Everything You Need to Know about On-Demand App Development: Cost & Features of Doctor Mobile App

Everything You Need to Know about On-Demand App Development_ Cost Features of Doctor Mobile App _ MediaOne

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night with an acute fever. You have no appetite, you are sweating profusely, and your throat feels like it’s burning. You know you need to see a doctor, but the thought of waiting for an appointment and travelling all the way to the nearest clinic is enough to make you give up and accept whatever fate awaits you.

That’s been the reality for many until we were introduced to the concept of a personal doctor. Now, you can consult a medical professional right from your mobile phone without the hassle of waiting and commuting.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything there’s to know about On-Demand App Development for Doctor Mobile Apps. From how they work, the market, and the benefits of developing one to the cost and features of such apps, we promise not to leave any stone unturned.

So, What’s a Doctor on-demand App? 

An on-demand doctor app is a platform that connects people to doctors and medical professionals. It provides users with an easy and convenient way of booking appointments, paying for services, seeking advice, or even connecting with a doctor for a personal consultation.

The telemedicine app contains lots of valuable features that make it easy for patients to book appointments, communicate with their doctors, or even pay for services. Some of these features include appointment scheduling, secure messaging, e-prescriptions, payment portals, health records, and more. 

How does the Doctor On-demand App work? 

The on-demand doctor app works by connecting users with healthcare providers. It provides patients with professional health consultations on the go. Users can select a doctor or healthcare provider that fits their needs upon downloading the app. The app then facilitates communication between the patient and doctor, allowing them to book appointments and receive medical advice instantly.

Generally, there are three roles that dictate how a doctor’s on-demand mobile app works: the patient, doctor, and administrator. 

Each role serves a different function and may or may not intersect depending on the app’s purpose. The patient will use the mobile app to search for and book appointments, view their medical history, and access other healthcare data.

The doctor can find relevant information on the patient and send medical advice through the app. Lastly, the administrator is responsible for managing all of the data associated with the app, such as billing and scheduling.

So, What Do Users Do With A Doctor Mobile App? 

So, What Do Users Do With A Doctor Mobile App? 

Let’s review the different roles and see what each does in the doctor’s mobile app. 

Doctor

  • Register and get verified
  • List their qualifications, services, and achievements
  • Offer services based on their specialities
  • Choose their preferred mode of communication: video call, offline appointments, chats, or a hybrid of all three
  • Fill in patients’ medical records

Patients

  • Register
  • Fill in details about their health
  • Search for nearby doctors based on various criteria: name, specialisation, location, time of response, reviews, feedback
  • View doctors’ profiles and reviews
  • Book appointments with a doctor
  • Pay for the services online or offline 
  • Review their medical history and records
  • Chat with the doctor if needed

Administrator

  • Verify Doctors’ credentials
  • Oversee doctor-patient communication
  • Manage appointments, payments, and records 
  • Handle patient support requests 
  • Notify patients of upcoming events — SMS, push notifications, email
  • Analyse the data to identify trends and outliers
  • Guarantee security and confidentiality

The On-demand Doctor’s App Market

According to Zion Market Research’s report, the global mHealth app market is growing at an annual rate of 38.26% and is estimated to reach USD 111.1  billion by 2025. 

Statista’s report findings are also encouraging. Their forecast for the telemedicine market worldwide for 2030 is USD 460.0 billion, up from USD 50  billion in 2019.

The factors that have contributed to the growth of the telemedicine market are:

  • The increased cost of healthcare
  • The Covid-19 pandemic
  • The digitalisation of all aspects of life
  • The need for faster diagnosis and treatment 
  • The increased use of smartphones, tablets, laptops 
  • The need for convenience in telemedicine services (no travel time, no queues, no paperwork, etc.) 
  • High-quality health services online (narrowed specialists, top-ranking professional, etc.) 

No wonder why many are deciding to invest in on-demand doctor mobile apps. With the right features, you can provide your patients a fantastic experience. 

Top 3 Doctor’s On-demand Apps

Top 3 Doctor’s On-demand Apps

If you’re going to invest in an on-demand doctor app, then it helps to check out the market leaders and see what you’re up against. Here are the three best mobile apps for on-demand doctors:

#1. Practo

Practo is one of the leading health apps in India. It has an extensive network of doctors across multiple cities and categories. It also offers monthly subscription plans, where patients can book doctors at discounted rates.

Although headquartered in Bangalore, India, the platform is established in over 15 countries.

