Mobile healthcare technologies have the ability to improve the overall system’s efficiency, communication, costs, and service quality. Not surprisingly, the popularity of mHealth development, both medical apps for patients and those for doctors, is growing rapidly.
Research by Reportlinker reveals that the global mHealth apps market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.7% a year and is forecast to reach $149.3 billion by 2028. Mobile health app development is the key factor influencing the growth in the global mHealth market and that is due to the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, according to Statista.
Mobile health care ideas will be well received in the market. But how can you be 100% sure something is worth developing? To prove that your idea can work and attract users, you have to create a proof of concept (POC).
What is Proof of Concept?
According to TechTarget, proof of concept is “an exercise in which work is focused on determining whether an idea can be turned into a reality.” It is a way of testing whether your concept has the potential to be developed or built and whether it is going to work as projected. Typically, the evidence of concept feasibility is derived from an experiment or pilot project.
Proof of Concept comes in the form of a document that shows that your idea will work in a real-life environment, it specifies technologies and it confirms that your target audience will want your future solution.
When it comes to healthcare mobile application development, in addition to checking commercial feasibility (which is especially important for startups) while preparing a proof of concept, you also have to make sure your idea can be realized from a technical standpoint and that it is compliant with all applicable regulations.
Proof of Concept vs Prototype vs MVP vs Pilot
In the IT domain, proof of concept is closely associated with things like a prototype, minimum viable product (MVP), app development and pilot projects. These four can be confusing, so here is the difference.
- Proof of concept: As we mentioned, it confirms that an idea can be turned into reality powered by a set of technologies and that it will work as you expect in a particular business environment.
- Prototype: The first visual embodiment of your idea. The prototype is a slimmed-down version of the projected final product based on your idea that can be tested and evaluated for usability, functionality and design. A prototype is a draft of what the final product might look like; it doesn’t necessarily have all the features and functions of a market-ready product and it doesn’t contain all the usability or aesthetics of a final product.
- Minimum viable product (MVP): Can be developed after a successful proof of concept is drafted. In Agile methodology, this term refers to an already working solution created according to your proof of concept, software requirements specification (SRS) and prototype. As an early version of the final product, the MVP can be used to test its marketability and usability with potential users or customers.
- Pilot: Similar to MVP. The only difference between an MVP and a pilot project is who it is created for: an MVP allows you to test and measure the effectiveness of the features you have created; a pilot project allows users to use your solution and supply you with the information needed to improve your MVP.
How to Create a Proof of Concept for Your Software
A proof of concept is used to evaluate ideas before further testing and full-scale production in many industries including software, hardware, drug discovery, manufacturing, science and engineering.
In healthcare mobile app development services, the proof of concept creates a real-life demonstration of your idea, which allows doctors or patients to physically interact with your app; it helps create the foundation for early testing, resulting in a more refined product and helps attract stakeholders, investors and users. At this stage, you can combine three main aspects of an app development lifecycle: testing, prototyping, and early-stage marketing.
There is no universal template for the creation of a proof of concept in mobile healthcare. Rather, there are some common steps you can take to make sure that everything is on track:
- Perform a statistical market study to determine market needs, analyze competitor’s target audience behavior and assess compliance.
- Establish your Unique Selling Point (USP) by figuring out what your app does that is different from competitors so you create a business model.
- Analyze your stakeholders to find out what is necessary from the perspective of patients and what are the must-have features for doctors.
- Calculate the maximum budget for an MVP.
- Experiment with the design and development of your solution.
We at Cprime utilize a flexible POC approach. For example, to make sure the idea works in real life we can create a clickable design, transform it into an interactive prototype and invite the startup creator to see how the future solution will look and work.
Another strategy we use is to create something close to a prototype and an MVP. At this stage, a demo solution doesn’t necessarily have to use the data that it will use in real life. When using this approach, we involve local servers to store data and use it to showcase how the future solution may work. This demo solution doesn’t necessarily have to use real-life data either.
If we apply a video production approach, we can develop a simple user interface (UI) and showcase your idea with the help of a video. It is a winning strategy when you need to present your idea for the app to an audience before getting started.
A PoC allows you to see the bigger picture while evaluating your mHealth solution. Consequently, it demonstrates that the project can be done and creates a starting point for the development of the project as a whole.
Proof of Concept Challenges in mHealth
Creating an mHealth solution can be tricky for several reasons. These can be divided into two key areas:
- Legislation compliance
- Technical compatibility and stability
The compliance requirements for mobile healthcare software development in terms of the legislation are much higher as the lives of people are at stake. The requirements for safety and accuracy are critical for most applications.
You have to check your app’s compliance with applicable laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) during every phase of software planning and development. Missed risks and non-compliance can have an exponentially adverse effect on the overall investment.
Compatibility with medical hardware – if the future app is meant to work in connection with medical equipment – is also critical. You have to check in advance if your app is technically able to connect to the target equipment and ensure stable and accurate data transmission.
Why is Proof of Concept So Necessary in Mobile Healthcare
Some statistics say that about 90% of proposed startups never materialize, and 95% of new products never find their customers and end up failing. Proof of concept is the cornerstone of a feasible project. It helps to:
- Validate the idea and make sure it can be realized as a marketable, profitable product
- Attract interest and funding from investors, senior managers, and other decision-makers
- Make sure the technical result you want is achievable
- Identify potential technical and logistical issues that might interfere with success.
- Identify possible compliance problems
- Check the potential app stability and functionality
- Reduce unnecessary risk and exposure and provide the opportunity for stakeholders to assess design choices early in the development cycle
As an example of healthcare app development services we provide, let’s take a look at the proof of concept we created for a mobile healthcare system whose idea was to keep speech-controlled records during surgery.
What we were given
We were told that all surgeries are recorded, but it is difficult for a surgeon to control the video stream. The suggested app has to be able to tag certain fragments to facilitate a search of the video to enable a surgeon to select clip fragments necessary for medical document compilation.
We had to check the stability and scalability of the potential solution to make sure that the web app was able to work with hours of long videos, and that the system was able to load/play videos without lagging.
The proof of concept
It took us about 2-3 weeks to prove that the idea was feasible. We successfully created a concept that showed the idea could be realized. In the process of proving the viability of the app’s concept, several potential pitfalls and weaknesses that should be avoided during the development of the app were also revealed. As we were working in the domain of healthcare app development, we paid special attention to ensuring data integrity, continuity, and syncing mechanisms (i.e., data up-sync and down-sync) to avoid data losses and corruption.
Proof of concept in health app development allows for looking beyond the idea and getting a bigger picture of the development needed before you put production-level resources behind your idea and make considerable investments in the project. If you’ve got any questions about developing a proof of concept or you want to get a quote from us for potential mHealth app proof of concept, get in touch now.