Optimizing Telemedicine Technologies: Telehealth Platform and Toolkit
Learn how we developed in cooperation with non-profit organisation the Telehealth Toolkit system to improve digital processes for healthcare organizations as a part of important innovations in telemedicine.
About the client
Doctors Without Borders is an impressive worldwide movement of more than 67,000 professionals and volunteers. Neutral, impartial, and independent, they help people in great need, regardless of skin colour, religious beliefs, gender affiliation, or political views. Medical ethics has been their main guide since the very beginning of 1971 when the international independent organization was founded. For all these years, the Client’s healthcare assistance has been a blessing for victims of war, natural catastrophes, and epidemics, as well as for people totally excluded from medical service. The underprivileged get vaccinated, receive professional consultations, and can feel safer knowing that patient admissions, TB and HIV treatments, and migrants rescue are many other kinds of assistance that exist for every human regardless of all differences thanks to the vibrant movement of noble people sharing the common purpose of saving lives and giving medical help.
A culture of innovation within a non-profit organization is promoted by the Sweden Innovation Unit (SIU), a custom healthcare software development company. Founded in 2012, they prioritize long-term visions and explore new opportunities so that the changes in co-creation bring more effectiveness in saving lives and reducing suffering. SIU’s human-centred design approach covers the full innovation life cycle. In the initiation phase, the challenge is framed, user research is performed, insights are analyzed, and objectives are defined. The development phase is when ideas are generated and screened. This is also the stage for creating and testing concepts and prototypes. The focus of the implementation phase is mostly on the design and the scaling of the solutions in the field, as well as the interactions between beneficiaries, non-profit organization staff, SIU staff, and external partners.
By using a systematic yet adaptable approach in combination with the extensive network of partners, the Client supports the five international independent non-profit organization Operational Centers and also works in a diversity of domains, including but not limited to medical equipment, digital solutions, process design, energy, and infection prevention and control, both inside and outside of the organization.
The new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic means health systems face serious limits in resources, which has brought the need for innovative approaches to supporting COVID-19 patients. Since the first lockdowns in early 2020, it is no longer easy and safe for patients to access medical support, and non-profit organization power to provide the most important medical help was greatly challenged.
To begin with, these fast telehealth arrangements in field operations lacked the best operational guidance and perfection in practices, threatening the safety and efficacy of telehealth interventions. There was no decent support and coordination structure to unify insights and experience from across the movement.
This is one of the reasons that international independent non-profit organization has started to become closely partnered with ZenBit Tech in order to develop software solutions to digitize the collaborative editing and peer-review process between teams.
The private platform made the co-authoring and reviewing process simplified, functional, fast, and secure. It guides users through the process of populating the required information in each step, such as free-text responses.
All the project toolkit responses are supposed to be stored centrally and to provide a standardized means of project assessment. Some steps are possible to configure, which is a great advantage for non-technical team members, as they can easily add any input form to their project, and this new form can be re-used in other projects if relevant.
The platform defines input forms, collects, stores, reviews, and edits the form responses. It also exports all form responses for a project to a single PDF. To reduce development time and overall complexity, the developer chose the most effective technical solution.
The Telehealth platform was developed and, now looking back on the steps and decisions that brought us to the final successful result, we are proud to share them.
First of all, we had to make sure that the scope of the development process was aligned with our business values.
The discovery phase consisted of three stages: analysis, requirements, and design. Although it was not difficult to determine the product’s goals, studying its architecture and looking for the best technical solutions was quite a challenge for the team.
Then we moved to requirements by performing the initial project setup as well as specifying the product vision into the project scope for the developers. Finally, the discovery phase was embodied in an architectural design relevant to business goals.
Involving multidisciplinary teams
As we know, telehealth efforts are not strictly medical. They require insights and engagement from a variety of disciplines, including clinical, IT, legal, logistics, health promotion, communications, data protection, and others.
Together with SUI, we needed to define structures and mechanisms with representation from these different areas of expertise that can support field initiatives across the movement using the Telehealth toolkit platform.
Simple UX for a complex product
We believe in simplicity as the ultimate sophistication, which is why, for such a complex product as healthcare software, we created a simple user experience.
Having many user roles, the Telehealth platform is a special place where complex functionality effectiveness depends on being clear and comfortable for all, no matter how friendly with technology each of them might be.
When building the Telehealth platform, we gave exceptional importance to both scalability and uptime. When it becomes popular, a telemedicine software‘s user base grows in a flash, so it must be reliable and consistent.
One of the easiest ways is to have an application that can live on multiple servers. This kind of product architecture enabled us to scale up our environment as much as we liked.
Support and uptime
After the product deployment, the focus moved to adequate support. Data safety and legal compliance are among the values of the Telehealth toolkit platform.
Having created an objective solution landscape and supporting toolkit, Sweden Innovation Unit aimed to provide field teams with a set of vital guides that will help in figuring out needs and capacities and choose the best approach for them. We gave great importance to the external landscape understanding. Building, buying or creating partnerships – no matter which option in telehealth initiatives individual international independent non-profit organization teams decide upon, it is equally relevant.
As a result, after a detailed preparation on different levels of our project development, we got a clear vision of the target audience, the languages of the system confirmed, cultural context thoroughly studied, stakeholder mapping done, risk assessment performed, and the resource requirements were approved. We engaged relevant IT support, OC team support and data protection expertise, and also confirmed it was in accordance with in-country regulations. We made sure our hardware was ready and the user/data protocol was clearly documented. The operator support mechanism was established, and the best practices for non-profit organization staff handover were clearly mapped.
Thanks to the Toolkit development teams, we did not forget to include metrics for understanding high demand areas and the ones that happened to be unaddressed. The user survey plan was easy to follow. Moreover, we got armed with important methods for measuring patient-user satisfaction, non-profit organization operator’s comfort, and for establishing functionality of referral pathways. In addition to that, we set periodic meetings for the teams to review data and interactions and mapped end-to-end data flow.
Healthcare went online, and the fast COVID-19 pandemic created a reality where investing in health-tech solutions definitely leads to big profits as a great number of people started to use digital medical services and professional guidance is a must-have here. Custom healthcare software development companies have never been in such urgent demand like they are now. High-quality healthcare needs to be available for patients in isolation, and we are happy to offer our best solutions in telemedicine software.
International independent non-profit organization toolkit platform brought many advantages and improvements into modern healthcare, and we feel privileged to be a part of this close collaboration and celebrate our mutual success. Apart from outstanding cooperation between the development teams, a transversal dialogue on the future of telehealth in the non-profit organization has been seeded as a shared lexicon to support the navigation and collaboration of non-profit organization telehealth actors, which has proved to be a real treasure.