How to Build a Pharmacy App For Your Healthcare Startup

How can you bridge the gap between patients and doctors? Create a pharmacy app and increase the accessibility of your services. Discover the steps, costs, and challenges.


Key points:

  • Creating a pharmacy app will speed up your business processes and improve your reputation among customers since the service will be faster;
  • Make sure you implement storing security and obey official regulations like HIPAA;
  • When planning a startup budget, include the expenses for development, QA testing, marketing, platform fees, post-launch maintenance, etc.
  • To build a trustworthy pharmacy application, you need to hire a pharmacist. They will ensure that all the data about medicines is correct and up to date.

In the dynamic realm of healthcare startups, innovation is your lifeline, and seizing the digital advantage over competitors is paramount. Yet, as a startup owner or product visionary, you’re all too familiar with the intricate challenges that accompany your journey. Navigating the labyrinth of healthcare regulations, patient data security, and operational complexities can often feel like an uphill battle.

But here’s the secret: within these challenges lie boundless opportunities to revolutionize patient experiences, streamline medical processes, and redefine the very landscape of the industry. The answer is in your very pocket – a pharmacy app tailored to your healthcare startup‘s unique vision and needs. Imagine offering your patients a tech-driven solution that effortlessly handles e-prescriptions, medication trackers, and telemedicine appointments.

In the pages of this article, we’ll unravel the steps, strategies, and insights you need to transform your healthcare startup through the creation of a tailor-made app for pharmacy.

Helping Minds is a healthcare mobile app

Helping Minds Healthcare Mobile App Concept by Shakuro

Why people download pharmacy apps

It eliminates the gap between a doctor and a patient

Before the healthcare digital transformation, it was very hard to get in touch with a specialist on time and get an appointment. Now healthtech is changing the way patients and providers interact. It provides an easy-to-use platform for managing prescriptions and medical databases. They bridge the gap between people and professionals, increasing the accessibility of the service.

It’s more convenient

An mHealth app offers unparalleled convenience. Patients can order medications, schedule prescription refills, and access their medical history all within a few taps. The same goes for doctors: they have an easy-to-use medical database and electronic health records for all their patients. As a result, it eliminates the need for physical visits to the pharmacy, making healthcare more patient-centric and efficient even for people who live in small towns.

It improves service quality & customer engagement

Medication trackers and reminders ensure patients stay on top of their treatment plans. With the telemedicine feature, your applications increase the diagnostics rate for various diseases, as well as improve their treatment. Furthermore, patients engage in the treatment process more easily with a pharmacy solution thanks to various notifications, achievements, dashboards, etc.

Why develop a pharmacy app for your startup

While the benefits for patients are obvious, what’s in it for you?

Easy access to databases

Your specialists will also have essential info at their fingertips. No more endless paperwork, lost catalogs, orders, prescriptions, and medical histories. Imagine how it will speed up all your business processes!

Better reputation

Since you provide high-quality and fast digital healthcare services, this fact will improve your reputation among the competitors. It helps level up branding strategies and marketing as well. 

Stronger data security

While developing a pharmacy app, you will have to prioritize data security and regulatory compliance. As a result, you protect patient information and adhere to industry standards.

Develop a pharmacy app for your startup

Medical Website Landing Page by Nasim

Challenges faced by healthcare startups

It all sounds nice and all, but are there any pitfalls you might fall into? Just like in any venture, there are some. Before making a pharmacy application, consider if you are ready to endure the following hardships:

  • Strict regulatory compliance. You have to follow official regulations, both local and worldwide, as well as the industry standards.
  • The race after innovation. It is a boon for startups since you need to differentiate yourself from traditional healthcare services. Just like your competitors, you will hunt for any cutting-edge that might help your patients, otherwise, you will quickly become outdated.
  • App development costs. The numbers can be daunting because of the innovative features and high-security protocols.

Before getting started

It’s crucial to define your application purpose and features and create a business plan and basic strategies. If you are a new player in the market, it’s better to opt for an MVP model. A Minimum Viable Product is an initial version of an mHealth app with only essential features that are useful to customers. It aims to attract early adopters and gather feedback for future updates while saving your budget and time.

Furthermore, it’s vital to analyze the target audience and their pains. What services do they need? What medicines? And don’t forget about the competitors. Let’s see what the current scene on the market looks like.

Current market situation

The pharmacy apps market is experiencing significant growth. In the United States, the online pharmacy segment is projected to grow by around 10.96% from 2023 to 2027, reaching a market volume of $8.58 billion in 2027. Globally, the segment is expected to grow by about 13.40% during the same period, resulting in a market volume of approximately $52.33 billion in 2027.

U.S. pharmacy apps market

Key players in the U.S. online pharmacy market include Kroger, CVS Health, CIGNA (Express Scripts), Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Rite Aid. Before diving into mHealth, be sure to study their services and gather some insights. It will help you take the upper hand in the competition race.

