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How To Build A Medication Notification App

create medical app

As healthcare costs rise all over the world, patients are demanding better accountability from the healthcare delivery system. The healthcare sector certainly has its work cut to become more patient-centric.

This industry is using modern technologies to improve service delivery to patients. E.g., medical appointment apps use technologies like cloud and mobile to enable patients to book doctor’s appointments easily. I have explained this use case in “How to build a medical appointment app”.

Yet another example is how medical apps are enabling doctors to improve the experience of patients. These apps utilize technologies like analytics, cloud, and mobile technologies, as I have explained in “How to build a medical app for doctors”.

Mobile apps are now providing medication notifications to patients so that they don’t miss their medication. The market for such apps is growing. If you are an entrepreneur with plans to tap into this market, then this guide on how to build a medication notification app is a must-read for you.

Contents

An example of a medication notification app
1. Project definition
2. Project planning
3. Procure tools for design and development
4. Project execution and tracking
Planning to launch your medication notification app?

An example of a medication notification app

Let’s review a popular medication notification app so that you understand what patients want from such apps. The “Medisafe App” is a great example, which is available on Android and iOS. This app offers the following features:

  • Users can get pill reminders and alarms for their medication needs.
  • Medisafe provides a drug-to-drug interaction checker.
  • It has a feature to help family members and caregivers in managing the health of the patient.
  • Medisafe provides medicine trackers and refill-reminders.
  • This app sets up doctor’s appointments and manages the calendar of appointments.
  • Users can get support for complex dose schedules, moreover, they can add “as needed” medications, vitamins, and supplements in the app.
  • The app provides the full selection of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications to track.
  • Users can share daily, weekly, and monthly medication reports with logbooks from the app with their doctors.
  • Medisafe tracks various health measurements concerning different medical conditions.
  • Users can set up customized reminders using this app.
  • Medisafe offers discount cards and drugstore coupons in the US for stores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, etc. This app also supports in-app purchases.

You can review its Android app for more information, alternatively, you can also look at the Medisafe iOS app.

I will now explain how to build a medication notification app, which involves the following:

1. Project definition

Onboard a competent PM, an experienced IT architect, and a team of business analysts (BAs) experienced in the healthcare industry. This team should do the following:

1a. Define the scope of the overall app

Through a series of discussions with the business stakeholders, the team should define the scope of the overall app. I recommend the following scope:

  • Offer an Android and an iOS app with features similar to Medisafe.
  • Create a website to provide sufficient information about your business and the apps.
  • Support English-speaking users in the US, to start with.

1b. Choose the right SDLC model

Given that you are developing mobile apps, I recommend that you use the Agile SDLC model. Mobile apps are “Systems of Engagement” (SoEs) and you will frequently enhance them, therefore, Agile fits well here. Read “What is software development life cycle and what you plan for?” to learn more about Agile.

1c. Prioritize the features for your MVP

You will likely launch an MVP, which stands for “Minimum Viable Product”, to test the market. Naturally, you should prioritize the features for this MVP, which involves the following:

  • Use tools like the “Pain and gain map” to categorize features based on their impact on your users.
  • Prioritize features for your MVP using tools like the “Prioritization matrix”.

Our guide “5 tips to create a sleek MVP” can help you during this step.

2. Project planning

Plan the project meticulously, and take the following steps:

2a. Formulate a development approach

A success-oriented development approach is important, therefore, I recommend that you do the following:

  • Plan to secure your mobile apps.
  • Find a cloud hosting provider for hosting the planned website.
  • Use managed cloud services platforms like “Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service” (MBaaS) so that you don’t need to manage the IT infrastructure.
  • Use a popular “Content Management System” (CMS) solution like WordPress to build the website.
  • Create native Android and iOS apps so that you can offer the best user experience and performance.
  • Use reputed 3rd party API solutions for non-core features, however, build your APIs to implement the core features.
  • Find a mobile device lab on the cloud to aid in test automation.

Read “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?” for more insights.

2b. Prepare to secure your mobile apps

Your mobile apps will likely process PHI, therefore, you should prepare to comply with stringent regulations like HIPAA. Information security is a key focus area in such regulations, therefore, pay attention to application security. Do the following:

  • Read the report titled “Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top ten 2017 project“, and prepare to mitigate the top risks.
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) and industry-standard encryption algorithms like AES-256.
  • Utilize next-generation firewalls and antivirus solutions.
  • Secure APIs using techniques like digital signature, encryption, authentication tokens, quotas, throttling, and secure gateways.
  • Use real-time threat intelligence capabilities.
  • Consider using a hybrid cloud deployment so that you can store sensitive data on a private cloud and run other workloads on a public cloud.
  • Automate compliance and security testing and make them part of your CI/CD pipeline. Read “Compliance-as-code: Addressing compliance challenges through automation” for more insights.

2c. Find the right managed cloud platforms

You need a cloud hosting provider for your proposed WordPress website, and I recommend that you use Amazon Lightsail. It’s a secure and reliable offering from AWS, and you can quickly get a WordPress site up and running with it.

