According to forecasts, the global medical scheduling software market will grow to USD 738.6 million by 2027 from USD 389.21 million in 2022. Such digital solutions are designed to reduce the staff load related to scheduling and managing appointments via phone, in person, or in any other way. Besides, 85% of clients prefer to make appointments through mobile devices as compared to 16% from desktops. This means, the mobile doctor appointment apps will continue to appear and grow. And not to stay among the laggers, you better think of creating one today.
In Surf practice, we are always eager to take part on innovative and trendsetting projects. And to be the first to market without losing in quality, most of our clients choose Flutter, a cross platform framework developed by Google. Thus, we developed the first neobank in Pakistan for millennial users, powered with Flutter, and the first Flutter-powered bank in Europe, and more.
In this article we want to share more detailed information about the roadmap and its role in the doctor appointment app’s success and cover strengths and benefits of Flutter for your future product.
Developing a doctor appointment app: what do you get out of it?
Before we go into details of the product development roadmap, let’s take a look at the business expectation behind creating doctor appointment booking apps.
Winning customers loyalty
Healthcare service providers offer their customers options to book a doctor appointment from anyplace and anytime they need it, supplemented with comparing possibilities based on a comprehensive list of accessible professionals. The users have at their disposal automatic reminders integrated with a calendar, can review their health-related docs before and after doctor consultation, securely pay for the services and get their insurance integrated.
As a result, the clinic acquires loyal customers who are satisfied with their experience and recommend it readily to their circle of friends and acquaintances (and this is an important factor within the healthcare domain). The conversion rates and LTV grow along with the users’ satisfaction.
Improving internal workflow
The second side of the same coin is that clinics get the possibility to improve efficiency with fewer no-shows and more accurate health data collection. Doctors’ routine work can be automated and they can manage patients’ flow and regulate the workload. All together this allows enhanced communication processes and increases staff productivity.
What can go wrong?
Ideally, the above benefits are obvious and achievable. All that is left to do is to create an app under the specified time limits, within the approved budget, and with top quality. The business is ready to invest lots of money and resources with the aim to create unique products and\or be ahead of the competitors.
But in practice the finished app may face negative receipt by users that, in the long run, may have an adverse effect on conversion rates, LTV, and effectiveness of internal processes.
Unfortunately, the proof can be easily found in users’ reviews.
The complaints may range from the app functionality and UX to connectivity problems and bugs, and many other issues. The resulting effect can be
- irritating experience for users who are already under a lot of stress because of their health troubles, and
- adding complexity and mess to the clinic staff work instead of the expected smooth workflow.
One of the proven methods to strike a balance between time, cost, and quality of your future app is a roadmap, an effective project management tool.
A roadmap for your Flutter doctor appointment app
What is a roadmap?
The product development roadmap presents the vision and the development plan for your product. In fact, it’s a dynamic list of features or requirements that are prioritized and arranged according to the timeline of their release.
Different teams use different types and formats of roadmap. Some projects may require a more detailed roadmap scheduled by week, by date, and for each person, and updated every few days. While smaller teams can use a weekly plan presenting scope of work to be done and persons in charge.
To learn more about the roadmap concept and different approaches read our dedicated article.
What type to choose for your project is a matter of usability. From Surf experience, we may share some tips to consider
- Do not stick to the fixed roadmap format. If the PM observes that the team does not use the format or is reluctant to use it, it’s better to discuss with the team and find a more convenient way to work.
- A sign of the efficient roadmap is when the team members come with ideas and suggestions for optimization. This means, people are involved in the process and the roadmap does serve as a regularly used tool for them.
- The suitable and fit-for-purpose format of the roadmap allows each team member to act on their own — even in case their PM is off for some days (vacation, illness, or for any other reason).
What are the roadmap goals?
If we go deeper into the roadmap practical goals in the frames of the project, we would distinguish two main areas
- First of all, the roadmap provides the team (including all stakeholders involved) with a clear understanding of whether everything is going according to the plan, whether the team is on time for the preset deadlines, and what measures shall be taken to promptly mitigate time-related risks.
