As our healthcare systems evolve toward more targeted, preventative medicine and value-based care metrics, the most useful healthcare apps today are also directing their efforts toward understanding individual patients and practitioners, helping each overcome the most popular barriers to great healthcare at their source. Take that age-old healthcare response, for instance:
“Sorry, we can’t talk about your results over the phone. You’ll have to book an appointment to see your physician.”
From this phrase alone, we can begin to break down just a few of the pain points that practitioners and patients both face during the course of regular healthcare response: risks to information security, inefficient time management, unautomated scheduling administration, and the potential for miscommunication with possibly life-threatening consequences.
Listing these pain points makes it a lot easier to then outline just some of the technical options that healthcare app development teams like mine have when managing the more essential tenets of a healthcare app’s development. Off the top of my head, just five options that could address the above pain points are:
1 Cloud-based communication and/ or external email synchronizations;
2 Cross-platform stack ensuring desktop and mobile accessibility;
3 HIPAA security compliance ensuring patient privacy;
4 Assistive patient scheduling; and
5 Contact databases for solidifying physician-patient networks.
Given the potential design and development paths that arise from these “spring-board” features, many of the clients we (being, Topflight Apps) serve have opted to bring us in on healthcare app development projects that transform these and other wireframe-stage ideas into some truly beautiful medical software programming. One such project that comes to mind is based on the long-term partnership the team and I created with our colleagues at RingRx.
As a software response, RingRx has always held a positive vision for the secure transfer of Protected Health Information (PHI) in accordance with HIPAA standards. With a vision for streamlining healthcare across the US, the app itself relies on cloud-based communication and is easily compatible with desktop, phone, and even fax devices thanks to Ruby on Rails and Ember.js architectures. In its current form, this well-encrypted app also acts somewhat like an electronic health records (EHR) system in its own right, helping to cement a secure network of care-focused communication involving multiple parties--from doctors, to patients, to other specialists. What was really important for this project though, was that both our teams had a similar goal: to take a long-term, scalable, and inclusive view of eHealth development. Actually, as we at Topflight have continued to grow into the industry of healthcare app development, I’ve seen a lot of our eHealth clients broadening their scope this way--shifting their focus to take a bird’s-eye-view of possible medical solutions over a series of web and mobile projects.
Take another med-centric app project from our portfolio, which spanned the development of four separate, but complementary, health technology products:
Hired by Medable through the Stanford University School of Medicine, Topflight Apps was contracted to build out several designs that centered on accelerating drug development, thus enabling therapies to get to patients faster without having to sacrifice privacy or FDA compliance. Of the four final outcomes, each product maintained a focus on key healthcare software capabilities that would supplement the success of remote clinical trials and healthcare research tracking. Ramping up from an initial pilot project that helped researchers correlate environmental factors and symptoms of specific diseases, we proceeded to evolve the three other major development projects according to our best practices, including a dashboarded app for clinical trial management, an orthopedic supply ordering system, and a symptom tracking app for participants of a fainting study. With so much more room to apply our expertise in developing health apps, this series of projects saw us considering traditional software development approaches in a healthcare context on a much bigger scale, faced with managing additional integrations like:
- EHR Operability
- Medical Supply Management
- Healthcare Insurance Reimbursements
- Clinical Research/ Trial Management
In the face of such an extensive scope, I remained confident in my team’s healthcare development experience up to then: we already knew that stacks like Python and PostgreSQL were right up there as being the most compatible with existing EHR systems, and had a ton of existing research on the healthcare insurance marketplace to bring to the table thanks to a prior project in that space. We’d already created several web and mobile-compatible symptom tracking projects as well, and had built a solid in-house UI/ UX design team motivated by accessible, patient-friendly design--meaning we were successful in delivering on the full scope of Medable’s vision for clinical trial management via mobile means.
By employing a development partner who already had a handle on these customizations then, RingRx, Medable, and many of our other healthcare clients have continued to benefit from our process for breaking down complex medical issues, targeting the heart of the problem as opposed to just the symptoms. And even though that means going above and beyond as software developers, it also results in the development of the most useful healthcare apps out there today!
After testing with hundreds of health app users and translating big programming challenges into functional medical solutions as long as we have, my team at Topflight is ready to engage with the next generation of eHealth professionals looking to build truly useful, disruptive healthcare apps. If that’s the vision you have for your next project, get in touch! We’d love to talk shop and apply our technical skills and healthcare mindset in bringing you closer to your final healthcare product.