What do you need to consider when building a digital health tool?

Building a Digital Health tool has the potential to substantially improve the lives of your users, and can bring exponential benefits to you and your business.

With an increasing number of people engaging with Digital Health, we are already seeing huge improvements to the healthcare sector. Most people now have access to devices, including mobile phones, computers, wearables and smart technologies in their homes, their workplaces and on the go. Together, we can use these technologies to give people access to their own health data, allowing them to take control of their own health and wellbeing.

To make your product successful you will need to consider many factors – from getting funding and complying to the correct standards, to ensuring you put your users at the very heart of your product. Here's our checklist of 15 key areas you will need to consider. 

1: Identify your budget

Your budget should be set out before the project begins. We can help you to define budgets and ensure you have the correct budgets in place before we begin your Digital Health journey.

If you need funding, we can point you in the right direction and potentially help you to write a funding bid.


2: Find your Designer and Software Developer

Usually when looking to create a Digital Health tool, you would need to identify a designer and a separate software developer. In doing this, obvious problems including time management, communication and cost can become a serious issue and have a major impact on your product. We hear time and time again how clients have previously worked with companies or freelancers that have the technical ability but do not understand what they are trying to achieve. 

Fortunately, at Evolyst we have years of experience in both design and development. We have tailored our processes specifically around building the best digital health tools.

Find out more about our design process here.
Find out more about our development process here.  


3: Identify your user needs

Before your project can begin, you need to identify what exactly your user wants from a digital health tool. We do this by creating User personas, identifying themes and identifying the pains and gains of users.

Read more about what this means here.


4: Identify your technology

An important part of creating your Digital Health product is identifying what technology your product should be built on. Time and time we hear the phrase "I need an app", but it may be that your product is better suited to being a web tool or something else entirely. We will help you to understand the best technology to use.  

Integrate a Wearable Device5: Do you need to integrate with any third-party devices or tools?
Keeping with technology, your digital health tool may need to connect to a third-party device, such as a wearable device or an external web service, we can help you identify the best tools, integrate correctly with them and ensure they run smoothly. 

6: What regulations will your product need to adhere to? 

When building your Digital health product, you will need to understand what regulations you need to consider. If you are working with patients, what ethical points must you adhere to? GDPR may also need to be considered if your product will be handling customer data. 

7: Will your product need to be registered as a medical device?
Your Digital Health tool may need to be classified as a medical device, depending on what functionality it has. There are several considerations that go into classifying a medical device; we can assist you with these, and highlight the most effective routes to take to ensure your device is correctly classified.

Find out more about medical devices here.

8: Order the priority of your Themes
From the User Persona's and Stories we will create features, or ‘themes’, that are effectively the sections of your tool. These will be ordered using a backlog– a list of all the possible features that could be in your product ordered by maximum business value and the time it takes to implement.

Find out more about how the backlog works here.

How will your designers, developers and stakeholders communicate?
All stakeholders, including our developers and designers, are involved in the development process. Our designers and developers work together to create your Digital Health tool during each sprint, and you can be involved at the end of each sprint to see how your Digital Health tool is coming along.

10: What content will you need to create for your product? (text, video etc)
During the design process we will be able to identify any content that will need to be developed for your product and we will then work with you to create it. Most products are going to need text and possibly images or video and in some cases you may need to have heavy involvement in the development of the content, but we can guide you through the process and make it as simple and time efficient as possible.

11: How will you distribute your product to users?
Are you releasing your product to your users through your own portal, using one of the app stores, or promoting it across the internet? How are your users going to know about your product? We can help you to understand the launch and distribution of your product.


12: What supporting materials, services or products do you need to develop?

You will need an idea of what supporting materials you need post-release of your Digital Health tool. We can assist you in this process, helping you to understand what you will need to launch and promote your product, including additional services such as websites, video or promotional content.

13: What to consider for your projects brand or visual identity
If marketing to an external audience, then the brand of your Digital Health tool can contribute heavily to its success. You will need to understand three vital questions before beginning development;

  1. Who are your audience?
  2. How and where will they interact with your brand and product?
  3. What is your story?

If using the tool in a controlled environment, the visual identity can still be an important factor in the uptake of your product. Either way, we can assist you with our in-house design team.


14: What development support will your product need after release?

You will need to address whether your Digital Health tool will need additional support after the development work is complete. We usually work long-term with our clients, re-addressing your priorities and continuing to work through your backlog, however if the product is deemed as complete then you will still need to consider what level of maintenance your product will require.

Bear in mind that future updates to platforms such as operating systems and browsers can have an impact on your product.


measure success15: How will you measure success of your product?

You will need to set Key Performance Indicators for your Digital Health tool, to ensure you know whether it has been a successful solution to the problem/s you identified at the start of the project. We can help you to realise these throughout your Digital Health journey.



This may sound like a lot of work, but don't worry, if you choose to work with us we will guide you through every step and provide you with the tools and information you need to make the right decisions.

We see any project we start as a collaboration and we enjoy being a part of your journey. 

If you'd like to know more about how we work then take a look at our free guide. 
Download your free guide.

Written by Evolyst

Evolyst are experts in digital health, working as technology enablers for those working in health & healthcare.

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