Regulated apps

May 2013

Recently I moderated two panel discussions that covered the launch of mobile apps in regulated industries such as healthcare.  I’ll also be covering this topic at an upcoming presentation to the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group.

What we learned through the panels is that for companies in regulated industries, a great idea for a mobile app is just the first piece in a puzzle. From solid creative and user experience to technical implementation and stakeholder reviews, it takes a solid vision, thoughtful plan, commitment and teamwork to create an app that consumers want to use.  Plus legal gets to play a very significant part in the process.

Moving through the process from idea to launch and support, some key lessons bubbled up during the panels:

Idea stage: Beyond a good idea, it’s important to validate the target audience and their needs.  Have methods in place to validate your assumptions.

Planning stage: Legal pre-approvals are important at this stage, as well as developing strong coordination between external design/development agencies and the client.

Development stage:  Having clearly designated roles such as design, content, usability, programming, publishing are necessary in integrating all aspects of the app.  It was also clear that for regulated industries, because of the need to involve legal throughout the process, there will be fewer opportunities for an iterative development approach, so the waterfall method may be more suitable.

Launch and support stage:  Once the app is out, it’s important to have a plan for ongoing support and a commitment for improvement.  Beyond monitoring the basic statistics, having a method to gather user feedback is also important.

Regulated industries bring a few interesting twists, but the above comments should be considered important for any company looking to deploy a mobile app.