If you are reading this, there’s a high chance you are considering having a healthcare app development company work on your project.
Choosing the right partner to build your digital product is not an easy feat, but we’re here to offer some guidance on what you should focus on and what things to avoid to bring your project to success.
Undoubtedly, the healthcare industry is going through a digital revolution. Whether we’re talking about big pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and clinics, or health and wellness startups, they all try to build medical software designed to assist users and patients and ease the work of doctors and medical professionals.
Some great examples are medical solutions such as a telemedicine app that helps with remote patient diagnostics, a web tool that assists with appointment scheduling, or a mHealth app (mobile healthcare app) for patient monitoring.
As a healthcare organization, your goal is to get closer to where the customer is and offer a streamlined experience for users or patients.
At the same time, this digital transformation is an excellent way to gather tremendous insights (via data analytics) into how your products or services work, how your customers use them, and how you can meet their changing needs. With that information under your belt, you can make informed business decisions that match the customer’s expectations.
While some healthcare providers or startups might have their own software teams, most have to look elsewhere for web development teams or other development solutions that can bring their ideas to reality.
If you’re in this category, read along as we’ll explore:
1. How can you develop your healthcare app 2. Four reasons to choose a dedicated healthcare app development company over alternatives 3. Top things to consider when choosing a healthcare app development company 4. Mistakes when choosing your healthcare app development partner
Let’s get to it.
Before considering the different solutions for building your health app, you must have a complete picture of what you want to accomplish.
We wrote extensively on how to make a medical app and detailed the steps required to formulate your app’s requirements, the costs for building a healthcare app, the required time to create one, plus advice on how to make it successful.
If you have already covered that stage of the process, let’s move forward and explore the various options you have to create a new digital health product.
Build an app development team internally
This can be a good option if your healthcare company has a software development department.
You can start by assembling a team of existing web developers or opening job opportunities to expand the current team.
The advantages of this option are:
- Greater control over who is part of the development team, as you can see and communicate with your team directly.
- High adaptability of your app developers since they are hired internally and don’t have other projects to distract them.
- Potential lower costs as you can move people around in different projects, depending on current needs.
The ability to build your healthcare app in-house is the best one if you already have those skills on board.
But if your company has never built software internally, this option is not ideal.
The challenge of building a new app development branch inside an existing healthcare organization is not worth the effort. This is true because:
- You will have to convince other stakeholders that this feat is financially smart and has a tremendous long-term impact on the company. This means that a single project won’t be enough to justify the costs and changes needed.
- Finding local experienced healthcare app developers can be very difficult.
- You need to hire experts who can create, run, and improve the app development department (such as Project Managers, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, etc.), thus increasing your costs.
- Keeping the new team busy long after you complete the medical app project will be hard since software development is not core to your company.
- The app development industry is highly competitive, so you would need a strong value proposition and constant challenges and rewards to retain talent once you find it.
Hire freelancers with experience in building healthcare apps
As you probably already know, there are many platforms where you can find freelancers available to do the work you need. It can even seem too easy: filter by your needs, make a proposal, get quotes and choose the best offer.
I recommend this approach if your medical software project is small and you can complete it with one or two people in a matter of weeks. If their work does not imply too much reliance on each other, it’s pretty doable.
Remember that if your app needs maintenance or further development down the road, booking the same team will not be easy as freelancers constantly start new projects.
At the same time, be aware that you’ll have to be hands-on to ensure the project is on track. If you match all these requirements, go for it.
Suppose your digital transformation project needs more people with various skills. In that case, you need to transform solo freelancers into a properly functioning healthcare app development team where collaboration and communication are key.
Given the nature of freelance work, this feat is tough to achieve, and the chances of it succeeding are slim.
Managing people who are not used to working in a team and implementing all the changes needed to have them behave and work together will be a significant challenge. Not to mention that the lack of experience in running such teams will take a toll on the chances of success.
If this option is not suitable for you, let’s move on and explore different ones.
Partner with a software developer with app development experience
If you are trying to build a new healthcare, fitness, or wellness app, bringing in a co-founder with technical skills is pretty standard for most new entrepreneurs.
