The Indian healthcare industry, which was once neglected by both the private and public sectors, with only about 3.6% of India's overall GDP spend, and with 1.3 hospital beds; 0.65 doctors; 1.3 nurses for every 1000 patients, (Source: Economic Times) is now witnessing a digital transformation. A lot of startups are trying to solve some pertinent issues in this space and are making healthcare much more accessible to everyone.
In solving these problems, technology plays a crucial role, and this is where 91social comes, as a mid-sized company with a young and technically sound team, led by an experienced technical architect and CEO, 91social has helped a lot of startups turn their vision into a software product by developing mobile and web apps, dashboards, data parsing engines, etc. It has worked actively with startups in fintech, edtech, and other industries, and has solved some of the most pressing issues. 91social had been wanting to work with a healthcare startup for some time, but not many interesting leads came their way.
On the other hand, OPDlift, a homegrown healthcare startup that provides doctors and hospitals an interface to manage the appointments and walk-ins of patients, was looking to grow. Deepak Gandotra, its founder, foresaw a vision of providing technology solutions to doctors and hospitals to better manage their outpatient departments(OPD). He was contemplating how he could improve the experience of patients, doctors, and the doctors' staff, to make the outpatient consulting service seamless.
OPDlift has had a web application that lets the doctors manage their patients appointments and walk-in queue. But with smartphones being more accessible and portable, Deepak wanted to build a mobile app that would let the doctors and staff manage end-to-end out-patient services through a mobile app. However, Deepak did not have the required development resources in-house to build the app, and hence was looking for someone who could develop it for him. That's when his friend referred 91social to him. After a brief discussion with 91social's team, Deepak thought 91social was the right choice to turn his vision into reality.
Product Development Approach:
A distinctive product development approach that 91social takes, is the 4-D approach, intending to add value to both the business and the user at each stage.
Deepak met with the 91social’s technical team, to share his vision of developing an app for the doctors, clinics, and hospitals, that would enable them to schedule appointments online, manage the queue for both walk-in patients, and those with appointments, notify the patients through WhatsApp and text messages about their turn, etc. Deepak had detailed these requirements to the 91social team, they in-turn bought into the vision of OPDlift. These brainstorming conversations between both parties allowed them to bounce ideas that would provide a good experience to all the stakeholders involved.
Deepak and the team of 91social had decided that they’d build a hybrid mobile app that runs on both Android and iOS platforms, with the ability to schedule appointments online, manage the queue for walk-in patients, predict the wait times, communicate these details with the patients, and finally provide these metrics to the doctors.
Though the scope of work was discussed from the requirements gathering standpoint, there was no defined product requirements document(PRD), which could have acted as a single source of truth about what is to be built.
Deepak already had some mockups of the design that he wanted on the mobile app and shared them with 91social’s team for their reference. However, the application flow had not been communicated clearly, and hence 91social’s team had to come up with a clickthrough prototype of the mockups to visualize the working app. This process took about 4 weeks, which clarified how the user experience would be, and also led to the development stage.
During the design phase, both the design and microservice architecture were also finalized(frozen) by the 91social’s team, and the app had about 90 screens in total, which were to be developed end-to-end in two iterations. An estimated man-hour was shared with Deepak taking into consideration the functionality, design, and flow.
The technical stack of the app included the React Native framework with Redux-Persist, Micronaut, Google Firebase, and MySQL. Initially, the development work went on smoothly without any hiccups, however, the requirements had changed a couple of times during the development process, leading to slight confusion, and delay in the app development time. Also, the app had to include capabilities to work offline, which took some more time, and for 91social, they had to leverage the expertise of its CEO, Sunil, to be able to deliver the app as per the scope of work. But, it only took 4 months to develop this end-to-end app with about 90 screens, from scratch, which included building a predictive engine to calculate the wait-times, integrating a scheduler and messaging service.
Sometimes, in a services business, the vision of the client is not understood clearly, thereby not providing little value to the user. However, in this case, Deepak’s vision was also shared by 91social, therefore, the app was built from a user’s perspective, hence we see functionality such as wait-time calculation that is almost accurate, thanks to the predictive engine which takes varied considerations to arrive at a calculation. Also, the functionality of notifying the patients through WhatsApp and SMS is very helpful to both the patients and the doctors, as their time is no longer wasted. All of these well-thought and well-developed functionalities made the app usage experience way better.
Finally, once the development was completed, it was hosted on the Digitalocean cloud and was made available to users on iOS and Android platforms, through their respective app stores.
Value-add to the user:
Through this app, Deepak wanted to streamline the process of consulting a doctor, by reducing the bottlenecks in the process of appointments, thereby improving the experience for all the stakeholders involved, and also improving the doctor-patient engagement. This business objective is fulfilled, with more than 200 clinics and doctors onboarding the OPDlift platform.
Learnings for 91social:
This was 91social’s first project in the healthcare industry, working on a grand vision. This project not only helped them demonstrate their expertise in developing hybrid apps in a short time but also gave the young team a few learnings. Firstly, they realized that having clear documentation of the work and the requirements not only helps them work faster, but also helps deliver value to the client. This opportunity also helped 91social identify the skill gaps, and up-skill resources, which also helps with other assignments.
TL; DR? — Here’s the visual summary