5 Steps to Defining Your Business Goals for Your Healthcare Mobile App – MedCity News | Hot Mobile Press

The past two years have forced millions of people to connect with their healthcare provider digitally for the first time: for example, the use of telemedicine has increased 38-fold since before the pandemic. Today, many healthcare organizations recognize the potential for digital solutions, such as mobile apps, to improve care delivery and transform the patient experience.

But there’s a lot of open water between realizing potential and launching an app that actually makes people’s lives better. The key to success is defining how the app impacts business goals. Here are five steps to defining business goals for a mobile health app.

1. Identify internal stakeholders

A patient-centric mobile app will affect many people: providers, front desk staff, the IT team, pharmacists, patients, etc. Which of these groups should be included when defining business goals? And who is responsible for filtering input and making decisions?

Additionally, it’s important to determine if your company has in-house talent with the skills and breadth to create the app.

2. Define the purpose of the app

Once you know who gets a say on the business side, it’s time to define the app’s purpose. These questions can help:

  • What role will the app play in your company?
  • Does the app recreate an actual experience, but digitally?
  • Will it add new experiences to keep you competitive?
  • Will it bring a new concept to healthcare to disrupt the industry?
  • Will it help you do what you’re better at?

There is no “right” answer.

The purpose of an IoT device connected to a wearable therapeutic, for example, is vastly different from that of a portal, which aims to facilitate patient-doctor communication. The idea is to consult with stakeholders and agree on how your app can be most impactful.

3. Talk to users

Skipping this step is one of the biggest mistakes a healthcare organization can make when launching a mobile app. Talking to end-users (both patients and doctors) is essential to validate (or disprove) your assumptions about how the app’s intended purpose can be achieved.

Many unsuccessful health apps fail because of this “how”. Patients might want a way to schedule appointments digitally, but if the app requires too many steps, patients probably won’t actually use it.

User research is all about understanding the real problems users are having. From there, the developers and designers can figure out how to solve these problems. You can do this by stress testing your assumptions about what you want the app to do.

Talk to real people in end-user groups, learn about their lives and concerns, show them mockups and prototypes, and incorporate their feedback at every stage.

The result is an app that actually improves users’ lives. As a result, adoption at launch is strong.

4. Decide who will maintain the app

Just as an app without users will not bring business gains, without maintenance it will not bring business gains.

Apps need to be updated, debugged, and improved regularly to stay relevant and secure.

For many healthcare organizations, the key question is whether an internal resource or an agency will do this work. If it’s an internal resource, it’s best to make sure they’re part of the development of the app so they can go into maintenance mode seamlessly and effectively.

5. Define the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Once you figure out how your mobile app can solve a real user problem, it’s time to build and ship the app. But instead of trying to build every feature into the version you launch, it’s better to deliver a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP – that is, a version that does only the bare minimum to meet user needs.

Why? This way you can learn from actual user behavior in the wild. Building and launching a slimmed-down version of your vision means you can instantly pull user data and apply it to future iterations.

When you start out with too many features, there’s always a risk that you’ll spend time and money on things that users don’t need or want — that is, things that won’t help you achieve your business goals for the app.

The expectation with any app is that you need to tweak and improve; Adopting an MVP helps minimize the rework you end up doing.

What’s good for users is good for the bottom line

Without users, the only business impact building an app will have is draining the budget. Linking the business goals for a mobile app to the wants and needs of actual users triggers adoption from day one.

To this end, healthcare organizations can adopt ways of working that prioritize user input throughout the development process and continuously post-market.

Image Credits: Venimo, Getty Images

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