Pros and Cons of React Native for HealthTech Apps

Romana Hoekstra
Content Marketing Manager at TechMagic. Mainly focused on content marketing, SEO optimization, and media relations.
Pros and Cons of React Native for HealthTech Apps

What are the React Native pros and cons for healthcare apps? Discover all the benefits you can get and all the risks you may face before the development begins!

Quality of medical services affects everyone, and this is especially important when it comes to healthcare technologies. When you develop a data management tool for a clinic or a mobile app that can be synced with various medical devices, you can’t think about cutting costs. However, there is still a way of creating native-like high-quality solutions and paying less at the same time.

Main Benefits of React Native for Health Apps Development

There are no hospitals for iPhone lovers or Samsung fans exclusively. So, suppose you are thinking about developing a healthtech app. In that case, it is crucial to work on both platforms — iOS and Android — to fully embrace the target audience of medical apps and provide usage of the app across any device. Hiring developers specialized in different platforms normally leads to extended time and budget. Here is why you should consider the React Native framework advantages.

Despite the fact that Facebook developers created React Native in 2015, the young technology managed to get to the most used frameworks in 2020. Since coding in RN basically requires JavaScript knowledge, thousands of the JS developers become the React Native developers.

If you believe that React Native has too many disadvantages to be used for healthcare apps, do not hesitate to review the pros and cons of React Native below. And don’t forget that despite all the React Native disadvantages, the framework assisted in building the latest releases of such apps as Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Pinterest, Walmart, Bloomberg, Salesforce, Tesla, and others.

Fast development

React Native allows developers to re-use the code for devices on different platforms (Android and iOS) and for web applications. As a result, React developers don’t have to write everything from scratch since they get access to ready-to-use components, which often save a huge amount of time.

The ‘hot reload’ feature is one more benefit you get from React Native in terms of time efficiency. Basically, it means that any change or tweak in the code instantly reflects in apps even if they are already running. So you don’t have to stop functioning some critical healthcare systems just to release an update.

Cost reduction

Talking about React Native advantages and disadvantages, we can’t overlook the money question. Medical app development is always a costly enterprise but React Native technology lets you reduce costs by hiring a universal full-stack team. Even though you will need to engage native coders in the process, in the end, it will be much cheaper than full-time contracts.

In addition, React Native developers’ salary expectations are normally lower compared to Swift or Kotlin coders.

Better-than-hybrid performance

One of the most significant benefits of React Native is the support of native modules and controls, which means the developed apps’ performance will be native-like. And we are not talking about small differences. In terms of UI and UX, there will be no differences at all. Ordinary users will not notice that apps are created with non-native technologies. Great UI/UX design means improving the learning curve for medical staff and making them aware of new technology and productive faster.

Whereas hybrid tools are known for providing just a native-style wrapping for browser-based software, React Native lets the development team work with various native components. Thus, the final version of the product has a surprisingly real look and feel.

Flexible architecture

React Native is known for its modular architecture. In a nutshell, it means that the developers will be able to gather different functions and create modules. The last ones can be replaced if needed. Why is this relevant to the React Native health apps? They are also re-usable: you can apply them to the future releases of the web and mobile APIs in case the healthcare companies start using some new gear.

Reliability and stability

Apps built with React Native remain stable and reliable for a long time after the launch. Such benefits of using React Native can be explained by the fact that the framework doesn’t allow any child element to impact the parent data. So, if you want to modify objects for the next release, you will have to change their state and apply each update accordingly. In other words, the changes will affect only selected components, with no buggy surprises.

Another reason to weigh React Native app advantages in terms of stability is its experience with the big guys. As we mentioned before, such companies as Facebook, Microsoft, and Airbnb successfully use React Native for their applications.

Although some experts doubt React Native can be used for the apps that need to be 100% accurate, we proved they can be wrong by releasing a fintech app, Fractal Labs. With the help of the app, financial service providers access valuable customer data, provide valuable insights on their spending habits, produce cash flow forecasts, effectively engage, prioritize and convert customers, etc.

Regulatory compliance

The medical app regulatory compliance is conditioned by requirements of HIPAA for the US market. HIPAA makes sure the personal records in the app are protected from waste, fraud, and abuse. One of the React Native advantages is that it lets you build HIPAA compliant apps. During the development, ensure that both your code and back-end architecture guarantee high security of protected health information (PHI).