- The second point is that the team has a definite and consistent perception of what they will do next and how their current activities may influence the future progress. That is, not only the PM manages the process. For example, starting with some functionality, the programmers themselves make provisions in advance for the next steps. This increases the team rate of involvement and develops a sense of individual responsibility which leads to better team efficiency and performance in general.
How can the roadmap influence project time, cost, and quality?
Deadlines are vitally important for any project though the reasons behind may vary. Some projects are scheduled to be finished by a definite date. For instance, by the start of a marketing campaign, or by the period of the seasonal flu. From this point, the roadmap is a tool that allows at any moment to understand whether the progress fits the time limits or not, so that at some critical moment the team can react and figure out how to proceed to meet the deadlines.
The second point is money. The roadmap displays what scope is planned to be covered for a certain period and a certain price. If the business stakeholders decide to add some more features to the app, the roadmap does not directly show money but helps visualize how the timeline will extend. And even if the deadlines are not the key factor, the more the project lasts the more the business pays.
The third but not the least point is quality. The app development process is flexible. If new logic is required for a feature, the previous time estimate may change. The roadmap helps understand to what extent. And here the point is to decide what is more important: to meet the deadlines or to comply with the new logic. Schedule overrun may be critical if the release is timed to coincide with some event or campaign. While cutting off the logic for the sake of would mean losing in quality, because the user will not have the opportunity, for example, to make a pre-order at the checkout stage.
Specifics of roadmap for Flutter-powered projects
The development time for the same feature for iOS and Android may be different. Accordingly, the roadmap will need to be customized for each platform and monitored twice as thoroughly to always have an understanding which platform makes more progress.
For Flutter, there is one roadmap as there is one development team. There will be no need to assemble 2 different teams, one for each platform. It is enough to have several developers with corresponding competencies in one team. They will share the common pool of tasks and follow the unified roadmap.
More reasons to develop doctor appointment app with Flutter
High quality cross platform solution
The first and obvious benefit is using a single code base for six platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and web. The main part of the project code base will be unified (80-95%, depending on the specifics of the project). Some adaptations will be necessary which refer mainly to platform-specific features and UX. But they will still remain adaptations, and not re-coding the app every time anew for every platform.
What does it mean? Your project will enter the market 30-40% faster and will cost less as you do not have to hire a development team for every platform. Maintaining your app is going to be up to 70% cheaper than maintaining separate native iOS and Android applications.
Native look and feel
Flutter has always offered good possibilities for creating up-to-date design solutions, and it keeps evolving. Since the Flutter 3.0 release, the framework supports Material Design 3 including such features as dynamic color; updated system of colors and typography; updates to many components and new graphic effects introduced in Android 12.
What does it mean? Businesses have an opportunity to create cross-platform apps with the most advanced design features. For the healthcare domain, soothing and easy to use UI\UX is vitally important as the users’ goals in the app are mostly related to stressful situations themselves and they do not need any additional concern or irritating factors.
We have developed our own approach to architecture and use it in most Flutter projects to create a clean architecture and easily testable code. It is especially useful in e-commerce and fintech projects where animations, drop-down lists, and specific changes in the UI are triggered by specific actions.
What does it mean? Cleaner code allows cutting maintenance and revision times. This results in less time on development, maintenance, and upgrades in the long run. Apps are easier to test; detecting and fixing a bug require much less time.
Flutter has proven to work well for integrations. With Dart, the integration of unique features of third-party plugins or libraries is not that challenging. Still, the developers who are not aware of Dart’s functionality might consider it difficult. Besides, the Flutter engine has certain limitations for integrating native modules via Xcode of Android Studio by default. Flutter’s documentation includes manual instructions to deal with possible complications and successfully integrate it for Android and iOS.
What does it mean? Your doctor appointment apps will be safely and reliably integrated with EHR systems, calendars, insurance and payment systems, and any other third-party services you may need.
But before you rush off to hire Flutter developers, let’s save your time and check whether the technology does match your project. We do not recommend things that are not the best fit for your project.
So, you do not need Flutter
- for mobile apps with universally accepted MVVM, MVP, and MVC architecture
- for native apps without functional limitations or UI
- for mobile apps with a particular focus on native functionality and performance
- for brand-specific and feature-specific apps for a standalone business.