Development | 17 min read
Doctor Appointment App Development: Steps, Monetization Methods, Security Tips
How often do you visit doctors? It depends on health conditions and necessity, of course. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody wants to visit a hospital yet again.
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Recently we have published an article where all the benefits of remote medical care are described. However, today we would like to concentrate more specifically on the doctor booking app development process and its strong sides.
The matter is that the global digital health market was valued at USD 111.4 billion, and it is expected to reach USD 510 billion by 2025, according to the Vynz Research report. These figures speak for themselves. Doctor appointment app development may be the right idea for your startup. So make yourself comfortable and delve into the world of the step-by-step guide.
What Is An App For Doctor Appointment?
A doctor appointment app is an on-demand app that helps people avoid visiting hospitals and clinics if there is no emergency case. Users don’t need to stay in lines and wait while somebody spreads the virus (and we mean not coronavirus only, there are plenty of other airborne diseases).
An online doctor appointment booking system allows patients to find doctors, schedule an appointment, get a consultation, etc. Patients stay home in comfortable conditions, and mostly they can get qualified assistance right away. Communication can be performed via a text chat or video call.
Also, patients can upload lab results to allow doctors to check it and make a prescription. That is what the app can do as well — making prescriptions and setting up reminders for patients to let them take medicines timely. The doctor appointment app is the new era of communication between doctors and patients.
Types Of An App For Booking Doctor Appointments
It is necessary to single out the primary types of apps for finding doctors since the doctor-on-demand app development can differ depending on its type.
– An app for a specific clinic. If you are a clinic owner, you can think about developing an app that will contain information about your clinic, doctors, and services. Also, the app may include licenses and certificates to ensure the qualification level of specialists. It will make your app stand out among competitors since patients will have the required information.
– An app for finding highly specialized doctors. The app can be created for finding specialists of specific expertise like surgeons or nutritionists. Potential patients can use your app to compare doctors’ services level, read reviews, and choose the one they will contact.
– An app for finding all doctors. A handy app that is used for finding any physicians. Such an app will be popular among all patients who need the assistance of specialists and their consultation. So patients can select doctors by the expertise and type, and schedule an appointment.
Benefits Of Doctor App Development For Patients And Doctors
What are the benefits of building the on-demand doctor app both for doctors and patients? There is a large number of them. Let’s check the most significant ones.
Cost-efficiency. Patients don’t need to spend time visiting hospitals. Moreover, online appointments cost less than personal appointments. And it is unlikely that patients miss a visit or rescheduling. And doctors can manage their time efficiently, distributing their workload.
Time-efficiency. As we noted above, people save their money and time since they stay home. People can quickly schedule an appointment using an online doctor appointment system, while doctors don’t participate in the scheduling process, so their time is also saved. Reminding notifications will also tell patients that they have an appointment soon, decreasing the number of no-show rates.
Convenience. When patients are ill, they can easily find a doctor; everything they need is the Internet connection and smartphone. If the app is created with a well-thought-out and intuitive UX, a patient may schedule an appointment much faster than if they would have called the hospital.
Accessibility. A medical appointment app makes it possible to arrange video calls, so video conference ensures more comfortable communication between patients and doctors. If patients have some skin problems and visible injuries, they can show it to the doctor. Also, if a patient is disabled, they still have an opportunity to communicate with doctors. Online payment is another benefit since it takes a few seconds.
Improved treatment process. The confidence of patients grows, they can get qualified healthcare services timely. In turn, healthcare providers may decrease medical services costs and improve the level of services adapting to the needs of patients. Doctors build prescription lists and control the drug regimen.
Brand awareness. As well as loyalty and trust. When patients communicate with a clinic where they are treated with maximum care, it contributes to trust and loyalty growth. They will likely choose the same clinic next time. So the application for a doctor appointment is an excellent way to move to a new level.
Examples Of Doctor Appointment Apps
Research is a must-have stage when you start any project. And you need to know more about your competitors. We will discuss development steps in the next section, but now we recommend you get acquainted with three examples of doctor finding apps.
Doctor On Demand
The app was created in 2012 in the USA, San Francisco, CA. The on-demand doctor app allows patients to communicate with doctors via video calls round the clock. There are licensed healthcare providers only. The app also contains lab results and provides patients with prescriptions. At the moment, Doctor On Demand app has more than 1500 specialists working all over the USA.