You would do well to use an MBaaS platform for developing the planned mobile apps. MBaaS platforms offer the following advantages:

  • They manage the cloud infrastructure and persistent storage. For you, this eliminates the time-consuming task of building and managing a mobile backend, as I have explained in “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?”.
  • MBaaS platforms make it easy to scale your mobile app, furthermore, you will find it easy to implement features like security, user management, and “push notifications”.
  • You can easily integrate APIs when you use an MBaaS platform.

I recommend that you use AWS Amplify, the MBaaS offering from AWS.

2d. Choose your technology stack

I recommend that you use the following technology stack:

  • Use PostgreSQL for API development, which is a powerful open-source RDBMS.
  • MongoDB is the right choice for the NoSQL database when you develop your APIs.
  • Use Java for native Android development since most Android developers are experienced with it.
  • Code the iOS app using Swift, which is the modern language for developing apps for various Apple platforms. This feature-rich language facilitates error-free programming and helps to code scalable and performant mobile apps. Read “How to migrate your Objective-C project to Swift?” to learn about its advantages.

2e. Onboard and organize your development team

You need to onboard people for the following roles to build the complete development team:

  • UI designers;
  • Java programmers for native Android development;
  • Native iOS developers with Swift skills;
  • Testers;
  • DevOps engineers.

Read our guide “How to find a good software developer” for help.

Organize the team using the “Scrum” technique, which works well for managing Agile projects. Form small, cross-functional “Scrum teams” where developers and testers work together.

The PM should perform the role of a “Scrum Master” and keep the team focused on delivering business value to customers. “Scrum teams” work on iterations, which are called “Sprints”, as you can read in our guide “How to build a Scrum development team?”.

3. Procure tools for design and development

You can expedite your project by using suitable tools, therefore I recommend the following:

3a. Procure a suitable WordPress theme

WordPress is a powerful open-source CMS, and you can build your website quickly with it. Using a suitable theme makes sense since it will help you to get a professional look and feel for your website.

I recommend that you use HouseMed, which is a responsive WordPress theme for medical businesses. HouseMed has a drag-and-drop page builder, therefore, building an attractive and SEO-friendly website becomes easier.

3b. Get market-leading 3rd party APIs for non-core features

You need to display drug-to-drug interaction information in your mobile apps, however, this isn’t a core feature. Use a market-leading 3rd party API solution for this, and I recommend Wolters Kluwer for this.

Its “All Drug APIs” can help you to display useful information about drugs, e.g., adverse drug effects information, drug allergy information, drug interactions information, etc. You need to create an account with Wolters Kluwer to use these APIs.

Another non-core feature in your mobile apps is “push notifications”, and you can use a 3rd party bulk-SMS API solution to implement this. I recommend that you sign-up with Twilio, and use its “Programmable SMS” API solution. Read “Messaging services and Copilot” to learn how to use it.

3c. Sign-up for a mobile device lab on the cloud

Your Android and iOS apps must work with all applicable devices, however, you first need to test them against a wide range of devices. This requires a mobile device lab on the cloud.

I recommend that you sign-up with Experitest. Its mobile device & browser lab on the cloud has over 1,000 devices/browser combinations and you can easily use it with your test automation suite.

3d. Get the right PM tool

A scrum team focuses on the processes and activities that deliver value to customers. Such a team works as follows:

  • A “Product Owner” provides the requirements in a document called the “Product Backlog”.
  • The scrum team estimates and schedules the requirements in sprints.
  • A Scrum team holds “Daily stand-up meetings” to discuss the project status, moreover, they demonstrate the functional app to the business stakeholders in a “Sprint review meeting”.
  • During this meeting, the business stakeholders approve the sprint if the app works as desired.

You should use a modern PM tool like Jira to manage these activities.

4. Project execution and tracking

The execution and tracking of this project involve the following:

4a. API development

You need to take the following steps to develop APIs for your core features:

  • Host your APIs using your AWS account.
  • Use PostgreSQL and MongoDB as database solutions, moreover, use Postman as the API development and testing tool.
  • Document your APIs using Swagger.
  • Secure the APIs as I have already explained.
  • Manage the development, staging, and production environments while developing your APIs.
  • Design meaningful API URL paths, moreover, create effective rules for API requests/responses.

Read our guide “How to build RESTful API for your mobile app?” for more insights.

4b. UI design

Offer user-friendly UIs by taking the following steps:

4c. Develop your planned mobile apps

Developing your planned Android app involves the following steps:

  • Use Android Studio, which is the popular IDE for Android development.
  • Integrate the APIs with your Java code.
  • Test the app using Espresso and the Experitest mobile device lab.
  • Publish the app using the instructions in “Publish your app”.

Code, test, and publish the iOS app by taking the following steps:

  • Use the Xcode IDE and integrate the APIs in your Swift code.
  • Use XCTest and the Experitest mobile device lab for testing the app.
  • Publish the app to the Apple App Store by taking guidance from “Submit your apps to the App Store”.

4d. Use a real-time dashboard to track the project

Using a data-driven real-time dashboard can help you to track the project well. I recommend that you use one, and read our guide “How a real-time dashboard can revolutionize your eSports development process?” for more insights.

Planning to launch your medication notification app?

This guide will certainly help, however, launching a medication notification app with sufficient differentiators could turn out to be a complex project! Consider engaging a reputed software development company for such projects, and read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” to find one.