One of the first questions when developing a mHealth application is whether to hire staff or work with a mobile app development company.
There are great reasons to do both. However, it typically comes down to budget and timelines. For most companies, except the largest ones, outsourcing to a developer like RD Global reduces costs and speeds up the timetable.
In this article, we will explore the pros, cons, and other considerations when hiring an app developed specifically for medical and health mobile applications.
- mHealth is an emerging market which means lots of innovation
- Outsourcing lets you focus on your sphere of excellence
- Differing timezones can be fantastic and disrupt communication
- Hiring a development company saves you time on hiring your own team
We’ll start with the drawbacks, so you keep them in mind while considering the advantages of outsourcing your mHealth app development.
1. mHealth is a New Market
It’s always wise to get case studies and talk to previous clients about what you’re interested in having built.
However, with the rapid development in mobile health technology over the past handful of years, the app you want may be fairly unique, particularly if you have a specialized niche. For example, many fitness and diet apps exist, but few for monitoring epileptic seizures.
We are seeing apps pop up doing everything from prescription trackers, health monitoring apps tethered to wearable devices, scheduling and billing, and even assisting with patient diagnostics through machine learning.
To offset this, check if the company you’re considering has experience with developing software for the medical field. That should mean experience with HIPAA regulations, at the very least.
2. Accessibility, Camaraderie, & Favors
Having a team in the same office building means you know what hours they’re at work. You can walk down the hall and ask them to change one little thing and get an immediate response.
Even when you onboard your mobile app development partner to the system you use for team communications, there can still be a delay in conversation. Plus, if the CEO of a company walks down to the head of IT and asks for a favor, the answer will probably be yes. However, most other companies won’t take on outside of contract work, depending on how you have your contract setup.
The benefits outweigh the drawbacks for most companies. Unless you have the capacity to hire a dedicated in-house team, it’s better to choose specialists.
1. Lots of Choices
There are many mobile app development companies, all with different areas of expertise and years of experience.
The number of options can make choosing a company a lengthy process as you interview, verify, and compare potential development partners. But consider the time you would spend interviewing project managers and engineers if you were hiring in-house.
On that note…
2. Leave the Hiring Difficulties to The Mobile App Development Company
Hiring good programmers is difficult. Even if you can find someone, are they willing to relocate?
Let your mobile application developer handle the stress of hiring the best people for the job. They have the experience to do it, and it’s one of their areas of expertise.
3. Stick to Your Area of Excellence
Business coaches always advise sticking to your niche, your competitive advantage, or your area of excellence. It’s good advice. The best products get built when great people stick to what they’re skilled at doing.
Outsourcing your mHealth application development lets you return your focus to your sphere of excellence. Your outsourcing partner can stick to theirs – building an app.
For most companies, the most cost-effective strategy is outsourcing application development. You aren’t paying salaries and benefits, and you don’t have to worry about ensuring that your development team has enough to do once you launch and move to the maintenance, support, and iteration stage.
5. Experience with Regulations
Mobile app development companies with good experience and background in mHealth will already be familiar with the structural requirements of the app to meet all of the various regulations of your target countries.
One of the biggest reasons health applications fail is because they didn’t stand up to regulatory scrutiny. Another is data security. Ask your development partner about their experience in these areas, ideally with examples or case studies.
Other Considerations When Hiring a Mobile App Development Company
Some of the essential considerations for hiring a mobile app development company don’t fall under either pros or cons. But we want you to be aware all the same so you can double-check your contracts and ideal workflow processes.
Your Digital Business Strategy
Apps are an excellent tool for medical professionals and patients, but it’s only one part of your digital transformation strategy. Talking with your prospective mobile development partner can clarify how much they can contribute to that strategy to keep you ahead of your competition.
App development horror stories often end badly when a clause in the contract reverts the code ownership to the developer. Here at RD Global, we think that’s a horrendous practice. But it’s something to double-check.
Handling Delays and Exit Strategy
Delays happen in every aspect of business, whether it’s a hurricane or a country decides to change its medical regulations in the middle of your development cycle. We believe in working out ahead of time how to handle the unforeseeable.
One way to mitigate some of the outsourcing risks is having clauses in the contract detailing what happens if you want to stop working with your app developer partway through development.
There are tens of thousands of mHealth apps available. Only a tiny percentage of those have FDA approval.
Doctors hesitate to recommend health applications for a variety of reasons. Still, studies are starting to show that many mHealth apps don’t adhere to any scientific research or medical standards of care.
Getting FDA approval might not be on your to-do list, but this is a concern to be aware of, depending on your target market.
This could be a pro or a con. It’s nice to have work done while you sleep, but it can make direct communication more difficult.
When vetting your app developer, ask them about expectations on communication. Do they have any policies for email response times? Do they have points on contact in a similar time zone to you or someone you can call?
After Sales Support
Getting an app ideated, designed, developed, and launched is fantastic. It’s also only the start of a long tail of maintenance and updates.
What kind of after-sales support can you expect from the developer? Having some tentative ideas of what you want to do before talking to application developers will smooth the way to a seamless launch and post-launch support.
Choosing the right mobile app development partner can make your work life easier.
At RD Global, we pride ourselves on 5-star customer experience. Hiring a company requires trust, so we would love to chat with you to see if we’re a good fit. Ask us any questions you have.
We have helped companies large and small build web apps, mobile apps, and even transition from time-consuming legacy systems. We have years of experience as a company, and our team has decades of combined experience. You can read about our customer successes here.
Even if you aren’t quite sure where to start, we can develop a plan together based on your expertise and our experience translating that into software.