Healthcare is certainly going through some exciting times and technology is helping to get the pain out of healthcare. Doctors often have to think out of the box while making diagnoses or treating patients, when they face conditions that are unusual and not textbook perfect.
Some such cases may find their way into medical journals but certainly not all. Again, not all healthcare professionals may have access to such journals. Word of mouth also has its limitations. So a lot of knowledge that could help alleviate the suffering of patients who are suffering from a variety of diseases could go waste.
Dr. Sandeep Bansal, a UK based doctorpreneur, thought of a solution to fix this problem. He thought of building a social platform where doctors, medical students and other healthcare professionals could congregate and share their knowledge and experience. Since most healthcare professionals have easier access to mobile devices than desktop computers nowadays, he envisioned it as a mobile app that would modernize medical education and professional development.
His search for a worthy partner to help bring the project to fruition led him to Net Solutions. We worked with him to realize his dream of crowd sourcing healthcare knowledge through a focused social network.
We collaborated with Dr. Bansal to build the following elements into the app:
Authentication meant only for Healthcare Professionals
Since healthcare professionals were going to share medical records and other patient-related information through the app, confidentiality was a major concern. It was essential to ensure not only user info, but also that the shared information wasn’t used by other sources.
So we made it mandatory for all types of users (admin as well as registered users) to log into the app. Data encoding ensured safety of the information at various stages such as transfer from mobile to the backend and to HTTPS.
Intuitive UI for a rich User Experience (UX)
Creating a rich user experience for the audience was a challenge since this was the first social media app targeting the healthcare sector. We first tried to understand the target audience and where they were coming from to create such an experience for them.
We started the user research with interviewing the stakeholders. This helped us identify the target audience for the application. We selected a user sample from those in the age group of 18-65. This was followed by story-boarding and user testing. A test version of the app was sent to more than 70 healthcare professionals, from whom we collected feedback on the prototype. We launched a minimum viable product after making a few modifications based on the regression testing feedback.
A strong backend to withstand future updates
The app was going to have a ‘beats’ section and maintaining that was a challenge because content would be continuously uploaded on it. Also, expansion of the user base would require organization of the backend, so that it could handle the traffic.
The requirements for backend management were substantial as the scope was massive. We optimized the app through indexing and also optimized the database to ensure that the backend would remain sturdy.
Since then, the app has been launched successfully. It has many features that are helping it gain acceptance in the medical community, including:
- Access is granted only to those verified as healthcare professionals
- Users get the latest updates in healthcare from the community
- Healthcare professionals can share Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and Word files, besides videos and photos, with fellow app users
- Notifications are sent to a user when another user follows him, upbeats/downbeats his beat or comments on his post
- Users can filter content with regard to areas of interest or the other users they follow
- Healthcare professionals can securely obtain consent forms from patients through the app
- Any user can report inappropriate content or information that may identify a patient
Dr. Bansal and Net Solutions have worked together to bring out a product that has the potential to build a dedicated healthcare community. To understand more about the On Call Room (OCR) app please go through it’s Case Study here or you can actually download the app here and share your reviews.
We will love to know if you have come across any healthcare apps recently and if you would like to share any. Please feel free to post your comments.