How to Develop a Healthcare app – The Ultimate Guide to Health Tech, Cost, and Competition

Undoubtedly one of the most profound impacts of Artificial Intelligence and technological breakthroughs will be in the domain of healthcare.
Technology has always been a critical mainstay in healthcare delivery. From sophisticated diagnosing systems to wearable health devices, innovation in health tech has improved health outcomes and remarkably increased the average life expectancy over the decades.

And yet, the number of people worldwide affected by chronic diseases (such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension) has increased up to 25% in the last three decades. Our highly unbalanced lifestyles of long working hours, demanding responsibilities and less than idyllic diets is leading to increased health problems.

At the same time, there is a definite shortage of healthcare resources in the world today, and the problem only threatens to worsen. The U.S. is expected to have a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 doctors in the next 12 years, says a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Similar reports flood in from UK, India, and every other part of the world, leading to longer patient wait times, higher costs, and lower quality care, especially for those lacking a primary care physician.

Truven Health Analytics found that as much as 71% of all hospital visits were unnecessary. A large number of these visits could be avoided with health apps, freeing up doctors and hospitals to provide better care to those who need it most.

If unnecessary visits could be cut in half, it would save the healthcare system $5.2 billion annually.

Addressing this critical issue requires leveraging technologies like AI and healthcare apps to help bridge the physician shortage gap and improve access to timely, efficient, and cost-effective healthcare services.

Research shows that users love health apps. 58.23% of mobile phone users have downloaded a health-related mobile app.
Healthcare mobile application development is a unique mix of technology and medical science. Apart from an actual doctor diagnosing and treating them, patients need to do a million other things to ensure they get the right health services. There’s a ton of paperwork to do, record, and keep track of. There are tests and results that need to be earmarked and once again, tracked. Finding the right doctor, comparing notes, understanding insurance, understanding medical test reports, making appointments, remembering to take medication on time – the list is long and painstakingly tedious.

Mobile healthcare app development can make patients’ lives easier by streamlining their healthcare needs. More importantly, healthcare apps can redistribute some of the burden from physicians and promote self-care, thereby ensuring that patients who need care most urgently get it first.
Medical apps can cover specific areas of the healthcare process and provide critical assistance to patients and caregivers who are already dealing with tremendous stress and pressure. Health apps can ease multiple pain points helping patients focus on their health and recovery.

Critical Advantages of App Development for the Healthcare Industry

Mobile apps, owing to their immense versatility, can be developed to fulfil a vast number of functions in healthcare, being as precise, or broad-spectrum as needed. The healthcare sector is so huge, and scattered, that patients and doctors need assistance at multiple junctures. Here’s a list of just some of the unique advantages offered by a custom developed healthcare app.

For Patients:

Prevent missed doses: Health apps such as medication reminder apps help ascertain that patients don’t miss a single dose. More than 80% of patients miss a dose of their medication occasionally.
Patient Empowerment: Apps promote informed decision-making and self-advocacy among patients, fostering a sense of control and responsibility over their health outcomes.
Reduced Wait Times: Healthcare apps offer real-time appointment scheduling, reducing patient wait times and enhancing the overall healthcare experience.
Lifestyle Management: Patients can manage their lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, through apps, further contributing to overall health and well-being.
Enhanced Security: Stringent encryption and authentication protocols within healthcare apps safeguard sensitive patient information, addressing privacy concerns.
Easier Referral Process: Physicians can seamlessly refer patients to specialists or diagnostic facilities through the app, ensuring timely and coordinated care.

For Doctors:

Streamlined Clinical Workflow: Optimize the healthcare process by automating routine tasks, enabling healthcare professionals to focus on patient care.
Health Records Accessibility: Patients can access their medical records electronically, facilitating efficient sharing with other healthcare providers and reducing duplication of tests and procedures.
Improved Patient Satisfaction: The convenience and personalized care offered by healthcare apps contribute to increased patient satisfaction, leading to greater trust in healthcare systems.
Early Disease Detection: Healthcare apps equipped with symptom-checking algorithms aid in early disease detection, potentially saving lives through timely interventions.
Updated Medical Education: Healthcare professionals can access the latest medical literature, case studies, and educational materials through these apps, promoting continuous learning and knowledge sharing.

