Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Blog

 

4 Key Considerations When Developing a Digital Health App

trends in life sciences industry, health startups, healthcare and life sciences industry

Digital health applications are one of the leading trends in the life sciences industry. More digital health innovations are popping up each year. In a recent global survey by McKinsey & Company, more than 75% of respondents want to use digital healthcare services.

Digital health apps are becoming even more instrumental to patient health and healthcare. When it comes to building user-friendly, marketable and innovative digital health apps there are a number of factors that entrepreneurs must consider.

Mobility

A major component of digital health apps is their mobility. It has become a necessity for entrepreneurs and developers to create apps that are available when and where people want them, which is on their mobile devices. The number of mobile health apps available to Android and iOS devices has doubled in the past two years over 100,000 apps are available now. A reported 66% of Americans say that they would use a digital healthcare apps that is mobile to monitor and manage their health issues.

Digital health startups need to consider how their technology will be used in a mobile setting, adjusting the interface and capabilities to meet the demands of their end-users while complying with industry regulations and standards.

Audience

When building any type of app it is essential to ask, “Who will be using it? What are their needs?” and other questions that will help you better understand your target audience or end-users. We mentioned that a vast majority of users want applications that are mobile, but learning about a digital health-focused audience goes beyond that. For example, the 5th Annual Makovsky/Kelton “Pulse of Online Health” Survey found that the top three reasons why people used mobile health apps were for: tracking diet and nutrition (47%); medication reminders (46%); and tracking symptoms (45%).

If your target audience includes physicians, it is also important to consider their needs and how they will use the application. For instance, some common desires from a physician viewpoint could be communicating with patients and collecting and viewing patient data. Ask even more pointed questions like do they care about granular data or having an easy-to-use interface?

The reasons why both audiences use digital health apps could and will likely change over time as healthcare and technology advances. It is important for entrepreneurs to examine what the needs are at a specific time and project how that will evolve over time. This will also help them in visualizing how their application will grow as the market, industry and user demands change.

Data Collection and Security

Entrepreneurs also need to think about the “behind-the-scenes” aspects of their applications, primarily how it will collect, store, and secure data. Will the data live on the cloud? What security measures such as end-to-end encryption and two-step verification must be taken to ensure that data is safe and the app is legally compliant.

Data collection and security needs to be evaluated for any application related to patient health, which is why digital health applications intersect between health, data and technology sectors.

Differentiators

How will your digital health application benefit its users? What potential does it have to change the healthcare or life sciences industries? These are perhaps the most important aspects that entrepreneurs need to consider when venturing into the digital health landscape. There is a need and demand for these services, but there is also growing competition.

In a recent Entrepreneur article, writer Zach Cutler highlighted this by saying, “As when starting any company, those interested in starting a health-tech company should try to fill a need or solve a problem within the industry.”

For instance, a VentureBeat article stated that some insurance companies give incentives to healthcare providers that manage a large group of people. When it comes to preventing flu deaths, one doctor stated that, “If your app makes is easier for me to order a flu shot for all my patients in one fell swoop, I’m more likely to use it. I see a lot of vendors who come up with cool things, but I need the final step, so I don’t have to do all the work.”

Startups’ digital health apps need to be innovative and provide benefits that make them stand out from their competitors. They need to possess the potential to change how the healthcare and life sciences industry and the people within it operate. How your audience will use your digital health app, how it will collect data and how that data has the potential to change the healthcare industry are all critical considerations that entrepreneurs need to address in order to succeed.

PLSG