glitches. Automated testing not only speeds up the testing phase but also improves the app's overall quality. Continuous integration and automated testing pipelines help maintain consistency and reduce the risk of regressions as the app develops.

Dedicated development team

Outsorcing though forming a dedicated and cross-functional team with expertise in medical app development can enhance efficiency. A coordinated team with experience can effectively address challenges, streamline communication, and maintain focus on project goals. A dedicated team helps avoid delays due to multitasking or resource allocation issues, leading to a more streamlined development process.

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