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Top Features for Healthcare Low-Code App Development Platforms

Healthcare organizations consulting with low-code app development platform vendors need to consider several important features.

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By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare mobile applications are becoming more popular while organizations are faced with a shortage of developers that can build custom mobile applications that aid clinician workflow and are HIPAA compliant. App development platforms are becoming a key fixture in health IT infrastructure.

The shortage of app developers in the healthcare industry leads to organizations finding alternative ways to develop apps that meet the same requirements, but don’t require multiple developers to be present to manage and maintain the apps once they are deployed.

Many organizations are using low-code platforms or rapid mobile app development (RMAD) platforms to build apps quickly with less oversight from developers. Low-code platforms and RMAD tools allow other IT staff or app users to develop parts of the app.

Using citizen developers for the front-end may also increase the app usability. The app user can design the front-end and tailor it based on the features that are going to allow improved workflow.

App users are more likely to design the app in a way that will make other users want to use the app. Organizations that do not consult users when designing may face shadow IT consequences or lose money on unused apps because they are not designed in a user-friendly manner.

Low-code platforms assist healthcare organizations in developing apps that clinicians want to use, and allow organizations to produce multiple apps quickly because they do not need to be built from scratch.

According to research conducted by IDC, enterprises should look for certain features when in the market for a low-code app development platform.

First, organizations need to look at what kinds of apps have been successfully developed using the platform and if those apps are comparable to the apps the organization is trying to build. Healthcare organizations in particular should look for successful healthcare application deployments when exploring vendor options.

The report also advised organizations to assess the capabilities and design focus of the platform. Entities need to ensure that the level abstraction is not too advanced for the staff members developing the apps. Proven features such as capabilities in process management, data management, and scalability are vital to successful platform adoption.

Each low-code development platform uses a different approach and not all unique approaches will yield the desired results for every kind of enterprise. Healthcare organizations may need additional features that emphasize networking connectivity or security to meet industry specific standards.

Traditional attributes such as portability, mobile device support, cloud backends, app performance, interoperability with other apps and legacy systems, are also things organizations need to look for, the report explained. The apps developed using the low-code platform need to seamlessly integrate with health IT systems and other applications.

Applications evolve and the development platform needs to have application life-cycle management to ensure that the app can be constantly updated and redeployed. Life-cycle management relies on app testing, deployment, maintenance, and flexible design.

The report advised that organizations need to have an advanced understanding of application requirements to successfully deploy a low-code app development platform.

“Enterprises need to have a handle on their custom application development requirements both at present and over a two- to three-year planning horizon, and they must determine that any tools selected pay back in terms of return on investment within this time frame,” the report explained.

As healthcare organizations find success with custom applications, the demand for more health IT apps is growing rapidly. Organizations are looking to deploy multiple custom apps based on user needs. Low-code development platforms and RMADs are key tools in allowing organizations to build highly secure and functioning apps.