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Health Monitoring Apps

Types, Features, Development Costs

With 150+ successful IT projects for the health and wellness industry, ScienceSoft develops secure and user-friendly applications for health and lifestyle tracking.

Health Monitoring Apps - ScienceSoft
Health Monitoring Apps - ScienceSoft

Health Monitoring Apps in a Nutshell

Health monitoring apps are typically targeted at the general public, but some specialized apps can also be used by healthcare providers. General wellness products are meant to help individuals lead a healthier lifestyle and reduce the risk of diseases; such apps usually aren’t subject to HIPAA and don’t need FDA clearance. In contrast, remote patient monitoring software (RPM) is meant for medical professionals and their patients, who can also use RPM solutions for self-management (e.g., in case of chronic diseases). Depending on their complexity, RPM solutions may qualify as medical devices or SaMD and require FDA/MDR approval.

In 2023, almost 30% of adults in the US reported checking a health tracker app multiple times a day. Another quarter of respondents used heath apps once a day. The most common aspects tracked are sleep patterns, weight, and diet. Over 33% of women also tracked their menstrual cycle with an app.

Health Tracking App Use Cases

Fitness apps use data collected manually or by sensors, such as accelerometers, pedometers, etc., to enable activity tracking. Users can monitor their heart rate, distance traveled, calories burned, etc. Such apps can also provide personalized recommendations and feedback based on the users' input (target weight, workout preferences, etc.).

Nutrition apps allow users to log their food intake to calculate the calories consumed and the nutritional value of the products. Based on the individual input (food preferences, allergies, weight/nutritional goals, etc.), the users are provided with personalized recommendations for meal planning, as well as an extensive recipe database.

Sleep tracking

Sleep apps analyze body movement, pulse, breathing patterns, snoring, and other noises to measure the duration of different sleep stages and identify issues such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. Integrations with wearable devices such as smart watches also enable vitals monitoring during sleep.

Hydration monitoring

Hydration monitoring apps enable manual or automated (through integration with a smart water bottle) input of a user’s daily water intake. Factors like age, weight, activity level, and climate are taken into account to generate personalized recommendations on how much water one is supposed to drink. Besides reminding users to drink water, such apps can suggest other ways to stay hydrated, such as hydrating foods or electrolyte-rich drinks.

Menstrual cycle tracking

Cycle tracking apps empower users to take control of their reproductive health and pregnancy planning. Based on users' input (the first and last day of their period, symptoms, activity, etc.), they keep a record of women's menstrual cycle patterns. Additionally, such apps help identify irregularities or symptoms indicative of a hormonal imbalance or underlying conditions.

Mental health apps allow users to keep a daily log of their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. This can help individuals identify patterns and triggers impacting their mental health. Additionally, such apps can provide information on mental health issues, as well as tools and resources for self-care (breathing exercises, tips for managing anxiety or panic attacks, etc.). Some apps also provide connection to communities and support groups.

Clinical apps of this type are also used for consultations with providers, online medication prescriptions and refills, as well as crisis intervention (e.g., in case of a psychotic episode).

Healthy lifestyle adoption

Healthy lifestyle apps combine several (or all) use cases described above. Users can set specific goals, such as drinking two glasses of water daily, spending one hour exercising at home, stopping the phone usage 30 minutes before bed, etc. The app will then send encouraging messages to help individuals stay on track with their goals. Progress tracking and community support also help motivate users to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.

Remote patient monitoring

Clinical health monitoring apps enable the continuity of care for those unable or unwilling to visit the hospital in person (e.g., postoperative patients, patients with heart diseases). Integrations with smart medical devices enable the automated tracking of vitals, symptoms, medication adherence, and other relevant data in real time. This allows medical professionals to react quickly to sudden changes in a patient’s state and helps patients maintain their disease condition in balance. Such apps can also provide telehealth capabilities to facilitate patient communication with medical professionals and multi-provider care coordination.

Health Monitoring Apps Functionality

Each application’s functional scope would vary based on the app's purpose (general wellness or medical) and type (mental health, fitness, etc.). Below, ScienceSoft’s consultants outline the most popular features commonly requested by our clients looking to develop a health tracking app:

Health data logging

Manual and automated (using connected watches, smart water bottles, etc.) health information and activity logging (vitals, foods consumed, hours slept, miles walked, etc.)

Health data analytics

Tracking and analyzing user-generated health and activity data, identifying trends and patterns, and alerting users on abnormalities. Patient data analytics for healthcare providers.