The Stanford Health Care center created MyHealth app which can be integrated with third-party EHR systems (electronic health records), HealthKit system makes it possible to gather data from other devices. Also, MyHealth can be used during hospital visits, and it provides patients with useful insights to keep them informed. On the whole, the app allows patients to manage their daily care.
We think it is one of the most popular doctor appointment apps, so you cannot ignore such a robust competitor available in the United States. The app was created in 2007, and it rapidly gained momentum. Patients may communicate with more than 50 specialists of different expertise, schedule appointments, read reviews, and use the integrated dictionary where patients may find the explanation of healthcare terms.
What about the EU region? Now GP service is an app created for Europe, and it is targeted at finding and booking an appointment with general practitioners (that is what GP stands for). It also helps arrange prescription medicines delivered directly to your door, get professional diagnosis, e-prescriptions, etc.
Revenue Models Of An Online Doctor Appointment System
Doctor finding app development implies that you want to get a profit eventually when the app is released. There are a few monetization methods you can use in your doctor appointment app.
A Fee-Based Model
The app owner can get a fixed fee from all services provided in the app. When a patient pays for services, a fixed fee of this amount will be shared with the owner. It is a widespread practice in such kinds of apps.
The competition in the healthcare sector is also not new. Doctors want their services to be demanded, so they can pay a specific amount to be in the list of featured doctors. It allows them to get more inquires from potential patients.
Good old advertising. A popular revenue model that can always become the best way to make a profit of your app. However, don’t forget that too much advertising may confuse users and let them find another doctor finding app.
Let your users (both patients and doctors) pay subscription fees monthly/yearly to use the ad-free app and get some additional premium features that aren’t available in a free app. Moreover, you can provide subscribed users with many more exciting bonuses.
Doctor Appointment App Features
Must-have features, or MVP features, should be thought-out if you want your app to function correctly. On-demand doctor app development requires two app versions — for a doctor and patient. Its design won’t be too different, but the type of features vary.
A Patient's App Version
A user profile. The profile contains all necessary data about patients like gender, age, name/surname, social security number (if required), etc.
Appointment booking. Users choose a vacant time slot and then can book an appointment if a doctor is available.
A doctor's location. Geolocation makes it possible for users to find a doctor nearby and calculate the distance between them and doctors.
In-app payment. When a booking is performed, funds may be reserved until the appointment is ended. Then funds are remitted to the doctor’s account.
Reviews/ratings. Users can read reviews about doctors, see their rating, and leave their reviews as well. It is an appropriate system to learn everything about a new doctor.
FAQ. The healthcare area is complicated, and ordinary users may be far from understanding doctors’ terms and expressions. FAQ section (frequently asked questions) will answer many questions of users. Also, the FAQ may be a guide for new users and explain to them how to use this doctor appointment app.
Favorites. Users can add doctors to the favorites list if they are satisfied with the doctor’s work. So they can easily find a doctor and contact them.
Documents uploading. All health-related documents like MRI scans, lab results, images, etc., can be uploaded to the app for doctors’ inspection.
A Doctor's App Version
A doctor's profile. A doctor fills out their profile, adds a user photo, indicates expertise area, qualification, attaches a medical license, etc.
Status check. The doctor can check the appointment status and make any updates if necessary.
Editing of booking slots. If a patient missed an appointment, or some inconveniences occurred, doctors may edit slots and customize them accordingly.
Accept/reject bookings. Doctors should have an opportunity to accept or reject the booking. Once it is done, users receive a notification.
Prescriptions. Online prescriptions can be created by doctors and provided to patients. Doctors may also control the drug regimen and send reminders if necessary.
An availability status. When doctors are on vacation or day off, they can set an available/non-available status.
Patient details. Doctors should know everything about a patient, so that they can look through all details like disease history, age, etc.
Required Features For Both Apps
Authorization. You can add social media login to let the doctor and patients sign up faster via social media networks. However, we recommend adding two-factor authentication (password and phone number) since the app contains confidential data, and it should be protected from unauthorized access by third parties.
Audio/video calls. Doctors and patients may perform audio or video calls to communicate better. Video calls prevail since patients may show to the doctor any body part, etc.
