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Developers that create healthcare apps are looking to build programs that help people of all demographics to live their best lives. However, an app is only truly making a difference if people are using it and engaging with the program regularly. If you’re looking into creating a new app, you need to do a lot of planning to increase user engagement and draw in new users.

Considerations During The Planning Stages

Before you start building the specific functions of your app, it’s wise to do some initial planning so you know which direction you want to take to get the most engagement. Technology continuously evolves, and trends are constantly changing, so you want to keep up to date on what patients will actually want in their healthcare app.

One way to get that information is by seeking customer feedback through surveys. You’ll want to interview individuals in the demographic you believe would use your app the most to get the most reliable information.

Before you pick your participants, put out a screening questionnaire to ask about their familiarity with apps, how they use them, and details about their health. Then select the folks that you believe would provide valuable information and pick their brains. This can also be a useful way to continually refine and improve your app after it’s released and people have had a chance to use it.

Make It For Everyone

When you’re developing your app, you’ll want to make it as inclusive as possible to grow your potential user pool. One of your primary objectives in this area is to make your app accessible as possible for all users, both in terms of services provided and usable features.

For example, many patients experience medical anxiety due to previous bad experiences or worries about the unknown and may avoid scheduling medical appointments because of their fears. Developers can soothe patient anxiety by creating apps that aim to streamline the medical experience, allow for easy scheduling and communication with healthcare providers, and educate patients on medical procedures. Creating applications with these services can increase healthcare accessibility by helping patients who would be wary of visiting the doctor’s office overcome their fears and barriers to care.

Accessibility should also be built into the physical design of your application.  Some individuals with motion sickness may be unable to use an app with many animations, so only use them when necessary. Individuals who are blind or have low vision may not be able to see smaller text, so build your app with larger text, make navigation more straightforward, and create legible menus. You can also cater your app to people who may not be able to talk on the phone or get to the doctor’s office. You can help them out by implementing chatbots that can quickly answer questions and get patients to the right place for the proper care.

Privacy is also an issue for many patients, especially those with marginalized identities such as LGBTQ patients and people who simply don’t feel comfortable putting their information into a device. Privacy advisories and researching HIPAA compliance guidelines could go a long way here.  Also, give the user options for who can and cannot see their data.

Allow Users To Proactively Manage Their Health

One way to encourage patient engagement with your app is to allow users to proactively manage their own health. You can implement many functions to make this happen, including the ability for patients to schedule appointments from their phones, so they can also avoid long wait times at the doctor, which they will truly appreciate.

Many people use wearable tech like FitBits to manage their stats and keep track of their steps. By programming your app so it can be used on their existing wearable tech, they can keep a closer eye on their health and make smarter decisions.

Finally, consider adding chat functionality to your app. Patients can use it to communicate with their doctors when they have concerns or questions. If they don’t have to wait until their appointment time, then they could get the help they need then and there and move on with their lives.

Encourage People To Try It

Once your app is developed, you can continue encouraging patient engagement by getting it out to the public and showing off what it can do. One way to reach a wider audience is to promote your app on the top social media websites. You can gain traction by using the media platform for the demographic you believe will use your program the most. For example, some apps, like Facebook, tend to skew to an older demographic, so if that applies there, consider posting about the functions your app can perform and how it can help that audience thrive.

You can also have doctors help you to promote the app by encouraging them to use the features that may excite potential patients, like telehealth functionality. Some patients may be unable to drive to a medical office. If the doctor shows them that they can use your app to reach them from home, they may get excited about the prospect and continue using the app.

Even better, they may tell their friends about it, and you can expand the reach of your app via word-of-mouth.

In conclusion, you can create a healthcare app that people will actually use by researching your demographic, asking the people what they want, and then programming to those needs. Continue to fine-tune your vision and your app can help patients for years to come.