• Progressive web applications are preferred over native apps in healthcare
  • PWAs are cost-effective, with a shorter development lifecycle
  • PWAs are responsive and adaptable across all devices and web browsers
  • Push notifications on PWAs ensure communication between patients and providers

What is a progressive web application?

A progressive web application (PWA) is a web-based applications software built using HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and WebAssembly. Native applications,on the other hand, are built using Objective-C, Swift for iOS, and Java for Android.  For many healthcare organizations, the shorter development timelines, lower costs, and quicker time-to-market make building custom PWAs an attractive option compared to native apps designed exclusively for Android, iOS, and other operating systems.

Healthcare software developers need not work with multiple languages and development parameters with PWAs, as they are constructed from a single code base. In addition, as they are designed to work with web browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge, progressive web apps bypass the release requirements of app stores.

Developing a progressive web app with React JS is a great choice for releasing custom healthcare applications. It is considered easier to debug and has the backing of a huge developer community supporting new releases.

Slowly but surely, progressive web apps are replacing native apps.

In this article, learn why PWAs are best suited to deliver user-friendly digital health applications to streamline more efficient interactions between patients, providers, and payers.


Key features of PWAs

Here are a few features that distinguish PWAs from other digital products:

Responsive and compatible across all browsers: PWAs use progressive enhancement web design principles. This approach delivers an experience tailored to a user’s browser and connection quality, resulting in a more seamless experience.

Offline access: This feature means your healthcare PWAs can be accessed even when there is low network connectivity and when you are offline.

Intuitive user experience: PWAs provide navigation and functionality that mimic native apps, delivering the ability to create highly personalized digital experiences.

Push notifications and messaging: PWAs are designed to keep users active and engaged and provide access to modern push notifications and messaging services, creating a vital touchpoint.

Automatic updates: Your PWA is constantly updated and ready to provide the highest quality experience to your end-users.

Cybersecure: PWAs are protected with HTTPS to safeguard access to your organization’s sensitive data.

Accessibility: PWAs are discoverable via a URL with the option to add the application to your user’s home screen.

Interested in building a progressive web application with distinctive features?

PWAs work on continuously improving functionality without adversely affecting original capabilities


Things to consider before building custom progressive web apps

Progressive web apps are an excellent choice for many digital health products but are not the only option. In some cases, building a custom native or web application might make more sense. Here are some things to remember when deciding if a PWA is the right development approach for your custom software development project.

Challenges with some iOS features: PWAs work on newer Apple devices, but compatibility needs to be improved on older models. Additionally, it is not possible to integrate PWAs with many of iOS’s most popular features, such as Touch ID, Face ID, AR Kit, Bluetooth, serial, Beacons, altimeter sensors, or battery information. That said, as of the 16.4 betas for iOS/iPad, push notification functions are now available—a very positive development.

Challenges across legacy mobile devices and browsers: Progressive web apps are a new development methodology, and functionality can be limited when users access them on older browsers of mobile device technologies. PWAs deliver a scaling experience, but at the lower end of the performance spectrum, some users may need help to enjoy the full range of functions.

Versatile but not the only solution: In many use cases, PWAs are every bit as nimble as traditional web applications; however, in some areas, native mobile apps are just simply better. Take battery life, for instance, where apps written in Swift or Kotlin deliver better results than JavaScript.

Implementing PWAs to enhance patient care: Progressive web applications empower healthcare organizations to release highly effective digital health tools. Many researchers are calling PWAs the future of remote healthcare services because of these advantages for enterprises:

  • 68% increase in mobile traffic.
  • 15-fold improvement in load and installation speed.
  • 25-fold reduction in the use of device storage.
  • 52% average conversion increase.
  • 78% average session increase.
  • 137% engagement increase.
  • 86% lower bounce rate when compared to that of mobile websites.
  • 133.67% increase in page view.

Key benefits of progressive web applications

When compared with native health applications, progressive web applications offer several advantages, here are some:

Responsive, compatible, and adaptive: PWAs are designed to work in a nearly uniform way across all browsers and devices. They are responsive to the needs of users and the demands of specific devices while delivering a singular experience that allows your organization to enhance your branding and deliver a premium user experience.

Online, offline, and low-connectivity usage: PWAs are designed to provide robust functionality when in low-connectivity environments and even offline. Native applications require connectivity to deliver their full functionality, meaning users without WIFI or access to iOS or Android devices could miss out on vital services.

Modern app-like functionality: Though PWAs deliver the search ability of web pages, they deliver the look, feel, and functionality of native apps. Users love using applications that deliver a user experience that matches the expectations they have from the other apps they use on a daily basis.

Real-time push notifications: PWAs allow your organization to reach out to patients and providers in real-time. Push notifications make it much easier to ensure compliance and promote activities to deliver the best possible medical outcomes.

Continuous improvement: PWAs deliver the ability to release updates automatically without the need for users to complete downloads manually. You can deliver core services faster and improve them on the go by leveraging a more nimble and agile development process.

Security: PWAs offer Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to secure data transfers and safeguard digital communications. HTTPS encryption acts as a first line of defense against data loss.

Quick uptime: PWAs are discoverable, like websites using normal URLs. This means that users can access it with a hyperlink instead of needing to complete a complicated download or install a new type of software.

Discover how to design a fast and responsive PWA that offers your users a seamless experience!


Progressive web apps for healthcare

One of the best reasons to build PWAs for healthcare is that they help to break down barriers to care—instead of requiring users to download an operating system-specific application, typing in a web URL will do the trick. Here are some examples of the types of digital health solutions that can be built as PWAs:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) portals
  • Remote patient monitoring best practices 
  • Patient engagement platforms
  • Medical billing applications
  • Telehealth software
  • Medical practice management tools
  • E-Prescription apps
  • Mobile patient systems

PWAs deliver the smooth and rich user experience of a native application matched with the ease of use and discoverability of a website. Healthcare organizations can expand their digital front door by releasing user-friendly digital health solutions developed by a trusted technology partner to make it easier for patients and providers to manage care.


Architect progressive web applications for healthcare that are compatible across browsers

Asahi Technologies is a proven healthcare technology solutions provider. Combining our full-stack development expertise with domain knowledge, we deliver industry-specific applications that solve complex health technology challenges.

Healthcare web app development means seamless communication to meet the most complex demands. We thrive in connecting the physician, patient, and pharmacist to establish an interactive and personalized healthcare ecosystem. Automation, accessibility, auto-scaling, analytics, and quality assurance are our forté.  We are here to deliver the next generation of digital patient portals to improve healthcare access.

We are problem solvers, solution builders, and trusted partners.

Monica Balakrishnan

Monica Balakrishnan

Technical Project Manager

Monica possesses extensive IT expertise spanning from software development to project management. She possesses a background in both team collaboration and leadership, in addition to working with clients from diverse global cultures, encompassing regions from the Western to the Eastern parts of the world.

Monica Balakrishnan

Monica Balakrishnan

Technical Project Manager

Monica possesses extensive IT expertise spanning from software development to project management. She possesses a background in both team collaboration and leadership, in addition to working with clients from diverse global cultures, encompassing regions from the Western to the Eastern parts of the world.

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