With Practo, the app users can book appointments, consultations, check-ups, and even order medicines by uploading prescriptions.

#2. ZocDoc

Founded in 2007 by three healthcare practitioners (Cyrus Massoumi, Nick Ganju, and Oliver Kharraz), ZocDoc is a US-based healthcare app.

The app enables users to make appointments with doctors near them. It also has a “Find A Doctor” search feature that allows users to find doctors based on location, speciality, and insurance. ZocDoc also features a symptom checker tool that can be used to answer general medical questions.

Users can also review the doctor’s services and read feedback from other patients.

#3. Medici

Medici is a telemedicine app founded in 2016 by Clinton Phillips. It’s based in Austin, Texas, and provides users access to a nationwide network of healthcare providers.

Users can converse with these providers in real time via text, audio, or video. The app also allows users to get referrals for specialists, schedule appointments, and manage their medication through the app. 

It has a 24/7 physician hotline for medical questions and access to a fully HIPAA-compliant platform. 

Medici also provides users with an e-prescribing service, allowing them to get their medications delivered right to their door.

The app isn’t limited to human patients — even pets can enjoy the online treatment, as the app also enlists veterinarians for consultations.

The distinguishing feature is the app’s ability to let users invite their own doctors on board, allowing them to receive care from physicians they trust and have built a long-term relationship with. 

Even better, users can create group chats, where a council of several specialists can be consulted for a more comprehensive diagnosis.

Monetisation Strategy for On-demand Doctor’s App

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The most recommended monetisation model for on-demand doctor’s apps are:

  1. i) Commissions from Free Visits: The platform deducts a certain percentage from the fees charged by the doctors.
  2. ii) Subscription-based model: The strategy works well with a B2B model. People can sell their services to customers, paying a monthly or yearly subscription fee to continue using the platform.

iii) Sponsored or Boosted Listings: This model works perfectly for any app where the market is highly competitive. It allows providers to promote their services, making them more visible and easily accessible to customers.

  1. iv) Premium App Features: This model allows people to upgrade their experience with the app by giving them access to premium features for a certain fee. For example, users can pay for free consultations, wellness checks, follow-up appointments, etc. 
  2. v) In-App Purchases: This model allows providers to offer additional services and products directly within the app, such as medical equipment or medications. This feature not only provides convenience to customers but also helps providers to make extra money with every purchase. 
  3. vi) Sponsorships: You may seek partnerships with other service providers within the healthcare sector. For example, you could partner with wellness or nutrition companies to offer your app users discounts and exclusive deals. It’s a great way to monetise your app and add value to users simultaneously.
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The Challenges You’re Likely to Face While Developing an On-demand Doctor’s App

Here are some common challenges that you may face while developing an on-demand doctor’s app: 

  • Complex User Interface and Interaction Design

It goes beyond aesthetics. Your designers should carefully consider your medicinal app’s appearance and feel. First, they must keep the interface clutter-free. Second, they should consider the meanings of colours, fonts, graphics, and other elements. 

Popular colours in the healthcare sector include pink, blue, white, green, and pink. 

Here’s what each of these colours may convey: 

    • Blue: trustworthiness, stability, and reliability 
    • Green: growth, health, and natural environment 
    • White: cleanliness, innocence, and purity 
    • Pink: empathy, care, and warmth 

Lastly, they want to make sure the app is easy to use. The user should intuitively understand how to navigate the interface. Professional designers can ensure the layout is well-thought-out and optimised for ease of use.

  • GDPR and HIPAA Compliance

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The app must strictly adhere to security standards, such as GDPR and HIPAA. To stay compliant with these regulations, developers must use only secure development practices. They must also ensure the protection of sensitive data, such as medical records and patient information. 

The developers must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if the app targets EU customers. 

Here are the guidelines that the app may need to conform to if it’s operating in the US:

    • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): This US law sets standards for ensuring the privacy and security of sensitive health information. Developers must ensure that the app meets all HIPAA rules and regulations.
    • DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration): This US law regulates the production, distribution, and use of certain controlled substances. Developers must make sure that the app complies with DEA regulations.
    • FDA (Food and Drug Administration): This US law regulates the safety and quality of food, drugs, medical devices, and other products. Developers must ensure that the app meets all FDA requirements.
    • CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services): This US government agency administers Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other health-related programs. 
    • Local Guidelines: States may also have their own laws and regulations governing the provision of telehealth services. Developers must ensure that their mobile applications comply with all local guidelines.
  • Audio and Video Streaming Architecture:

Doctor on-demand apps primarily rely on audio and video streaming technologies for providing remote consultations. 

