Why talking to patients is important in developing your app
The founding team behind CyberDoctor wanted to make sure the product addressed a common need before launching it, and talking to patients was crucial to that.
CEO and founder Akhila Satish started CyberDoctor, a company focused on quality of care principles that revolve around patient-physician interactions, in 2009. She said the product development phase was a key to the company's launch of four different healthcare apps (SymptomScan, TreatmentTracker, PatientPartner and DocLogs). Satish focused a lot of her time on market research, clinical trial studies and talking with patients and physicians.
"You need to know that there is a need in the market and the right way to address that need," said Satish about the importance of thorough pre-launch work. "What we tried to do was make sure the problem we are solving is actually being faced by a significant amount of people, and how the existing tools in the marketplace are not solving the specific need. It sounds simple, but it's really critical to developing a product that has clear differentiation from the very beginning."
The most helpful form of research for Satish was actually talking to patients and providers. "Your 'need statement' is clearly outlined when you know what resources those people are using and what they need to work with," said Satish. "Then we needed to make sure our approach and product worked effectively to solve the problems we wanted to solve."
Satish already knew there was an issue with patient adherence, which their PatientPartner app sets out to solve, but she also knew many companies were trying to solve it. "One of the biggest challenges is that there are a lot of people, ideas and noise in this patient adherence market," Satish said. "But unless you have quantitative, clinically generated data, like we do, no one actually knows if you are going to successfully change people's behavior and have a measurable biological outcome. You need the data, and you need to do research into their day-to-day life and routines to show how you approach making a change and you can make sure it is a valid user engagement strategy."
Other insights from Satish:
Don't be afraid to change plans – Originally, CyberDoctor's PatientPartner app was supposed to be offered to patients through doctors only, but Satish saw a more effective use. "We didn't want to wait six months to give this to patients," Satish said. "Once we had it, once we knew it worked, we wanted to get it out as soon as possible. A pivot can be scary, and requires you to learn on the go, but it's also an invaluable skill to learn as an entrepreneur."
Know your own strengths as an entrepreneur- "I'm from a science background originally, and so understanding trials, data, how to measure results- those are things I have had years of formal training in. I knew the reasons why the data aligned well with the market- and I was well positioned to address that."
[Photo by - IntelFreePress]