Disrupting the healthcare market by standardizing a supply chain using innovative web and mobile applications
It Started With an Idea Helia came to Synapse Studios to help refine a concept for a startup the founder, Grant Siders, had uncovered during his years running a successful company in the healthcare field. Initially, the client needed to present the concept to investors with visuals of how the product will work to solve the core challenge at the heart of many healthcare facilities across the U.S.: digitizing and standardizing the supply chain of surgical implants from what is currently an almost entirely manual process, to improve accuracy, save money, and create efficiencies for what is the single most profitable revenue stream for major hospital networks, surgical centers, and individual facilities in the country. As you can imagine, the concept is highly technical and Grant knew he would need to not only explain the problem to investors, but he had to show them how he planned to solve it, which we were able to assist with by working alongside them for a complete Product Design Sprint. During the design sprint, we dove deep into the industry to understand the core needs, challenges, and problems to be solved and were able to rapidly prototype a web and mobile app concept that Grant used for an investor roadshow for a full year. During this design sprint, the company name Helia Connect, was also developed along with a working logo and visual framework for the brand.
What Happened Next Given the client’s extensive industry knowledge, it was no surprise that he was able to secure enough funding to begin principle development. Even better, he had received feedback from actual stakeholders that he was able to bring to Synapse to improve upon the initial concept before development went underway. From the very start, Synapse and Helia teams worked in lock step to communicate requirements, layer in stakeholder feedback as often as possible, and pivot as the market needs changed, which created the framework for a multi-year, ongoing partnership between the two companies that continues today.
What We Built Given the nature of healthcare and the massive market it was going after, Helia had the problem of having accommodate almost any scenario possible to account for how different each healthcare facility, surgeon, and even patient the system had to accommodate. We knew we had to start small and get feedback often so as not to waste time building a product that didn’t reflect how real users had to do their jobs at the end of the day. Helia identified limited market release facilities and used their own healthcare company as the initial users in which we had to solve for first. Otherwise, the product was going to suffer by trying to be too much to too many customers at the onset. We had a concept to prove and proving it in small bites was the right move for everyone.
To accomplish this, we began with the web application and an admin portal that would allow Helia to service their customers for as long as needed. We spent time observing surgeries, shadowing sales representatives and immersing ourselves with the client’s company as much as we could to try understand the minutia of the industry, crucial for meeting parity with the way business is currently conducted. The development and design teams then had the benefit of understanding exactly what we were building toward and how it would be used at one specific facility, making the product’s vision much more clear and the end result aligned with what real users needed to continue to do their jobs. Development for the web application continues today and provides tools for key personnel at healthcare facilities, surgical implant suppliers, and distributors to improve upon and standardize their day-to-day functions in this large market.
We also knew we would need to build a mobile application for surgical implant device sales reps to use during surgeries to track implant consumption for billing purposes. The mobile app also sought to solve the current problem sales reps face: all tracking of consumed implants is done on physical paper and distributed digitally, making it extremely error prone and the process quite arduous. The mobile app developed was truly an MVP concept that was designed, built and launched in one month to meet parity with the paper process used today. Development on the mobile app is ongoing and the app now features a fully searchable product catalog where reps can compare pricing across facilities, allows for inventory management, includes more robust item tracking during surgeries, and more.
Results Helia launched in 2018 in two healthcare facilities and one supplier, with plans to onboard 10 more of each in 2019. The company received funding to continue operations and development for the next several years and plans to engage in Synapse as their development team given the partnership built that continues to thrive today.