Standard features of HIPAA compliant software include:

  • Authorized user access,
  • Access control,
  • Active network monitoring,
  • Automatic log off,
  • Remediation plan,
  • Emergency mode and data backup,
  • Data encryption and decryption, etc.

Code quality

Since JavaScript means a single-threaded approach, the developers are supposed to perform relevant loading in native codes. Since React Native is a mix of JS and native UI/UX elements, you won’t be able to complete more than one task simultaneously. In other words, you create a single thread for each element, so the threads perform functions one by one. As a result, the development team often has to duplicate functions by using additional software.

Talking about the advantages and disadvantages of React Native, the absence of multiple threads is considered to be a noteworthy advantage from the product owner’s perspective.

Third-party plugins support

As there are many types of medical apps for healthcare, there is a wide range of features that doctors expect to see. Since React Native supports a lot of 3rd-party libraries, you will need less time and effort while coding. Moreover, you will experience outstanding flexibility and smooth integration. Another interesting thing is pragmatic interfaces, which can be customized within the framework according to your needs.

Risks and Challenges of React Native Medical App Development

Nothing is perfect. And after the pros always come the cons. However, weighing all the potential pitfalls in advance gives you a chance to reduce their impact as much as possible. It is essential to know all the pros and cons of using React Native, especially when it comes to healthcare applications. That’s why we gathered all of them in the points below.

Dependence on the native code

Although using the React Native framework means you don’t need to hire iOS and Android developers, you will probably have to ask for their assistance. Especially if your future product requires access to the device’s cameras, fingerprint scanner, and other hardware components. It is also applicable to the apps which are synced with some medical equipment.

Good news: you will need just some specific modules, which won’t require a lot of time or effort.

Likely weaker performance

When talking about the React Native pros and cons, many experts say nothing compares to the natively developed apps. When it comes to memory management and multimedia, applications made with React Native may show a bit worse results compared to the analogs written on Swift or JavaScript/Kotlin. For example, if an application sends a lot of video and audio requests in a small amount of time, it can affect responsiveness and cause a delay.

However, in certain cases, products created with the help of React Native can even outperform analogs written on Swift or Kotlin. We are talking about speed and responsiveness, which are crucial in the healthcare industry.

React Native

Small component pool

The number of ready-made components is too humble. It leads to some limitations and dependence on native coders. Unfortunately, existing components allow creating only uncomplicated apps or indie games so far. Alternatively, you can use third-party libraries. But first, note that this could be a risky affair since some may contain bugs or appear not compatible with the latest version of React Native or Android/iOS.

However, the community of React Native grows extremely fast, which means new components will be added in the near future.

Our experience

TechMagic developers specialize in delivering HealthTech apps that demonstrate outstanding performance and scalability. The company’s expertise is based on a groundbreaking technology stack that meets development needs and customer business goals.

Launched as a software development company, TechMagic utilizes the best UI/UX practices to make applications as clear as possible. During the last decade, TechMagic has released several successful products used in the medical, pharmaceutical, and social care sectors.

For example, you can review our case study about E-type Care, a digital suite for patients who take medication at home. It was designed to be used by care home managers and patients, analyze patient data and provide service quality assurance.

Another custom solution by TechMagic, psHEALTH, allows providing access to licensed doctors online, offering lab results, arranging consultations, etc.

Final Thoughts

While considering the pros and cons of the React Native framework, it is important to do the same with the alternative technologies which can be suitable for your future product. For example, compare with time, cost, performance, and other criteria applicable to native app development. When you see the whole picture, it is much easier to make the right decision.

You should also understand that in most cases, using React Native (despite all the advantages) doesn’t exclude collaboration with iOS and Android developers. However, you will hire them only for a couple of days, not for several months. You can find app developer vacancies on Jooble, for example.

Another thing you need to be focused on is quality assurance. When it comes to healthcare software development, it is better to spend more time searching for bugs than finding out that something goes wrong after the launch.

Here, at TechMagic, we believe that today, in a highly competitive market, it is crucial to be not only the best in the niche but also to be the first. That’s why we pay so much attention to the code clearness and utilize React Native technology to reduce the product’s time to delivery as much as possible. Contact us to consult on medical app development for your company.

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