May 19, 2023

How to Build & Validate a Healthcare Technology MVP in Less Than 6 Months

By Niraj Dave

Senior Director, Enterprise Product Development

Imagine you have a great idea for a healthcare technology platform. You find a development partner, spend six months and hundreds of thousands of dollars building it, then go to market and…no one buys it.

That’s what could happen if you rush into development and launch before validating your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), establishing product-market fit, and conducting user testing to confirm its value to your user base.

However, with the right mindset and expertise, you can build & validate a healthcare technology MVP in as few as six months. Read on to see how we delivered that result for one of our clients.

Before you think about building an MVP…read this

Too often, product teams start capturing feedback after product launch. Although it may save some money upfront (though not as much as you think), you run the risk of building a bad product—and not even knowing it until you’re thousands of dollars in the hole. At that point the damage, and the cost to repair it, is high.

That’s why 3Pillar Global has long practiced research-driven design. We engage in three rounds of research before we even reach the MVP stage:

  1. User interviews. Interview users, asking as many questions as you need to learn about their patterns, priorities, and pain points.
  2. Design concepts. Use those learnings to generate design concepts—pencil and paper sketches are perfectly fine. The goal is to quickly validate the overall design direction and feature set.
  3. Mid-fidelity design. Get closer to the final product design, and even make the prototype clickable so users can evaluate the navigation.

At the end of this process, you should have hours of video content of real users telling you what they’re looking for in the product and reacting to the initial designs. You’ve not only increased your odds of success, but have done it in the most economic way possible.

What should a healthcare technology MVP do?

So once you’ve conducted this initial research, you have the information you need to build an MVP with confidence that it will deliver value to your user base.

At 3Pillar Global, we consider the Minimum Viable Product the first production release of your product. It’s not a prototype, but a working product that actively solves a user’s need. By “viable,” we mean it stands up and handles real-world scenarios that a subset of early adopters would pay for—or seriously consider paying for.

As such, a healthcare technology MVP needs to meet the following requirements.

Core functionality

Whatever your product’s purpose, your MVP should be able to achieve this core functionality.  This could include improving patient communication, streamlining administrative tasks for providers, or even managing billing and payments to submit and resolve claims quickly.

User registration and authentication

User authentication is key to ensure data privacy and compliance with healthcare regulations, like HIPAA. The unique level of sensitivity around healthcare records requires an extra attention to detail when it comes to user registration and data management. Your MVP should include data encryption, access controls, and compliance with relevant healthcare regulations.

Patient & user engagement

Your MVP should be simple and efficient for patients to use. If it enables pre-registration, patients shouldn’t then have to input the same information when they visit the office. Or if they fill out their information once over the course of a visit, they shouldn’t have to do it again in the same visit. More often than not, healthcare technology fails because it isn’t built with the patient (or other users’) journey and mental models in mind.

Scalability and growth

Remember, your MVP is a first step. Once it’s been validated and product-market fit established, you’re going to want to grow and expand your reach. This could include adding more users, expanding your customer footprint, or adding more features. As such, the product should have scalability built in from the beginning.

Analytics & reporting

Incorporating basic analytics and reporting functionality allows users to derive insights from the data collected by the system. This could involve generating performance metrics, identifying trends, or tracking key health outcomes.

Feedback mechanisms

Although your initial user feedback indicated whether you were on the right or wrong track, once you put a product out into market, you have access to far more insight from users and customers. As such, you’ll want to build in feedback mechanisms to capture feedback and confirm that you’re still adding value every step of the way.

How we built and validated a healthcare technology MVP in less than 6 months

For 3Pillar Global, this isn’t theory. We’ve actually made it happen, helping a practicing vascular surgeon build an MVP for his startup idea. In less than six months, we validated our client’s hypotheses and accelerated the company’s growth.

Although the client wasn’t a software expert, he knew technology could alleviate the challenges he observed while practicing and managing urgent care centers. Specifically, he was looking to build a remote check-in procedure for patients that would replace paper forms both on- and off-site. The platform would automatically connect with the EMR, and scan insurance cards to retrieve critical information and reduce errors in the claims process.

After partnering with us, the client quickly tested his hypothesis on how to improve patient engagement and reduce provider costs quickly. We performed a detailed analysis of both patient users and provider uses to better understand their pain points, including in-person office workflow issues as well.

Following extensive research and interviews, we proposed a cross-platform app with separate unique interfaces for providers and patients. Within two months, we had developed an interactive demo app to enable the client’s sales team to engage with prospects while the full MVP underwent development. This enabled the sales team to validate the product with the market, and build a pipeline of customers before the MVP was even ready.

Additionally, we created bi-directional integrations with numerous EMRs to enable the client’s ideal provider experience. Results included:

  • Two large customers by the time MVP launched
  • Front-end claim rejections reduced from 36% to 3%
  • Time-of-service collection increased by 60%
  • Higher patient satisfaction rates
  • 95% accuracy in insurance card recognition

Together, these outcomes validated our client’s hypotheses and proved the need for the product in the market. Since then, the company has grown and has since experienced a successful exit. Want the same level of support as you build and validate your own healthcare technology MVP? Contact 3Pillar Global and see how we can help you.