Vala - Healthcare made personalDesigning and building an on-demand remote healthcare service
We were approached by an innovative team of medical practitioners who wanted to reinvent how people manage their health. They wanted to build an holistic, proactive and highly flexible online health and wellbeing consultation service.
Our mandate was to provide an ‘anywhere, anytime’ responsive healthcare web platform and iOS app to cater to personal and corporate customers. It would provide health and wellbeing advice, diagnosis services, video and phone consultations, lifestyle assessments, patient-owned health records and more.
How we did it
We wanted to develop a modern, multidisciplinary healthcare service that offers everything a patient needs, from phone and video consultations with qualified medical practitioners to assessments and advice from dietitians, physiotherapists, psychotherapists and fitness trainers.
Beyond consultations, Vala would also store medical data, patient records and all patient health information in one place – everything from allergies to vaccinations. Consultants would provide patients with online prescriptions, referrals and medical notes as well as alerts and updates.
But first we needed to understand the existing online medical market to best understand how to position Vala to potential patients, and how to differentiate the brand from its competitors. Competitor research, market analysis and concept testing were essential steps.
As with any business entering a competitive marketplace, our challenge was to create a product that has the functionality and appeal – the tools and the moves – to outperform its competitors at every turn. One particular target was to emphasise and demonstrate that remote online consultations can be simple, seamless and every bit as effective as the care patients can get face-to-face from, say, their GP.
Our second major challenge was to build a site that patients and clinicians alike would love to use at home and on the fly. That meant two interfaces that work seamlessly in unison – one for the patient to navigate their medical history, consultations, records and activity. The other for the healthcare specialist to access patient records, document and issue prescriptions, connect to the patient during the consultation, and make and record patient notes during online consultations.
The third major challenge was security. Patient confidentiality, private consultations and the ability to secure patient records were of paramount importance, so our build had to be robust and secure enough for patients to trust in the Vala service and its safety parameters.
“Vala is at the forefront of positive and required disruption to the medical profession. Its offering is a simple one – discreet and highly professional clinicians offering a service of the highest quality in the most responsive way. ”
David, Vala customer
What we did
After our initial market research and competitor analysis, we resourced and allocated teams for specific project areas, from design to development. Using the agile Scrum methodology we followed a lean strategy to keep our focus firmly fixed on MVP and a working site that could be released, tested and updated based on feedback and user analytics.
The Scrum approach allowed our UX, design and UI development and integration teams to work seamlessly together in sprints. The product owner prioritised backlog items and the Scrum master made sure teams could process an increasing velocity of tasks and user stories.
Our first outcome that would help make Vala stand out from its competitors and create the easiest but most functional possible interface was the ‘health timeline’. A simple but clever and proven way to present a lot of information, it proved to be an efficient, user-friendly way for patients to reference their appointments, prescriptions, referrals and consultation notes.
From experience we chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the hosting platform so we could scale and innovate while maintaining a secure environment. We incorporated Twilio for SMS notifications and Sendgrid for email notification functionality.
For the video consultation service functionality we used WebRTC (tokbox), an API that facilitates browser to browser video calls. WebRTC handles Vala’s technical needs perfectly and offered us the flexibility to design the interface in line with our Vala design aesthetic and include extra features like a chat box, muting and the ability to turn the video feed on and off.
Security and confidentiality
Measures we developed and installed to ensure patient data is secure
- https encryption to ensure secure browsing and that user data is kept confidential
- Payments are handled by Stripe, a third party payment provider, so Vala holds no payment details
- Only authorised and DBS (The Disclosure and Barring Service) checked Vala personnel have access to personal identifiable data and records
- Our data is stored in secure EU data centres and is encrypted at rest
- Vala is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office
- Vala is regulated by the Care Quality Commission
What we delivered
- A fully hosted website at www.valahealth.com for personal and corporate customers, and a back office interface for clinicians and admins
- Responsive, mobile first design
- Clear and simple navigation allowing patients to book appointments with ease
- Video consultations with built-in interface so clinicians can record notes during the consultation and view patient records
- Email and SMS notifications and alerts
- Electronic medical record system
- A secure payment method
- Front end and back end analytics
- A fully hosted and managed service
The big wins
- Streamlined – building a simple booking system for patient consultations
- Empowered – Vala took back control by bringing all aspects of its code in house
- Unified – a comprehensive, coherent design, build and user experience
- Full stack – support for every aspect from front end to dev ops