Houston health care expert shares lessons from journey of developing a telehealth MVP

When creating groundbreaking health care technology, keeping products user friendly is a necessity. Photo via Getty Images

In the vibrant landscape of startups, the quest to build groundbreaking products can sometimes overshadow the true essence of our existence — to solve problems for our customers.

It's a trap many fall into, often leading to two common outcomes: prolonged product launches stretching over years or an unfortunate mismatch between product and market leading to startup death. But a dynamic solution exists, minimum viable products, or MVPs. MVP has propelled startups to unprecedented success.

A real-life testimony: MVP's power

Imagine a health care-focused at-home testing startup partnered with a major player. The aim: a telehealth support system for the at-home colon cancer screening. Unlike traditional telehealth services, this system required guiding members through a complex process of collecting stool samples accurately.

Challenges presented

  • Develop a user-friendly telehealth solution in five to six weeks on a limited budget and secure a high-stakes multimillion-dollar deal.
  • Carefully integrating telehealth on the existing portal for user-friendly access while aligning seamlessly with user expectations.
  • Address the complexities of Telehealth, including clinician staffing and regulatory adherence.

User Insights

User journeys and interviews confirmed the necessity for guided support during test-taking, but users showed reluctance to navigate the process independently and expressed a preference for customer support over a clinician assistant.

Interestingly, telehealth was not instinctively linked to test support, but rather to medical advice.

The birth of an MVP strategy: a catalyst for innovation

Since the main user problem was the guided support during test-taking, we created the following MVP solutions.

  • Video call integration: Direct video call button under customer support.
  • Guided messaging: Articulate call support purpose.
  • Testing guides: Portal's step-by-step guidance with videos.
  • Video guide in test kit materials.

Our MVP led us to an excellent NPS score and became a guide for our future roadmap.

Next time you build, remember this and embrace the dynamic MVP strategy — create, learn, and reiterate are the cornerstones of success in digital health product management's journey.

Here are four steps for building a successful MVP in telehealth.

  • Identify crucial user problems: Pinpoint your target customers' most pressing issue.
  • Solve a small problem simply: Initiate a straightforward solution to address a minor problem.
  • Plot the user's journey: Map out the user's path through your solution.
  • Prioritize ruthlessly: Discern the key features and prioritize with precision.

Tanu Jain is the founder and CEO of Houston-based Digital Health Innovator, a strategic marketing firm for health care products.

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