Varian: Apple iPad iOS Mobile Electronic Medical Record application prototype
Varian Develops a Mobile EMR Prototype to Stand Out From the Crowd
To explore whether oncologists would use – and benefit from – a mobile Electronic Medical Record application, Varian turned to Macadamian to help develop an iPad based mobile application prototype. Leveraging Macadamian’s user research, interaction design and Apple iPad software development services, Varian developed an iPad prototype that will help the company obtain valuable user feedback. Varian Medical Systems is a leading developer of software products and medical devices that aid in the treatment of cancer and other medical conditions. Many of the company’s products are used by oncologists – physicians who specialize in the treatment of cancer – and Varian wished to explore the benefits of a mobile application for this important user group. “We wanted to see whether we could develop a mobile device app that would help improve workflows in oncology clinics,” explains Erwin Nell, Senior Manager of User Experience at Varian. “We could see the potential of a mobile application and were getting questions from users about whether we planned to create something for a mobile device.” Varian’s CEO asked Macadamian’s development team to create a prototype application that could be showcased at an important industry trade show. That trade show, however, was only three months away. Seeking out External Expertise “We were facing an enormous time crunch,” recalls Nell. “We had experienced designers and developers on staff, but we had never designed anything for a mobile device. Moreover, all of our engineers were tied up with other projects.” The project’s tight deadline prompted Varian to seek out third-party development support. Its initial efforts to find a reliable partner, however, came up short. “We contacted two or three software development companies that had expertise in iPad app development or that had developed medical applications for mobile devices,” says Nell. “We learned, though, that these companies were strictly engineering shops – they needed all of the specific product requirements up front. What we needed was someone who could help to define the requirements, determine the scenarios that the app should address, and then use that information to develop a prototype.”
Choosing an End-to-End Partner
Varian was looking to develop an application that oncologists could access on a mobile tablet device, such as an iPad, to simplify their workday activities. “On a weekly basis, a radiation therapy patient will visit his or her oncologist to discuss the progress of the therapy,” explains Nell. “To prepare for these visits, the oncologist needs to access and analyze the patient’s most recent results. We envisioned an app that would allow the oncologist to check his daily schedule and task list, navigate to a patient’s chart, receive a summary of results and dig further into the chart if necessary. We also wanted the app to accept information so that the physician could make notes and modify information on the fly. What we needed was someone who could help to define the requirements, determine the scenarios that the app should address, and then use that information to develop a prototype.” Erwin Nell Sr. Manager of User Experience.
On Time and On Budget
Despite the short project timeline, Macadamian delivered a fullfeatured, working EMR mobile app prototype ahead of the oncology conference. “Thanks to Macadamian, we will be able to put the application in the hands of oncologists that visit our booth and gather their feedback,” states Nell. “No other application like this exists, so this is sure to get attention. More importantly, though, showcasing the prototype will help us refine it and confirm whether there is a market for this type of app.” Varian credits the successful development of the prototype to its close working relationship with Macadamian. “It was great working with Macadamian and we would definitely consider working with them again – whether that is to perform further work on this project or on another one,” says Nell. “Developing mobile applications isn’t part of our core business, so it is good to know that we have a partner with this expertise that we can count on. Macadamian follows the same user research practices that we do so it was very easy to communicate with them and get them up to speed on what we were looking to do,” says Nell. “They understood immediately what we were looking for.”
Macadamian is a global software consultancy that helps companies create successful products. Product development leaders turn to Macadamian to develop product strategies, design compelling user experiences, and build quality software. We transform ideas into market-ready products that your customers will love. For more information, please visit www.macadamian.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.