Patients4Patients: a mobile app for patients developed in 1 month
The diagnosis of a chronic illness is life-changing. How should I take care of myself? What should I expect? Patients get overwhelmed by millions of questions. And who can answer them better than other patients who have been in the same situation?
For the People and Medicine Foundation, we developed an MVP of a Flutter mobile application – a platform where Recovery Mentors help Novice patients find their way to live with the illness.
The scope of the MVP smartly reduced
Thanks to the openness of the Foundation during the requirements mapping workshop we managed to make the application simpler, yet still useful.
Using Flutter to cut development time to just 1 month
Multiple technologies can be used to deliver great mobile apps. We selected the one that gives the best native app user experience with the least amount of effort.
Cutting costs thanks to open source components
How to be more cost and time effective when you develop for a great cause? Take good work shared by others and make the most of it!
Seamless communication a key to rapid development
The key to success was trust and very close cooperation between our developers, the product designer and the owner.
The solution that can be easily scaled up & developed further
An MVP is always just a beginning. We made sure that first patients are able to use the application smoothly and their feedback can be turned into new functionalities.
The first step to encourage investors
To make Patients4Patients a truly blooming and helpful platform, the Foundation needs further investment. Having an MVP in hands makes it easier to talk to potential investors and partners.
The scope of work
How to make the most of the budget in a short time without compromising the patients’ needs?
Doctors and patient organizations are a great source of basic information on how the illness changes your everyday life. But they won’t be there to answer your questions, when mundane matters become challenges: Is it safe for me to eat pineapples? Is running 5 km a day still a good idea in my condition? Will the therapy affect my ability to drive? To work? What about my libido?
Of course, you can ask Doctor Google or people on Facebook Groups. But these are not necessarily safe and reliable sources of information. So who can you rely upon?
The People and Medicine Foundation asked themselves this question. The answer was obvious: we should let “novice” patients approach the more “experienced” ones, who have already found a way to live with the illness!
The Foundation designed and tested a prototype of the app, and it was high time it was turned into a real application accessible for patients in need.
We had less than 2 months and a very reduced budget to:
- Define the scope of the first version of the application (MVP)
- Develop a native mobile application for iOS and Android
- Carry out QA tests
- Consult in which ways the MVP can be tested with real users
Defining the scope – the requirements mapping workshop
We knew what patients needed. But which needs were the most important ones?
Before reaching out to Skyrise.tech, the Foundation created and tested a prototype of the solution with dozens of patients. They learned a lot about their needs, expectations and concerns. Their vision was solid, and very ambitious.
Unfortunately, the obtained funds were not sufficient to build the full-scale solution, even though Skyrise.tech worked on it on a low-bono basis.
During the requirements mapping workshop, we discussed who the users of the application were, what was the core value they were seeking, and we decomposed the app design into the most basic features.
When we were done with it, in cooperation with the Foundation, we selected the most important components and functionalities and combined them to define a real MVP – Minimum Viable Product. This way first patients could get access to a functioning Patients4Patients app as soon as possible.
The rapid development of the mobile application with Flutter in just 1 month
How to ensure alignment and great quality during the development process?
Together with Patients4Patients we used agile development techniques and made all the team members directly accessible to every other member of the team for smoother communication.
We also decided to:
- use Flutter to write one application that easily adapts to multiple platforms: iOS, Android and web (instead of writing separate native mobile applications)
- use available existing components – especially well-tested and highly scored open-source SDKs
- reduce work connected with setting up the infrastructure and backend development by using Firebase service by Google
- make sure that the product designer and developers cooperate closely on daily basis to proactively find simpler and smarter ways do develop interfaces without compromising UX
Thanks to this approach and a carefully defined scope the MVP, the mobile application was ready to be tested with first patients in just about 5 weeks. That proved to be enough time to make a real change!
Benefits of the agile approach to development
How UX and business are influenced by the way the application is developed?
The rules we used to shape the development process resulted in great outcomes:
The progress in work visible literally day by day
Optimal decisions on app interface taken by the designer and developers
Beautiful, simple and user-friendly application
Easy adaptation from Android to other platforms when needed
Simplified process of maintenance & further development of the app
The application ready to apply for further funding, e.g. acceleration programmes
The secret of building an MVP smoothly
How was it possible that an inexperienced NGO and a software company were able to cooperate so effectively?
The People and Medicine Foundation found Skyrise.tech on the Tech to The Rescue initiative website. It was their first software project and our first cooperation with a non-profit organization. How was it possible that it went so smoothly?
First of all – all of the stakeholders shared an agile approach to the project. Flexibility, instant communication and trust were our guides, and helped us overcome problems one by one, just as they appeared.
The second most important pillar of success was a great understanding of the patients’ needs that was presented by the Foundation. It was clearly visible that they went all the way to learn what patients really need and are afraid of. It was mirrored in the application design and helped us enormously when reducing the scope of the MVP.
And last but not least – we all share an eagerness to experiment, validate assumptions, test, fail and improve fast. This culture of innovation was crucial for the project.
Founder, People and Medicine Foundation