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everything you need to know about healthcare mvp development

Healthcare MVP is indeed an interesting concept since all the popular applications in the market do have some sort of a prototype that’s been tried and tested before the real, working application is released. But it is also interesting to see whether such a concept exists in healthcare as well because such applications will have to be tried and tested before they can be used by the general public. 

The truth is that healthcare MVP does exist and is applied everywhere in healthcare IT solutions. It is possible to adopt a classical approach and create an MVP by following the general guidelines. This MVP will contain the minimum valuable features. But later on, once the MVP is validated, more features can be added (these features can be prepared in the roadmap) and included in the final version of the app. Now let’s delve deeper into the benefits of going into the market with your MVP. 

The Benefits of Going to Market with an MVP

It is perfectly understandable that developers would like to perfect and tweak their product before it is released to the public. But that is not a logical move because time, effort, money, and resources are allotted indefinitely. So going into the market with an MVP is the only sensible move. Here are other benefits of a healthcare MVP. 

A fast entry into the market

Though your product may not be the final one, you can gain entry into the market with the innovation in the product. This is one way to stay ahead of the competition. The fact that there aren’t any bells and whistles attached to your product shouldn’t deter you from taking the plunge.

It’s a money saver

Since it's a quick product that’s going to the market, you can save money and create a basic functional one with your innovative features in them. 

Testing your business concepts with real users

Through MVP, there is a sure-fire way to collect usage patterns and get real feedback from real users and later, make informed decisions based on that. The insights collected from the usage patterns would be really helpful in getting proper feedback. 

Reduce risk

By releasing an MVP, the product gets released into the market and into the hands of your potential customers, called beta users or even early adopters. If there are any problems with the product, it will show up then and you can resolve this in the next delivery. If the product doesn’t meet consumer demand, then the project can be pivoted towards a better one or even abandoned without much loss in finances. 

Plenty of flexibility in the product development process

Flexibility is another big advantage of MVP because it helps you be prepared to adapt to the results and make changes accordingly. MVP is the way to test your product in real market conditions. 

Easier to get funding from investors

When a company is assured that their MVP has resonated well with the audience, it would be easy to persuade an investor for additional funding. It would be easy to prove to them, through real-time data, the caliber of your MVP rather than mere word-of-mouth convincing. The MVP toolkit helps you get the minimum seed funding to cover development costs and get a full-fledged product. 

Getting a clear focus on the product being developed

Clarity and focus are two attractions of having an MVP in the market. When you release the MVP, it is the basic product with limited features that goes out. The developers do not get fixated on the unnecessary features, and thus the product has a better chance of going into the market earlier. 

Types of Healthcare MVP

The healthcare industry and the digital health ecosystem have realized the critical importance of healthcare apps. So if you are looking to build a healthcare app, there are a few avenues to explore, and each of them is highly regarded and getting extremely successful. It could be a small fitness device, a health tracking app or a major project for the medical institution, the possibilities for innovation are endless. Keeping that in mind, let’s run through the various kinds of healthcare apps currently in popular demand. 

General health and fitness apps

Health and fitness apps are extremely popular among users. There are so many variables in this that people take a fancy to. It could be ‘workout with a virtual trainer’, healthy lifestyle tips, health metrics tracker, nutrition and diet regimes, good habits, tools for obesity, weight management, sleep monitors, and a whole lot of other options depending on the niche of users (such as pregnancy tracking and fetal development apps). 

Remote monitoring apps

Physicians can keep track of their patient’s health through remote monitoring apps. These apps would be helpful for patients whose vitals need to be monitored constantly. Oxygen levels, glucose levels, and blood pressure can be monitored with the help of these apps. 

Clinical reference apps

These apps provide everything that a clinician would need to know from reference guides. With reference to specialized reference materials like ICD-9 and ICD-10, E&M coding, there is complete digital access to make quick diagnoses and enable better patient outcomes.

Productivity apps

Productivity apps are apps that would increase the efficiency of healthcare providers, so they can provide a better level of care to patients. These apps can be used for mobile charting, provide remote dictation services, and deliver home healthcare scheduling services. Productivity apps must comply with the HIPAA regulations before they can be used. 

Chronic care management apps

These apps are perfect for people who’ve decided to shift from hospital care to home care. Chronic care management apps can monitor the health of these patients at all times and alert the caregiver, physicians, and hospitals in case of emergencies.

Medication reminder apps

How about an app that reminds the patient to have their medicines, pills, and an alert when their medicines get low on supply? Therapy schedule and lifestyle improvement can be added as features in such apps. 

Healthcare MVP Development Process

Have a look at the process of developing a healthcare minimum viable product:

Healthcare MVP Development Process

Market research

This is the first step in building your product. Even before you roll out the product, you have to consider meeting the HL7 FHIR and HIPAA compliance requirements (these will be explained later in the article). Keeping that in mind, consider the following points as well:

Who are your ideal clients? Whom are you planning to target with the product?

Who are your competitors? Is there already a product like yours, and if yes, how are you going to make your product different?

These are some questions to be answered before going forward. 

Your idea must solve the problem faced by users

The product should address a problem faced by users. This will be based on market research, and you can come up with an idea afterward. Healthcare is a competitive domain and your ideation and concept must be prominent in the MVP roadmap. The business model, product design, and service offerings must align together. 

