Vladimir Makeew CEO of Surf

    Doctor Consultation App Development: Project Stages, Features, Technology Stack

    Healthcare app development trends are expanding, and the pandemic became one of the main factors of the apps for patients and doctors popularity. For instance, the global online doctor consultation market is estimated to be $8.80 Bn in 2020 and is expected to reach $12.63 Bn by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 7.5%. Forecasts are very favourable for those who are planning to develop these apps or have already started creating them. 

    But how to offer an audience a doctor consultation app that will be noticed, among so many others with similar functionality and not overpay for development? 

    At Surf, we have been developing numerous apps for different niches, including medicine and healthcare since 2011. In this article, we’ll describe everything you should know about the development stages and give some tips based on our experience. 

    screens of apps
    Apps developed by Surf

    Curious to see how 12 years’ experience helps us build top quality healthcare apps?

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    How to start doctor consultation app development 

    A successful development process is incomprehensible without planning and estimation. The more detailed plan you have and the better understanding of a desired result you’ve formed, the easier and faster you and your developers will launch the app. And the more likely the app will meet your expectations. 

    What are the main steps for pre-project activities for your online doctor consultation app development? Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

    1. Business analysis

    This step isn’t necessary if your in-house team has conducted their own research before creating an app or if you have a small business. But for large-scale companies, working with a vendor team on long-term projects and complex products, it becomes a must because:

    • In such cases, several departments are responsible for product development: IT department, marketing, sales, etc. Experts from different fields have their own goals and objectives when planning the doctor consultation app development. The analyst is the one who collects, processes and formalizes the goals, objectives, and expectations of the stakeholders in order to build a single vision of the product.
    • Development team members and stakeholders can vary within a project. That’s why it’s important to have an up-to-date knowledge base. Business analysts create and keep it. Among other things, the knowledge base helps reduce onboarding time when a new specialist joins the product team and helps quickly find answers to questions about the product.
    • Different specialists from a product team perceive the product from different angles: UI/UX design, development process, and so on. Everyone has a fragmented vision. However, a well-performing product means a complete one, so we need a “big picture”. The analyst examines the product in general and from all sides, forming a “helicopter view, offers a complete vision of the result and decomposes it. 

    Business and market analysts conduct research to learn everything about your business, the benefits of your product, and your audience’s needs to outline opportunities to grow. They also learn more about your competitors and their solutions to make your offering a unique one. 

    Thanks to business analytics, a development process takes up to 20% less time, a business gets a guarantee that a product is worth investing (or refuses from initial idea in the opposite case), recognizes possible risks, and avoids overpaying

    2 blocks description
    Example of competitors’ analysis

    2. Choosing features for a doctor consultation app MVP

    The best way to evaluate the viability of the intended product is creating an MVP. Adding one core feature or several of them and launching the app, a business finds out if the audience truly needs it and whether people are ready to pay for new opportunities. So, with an MVP, it’s easier to decide to invest or not to invest in further versions of an app. 

    If you’re going to create an online doctor consultation app, ensure that patients can easily find doctors and review the previous consultations. While for doctors, it’s important to have convenient autoscheduling and have quick access to anamnesis. Thus, the primary features are selecting doctors by specialization, expanded profile information, autoschedule, video consultation with doctors, and online chat for patients and doctors. Other features can be left for backlog and implemented as soon as you see first results after launching an MVP.

    A reliable vendor is the one who can help you select doctor consultation app features that best match your business goals and not overpay for them. What criteria are the most significant in choosing a developer team? Read our dedicated article to find out. 

    3. UI/UX design

    In this step, we find out what users expect from the new app. We check existing solutions,  interview 15–30 users to identify and prioritize audience segments for the future product and validate the ideas resulting therefrom. 

    After all the information is collected, we create a doctor consultation app prototype. Usually we use clickable prototypes in Invision/Figma.

    What special is there in medical app design? 

    • It should be laconic and minimalistic. The less actions a user is expected to make to reach the target, the better their experience is. So, easy navigation is the first thing to take care about. 
    • You should also avoid using too bright colors. Three main colors are more than enough if you don’t want to confuse users, especially taking into account that they feel sick and need an urgent video consultation with a doctor.
    • By the way, don’t forget about optimal font size. Older generations shouldn’t encounter any problems when reading a text from the screen. 

    Other details depend on your target audience preferences and, of course, basic UX/UI design principles. 

    apps developed by Surf
    Minimalistic design examples by Surf

    How to save up to 33% of app design cost and create attractive UI/UX for six platforms?

    Learn more about Flutter development at Surf

    4. Choosing tech stack for doctor consultation app development

    Along with the right choice of features to start  and thoroughly-thought-out UI/UX concept the appropriate tech stack plays a significant role in implementing the ideas in the best way, taking into account the project budget. 