Must-have features

After analyzing the target audience and competitors, pick features that are essential for the seamless experience of users. For example, most healthcare and pharmacy apps provide the following options:

  • User registration and authentication: obviously, people need to create accounts, log in securely, and manage their profiles.
  • Medication ordering: this is the primary role of the application. Your clients want to search for medications, view details, and place orders with appropriate dosage and quantity.
  • Prescription management: that is uploading and managing the prescriptions, and the app should provide alerts for prescription refills.
  • Medication information: provide accurate and detailed information about drugs, including usage instructions, side effects, interactions, and warnings.
  • Medication reminders: due to the rush of daily life or age, people forget about taking pills in time. Think about setting up reminders for taking medications on time, and improving adherence to treatment plans.
  • Pharmacy locator: integrate a map feature based on geo-location to help users find nearby pharmacies, along with their contact information and operating hours.
  • Order tracking: keep clients updated on the status of their medication orders, including processing, shipping, and delivery.
  • Secure payment processing: implement a secure payment gateway for users to make online payments for their orders.
  • User reviews and ratings: there should be a possibility to provide feedback and reviews for both medications and pharmacy services.
  • Customer support: include a direct channel for users to contact support for assistance with orders or other issues.
  • Health profile: help people maintain a health profile that includes medical conditions, allergies, and other relevant information.
Healthtech helps you manage prescriptions and medical databases

Medical Center Website by Shakuro

Development costs & budgeting

Creating a budget is not easy: you need to include expenses on pharmacy app development, QA testing, PR, and marketing.

There are two options: an in-house or an outsourcing agency. In general, the first one may cost up to $150 per hour. It’s rather expensive, and you can go for an offshore team, decreasing the costs in half. They charge roughly $40-45 per hour for development and $75-80 per hour for UI/UX design. At the same time, the quality of service doesn’t drop significantly.

The team’s expertise level, location, and the number of features you picked also influence the final cost.

Simple app with 5-10 pages:

  • Approximately 500+ hours ($22 500) for development
  • Around 210+ hours ($16 800) for design
  • Around 1320+ hours ($59 400) for a custom approach
  • Total: ~ $39 300 or $76 200 for custom development

Complex app with 10-15 pages:

  • Approximately 640+ hours ($28 800) for development
  • Around 310 hours ($24 800) for design
  • Around 2 170+ hours ($97 650) for a custom approach
  • Total: ~ $53 600 or $116 450 for custom development

To make a rough estimation, you can use our Project Calculator. It allows you to check costs not just for the development, but also for UI/UX design, branding, or even the entire project.

Building your pharmacy app

Design and development process

User experience is paramount in healthcare app design. People don’t have time to figure out the interface or they might be frustrated enough with their health conditions. That’s why you need to prioritize intuitive interfaces, easy navigation, and clear information presentation. Follow UI/UX best practices for healthcare apps to ensure a positive user experience that fosters engagement and patient trust.

The development approach you choose has significant implications for your startup. Compare building from scratch versus using app builders or platforms. Consider factors such as cost, customization, and scalability. For healthcare startups, the latter is particularly important to accommodate future growth.

3D icons design by Shakuro

3D Icons for a Healthcare Service by Shakuro

Development team

  • App developer: a core person who will write the code for your app. Depending on the platform (iOS, Android, web), you might need developers skilled in languages like Swift, Kotlin, Java, or JavaScript.
  • UI/UX designer: they will create the visual and interactive elements of your pharmacy app, ensuring it’s user-friendly, intuitive, and visually appealing.
  • Pharmacist: they will ensure that all the medication information, interactions, and other pharmaceutical content are accurate and up to date.
  • Backend developer: handles server-side logic, databases, and APIs, allowing your product to store and retrieve user data securely.
  • Frontend developer: if you plan to build a web version or implement dynamic user interfaces, a frontend developer will handle the visual aspects and user interactions on the client side.
  • Database specialist: to manage user data, medication information, and other relevant information, you need a specialist in database design and management.
  • Security expert: given the sensitive nature of healthcare material, a security expert will ensure that your pharmacy app is designed with robust security measures to protect user privacy and data.
  • QA tester: they will thoroughly test the product to identify and report bugs, usability issues, and other problems before the application is released to the end users.
  • Project manager: this specialist will oversee the development process, manage timelines, and budgets, and coordinate communication between team members.

Security and law compliance

As we said before, cybersecurity for healthcare is a must-have. During the process, implement encryption, robust authentication mechanisms, and secure data storage to avoid any private info leaks. At the same time, remember the legal considerations, such as HIPAA compliance, and add them to build a trustworthy application.

Testing and launching your pharmacy app

Thorough QA testing is the backbone of a successful product launch. Conduct functional, usability, and security testing to identify and rectify any issues before your clients encounter them. This approach will take time but it will eliminate most of the negative feedback and prevent reputation damage.

Post-launch strategies and growth

The release date is not the final destination of this journey. After the launch, you need to monitor product analytics and user behavior to notice any issues before the actual storm comes. Utilize tools to track downloads, usage patterns, and engagement metrics. This data-driven approach allows you to make informed decisions and continuously improve the app based on user insights.

As your startup grows, your product should scale accordingly. Stay updated with industry trends to be the first to incorporate cutting-edge features and functionalities. It’s not a bad idea to actively seek user feedback to enhance the pharmacy app‘s value and address emerging needs.

User experience is paramount in healthcare app design

Medical Characters: Doctors And Nurses by Shakuro Graphics


The healthcare startup journey is evolving, and your pharmacy apps can be not just a gateway to success. By leveraging technology to streamline prescription management, you can improve patient engagement, and ensure regulatory compliance. As a result, your company can position itself at the forefront of other competitors. Remember, that an efficient pharmacy app can not only revolutionize your startup’s operations but also contribute to a healthier and more connected future.

Contact us and let’s create an application that not only strengthens your digital products but also helps people look after their health.

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