Someone who knows the tech stack, understands the healthcare application development process and healthcare industry as a whole, and has previously worked on similar projects is a smart choice and the best one to get your web app or mobile app off the ground.
Not to mention that there are a lot of great tools, frameworks, and programming languages that can assist you in building the healthcare product you have in mind. Some that come to mind are React.js, which is excellent for web app development, Laravel, perfect for scalable and highly-secure apps, Flutter (great for building iOS, Android, web, and desktop apps from a single codebase), and many others.
The challenge with this approach is that you might have to quickly scale the team to bring different skills on board, as healthcare apps require expertise from various fields.
This might bring you to the point where you need to…
Collaborate with a specialized healthcare app development company
This option means working with a third-party healthcare application development company that already has the workforce, expertise, know-how, and required certifications to manage, build, and maintain your web healthcare app.
This is the option that most established healthcare companies and healthcare startups alike choose when trying to bring their project to life.
If you do your due diligence, you will have the highest chance of completing your project on time and on budget for each step of the app-building process.
Since you are here to learn how to choose a similar provider and are most likely to choose this option over alternatives, let’s dive into greater details on the pros, cons, and things to keep in mind before selecting an app development partner.
If you are not sure this is the right move, here are a few advantages that you should take into account.
Instant access to great talent
The demand for software developers is much higher than the supply, which makes finding the right talent and building a team a complicated task.
Even if you want to build a remote team to increase the odds, finding the right people willing to work together comes with its own set of challenges.
The best thing when working with development agencies is that they take care of all those headaches for you. The healthcare app development services provider is responsible for building a team, finding and motivating the right talent, and implementing the necessary processes for efficient teamwork.
Your sole responsibility will be to gather the correct information before building your medical app and ensuring your new partner understands your needs.
On top of this, you can hand-pick the app developers, project managers, product owners, etc., who work on the project. You are in total control.
Leverage tried and tested processes
These relate to internal working processes and procedures that make a software development team work great together.
There are various methodologies that experienced app development companies use to ensure that:
- their team communicates effectively with one another and with you, the client.
- the app development process follows your exact blueprint and specifications.
- the project is on track in terms of delivery schedule and budget spending.
- your health app meets all the required legal and regulatory requirements (like HIPAA compliance, GDPR and CCPA compliance, and more).
Technical experience at your fingertips
Having done health and wellness development projects in the past means that the company already understands the market and the needs of your future users, patients, and customers and will build a product that meets those needs.
Their previous technical experience ensures they can propose the appropriate tools and technologies to bring your project to life and avoid potential issues further down the road that can significantly impact the success of your app.
We’ve encountered situations in which a feature could not be implemented because the customer used the wrong framework or software development language in the past, so having someone who can anticipate potential blockers is a big plus.
All of these advantages combined allow you to have something to show way faster than any of the other methods mentioned above.
The faster you can test your healthcare app with real users, tweak and improve it according to the feedback you get, the higher the chances of going ahead of the competition.
That translates to happy shareholders, impressed investors, cost savings, and fast adaptability to users' needs and market changes.
Now that you understand the advantages of working with an experienced external partner, let’s go through the most important attributes to take into account when choosing your provider.
Past experience in the healthcare app development market
Since your goal is to build an app for the healthcare industry, one of the main things to consider is choosing a partner with a proven track record of building products for the healthcare sector.
The digital product you're trying to build might require machine learning algorithms, artificial intelligence capabilities, augmented reality features, AR/VR development, or advanced business intelligence options, so it's important to choose a development agency capable of getting the work done.
One of the advantages is the reassurance that your software development partner knows the needs of your market and understands the legal, security, and technical aspects of building healthcare applications.
The know-how can come in handy when figuring out the best path forward while building the app and can help anticipate and even avoid possible challenges.
A great place to start gathering that information is by browsing through their website to find out if they have dedicated pages where they present their healthcare expertise and processes.
The strength of their portfolio
To ensure they put their money where their mouth is, you can browse previous healthcare projects to find out what else they built and their proposed solutions for those customers.
At the same time, a discovery call can uncover details regarding their past experience and expertise with various other healthcare clients. Use those calls to better understand how they approached things in similar projects.
What others are saying about them
Past collaborators are undoubtedly the most honest in evaluating the healthcare app development company and the results of their collaboration.