For Healthcare Systems:

Efficiency and Cost Reduction: Drive operational efficiencies by transitioning to paperless workflows, minimizing error rates, and reducing administrative costs.
Security and Compliance: Institute stringent cybersecurity measures and compliance protocols to safeguard sensitive patient data and maintain regulatory compliance.
Population Health Analytics: Harness the power of big data analytics to glean insights from large datasets, facilitating early disease detection and improved public health strategies.
Proactive Public Health Initiatives: Encourage preventive care and early intervention by leveraging healthcare apps to deliver tailored wellness programs and public health campaigns.
Innovation and Medical Research: Support groundbreaking research initiatives by aggregating anonymized patient data, paving the way for medical breakthroughs and evidence-based advancements in the field.

Groundbreaking New Technologies Aiding Smart Healthcare App Development

Every technology buzzword you have heard lately has something to offer to healthcare app development. From generative AI, to AR/VR, IoT, Digital Twins, and every other innovation is being actively explored to disrupt healthcare as we know it.

1. Generative AI or GPT-3: Generative AI can transform healthcare by automating medical record documentation, accelerating drug discovery through predictive modeling, and assisting in image analysis. It enhances diagnostic accuracy and reduces physician burnout by handling administrative tasks, increasing efficiency, and potentially saving billions in healthcare costs.
2. AR/VR (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality): AR/VR technologies offer immersive medical training, pain management, and patient education. They play a crucial role in medical education, with studies showing that medical students trained with AR/VR outperform traditional methods.
3. IoT (Internet of Things): IoT devices, such as wearable health trackers and remote monitoring systems, provide real-time health data. These IoMT ot Internet of Medical Things enable better disease management, reduce hospital readmissions, and lead to significant reduction in healthcare costs for chronic disease patients.
4. Blockchain: Blockchain enhances healthcare data security and interoperability. It enables secure sharing of electronic health records, reducing medical identity theft and improving patient privacy. Healthcare data breaches are the most expensive according to HIPAA, costing $10.93 million in 2023.
5. 5G Technology: 5G networks provide low latency, enabling real-time telemedicine and remote surgery. This technology supports healthcare transformation by ensuring stable connections, reducing delays, and improving patient care.

The Future of Healthcare App Development

Anything that helps patients spend minimum possible time in hospitals and gets more done through their phones is always welcome. Medical apps manage to provide a series of services right at home saving patients precious trips to the hospital.
Decreasing the amount of unneeded medical visits benefits all parties involved. Healthcare mobile app development goes a long way in mitigating the need for hospital visits and takes off burden from the health facilities. The massive patient exodus during Covid outbreak showed us how important it is to ensure doctors are able to avoid unnecessary visits and help the most needful patients first. That’s just what mobile healthcare app development achieves.

A mobile health app can improve patient outcomes significantly, thanks to its multifaceted benefits. We’ll talk about this in great detail in the next section, but it makes a strong point for why the future of mobile healthcare app development is decidedly bright.

How To Do Mobile Healthcare App Development the Right Way

Here comes the important part. How do you develop the right mobile healthcare app that helps people without adding to the trouble of them having to learn a new technology. Healthcare mobile app development needs to be easy on the frontend even when it is complex and scientifically precise on the backend. otherwise, it would be awfully hard to convince patients to adopt your app or for doctors to approve or endorse it.

Define your core offering

As discussed in the above section, mobile health care app development can encompass a number of different roles. From telemedicine to medical insurance, the scope is spread far and wide. No one app can attempt to do all of these things. That is why even though your app may fall under the broad umbrella of mobile healthcare app development, you must define what you actually want to do.

Will your app be a medication reminder app, a health information app, an insurance navigation app, or something else? You must be clear about the service your app wants to provide to your users.

Run a competitor analysis

You can’t win until you’ve known your competition. Once you decide which niche your health app is going to fall under, it’s time to dedicate a substantial amount of time to doing competitor analysis to find out what they so and how they do it, as well as what they lack and how you can ace it. Once you know what you are up against is when you can truly master healthcare mobile application development.

