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5 Reasons why data driven app development is revolutionising healthcare

Guest blog post by Michael Romilly, Marketing Director at Waracle.

Today’s healthcare professionals are suggesting that mobile app development (termed mHealth) and wearable technology are revolutionising healthcare as we know it. More specifically, data driven mobile app development is actually transforming the way in which chronic medical diseases are treated. Today we’re exploring 5 reasons why data driven methodology in mobile app development is revolutionising healthcare:

1. Good data enhances patient adherence in clinical trials

We’ve discovered that mobile apps in drug trials are significantly optimising the frequency, quality and volume of data. In addition, mobile apps are having a seismic impact on completion rates and patient adherence. In terms of the numbers, we’ve witnessed completion rates increase from just over 50% (with no accompanying mobile app) to over 80% when an app is used in direct conjunction with a clinical trial. We estimate that on average it costs pharmaceutical companies £20,000 for every participant in a clinical trial. This actually signifies a cost saving of more than £1 million for pharmaceutical companies for every drugs trial that’s conducted. If we consider that this provides a saving of over £1 million for each drugs trial, this actually represents a 10x ROI for pharma companies who adopt the use of mobile apps using a data driven project methodology.

2. Better quality data enables better decision making

It’s always hard to make quality decisions without the right information. We know that when mobile apps are used in conjunction with clinical trials, we can dramatically enhance the quality of data that can be made available to pharma companies. In turn, better data facilitates vastly improved decision making which has numerous benefits, not just for pharma companies, but for patients that are actively involved in clinical trials. One major benefit for the pharma companies involved, is that possessing quality data ensures that it is easier and cheaper to gain regulatory approval for innovative new medical treatments.

However, better data would be absolutely meaningless if it didn’t somehow impact the bottom line. Making cost savings is massively important. In fact it’s essential for pharma companies. So we know that developing mobile apps using a data driven approach is profitable and helps to save money. We also know that this in itself makes innovation more affordable. But what’s really cool, is the fact that this data driven methodology is actually enabling pharma companies to bring new and innovative treatments in drugs for chronic diseases into mainstream clinical use much quicker. This also means that fewer drugs trials fail as a result of trialist abandonment. As a result, fewer trialists need to be recruited in the first instance, which again helps to further cut costs.

Using quality data also enables hard pressed pharmaceutical companies to experiment with candidate drugs for chronic illnesses that are perhaps less commercially viable, which also helps to bring innovative new treatments to market faster that might have never been commissioned otherwise.

3. The right data helps people with chronic conditions

There are some fantastic real-world examples of how mobile technology is helping to revolutionise the healthcare industry. One such innovation is a project Waracle helped to deliver for a brand new innovation in treatment for a specific. The app developed by the Waracle team effectively ‘gamified’ clinical trials for sufferers to stimulate program adherence and generate real-time feedback for clinicians and physicians around the performance of drugs and the general health of the patient. The app Waracle developed is now used to monitor alterations in voice control (patients are asked to hold a constant tone for over 15 seconds), help assess uncontrolled movement (this is effectively a shake test) and dexterity monitoring and measurement (which entails rapid tapping movements via a touch screen interface on a smartphone or tablets).

The use of data driven development and mobile technology within clinical trials is so innovative that the app developed by Waracle was actually featured at the Apple Watch/ResearchKit launch event held in San Francisco. This type of work enables app developers such as Waracle to play their own unique role in the data driven mHealth movement. But what has become crystal clear throughout the market-led deployment of the mobile app, is the incredible connection between the actual value of mobile app technology in large scale pharmaceutical trials and the astonishing ROI that can be generated as a result of this forward thinking mentality and attitude towards new innovations.

4. Data helps manage commercial and technical risk

Many app development companies are focusing on the wrong things. Designing and developing an app that looks and feels great is absolutely essential. But the real key to success is being able to take innovations to market quickly whilst managing commercial and technical risk factors. The key to this type of success is adopting an iterative and data driven approach to technical development. This actually enables global pharmaceutical companies to minimise the level of investment required when trialling new drugs and technical innovations through constant data analysis and product refinement based on real user data. The only way to efficiently harvest such data is by getting an app to market quickly and optimising its feature set based on user feedback. This enables app developers to focus on developing features that are absolutely essential to the success of the app and helps to minimise wastage. It may not be the fashionable consensus but data driven development delivers results and that’s all that really matters.

5. Data driven development reduces time to market

Waracle combines a data driven approach with software development methods that are founded within agile. It means we can quickly ship prototypes for customers and get a minimum viable product into the market in the shortest possible timeframe. Once the app is live and in front of real users, we are able to constantly optimise its features and functionality based on usage by real customers. This is something that customers and employees absolutely love. The overall process is extremely rapid and energetic and the main benefit is that we can produce a lightweight, fully functional prototype in a remarkably short time frame. We do this in such a way that unnecessary features are removed from the app during planning which enables us to focus on delivering more of what real customers and app users actually want and minimize technical waste.

The bottom line on data driven mobile app development

Data driven development is powerful, dynamic and subject to rapid, lightning quick change. It’s about starting with the essential measures of success in mind based on what our customers really need. This defies conventional software development thinking because once we understand our customers KPI’s we can set about developing a mobile app (or suite of mobile apps) that are created entirely around these key measures of success. This approach and relentless focus on data becomes absolutely central to the entire app development process and provides critical focus at each and every stage of the overall app lifecycle.

At Waracle we’re absolutely obsessed with data driven mobile app development. We love creating mobile apps that delight users and we feel absolutely privileged to be working with such incredible clients. But what really gets us excited, is the fact that we’re able to be a part of developing technology that actually makes a difference in peoples lives. Knowing that we’re playing our own unique part in bringing new treatments to patients suffering from chronic conditions is a real buzz. It’s how we choose to develop mobile apps that sets us apart from the crowd.

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