7 things to take care of while making your Medical Device smart with Mobile App

Rahul Bajait

The advancement in mobile technologies is revolutionizing the way care is delivered to patients. With the ever-rising number of smartphone users and increasing computing power, many start-ups are now on a mission to democratize healthcare. Stories of algorithms helping doctors predict conditions in a patient undetected by traditional methods are coming out very often. AI-powered therapeutic and investigative devices are assisting physicians in working more effectively. Telemedicine is on the rise. I could write many more examples, but the point I wanted to make is clear: the value technology can offer in healthcare is unprecedented, and the domain is booming. The current pandemic has underlined the importance of maturing the solutions in healthcare quickly. Digital healthcare is experiencing even more investments and innovation efforts in the current year.

The message of the industry or more importantly voice of customers is loud and clear. If you have a medical device in the market, you need to make it digitally smart before becoming obsolete. If you are thinking of a new product, make sure you build a digitally smart one. If you have mobile health app in mind, it's time to start working on it. Remember, this journey to digital smartness needs to be carefully planned and executed. A delightful and seamless digital experience is a critical part of the product, which must be crafted with care to tap its success potential. Here are 7 things you should take care of while you design a Medical Mobile App.

1. User engagement

What is the use of a masterpiece which nobody wants to use? You must have mastered the clinical efficacy of your product to the desired degree, but is it sufficient to compel users to use it? For the success of the product, it is essential to think of an end-to-end user experience. The following critical aspects will help you start thinking in the right direction, that we recommend working with experts:

  • Value: Research the users' persona about their socio-economic background, behavioural aspects, preferences, etc. Brainstorm and generate some good options for the probable value that users might appreciate. Carefully choose what value/s to build your app around.
  • UI/UX: It is critical to have a great UI Design built on a systematically defined UX layout. Based on the User Persona, you will identify the pain area and develop empathy for the end-users. If you get it right, you will know what a smooth and delightful experience looks like for that user. There are multiple techniques to get it right.

2. Connectivity

The connectivity of medical devices with its smartphone app is critical to its performance. (Even device-to-device, device-to-cloud connectivity are crucial.) The smooth, secure, zero-latency connectivity from start to end enhances the user experience, but there are few practical challenges to overcome to perfect the solution. WiFi, Bluetooth, Cellular Connectivity, RF, NFC, USB, etc. are some of the possible protocols to choose from. The choice of the connectivity technology depends on various aspects, a few of which are listed below. While taking the actual decision of connectivity technology to employ for a device, more careful thought needs to be given.

  • Reliability: Continues connectivity needs to be assured and ensured, at least to the desired level.
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Business viability depends upon TCO.
  • Energy Efficiency: One must consider battery life and maintenance cycle needs. Some of the protocols might drain the battery at a rate that affects the proper use of the product.
  • Latency: How much delay can be tolerated in communication between app and device for a given product?
  • Future Proofed: The device and the connectivity protocol should be selected so that it remains relevant in the future. Economic and technological sustainability of the technology is key to sustainable business.

3. Hardware Partner

A hardware partner has a critical role to play. This choice is going to impact the journey and success of your product to a substantial extent. Following are the few considerations to be made while making this decision. Hopefully, it will stress the importance of having a competent hardware partner.

  • Firmware development ability: You might need to modify the firmware to your product requirement. With the advancement in other technology, including smartphones, the firmware will need regular updates.
  • Robustness and Quality of Hardware: Without this, your product is destined to fail. But we are sure you have already taken care of this.
  • Flexibility & Supporting Attitude: To develop a relevant product in less time, we need to follow agile methodology. Your technology partner should fit the role in the modern approach of managing and driving innovation.
  • Continuity of Services: Many players are operational for a short time. What if your product is thriving in the market and your hardware partner is no more in business? Terms associated with his contribution till the product works as desired need to be agreed upon.

4. Security & Compliances

The privacy and security of the end-user must be the utmost priority. Any Mobile Medical App comes under the ambit of a stringent regulation like HIPAA. Any lapse in security of the same may land you up in big legal trouble. Hence it is crucial to make sure that the Mobile Medical App has a HIPAA compliant architecture. The development of the app should also be done with Secured Development practices. Some essential security measures to be taken include,

  • User Controls Data: The device should be designed so that the patient has complete autonomy over data. It's essential to transfer the data only to devices/people authorized by the patient. The device can receive the information with patients/users permission only.
  • Secure Development Lifecycle: The security artifacts must be included at every step of the product development journey.
  • Cloud Security: Data protection in the cloud needs to be ensured. HIPAA compliance standards (or similar country standards where a product is to be introduced) should be used as guidelines.
  • Data Encryption and Secure Data Transfer: Giving the user full autonomy is not sufficient. To secure data from hackers, proper encryption protocols whole be followed.

There are many other details to be covered, and we recommend taking the services of a competent professional.

5. Smart Integrations

Build apps that can be integrated into the healthcare ecosystem. Also, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel every time. Some capacities of your Mobile Medical App can be achieved through intelligent integrations with other platforms for a different use, for example.

  • LIVE Chat & Video Conferencing (HIPPA Compliant)
  • Navigation Systems
  • Payment Gateways
  • IoT Device Integration
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • APIs & third-party services

6. Further Possibilities of Value Adds

A mobile Medical App can be enriched with many further possibilities. Some popular and impactful trends are

  • Device Controllability through an app
  • Added Features & Services (Custom Counselling, Multiuser Use, etc.)
  • Analytics of data for better interpretation
  • Augmented Reality
  • Artificial Intelligence etc.

You can also read key trends transforming digital healthcare in 2021.

7. Digital Product Engineering Partner

All the aspects mentioned above call for an able Digital Product Engineering partner to get your product developed in the proper manner. You need to verify if your development partner comes with the ability and credentials to craft your app, considering all these crucial aspects.

Ensure your medical devices and applications meet patient expectations and comply with regulations.

If you want to know or discuss more the aspects, reach out to us at collaborate@pragmatyc.com.

Rahul Bajait

Rahul Bajait is co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Pragmatyc.

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