Can you build an app for that?

Medicine practiced in every corner of the world is waking up to the benefits of mobile applications. New access is possible for rural populations, research is finding wider and more diverse sample populations, and the ease and error prevention of storing an entire medical history in a mobile device has led to great patient and provider satisfaction.

The benefits we will see from creative minds designing for patients on mobile devices stands to only increase. Have you thought of a way to communicate with patients via mobile? Track medication timing and adherence? The question is: can I build an app?

App basics:

Mobile applications, or “apps” for short, are computer programs that run on mobile operating systems and live on your smartphone. They can be as complex as a video game, a portal to watch Netflix, or as simple as a volunteer sign up for who’ll bring what side to a holiday party.

They all share accessibility using a cell phone signal (no internet required, though internet can be used) and are downloaded from a store, iTunes for Apple devices or Android for Android devices.

Building an App:

At the time of this article, there are many web-based website builders that allow you to create a website without needing to understand a bit of coding. Alas, there are now similar options for apps. However, there is upfront work for you to do in creating the idea before handing it over to the pros, but, creating an app is still possible.

Market research:

Pro builders recommend that you sit down and sketch out what you wish your app to look like. Decide the core function of your app. What does it need to do? Who are your users? When, why, and how often will they use this app?

Spend some time looking through the app store on your own phone to see if there is already an app that serves that purpose. Is it something you can improve upon? Do you need a fresh idea?

The app itself is a business. Approach it accordingly, with a detailed plan.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify:

On paper, create your landing page, and mockup all other pages that will need to be generated. This is the time to refine and simplify your ideas. Once you’ve got something to show, it’s time to find your app-building team.

Hire your team:

Assuming you don’t wish to learn coding and graphic design, there are businesses large and small that you can engage to build your app. Internet searches and putting the question out to your network of small business are great ways to start.

Interview companies until you find one that feels like the right fit for your business idea. Take your time, for this will potentially be a long and fruitful relationship. App designer skills are in high demand; expect to pay for value. Typically, they will require a project to be a certain size to take it on, but the fewer and more basic the pages the less the initial cost. The look and feel of your app, “user experience and user interfaces” are the lingo, and can mark its success, so this is another time to think of investing for the future.

With a solid and well-researched plan, the right team, and patience an app can be a useful and successful innovation.

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