You may have an entirely new idea for a medical app that has never been made before. Even then there will be medical apps that play in the same ballpark. You must find out what your target users like or dislike about these health apps. You must know what your potential users want from a health app, what are their problems and pain points, what they lack and what they expect from medical apps. Only competitor analysis can provide the answers you need and appropriately guide your mobile healthcare application development endeavour.

Get the science right

Barring a few exceptions, mobile healthcare app development will always involve a heavy scientific aspect. You’re in the business of people’s health and their lives now, and accuracy is a prerequisite. Try to get a medical advisor on board to guide you through the process of developing a health app that is not only medically accurate but also understands the nuances of patient experience. Disease and its treatment is a very emotional and intense process for the patients and understanding user behaviour takes on a whole new meaning in case of mobile healthcare application development.

Healthcare app developers are, at the end of the day, tech heads. To help them develop an app that is worthy of patients’ trust, you need to ensure they have the right guidance and medical supervision. So empower your healthcare app developers to build a good medical app with the right scientific counsel.

Understand your monetisation strategy right away

Unless you’re in this for the social good, you want your medical app to make substantial revenue, enough to get a good return on investment. Mobile healthcare app development is however different from other forms of app development in that it caters to a group of people who are at a serious juncture in their life. They aren’t playing around and don’t want to. So choosing the right monetization model is important here.
For instance, some health apps might be able to make ad revenue work, but in most cases, you probably don’t want ads to affect patient experience of your medical app.

Paid downloads have in general fared poorly on android, while they work moderately well on iOS. In general, users like to try an app out before they pay for it so putting up a paywall right at the outset will deter most users from using your app. You could however make this work by offering a free trial so users can try your medical app first.

Subscription model tends to be the most preferred monetization model when it comes to mobile healthcare application development, and most other apps in general.

Build a prototype first

Fully detailed mobile healthcare application development is a long, tedious and expensive process. It definitely isn’t the kind of thing you should jump into head first. Always build a prototype or a minimum viable product (MVP) first. This helps you three ways.

Firstly, building a prototype is inexpensive and lets you show the potential of your app to investors to gain funding.
Secondly, an MVP can help you get your app into the hands of real users early, gathering critical feedback that will help you fine tune your offering.

Thirdly, if your MVP is good enough, it will get the revenue ball rolling, helping you make money as well as support the further development financially.

Cost of Healthcare App Development

The cost of developing a healthcare app can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the complexity of the app, its features, the platform (iOS, Android, or both), the development team’s location, and regulatory compliance requirements.

A simple app for appointment scheduling and basic health information can cost between $10,000 to $50,000. An app with features like telemedicine capabilities, secure messaging, and integration with wearables may cost between $50,000 to $150,000. For a comprehensive healthcare app that includes features like Electronic Health Records (EHR) integration, data analytics, and AI-driven diagnostics, the cost can range from $150,000 to $500,000 or more.

If your app deals with sensitive patient data, you may need to invest in compliance with regulations like HIPAA in the United States, which can increase costs due to the stringent security and privacy requirements.

It’s essential to work with experienced developers who understand healthcare industry standards and regulations to ensure the app’s success and compliance. The total cost can vary, so we encourage you to set up a free consultation with our team to know how much it will cost you to build a good healthcare app.


Healthcare mobile app development is set to play an important role in the future of healthcare in the world, especially in post-Covid times. If you plan to venture into healthcare application development, the above Guide can help you not only decide which subset of healthcare you wish to tackle with your tech, but also develop an app that’s truly helpful to the patients and profitable to your business. Healthcare app developers can use this information to form a robust business strategy and build a mobile healthcare application that truly makes a difference in patients’ and doctors’ lives

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Hiral Atha is the Founder and CEO of Moveoapps. With a decade of proficiency in building digital platforms that drive innovation and user engagement, Hiral has helped businesses outshine competitors and captivate audiences. Armed with a deep understanding of market dynamics and emerging trends, Hiral has implemented strategic initiatives that have positioned businesses as market leaders, capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

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