MedConnex: MedConnex develops an innovative EMR solution for an attractive and underserved target market
MedConnex, a provider of EHR and EMR solutions, understands that good healthcare information technology can improve the quality and delivery of care. Immediate access to timely and accurate information through the use of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) helps doctors and nurses reduce medical errors and, ultimately, save lives. An unintuitive EMR solution, however, can lead to serious consequences. Healthcare workers could prescribe the wrong medication, for example, or overlook important patient data.
To build an intuitive, user-friendly EMR optimized for healthcare professionals in smaller-sized medical practices, MedConnex enlisted the help of Macadamian. The company engaged Macadamian to identify the features their users really needed, learn how medical professionals would use the product in the real world, and architect a solution to address the unique needs of small medical clinics.
On-The-Ground User Research
Macadamian knew that it needed a solid understanding of the way medical practitioners work in smaller-sized practices so it arranged visits with small clinics that matched the MedConnex target audience. There, Macadamian’s user research team observed doctors and nurses as they worked to gain real-life feedback that could never have been obtained through a boardroom meeting or brainstorming session.
"The Macadamian user research team came on-site and learned how we work so they could create a system around us, not force us into a way of working cooked up by a software developer who's never started an IV,” noted a MedConnex representative. “All I could think was, 'These guys just get it. They understand that the software has to work for us, not the other way around."
Turning Research into Action
Working with the medical experts, Macadamian found that the EMR system would be most successful if it could mimic the existing paper-based medical records system via Pen and Tablet PC-driven charting. This approach would take advantage of the medical experts' existing knowledge of the paper-based system – any doctor could start using the software within a few minutes of picking it up because it would look and act exactly like the existing system. Because the system was on a computer, however, it would be able to automate time-wasting administrative work functions and let doctors and nurses get back to the work no computer can do – treating patients.
Using the information gathered from its user research efforts, the Macadamian User Experience team designed product specifications, wireframes and design mockups for a real-world EMR solution for smaller-sized medical practices. Then, it was time for the Macadamian Engineering team to make the system a reality.
The engineering team quickly discovered a new challenge for the system − the medical clinics making up the biggest part of the MedConnex customer base are generally too small to have a dedicated IT administrator to maintain their computer network. Practices with ten or fewer doctors account for 75% of this market segment. It wouldn't make economic sense for small clinics or a doctor's office to hire someone whose sole job was to maintain computers and software.
Under these circumstances, the EMR system had to work straight out-of-the-box, with a minimum of set up, and continue to work without a lot of maintenance. Working with the User Experience team, the Macadamian development team automated as many aspects of system maintenance that they could. At each step, they looked for system defaults that would work for 99% of users.
Developing a Self-Sufficient EMR Solution
To ensure that the solution would require little maintenance, Macadamian developed a simple install tool that asked for preferences and configured itself with little input from users. The engineering team also created an automatic upgrade system that delivers updates to the software without taking medical professionals away from their patients.
"Most EMR systems are designed for big customers – hospitals with computer people on staff to take care of the hardware and software,” says Paul Bolduc, CEO, MedConnex. “This EMR solution is different. Our customers are smaller clinics and doctor's offices. Macadamian's team was energized by the constraints of the system, and treated the problems of our project like an exciting challenge."
Thanks to the simple installer, clinical staff can spend time saving lives and improving the quality and delivery of care, not phoning Technical Support to figure out how to install upgrades.
Building the Right Architecture
Often, developers of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) management systems face a difficult choice when architecting a solution. A client/server architecture lays the groundwork for a feature-rich application, but it requires a great deal of expensive set-up and maintenance by the customer. A web-based architecture, on the other hand, eliminates the need for an on-site IT professional, but can limit the application’s feature set. Direct pen stylus entry, for example, would not be feasible on a web-based EMR, and an internet outage would severely impact a doctor’s ability to access critical information and treat patients.
Macadamian and MedConnex decided to create an innovative hybrid model that would leverage internet connectivity for certain functions but allow users to share data within their office and treat patients even when the internet was down.
The Macadamian engineering team identified the right combination of client/server and Software as a Service (SaaS) architectures to guarantee that MedConnex's customers would always be connected. This resulted in the development of MedConnex's proprietary Hybrid-on-Demand technology.
"With Macadamian's help, MedConnex has developed a highly differentiated solution in healthcare", says Maxime Julien, COO, MedConnex. "The unique architecture gives us an innovative technology stack with no delays, no downtime, and complete granular privacy and security."
Macadamian’s development work also laid the groundwork for both HIPAA compliance and CCHIT certification – key criteria that would need to be met before the product could be launched.
By delving into the true needs of users and architecting a solution that addresses the most pressing needs of small medical clinics, Macadamian helped MedConnex develop an innovative EMR solution for an attractive and under-served target market. The product is currently in beta testing and being well-received in beta clinics in preparation for its full launch.
MedConnex is the latest healthcare IT industry player – with an edge. Our world-class team of founders includes Dr. Roger Stronell and his Smithsonian medal award-winning MD Express™ application, designed and optimized for healthcare professionals in smaller-sized medical practices. MedConnex intends to revolutionize healthcare IT by providing an extremely simple, easy-to-use, minimally disruptive and inexpensive EHR designed for physicians in smaller-sized practices.
Macadamian is a global leader in software product creation providing a complete range of product strategy, user experience design and software engineering services to clients around the world, including industry leaders like HP, Cisco, Genband, Avaya, and Adobe. For established and emerging technologies and platforms, Macadamian has a track record of helping clients create successful products on Android, iPhone, iPad, Web 2.0 & RIA, Windows 7, and Mac OS X. Additional information is available at www.macadamian.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.