Mobile Applications in Healthcare

Product discovery

How it could benefit innovation in a mobile healthcare startup?

The product discovery process too often happens to be missed out, even by early-stage startups that are in the product idea generation phase. What about startups that already have their product that is performing well, but they want to keep innovating and bring their app to another level? Can they benefit from the product discovery process as well? And what could it look like for startups in the healthcare industry?

At Apptension have incorporated the discovery phase into our product design and development services, and we recommend this approach also to later-stage startups that have their product ready and even already quite successful but wish to innovate further. In this article, we will explain why product discovery is the key to innovation, so keep on reading if you want to:

  • Learn what are the stages of product discovery and what are its deliverables,
  • Find out how you can keep innovating your mobile healthcare app,
  • Get to know the tools and methods that will help you craft your product idea and make it ready to bring to life.
    We will focus mostly on healthcare startups, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t find value here if you come from a different industry—all in all, product design and development look pretty similar in all kinds of businesses.

Why does the product discovery process matter for healthcare startups?

Let’s start by explaining why you should bother with product discovery if you’re a healthcare startup (or a startup in any other industry, actually). If you have already launched your first app, you might think you’re far beyond this phase.

In fact, in the majority of cases, products released by early-stage startups are just MVPs: the result of one of the first iterations, with a lot of room for improvement. That’s not the end of the journey, but merely a beginning.

For healthcare startups, innovation should be of even greater importance. That’s because their apps deal with one of the most important aspects of human life: health and well-being. As our knowledge of human health and technology are constantly evolving, healthcare products and services can put the recent developments to good use, and as a consequence, the end-users can benefit from them as well. Healthcare startups need to stay ahead of the curve by taking into account these innovations and considering how they can be implemented in their own product for the sake of offering even better services.

Prototyping: is it the key to innovation?

The crucial step towards improving your existing product is to create a prototype of the upgraded version of the app. However, it’s easier said than done, particularly if you have no idea of how to enhance your product, or the opposite, you consider too many options and are not sure what will work best. Having too many irons in the fire you can end up burning up your budget on unnecessary features. The product discovery phase will help you avoid this situation: during this process, we will determine the scope of the prototype. Moreover, in a more advanced version of the process, there is also the possibility of developing the prototype during this stage. The prototype will allow us to test your ideas and verify whether the technology works as expected, it can be used also to conduct user research, and the insights can be applied to keep improving the MVP.

What are the stages of product discovery process?

There are no two ideas, apps, or clients that are alike, as well as there is no recipe for the one-fits-all product discovery process. However, during the years of collaboration with highly innovative brands we’ve developed our own flow that we follow when working on a product idea, and we call it Sprint 0. Of course, it’s flexible and its final form may vary depending on the client’s needs and expectations, but usually, this is how product discovery adventure with Apptension looks like:

  • Workshops: Never underestimate the power of a bunch of creative minds gathered in one room. A few days (from 3 up to 5 days) full of brainstorming, analysis and concept work will allow us to understand your business goals, deep dive into your idea and come up with suitable solutions.
  • Scoping: This is the phase when decisions are made and your idea is translated into tangible elements. Based on the insights we’ve gathered during the workshops, we will determine what features your product needs to fulfill end-users’ expectations and to achieve your business goals. Your upgraded product will begin to take shape.
  • Roadmap: Now it’s time to do all the planning and scheduling: you’ll want to know what you’ll receive and when, and that’s what the roadmap will include. Objectives, project milestones, deliverables, and timeline: thanks to the roadmap, you’ll have it all clear.
  • Technical Discovery: As mentioned before, sometimes it’s required to build an early prototype to validate the selected tech solutions. The objective of this non-obligatory phase is to develop an internal, simple Proof of Concept, to test the initial technical assumptions and make sure we’ll deliver the best-in-class solution before the actual development works start.

To get a detailed image of this stage, read how we worked hand in hand with our client Psyomics during the workshops to kick-off the product discovery phase for their web healthcare app, Tresilio.

What is the outcome of a product discovery process?

Now let me get back to one of the initial topics of this article: why is the product discovery process so important? During this stage, you will find answers to crucial questions regarding the innovations worth implementing in your product. You’ll be fully aware of the why, the what and the how: you’ll know the detailed scope of improvements, costs, and timeline of development, and moreover, the reasons behind these changes will be no mystery to you, because you’ve been involved in the whole process.
In a nutshell, the deliverables after the so-called Sprint 0 include:

  • user stories,
  • product backlog,
  • project roadmap and timeline,
  • budget validation,
  • technological stack choice,
  • definition of the skillset and the team involved in the project.

Depending on the project scope, deliverables may include also customer and market research, UX wireframes, and even the preparation of branding and growth strategy, as well as prototyping.

Wrapping up

A proper product discovery process allows for laying the foundation for the further stages of software development. It also assures that the final result will fit the market and that end-users will not only love it but also truly benefit from it. Remember, as a healthcare startup, you can make a positive impact on your customers’ lives, so don’t lose sight of them when working on your product.

To learn more about how we work on product strategy and prototype & product development, don’t hesitate to visit our Services section.

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