    The tech stack for backend in doctor consultation app development shall deliver high performance. People suffering from a disease aren’t likely to wait for long loading pages to open or accept video calls lags time by time. This annoys users and makes them even more nervous. 

    tech stack for frontend shall help your designers instead of limiting them. Though a medical app usually has no extra requirements in UI design, powerful graphic engines, image decoding functionality, and libraries with ready-made solutions can boost the development process. In addition, animation in a medical app should be smooth: for example, transitions between screens is a very small but essential detail that forms users’ experience. 

    At Surf, we have recently finished developing a Flutter-powered video streaming platform that has already won users love. It’s a custom Youtube-like service having much more requirements for performance and functionality than a common telemedicine app, but it didn’t stop us from making it work flawlessly and fast, being able to proceed up to 50.000 simultaneous requests per second.

    With Flutter for frontend, we reduced time to market and launched the product on a tight schedule, cutting development time by 30% (compared to native technologies). Read the full story to learn about the tech stack we chose for backend and what results our Client got.

    award-winning streaming app

    5. Creating a detailed roadmap

    When you have an accurately defined product vision, it’s time to create a roadmap for your doctor consultation app development. Here are some steps to do it.

    • Define the roadmap stakeholders. Details and content will differ depending on them as well as the type of your roadmap. For example, a roadmap can be created for a product team or investors, and a universal one is hardly to be met.
    app development roadmap
    • Define metrics of success. Establish KPIs and use them to understand the aspects to focus on in each iteration, add features planned to add in different versions of an app and relate metrics to monitor development progress. 
    • Choose a tool for creating your roadmap. Cloud-based tools are the most convenient ones. Product Plan, Aha!, and OpenProject are good examples to start with. 
    • Choose a format. It can be a waterfall roadmap (for long-term plan) or agile (for short-term plan).  
    Waterfall vs Agile roadmap

    When your roadmap is ready, don’t forget to edit it when necessary to keep it up-to-date and coordinate specialists involved in a project. 

    The steps described above will help you focus on the development process and avoid being distracted by various issues that are better to be solved at the start of the project. 

    At Surf, we offer our clients a solution that covers all the pre-project steps. With the approach, they get:

    • well-reasoned MVP composition,
    • design concept,
    • risk review,
    • a project development map,

    having spent only 1–2 weeks and 5% of an app development cost. Our product teams do all the job for the clients to see a final product vision and get an estimation of a ready-made app. The result stays with you and can be used by you even if you won’t agree to continue with us. Learn more about Design Sprint at Surf 

    How to develop your doctor consultation app and what to do next

    Now, when you have a complete vision of your target audience preferences and product, you’re ready to start MVP development. At this stage, all the ideas are implemented and improved for best user experience and business results. 

    MVP development for a doctor consultation app usually takes about 10001200 hours, depending on your project scope including

    • how many features are planned and how complex they are,
    • how many integrations shall be implemented,
    • what  tech stack you choose,
    • where you find the developers and what development rates will be applied.
    pharma app

    An app for a pharmacy chain as an example of how the smart choice of tech stack helped our client save 40% on project development cost and significantly reduce time to market. Read more

    Testing shall provide a guarantee that everything works flawlessly, and your user won’t face any problems while navigating through an app to get medical help. Here are the main steps our QAs take to test an app:

    • checking the technical requirements and design,
    • writing component tests to check each element or component of a feature,
    • writing scenario tests to see how a function works in general,
    • manual testing,
    • autotesting.

    After that, everything is ready for demo and release. 

    Support, maintenance, and in-house transfer. Version by version, an app needs technical support. It’s a necessary step for having a modern and good working app offering excellent user experience. 

    We always give much attention to the transfer of the project to our clients’  in-house developer teams to make the handing over process seamless and efficient. We usually 

    • organize joint work for some period or on some features,
    • hand in detailed documentation describing the existing features, including the backlog and design solutions planned to be implemented, 
    • hand in the test-related documentation from QA, and knowledge base. 

    This approach helps our clients onboard their in-house specialists and keep upgrading the product in a streamlined and consistent way.

    banking app screens

    First Flutter-powered banking app created by Surf, an example of successful project transfer to in-house. We helped the Client form a Flutter app development team, conducted technical interviews, and developed some features with new specialists to share our experience. Read more 

    Wrapping up

    A doctor consultation app development is a thorough working process, and to perform it in the best possible way, it’s necessary to be aware of IT industry trends and, of course, a wealth of experience in implementing them. 

    At Surf, we have 12 years’ experience in app development. Our experts create apps for startups and large-scale businesses from different industries, including medicine, fintech, and e-commerce. And now we’re ready to start new projects to help businesses be on top.