Guided activities and exercises

Access to recorded meditation sessions, breathing/mindfulness exercises, art therapy, workouts/stretching exercises, journaling prompts, etc., based on the app type and the user’s preferences.

Personalization

Personalized recommendations (exercise, diet, etc.) based on the user’s goals, preferences, and health conditions.

Knowledge base

Articles, videos, and other interactive materials (e.g., quizzes) depending on the app’s purpose.

AI chatbots and virtual assistants

To assist users in creating their personal profile, logging daily activities, or getting relevant info and tips to aid their wellness journey.

Gamification

Goal-setting and personalized challenges (for weight loss, fitness, stress reduction, etc.) with achievement rewards (badges, points, or levels) and encouraging reminders to enhance user engagement.

Communication with other users and experts

Communities for peer support and knowledge exchange. Lectures and group or individual sessions with fitness coaches, nutritionists, etc.

In-app payments and subscription management

Automated billing and user invoicing, secure payment gateways for multiple payment methods (e.g., credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay), and handling of payment failure.

Security and compliance

End-to-end encryption, data backup, and multi-factor authentication to ensure data safety. User consent for data storage and processing to comply with data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CPRA. For clinical apps: compliance with HIPAA requirements.

Crisis intervention

Panic buttons, real-time location sharing with pre-selected caregivers or family members, and device alerts on crisis state for urgent care.

Telemedicine

Virtual appointments and consultations with medical professionals. Online diagnostics, treatment planning, and medication prescription and renewal.

Famous Health Monitoring Apps

MyFitnessPal was the most popular health app on both iOS and Android in 2023. With over 40% market share, it made $310 million in revenue. The app provides calorie intake, hydration level, and exercise tracking tools, as well as tailored meal and workout plans and a community connection. Available health goals include losing or gaining weight, building muscle, or increasing daily step count. A one-month free trial allows potential subscribers to see the benefits of a full subscription.

Fitbod is an AI-powered fitness app startup that raised around $4.7 million as of 2023 and has been downloaded over 15 million times. The built-in machine learning algorithm analyzes the users’ fitness levels, available exercise equipment, and muscle fatigue from previous sessions to generate personalized workout plans. There’s a library with 1000+ exercises and video instructions for beginners. The app offers a free trial with 3 workouts.

Check Out ScienceSoft's Health Monitoring Projects

Health Monitoring App Development Options and Costs

When a startup wants to develop a health monitoring app, we usually recommend that they start with a minimum viable product (MVP). This approach allows them to implement the essential features and achieve their business goal, to see how users adopt the software and iteratively develop new functions, as well as raise additional funding.

Based on ScienceSoft’s experience in similar projects, our consultants outlined the estimated time and cost of developing an MVP vs. a full-scale version of a health tracking app.

MVP for a health monitoring app

Usually, MVP development for a health monitoring app takes 3-6 months (or up to 12 for a clinical RPM system) and costs around $50,000-$150,000. The major cost factors for a health monitoring app MVP include:

  • User roles (wellness apps will typically only have one, while clinical solutions require at least two: patients and medical professionals) and the corresponding efforts required for UX and UI design.
  • Platform (iOS, Android) and the chosen mobile development approach (native vs. cross-platform).
  • Must-have integrations (e.g., with wearable devices, EHR, or telehealth solutions for clinical apps).
  • Performance, availability, security, accessibility, and scalability requirements.
  • Compliance requirements (e.g., HIPAA/GDPR compliance, submission to FDA/MDR if applicable).

A full-featured health tracking app

The development of full-fledged software can take from 6 to 12+ months. The pricing may range from $200,000 to $800,000+ for a wellness app and from $200,000 to $400,000+ for a remote patient monitoring solution.

Besides the factors mentioned earlier, important cost drivers include the implementation of advanced features (AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants, predictive analytics for RPM, etc.). For clinical apps, integrations with healthcare systems other than EHR and/or medical devices will also significantly impact the final cost.

Health monitoring app development steps

Health tracking app development involves a preliminary stage with an analysis of business goals and user needs (to create a powerful unique selling/value proposition). The next steps include:

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Technologies We Use to Build Health Monitoring Apps

Ready to Build a Health Monitoring App?

With 19 years in healthcare IT, ScienceSoft designs, develops, and tests software for wellness tracking and remote patient monitoring.