The first indicator is the testimonials posted by the company on its website.
While analyzing the testimonials, keep an eye out for the words used to describe the collaboration.
If, for example, what’s essential to you are the technical skills demonstrated and the customer-centric development approach, then look for similar statements. Their customer’s words will quickly indicate if the company possesses those qualities or not.
Another great place is business review websites where the testimonials are even less prominent to being influenced.
For example, we at Digitalya encourage our partners to add public reviews. We believe it’s one of the best ways to get direct access to how it is to work with us, and it can help others make informed decisions.
Keep an eye out for their professionalism
I’m referring to how the company handles the entire process before starting to work with you.
Most of the time, the things that separate one provider from another are their professionalism regarding the communication with you, their transparency regarding their internal processes, and most importantly, their honesty as to how exactly they can help you.
A company that’s honest regarding its availability, experience, and ability to handle the project from start to finish should be considered a big plus.
You want a partner that can challenge you even before you start your collaboration, as this entails that their focus is on delivering the best outcome for your specific needs and not just scoring another win.
Make sure you resonate with their values
A company without solid values is a company that might not be as mature as it should be to handle the type of project you need to through at them.
Be aware of how they present their values and check if they align with the ones you or your company have. If both parties share similar values, there’s a higher chance your collaboration will be smoother and more fruitful.
Choosing an external partner can be stressful, so you’d want to avoid as many red flags and make as few mistakes as possible. We detailed a few that, from our experience, turned out to be the differentiating factor between a successful collaboration and one you want to forget.
Overlooking the human connection
Since this decision seems to need rational thinking and easy comparison between providers, you must not overlook the fact that, in the end, you’re working with other people.
Move past the fact that this is a business-to-business collaboration and start analyzing the people you’re about to collaborate with for (probably) a long time.
As with any human-to-human interaction, it's vital to be on the same wavelength with those involved in the app development process. If you can, try having a short chat with all parties involved to get to know them and see if there's a connection.
If the communication is on point and you seem to be able to create a real connection with the team, your chances of success increase significantly.
This goes both ways. When people who work on your project feel they can safely reach out and communicate with you, they will be more comfortable reporting an issue, will have the guts to challenge your proposals and be happier overall by working with someone they get along with.
Choosing on costs alone
Most app development services providers have a similar way of delivering quote proposals for your project (usually with a daily or hourly rate), which means you will have a simple way of comparing them, right?
This approach fails to consider all the other factors mentioned throughout this article: the company's experience, the communication and the human connection you can build with them, the values they stand for, and their honesty when evaluating your project.
These aspects should weigh more than just pure cost; they amount to the value proposition the potential partner brings forward and can better indicate what working with them will be like.
This is not an easy feat, as it's hard to put a number on it and quickly compare it with the other, but I'm sure your gut feeling will guide you on the right path.
Losing sight of future maintenance and development needs
Most apps, once launched, need adjustments, updates, changes, and improvements to better adapt to the reality of day-to-day use by your patients, doctors, or customers.
Although a specific provider can have faster availability and even better prices, you should also consider their ability to maintain and further develop the healthcare app depending on your needs.
While you’re still in the exploration phase, make sure you enquire about future availability for the team, maintenance costs, and the possibility of growing the existing team if the need arises.
This information will help you get a glimpse of how the potential future collaboration might go down, and you'll have a better idea if you can rely on the development company long-term or not.
Missing to check about compliance expertise (e.g., HIPAA compliance)
Building healthcare apps means there are legal requirements for handling the data you gather, the security around that data, and how you manage that information long-term.
Your new app development partner should handle those compliance needs easily, as they can be a real headache if not tackled from the beginning.
Do your homework to understand what type of compliance applies to your case, and make sure you ask your potential partner if they can handle it.
It seems like a lot, but if you write them down, you will soon notice that going through these recommendations is not that hard.
Following them will allow you to pick the right healthcare app development partner to bring your idea and needs to life and support you long-term. This way, you'll be able to focus on other essential tasks of your day-to-day work schedule, knowing someone else has your back.
Looking for a healthcare app development company? We have a lot of experience in delivering healthcare apps for companies around the world. See healthcare case studies