About the Client
Realizing the recent impact and potential of mobile health (mHealth) in the healthcare industry, the client was looking for a mobile-enabled platform to bridge the gap between patients and doctors. Primarily, the solution would allow patients to consult a nearby doctor without having to actually go to the clinic or schedule an appointment. The plan was to have available a pool of doctors across the United States. The patient could then be directed to the closest available physician through a mobile app, thus allowing the patient to avoid waiting times and receive physician's advice within minutes. The app is initially designed for non-critical medical consultations and will be later enhanced for chronic disease consultation and management.
The following pointers summarize the main requirements of the envisioned application:
- Physician search and tracking by using location-based mobile services
- Text-based remote consultation through mobile application
- Easy, quick and affordable accessibility to purchase consultation packages
- Product integration with mobile payment gateways
- Web interface portal for product administration
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A remote physician consultation mobile solution for both Android and iOS platforms has been successfully designed and developed by Silicus. The solution comprises patient and physician mobile apps along with a web interface for service administration.
The following are the main product features implemented:
- Buy consultation package
Patients can select from a list of subscription packages based on the number of consultations they believe will be useful within the given validity period. The payment can be done either via a PayPal account or Credit Card.
- Connect to nearest physician
Based on a patient's location, the application connects the user to the physician who has the maximum probability of responding to the request. Selection of the physician is based on a combination of parameters like the physician's proximity, device status and account status.
- Request remote consultation
Once connected, patients can post text-based queries related to medical symptoms either for themselves or on behalf of family members registered in their profile.
- Receive physician advice on mobile
As soon as an available physician posts answers for the requested queries, the patient receives a mobile app notification. The answers can then be viewed by opening the active consultation in the app. The session lasts for a stipulated time period, at the end of which the patient can view contact details of the physician.
Physician Secure Login
- Quick registration
Physicians can register with the mobile application by providing just their NPI number, which then automatically populates the rest of the details related to their practice, taxonomy, license, billing etc. Alternatively, the physician can fill all the required information manually.
- Provide remote consultation
Once activated, physicians can receive consultation requests from patients in nearby. Physicians can then post relevant advice to the requested queries. Also, physicians can consult multiple patients simultaneously.
- Receive payment
Fees for every consultation are accumulated in the physician's account. This is scheduled for payment by the administrator at regular intervals either through a PayPal account or by Check.
All patient-physician consultations are logged in a secure site for future reference as well as audit requirements pertaining to HIPAA compliance.
A web interface for the administrator gives the ability to define consultation packages, approve/activate physician registrations and make payments to the physicians. The administrator can also view consultation history for specified physicians and patients. Other reports like area-wise consultation and physician billing provide important insights to evaluate the success rate of the service.
Java (JDK1.6), Objective-C
Linux (Ubuntu), Windows 7, Mac OS
3rd Party Integration
Pushwoosh Notification Service, Zooz & PayPal Payment Service, NPI data service
NetBeans 7.2, Xcode 4.5
mHealth Enablement through Remote Consultation
Text-based remote consultation enables patients to have quick and affordable advice. It further provides physicians with the ability to reach out to more patients for more effective time utilization.
Mobile-Based Services to Accelerate Healthcare Delivery
Implementing location-based mobile service to locate patients and search physicians facilitated the implementation of algorithm for matching patient-physician proximity, thus enabling timely delivery of care, especially during emergency situations.
Third-Party Mobile Tool Integration to Enhance Application Usability
- NPI data service for physician details to ensure quick physician registration
- Pushwoosh service integration for implementing remote mobile notification and ensuring that both physicians & doctors receive timely notifications
- 'ooz and PayPal payment service integration to enable mCommerce
Robust Mobile Application
The mobile application was tested across various iOS versions and devices in the Silicus Mobile Device Lab w– a mobile center of excellence offering inventory of leading devices and tools along with highly trained and qualified SMEs.
Features like consultation logging and access control ensure that the solution incorporates security and privacy guidelines of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.