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Important Tips for Doctors with Medical App Ideas


Health care professionals who create and develop their own health app often miss key elements when it comes to producing their application.

This article published with permission from

Health care professionals who create and develop their own health app often miss key elements when it comes to producing their application.

This means they forego opportunities to speed up development time and make their app play well with other apps. We recently attended the Health:Refactored conference, where this topic was highlighted.

Below we’ve distilled some of the key messages shared by leaders from Microsoft, Allscripts, the FDA and more.

Apps shouldn’t reinvent the wheel

Sean Nolan (@familyhealthguy), a Microsoft distinguished engineer and chief architect heading Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, praised platforms as the way to cut development time and costs.

He first noted that the current state of health care practice is terrible because of the lack of information available to both doctors and patients:

“The practice of health care is so mediocre, just by doing something you’re likely to make things better,” Nolan quoted from an anonymous source. “Nobody has a complete picture of your care. Nobody. We forget most of what we hear in the office. Doctors would rather send you a letter than an email. People regularly don’t even fill scripts, let alone take the meds. Emergency rooms know nothing about us. We fill out the same paperwork again and again. We have no idea if our doctor is better than that other one over there.”

Other questions that health care start-ups need to address, according to Nolan, include:

• How do people learn about your solution?

• How do you get the data you need for your solution to work?

• How do you provision people’s identities?

• What platform do you choose? Nolan notes that not everyone has an iPhone, which traditionally has been reserved for wealthier clientele.

• How do you ensure any patient can use your solution?

• How do you ensure any provider can use your solution?

• How does your solution communicate back to providers to impact care?

• Where and how can payment happen?

“Platforms are the answer,” Nolan says. “Stand on platforms to scale. All of the aforementioned questions can be solved by a platform. The things you ignore in a pilot are exactly the hard problems you need to solve.”

“You need to look beyond what you’re going to pilot,” then “ask, ‘how am I going to keep this sustainable?’ The answer is the platforms that are being grown now.”

Nolan notes that the reason a lot of start-ups and initiatives at universities stall is because they try to focus on those aforementioned questions too much when they could have other companies solve these problems for them.

Read more.

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