Videos must be live-streamed with low latency and minimal disruption, and the audio must be as high-quality as possible. The streaming architecture must be able to handle a large number of concurrent connections without compromising user experience. 

Critical aspects of the app’s architecture include the video streaming protocol (encoder and playback), server selection, and network optimisation.

You might want to use a flexible and scalable streaming engines provider such as Wowza, Flashphoner, or StreamNode to ensure the platform can handle sudden spikes in demand.

  • Performance and Scaling 

Your apps must be designed with performance in mind. You don’t want to cripple your users’ experience with slow-loading pages, DNS issues, or non-responsiveness. For proper design, ensure you have DevOps on your team to design and configure the backend architecture to meet load and stress testing requirements.

But don’t forget about scalability too. As your business grows, you should be able to scale up your mobile apps to meet increased demand. Make sure you have a plan for scaling up the app as needed. This way, you can ensure that your users will always get the best experience possible, even when demand is at its peak.

The Required Tech Stack for On-demand Doctor’s App

A technology stack is a list of programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and other tools you’ll use to build the app. For an on-demand doctor’s app, you’ll probably need the following:

  • Backend: The backend stores and manipulates the app’s logic and data, running it on a web server. Popular backend tech stack choices for doctor apps include PHP, Node.js, Ruby on Rails, and Python.
  • Frontend Development: You will also need frontend developers to create the user interface and experience of the app. They will use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Bootstrap, AngularJS, React, or other frameworks to create the app interface. 
  • Database: This is where the app stores and retrieves data from. You’ll likely use a relational database like MySQL or MariaDB. NoSQL databases like MongoDB are also increasingly popular for some apps.
  • Location Data: You’ll need a way to track the locations of your doctor and patient users for an on-demand app. Map SDKs (software development kits) such as Google Maps or Mapbox are the best option here.
  • Messaging: You’ll need a way for doctors and patients to communicate with each other. Depending on your requirements, a third-party messaging API like Twilio or Nexmo may be required. 
  • Payment Processing: If you charge for your service, you’ll need a way to process user payments. Stripe Connect is a good option for this, and it can also be integrated with other services such as Braintree or PayPal.
  • Technology Platforms: The app may also be developed for the following computing platforms:
  • iOS: with objective C or Swift
  • Android: with Java or Kotlin
  • Web: with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Express JS, React JS
  • Cross-platform: with React Native, Xamarin, Flutter, or NativeScript
  • Video Streaming APIs: You may also need video streaming APIs, such as Wowza, Flashphone, Twilio, or Red5 Pro, to enable real-time video communications in the app. 
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network): To deliver the content to users quickly, you may also need a CDN such as Akamai, Cloudflare, Azure CDN, or Amazon CloudFront. 
  • Health and Third-party Security APIs: You may also need to include health and third-party security APIs, such as DocuSign, True Vault API, Human API, Getsafe, Health Gorilla, or Apple HealthKit.
  • Hosting and Deployment Services: Last but not least, you’ll need hosting and deployment services such as AWS (Amazon Web Services), Azure, or Google Cloud Platform to deploy your app into the cloud. 

The Required Team Structure for Developing a Doctor On-demand App

The Required Team Structure for Developing a Doctor On-demand App

Developing a doctor on-demand app requires a team of developers, project managers, UX/UI designers, testers, and QA engineers.

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Here’s what your team should consist of:

  • Business Analyst (if Needed): Validates your business requirements, evaluates ideas, plans development activities, and oversees the project.
  • Project Manager: Manages the development process, teams, resources, and schedules.
  • UX/UI Designers: Evaluate user requirements, illustrate design ideas, and design GUI elements.
  • Backend Developers: Design and build the server-side architecture of the app.
  • Frontend Developers: Design, develop, and maintain user interfaces for web and mobile applications.
  • iOS Developer: Develops native apps for the iOS platform. Must be proficient in Objective-C and Swift/Java.
  • Android Developer: Develops native apps for the Android platform. They must be proficient in Java, Kotlin, and Android Studio.
  • Cross-platform Developers: Develops mobile apps that are compatible with different platforms. They must be proficient in React Native, Flutter, or Xamarin.
  • Quality Assurance Analysts: Test the functionality and usability of mobile applications.
  • DevOps (Optional): Responsible for developing and managing the infrastructure that supports mobile applications.

