Start-Up Gets Started Faster – With Agile Innovation Methodology

Pam Roman

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PainScript connects physicians with their chronic pain and substance use disorder (SUD) patients daily by tracking medication and care plan adherence through an easy-to-use, clinically validated app. They provide physicians with detailed patient insight, a HIPAA-compliant clinical dashboard, and tools for medication monitoring. 

About our Client

Challenge  

A psychiatry practice was looking for ways to effectively monitor patients with chronic pain and substance use disorders. They found that with traditional, in-person appointments there were gaps in information (partly due to the passage of time between meetings), and that patients were less forthcoming with their status when face-to-face with their doctor. What the practice found, however, was that patients responded more completely and accurately when using surveys, questionnaires and similar forms of communication with the psychiatrists. The practice validated their findings with research and nine peer-reviewed and published trials.  

The practice felt they could capitalize on their findings and help other medical providers monitor their patient populations. They realized that a mobile app would be the perfect vehicle to bring the idea to life. They also knew they were not mobile app, programming or data experts, and that they would need to outsource to, and entirely rely on, a third-party technology company. Investors had taken a strong interest in the findings and the mobile app concept. 

Mobile apps are a tricky, time-sensitive sell. Investors want more than an idea presented as mock-ups of “screen shots.” Investors need to know that a mobile app will actually incorporate the findings and ideas, actually function, and be able to scale. They’ll be happy to take their money elsewhere if a working app is taking too long to produce. The psychiatry practice, now housing the project as the start-up company “PainScript,” could not find a technology company with the ability to produce a viable app in the relatively short time frame the investors wanted – months instead of a year or more. However, they were then introduced to Prolifics. 

Action  

The Prolifics Innovation Center applied intellectual properties and accelerators to the PainScript project that other technology companies haven’t developed. The Center created a constant feedback loop that became crucial to the app creation. Greg Hodgkinson, Chief Technology Officer and Worldwide Head of Engineering, explains:  

“A critical factor for anything we build for a customer is their feedback cycles. This feedback loop occurs every week. We have this cycle where they give us feedback on what they want. We run sprints every two weeks and produce a prototype. Next, we are able to evaluate whether we’re on the right track. This is based on the customer’s own determination and their feedback. Then we build out the features to get us to a minimum viable product, or MVP. The feedback loop setup is what made the project successful.”  

“A critical factor for anything we build for a customer is their feedback cycles. This feedback loop occurs every week. We have this cycle where they give us feedback on what they want. We run sprints every two weeks and produce a prototype. Next, we are able to evaluate whether we’re on the right track. This is based on the customer’s own determination and their feedback. Then we build out the features to get us to a minimum viable product, or MVP. The feedback loop setup is what made the project successful.”  

We ensured what got built was 100 percent aligned with the customer’s needs. … As they see the product being build, their view of what they need changes. Then we’re able to pivot using our agile methodology and change in line with changing expectations and needs.

Greg Hodgkinson, Prolifics CTO and Worldwide Head of Engineering

“Prolifics has been a terrific partner in every sense of the word. They were easy to work with. They were also understanding of the challenges from the beginning. ” 

-Dan Cohen CEO PainScript

Result  

Prolifics quickly built PainScript a working MVP that both the company and the investors were extremely pleased with – and the start-up got its investor money. Dan Cohen, PainScript CEO, said, “Prolifics has been a terrific partner in every sense of the word. They were easy to work with. They were also understanding of the challenges from the beginning. And that really gave me the confidence on the front end to move forward. Without Prolifics, PainScript would not be what it is today.” 

Technology 

  • Microsoft Azuare
  • Red Hat Open Shift
  • Prolifics Innovation Center Accelerators

The consumer- (i.e., patient-) facing part of PainScript is a downloadable mobile app recommended (“prescribed”) by physicians. It is composed of short surveys and status reports that are sent back to the prescribing physician. The physicians use a cloud-native, web-based dashboard to receive, and respond to the patients as needed. Patients enjoy the connection and convenience offered to them, and physicians can make timely interventions, which reduce healthcare costs and adverse outcomes. 


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