An in-app chat. An integrated chat is used for short conversations between patients and doctors when patients need to clarify something.
History. Treatment history is available for both parties, so they stay always updated, and they have a history by their side.
Push notifications. When an appointment is confirmed/rejected, a new message received, status changed, or something else — users receive a push notification.
Steps And Tips To Build A Medical Appointments App
We have prepared a detailed description of how to make an app for booking doctor appointments. The doctor appointment app is complex and requires a responsive approach, so don’t skip this section and read it mindfully.
Do Market Analysis
Analysis of the market is the first thing that precedes any app development. You need to know everything about your competitors, their advantages and drawbacks. If you want to stand out among competitors, your app should provide users with something unique and extraordinary. A mobile app business plan can help you consider all essential stages, so mind to use it.
Also, think about the target audience. Whom do you want to target with your app? If you plan to build an app for finding all types of doctors, your app must be clear for different users (from young to elderly).
Hire Business Analysts
We recommend following this advice if you want to make sure that your app won’t fail. Hire a business analyst or even a team. They will help you build the right business model, conduct a SWOT analysis (i.e., Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the future app), and think through possible use cases. Thus, all potential risks will be considered, and your app will be prepared for it.
Start With an MVP
Build a minimum viable product and find a team of potential users to let them test your product. MVP importance is indisputable, and it helps you determine the right way. Even if the business analysis was conducted, the opinion of potential customers would be the most valuable. If the app meets the expectations of customers, you can keep on modifying it.
Create A Design
UI and UX design of your app is crucial for the first impression. Moreover, your app should be user-friendly and easy-to-use, patients should have no navigation issues. Medical appointment app development means that patients need to quickly find and contact the doctor, so this process must be as simple as possible. You can also check top healthcare website designs to use them as an example of clear UX.
You need to hire a development company that will create your product on a turnkey basis. Online doctor app development will include UI/UX design, development, quality assurance, deployment. Cadabra Studio provides all services mentioned above and adherence to quality standards, deadlines, and individual approaches to each project.
Any app requires quality assurance. But an app for finding doctors involves a set of different tests since it should be bug-free. Unit testing, security testing, load testing, regression testing, and other testing types must be conducted by QA engineers when the app is developed.
Security Is A Must: Build A Protected Environment
You need to focus on security standards and pay attention to it. The doctor appointment app should be appropriately protected, and it must comply with general regulations. For example, if you build an app for the European Union, it must meet GDPR requirements.
Healthcare apps that are created for US regions must be HIPAA-compliant and meet CCPA requirements if apps are used in California. Canada requires all healthcare apps to be compliant with the PIPEDA law.
Apps in the United Kingdom must comply with the Data Protection Act. Thus, your medical appointment app must be compliant with the required regulations depending on the region since it stores and processes users’ personal data.
Encryption. Developers must use encryption protocols to ensure malefactors won’t steal the data. Users feel comfortable and loyal when they know that their personal health information is secured.
Data backup. It is required to use cloud servers and organize automated data backup to restore it if any failures or crashes occur.
Medical license verification. Patients want to know the doctor's qualification level, so your app should have an integrated algorithm that verifies the license by its ID number. So the license must be available in the doctor’s profile.
Technology Stack For Doctor Appointment App
There is a wide range of tools that may be used for doctor appointment app development. However, we can list the approximate tech stack our team would use for such a product.
Programming language: Swift (iOS), Kotlin/Java (Android), Python/Ruby/Java (back-end);
Frameworks: React Native/Flutter (cross-platform apps);
In-app chats and video calls: Twilio/Agora/Vonage;
Push notifications: Twilio, Push.io;
Database: PostgreSQL, Cassandra, MongoDB;
Payment gateway: Stripe, Braintree, PayPal;
Cloud solutions: AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure.
How Much Does It Cost To Create A Doctor Finding App?
The cost of a future doctor appointment app may vary from $20K to $100K, depending on its complexity, the number of features, etc. However, a detailed estimate can be provided to you only after your complete request for a proposal. You can use a web development RFP template you can find in our relevant article. It fits appropriately mobile app development as well.
Our team is always ready to make your product real, build it from scratch, or modify the existing one. Hiring us means safe development and a good mood, we promise. Contact our business development managers, and let’s make your dream real together!