When working with an app development company, you must make sure they make the team selection based on the project’s scope, complexity, and timeline.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make a Doctor On-demand App:

Now that you know the team you need to create a doctor on-demand app, here’s a step-by-step guide to get it done:

Form a Clear Vision of the App

Start by defining your app’s purpose and create a strategy for development.

Your idea should be solid and well-formulated. Think through everything and then proceed to analyse the market. See where your product fits and what sets it apart from the competition.

To better understand the market, evaluate both direct and indirect competition.

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Who’s your strongest rival? How do they monetise their app? What can you learn from them that will help you succeed?

You also want to look for the gaps in their services — by reading through negative reviews, for example.

Write an SRS (Software Requirements Specification)

This will serve as your blueprint and comprehensive document for the development process.

It should define all the features, requirements and functionalities of your app in a detailed manner.

Prototype and Design

This is where your app starts taking shape. A prototype will help you get a feel for how the app might look, and it’s also an excellent way to test out different features and user interfaces.

It may entail coming up with user stories, sketching, drawing storyboards, and creating wireframes.

Once the prototypes have been approved, the design stage begins. It involves creating high-fidelity visual designs, such as logos, UI/UX elements and branding strategies.

Development

The development process can be quite intricate. You want to hire experienced developers to get the job done right. It is even better when the developer has experience creating similar healthcare apps.

The development team must write code, test the app, and ensure the features work as intended. It’s a long and complex process that requires intensive coding and debugging.

Build an MVP

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a version of the app with just enough features for launch. It should include all the essential features and design elements that make a mobile app successful.

It should test the viability of the app idea and be a valid representation of what users will expect in the final version.

Here’s a comparison of must-have features for an on-demand doctor’s app:

Features for Patients Features for Healthcare Providers Features for Administrators
Log in/Sign up for patients Sign-in/Sign-up for healthcare providers Secure Login
Patient Profiles for updating their health information, uploading docs, and adding their billing information Provider’s panel for updating their qualifications, profile info, achievements, and viewing their earnings, patients, etc Record Management
Search features for searching and finding health practitioners based on their qualifications, specialisations, locations, reviews, etc   Doctor profiles with credentials and qualifications User management
Appointment booking and scheduling with doctors in the area   Availability and schedule management for doctors Prescriptions and reports management
Appointment and prescription history   Online chat to communicate with patients Payment gateway integration
Payment options for making payments for appointments and services   Accessibility to patient records, prescriptions, reports, etc. Customised reporting tools 
Push and email notifications for appointments, reminders, etc.   Push and email notifications for appointments, reminders, etc. Analytics and insights dashboard

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Launch and Improve

Launching an MVP is only the beginning of the journey. There will be plenty of room to improve and add features as you go along. With the help of analytics, user feedback and other data analytics, you can continue to refine your product and make it truly outstanding.

 Remember, just because a feature has been included in the initial launch doesn’t mean it is perfect. There is always room for improvement and enhancements that can be made as you gain more insights into user behaviour.

The Cost of Developing a Doctor On-demand App

The development cost depends on the specific features you choose, the complexity, and the platform. Generally speaking, the more complex your app is, the more expensive it will be. 

Here are some of the factors that may affect the cost of your Doctor On-demand App: 

  • Design Complexity: Design complexity is influenced by the number of screens, user interface sophistication, the number of devices the app needs to support and any integrations with external systems.
  • The Number of Complex Features: More features mean more cost. The core logic will influence the time spent developing the app.
  • Platforms to Support: If you want your app to be available on both iOS and Android,  then the development cost will be higher than if you just develop the app for one platform. 
  • Development option (native apps or cross-platform): Native apps are the best in terms of performance and design, but they can be more expensive. Cross-platform app development is a cost-effective option, but it comes at the expense of performance and design.
  • Add-ons and Third-Party Integrations: Certain third-party integrations and add-ons can also increase the cost of app development.
  • Team Composition: Hiring a team of highly specialised experts for developing a doctor app will cost you more than relying on the expertise of a single person or a group of freelancers. 

So, how much will your mobile doctor app cost you? It depends on the number of hours poured into the project.

Given the complexity of doctor mobile apps, it may take 1000 plus hours of development time. With the average cost of app development at $50 per hour, you can expect to pay around $50K or more to develop your app.

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And how long does it take to develop a doctor mobile app? It also depends on the complexity and features of your app. A basic doctor mobile application with limited features may take around six weeks to develop. But a more sophisticated application with all the bells and whistles can take up to 6 months or more.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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