Two weeks is how long it took to create an application that could save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Startup Development House has built an innovative application that helps fight the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

Can technological innovation be the answer to the crisis caused by COVID-19? Startup Development House proves it is possible. To create a modern solution, limited resources are enough and short delivery time does not have to be a problem at all. The key is agile management.

Innovation in two weeks? It’s possible!

Grace Lake Partners (GLP), a company from Nigeria, asked Startup Development House to create a mobile application to help fight the pandemic. The coronavirus loves when we move around and gather in one place, so this should be avoided. The SocialHealth application helps you arrange a remote doctor's appointment, make a video call and issue a digital prescription. Less than two weeks have passed since signing the contract and the solution has already been implemented. It’s the first application of this kind in Nigeria.

A serious challenge and flexible approach

How to achieve record-breaking time for design and implementation? Experience in creating IT solutions for startups proves to be priceless. The answer is precisely recognising the client's needs, rapid prototyping and using the right technologies. Innovation requires us to focus on what is most important for the users, create a prototype and then choose a simple solution. In this case, the design of the application was of secondary matter to the client, while the time of development and wide availability for patients and doctors were crucial.

Speed and availability but also safety

SocialHeath is a Progressive Web App (PWA). This means it is available from your browser, so you don't have to download it from Google Play or the App Store. The process of registering doctors and patients, specifying the symptoms, planning visits or prescribing medicine has been simplified as much as possible. And what’s essential, the application works properly even with a weak Internet connection. Startup Development House has also taken into account a requirement specific for Nigeria, so the e-prescription includes the doctor's signature. In two weeks, they have created a solution that is not only user-friendly but also fully secure. All connections and patient data are encrypted. The provider was able to fulfill this requirement basing on previous experience with corporate innovation.

Digital innovation and pandemic

Nigeria is currently facing not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also other infectious diseases. That’s why it is essential that only patients who really have to be there, are in the clinics. The coronavirus forces governments and entrepreneurs to take an innovative approach to problem-solving. Implementing remote work and organising medical ‘televisits’ is a new trend but not the only one. The situation related to the pandemic also has a significant impact on other sectors, such as gastronomy, selling groceries or financial services. Entities that have previously invested in digital transformation are certainly better prepared to face the crisis. For others, it may be crucial to make a quick decision to establish a cooperation with a partner who will develop a new product concept with them, create a prototype and then successfully implement a ready-to-use IT solution.

How to find the right partner?

Matrimonial associations work perfectly here, as we can be involved with an IT partner for a long time (depending on our needs). What’s worth paying attention to?

1. Portfolio. Checking their completed projects and other clients’ opinions is a significant part of due diligence. A technology partner with experience in working with both start-ups and large companies can successfully combine fast methods of digital project implementation with growing business needs.

2. Project management methods. In a dynamically changing environment (as we’re all experiencing now), our partner should be agile, i.e. proficient in implementations using modern methods, such as Agile, Scrum. This guarantees that the project will be delivered within a given budget and timeline.

3. The team’s knowledge of modern technologies. To quickly implement digital solutions from A to Z, our partner should have a complete team of specialists: developers, product strategists, product designers, project managers and quality assurance testers. Technology is key but its selection depends on the client’s specific needs. The success of a product or IT solution consists of combining all competencies “under one roof".

4. Experience with international projects. This ensures the contractor combines their agile approach with good communication and an emphasis on system security. It also demonstrates the ability to work efficiently remotely which, especially nowadays, is a prerequisite for work continuity and can determine the success of a project.

A departure from the traditional model of long-lasting IT implementations made according to the so-called "specifications" towards rapid prototyping and implementing user-tested digital solutions is inevitable. Even more so in times when helping the client determine their needs and efficient workflows are more important than writing another line of code.

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Alexander Stasiak
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since: 03/2019
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