The features in the application

Identify the priority features in the MVP based on the target segment. If it’s meant wholly for the patients, it must have features that cater to their healthcare, and if it is for the doctors, the features must focus on end-to-end patient management. 

Budgeting

With proper planning, it is possible to develop the product with a minimal budget. There is no reason to spend all your resources right away before even knowing whether the product would be appreciated by the users. 

Resourcing

So where are the resources coming from? Do you have an in-house team or need to outsource? Startups and small businesses may need to outsource or hire professional MVP developers on a contractual basis. 

Build your MVP

Once the team is all assembled, you have decided on the design and features, get ready to build your MVP. This is the most crucial part because it's the last step before the product goes out to the beta users. Focus on the UI/UX design and wireframing and the priority features before releasing the MVP. 

Measure and learn through feedback

Once the MVP is rolled out, it is time for gathering user feedback and making changes based on their comments, observations, and analytical insights. 

Data Security Requirements

While healthcare applications have a serious role to play in society and are quite indispensable, they do have to be quite compliant with healthcare privacy rules. These are the national standards that protect an individual’s personal information and health plans. 

The law also mandates that personal health information must have limits and conditions on disclosure and uses and there should be patient authorization before they are released because the patients have rights over their data. They also have the right to secure a copy of their health records and examine them.

Every healthcare application must be built on a secure platform and adhere to the different legislations while collecting patient data and sharing them.

United States of America - The US of A is quite serious about patient data and its safety, and unless you comply with the requirements of certain regulatory boards like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act), the app will not see the light of day. These regulations contain all the mandates that must be followed while using and sharing patient data, ensuring transparency, explaining the motives of sharing the data and actions taken in the event of a breach. 

In 2009, the Obama Administration fixed the loopholes in the health information technology regulations through the HITECH Act and mandated that external audits of every healthcare software solution must be conducted and that they must comply with HIPAA patient information safety provisions.

As per the Technical Safeguard Standard of HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification Security Rule, four very crucial features must be incorporated into the product’s access control. Here they are: 

  • Unique user identification patterns
  • Personnel/role-based authorization
  • Automatic log-off
  • Emergency access

Canada - Canada is also quite serious when it comes to developing and sharing healthcare apps. There are regulations in both federal and local levels, for example, PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), where security mandates are explained in detail. 

United Kingdom - UK has its own specifications for developing and releasing healthcare applications. They also have a Data Protection Act of 1988 that’s still relevant and must be catered to. According to this act, the data must be stored, shared fairly, lawfully, and transparently. 

It is important to have a partner who knows all about the different regulations in different countries to develop your healthcare application, and who have the skills and expertise to develop applications around them. 

What Do You Get at Different MVP Stages?

Now that you are familiarised with the different compliance requirements and regulations in various countries, it is imperative to understand the different stages of product development:

  • Prototype - A prototype is a light-weight version of your product, and is a more tangible version of the idea you have regarding your product. It could be a functional, digital, and interactive version of the product you are planning to make or it could be a paper sketch. The simplest version of the prototype, with the imminent features of the app, can be created within 1-3 weeks. This would then be validated and later on considered for full-time product development.

  • MVP - An MVP can be developed within 3-4 months and is the minimum version of your product, hence the name, Minimum Viable Product. In an MVP, you pick the idea and roll it into something better with skilled developers working on it (using Agile and Scrum), so some amount of time and resources are required, but it allows you to test the waters with a solid business idea.

  • Commercial Product - Once the feedback on the MVP is received, you will know which features have been well-received, and which didn't click. So based on this feedback, you can set the ball rolling, scale the product further, and release a successful product. If the idea didn't pan out, you can abandon the idea with minimal damage to the company. 

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Healthcare MVP?

The cost of building an MVP is never fixed because the MVP itself could be simple or complicated. So the asking price may be $5000 and upwards. And then again, the cost depends on your approach and other related factors:

  • You could make the MVP in-house
  • Outsource MVP development
  • Hire a developer to build an MVP app
  • Hire a mobile app development company
  • The skill and expertise of the developers
  • The people on the MVP development team

Who should be in the MVP Development Team?

Manage MVP development for your company with the following people in your team:

Project Manager - The project managers are responsible for setting the number of iterations during the management and development cycle. The project manager will also decide what features can be afforded in the MVP and what the future product versions must contain.

Business Analyst - The Business Analyst or BA will watch the user interaction and decide the features that must be added upon or improved in the product. The BA also follows and sometimes sets standards and methodologies for the analysis and documentation of the product’s ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ scenarios. 

Product UI/UX Designers - They are responsible for designing features that define the usefulness and aesthetic value of the product. 

App Developers - They build the app’s features and using their skills and expertise, make the features as innovative and attractive as possible.

QA Engineers - Quality assurance engineers ensure that the quality of the product is retained. They assess the product and remove the kinks to ensure the functionality of the product, and quality is maintained. 

MVP Development Project Management Triangle

Conclusion

Having a healthcare MVP is a great way to remain focused on your product’s needs and business goals. Once the MVP is out, you can analyze the results to choose a more effective approach to product development. To ensure your MVP goes down the right path and to make certain that you don't have to rework and do more work on your product, it is imperative to have a reliable partner who has the expertise and experience in dealing with this kind of project.

If you are looking for a strong, credible partner to spearhead your software development projects in the realm of healthcare, Cabot Technology Solutions would be the right choice. The Cabot software developers are highly experienced with years of practical skills and problem-solving analytical knowledge that will take your project to the next level.

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