By consolidating codebases and simplifying UI design with Ionic, OpenForge helped Mobile Measures save 63% in development costs.
An idea is born
The problem became apparent to Ben Kenuk just two weeks into his first job as a physical therapist. Outcome measures are an important tool used by physical therapists to track a patient’s progress through treatments, ensuring that therapy sessions are delivering results.
But the system used for implementing these measures and calculating results was riddled with problems. The amount of time it took to track down and calculate these measures took away time Kenuk could have spent on other tasks. And he also noticed that many of his peers didn’t know how to properly use these measures, and in some cases didn’t even know what the scores meant.
The solution, Kenuk realized, was collecting these various measures into a mobile app that could facilitate calculations and help therapists interpret the results.
The value of such a tool was obvious to Kenuk, but he had no background in mobile app development. Trying to code a solution on his own turned out to be, in his words, “a big failure.” That’s when he decided to seek outside help.
Finding a Partner in OpenForge
Kenuk’s search for an app development partner led him to OpenForge in August 2017. After reviewing the company’s portfolio and talking with founder and head of technology Jedi Weller, Kenuk knew he’d found a partner he could trust to guide him through the app development process and build an application that served his needs.
Kenuk says that because he wasn’t familiar with the different frameworks and development platforms, he deferred to Jedi and the OpenForge team when choosing the best framework for creating his app. After understanding Kenuk’s vision and goals, OpenForge recommended using the open source Ionic Framework to build the outcome measures app Kenuk was seeking.
OpenForge opted for Ionic because it offered a few major benefits:
- Excellent user experience across both iOS and Android, while also supporting Kenuk’s time-to-market and budget requirements. A major benefit of Ionic is that it works across iOS and Android mobile platforms, all from a single codebase. This allowed the OpenForge team to save time by not having to rewrite the app for each platform, and reduced maintenance time & costs over time by reducing the surface area for QA issues.
- On top of that, OpenForge has learned to standardize on a design system based on Ionic’s UI component library. Their design team is well versed in the various Ionic components, and builds their design concepts based on the Ionic design system. That makes it easier to build out the app once the designs are approved, because almost all of the UI components are already pre-built by the Ionic team, and there are fewer customizations required to fit the design requirements.
“By having teams specialize in aspects of a single framework, we’re able to reduce our costs, our client costs, and the uncertainty in planning,” says software engineer Paulina Gallo. “We all know that planning in software is one of the biggest hurdles we face, but when you have these people using the same stack for years and you give them a new problem, they take one look and they know how to do it. They’ve seen those problems before.”
Overall, with proper training and the utilization of the Ionic Framework during the design and development phases, OpenForge has been able to reduce development costs by approximately 63 percent. These savings were immensely valuable to Kenuk, who was then able to focus on marketing and launch his Mobile Measures app in October 2019.
By having teams specialize in aspects of a single framework, we’re able to reduce our costs, our client costs, and the uncertainty in planning. We all know that planning in software is one of the biggest hurdles we face, but when you have these people using the same stack for years and you give them a new problem, they take one look and they know how to do it. They’ve seen those problems before.
A First-of-its-Kind Healthcare Tool
Mobile Measures is exactly the tool Kenuk had in mind when he first began brainstorming ways to improve outcome measurement in his day-to-day work. The app consolidates all outcome measures into a single place, allowing physical therapists (PT) and other healthcare providers to use their phone to pull up the appropriate tests based on the injury or condition being addressed. Patients can input scores for each test directly through the app, and then use an app-based database for assessment and comparison of those results.
The app also features built-in tools to help execute outcome measures testing patient mobility and other criteria. Future iterations of the app may go even further, using sensors to track and measure movement, and/or using wearables to gather additional data points that can better measure mobility.
Once results for an outcome measure are collected, healthcare providers can easily convert those results into a PDF, share the results with patients, or export the results in a format for delivery to insurance companies. All of this is achieved while managing patient data in accordance with HIPAA protocols: patient data isn’t saved in the app, and personally identifying information isn’t stored or processed in the app, or included on PDFs of outcome measure reports. As a result, the app can be safely used in any healthcare setting, providing an instant upgrade to outcome measure management.
Kenuk helps PTs stay up-to-date by featuring the latest research and testing guidance right inside the app. He manages all the content himself using an admin portal powered by Strapi, an open-source Content Management System (CMS) that was chosen by the OpenForge team and recommended because of its developer-friendly approach and greater speed & efficiency compared with alternatives like WordPress. Kenuk says his use of Strapi makes it easy to update the app any time, without needing any help from a developer.
This app changed the way that I work with my patients! It cut back the amount of time that I spent searching for outcome measure tests and calculating scores and gave me more time to spend actually caring for my patients. This app is a game-changer and I can’t recommend it enough to other PTs.iOS App Store from March 2020
Growing a Core User Base
In the first five months since Mobile Measures was launched, the app has managed to build a steady user base and generate strong reviews from its target audience. The app has been downloaded more than 1,300 times in twenty different countries, and averages 10 new downloads per day.
The app’s subscriber base—which can choose between a monthly or annual subscription—is currently growing at a rate of three to four subscribers each day. Meanwhile, the iOS and Android versions of the app have earned a strong 4.83 average rating across various mobile app stores, demonstrating the high user satisfaction for the app.
The early success is so promising that Kenuk is currently drawing interest from investors, as well as larger enterprise firms interested in purchasing the app. And on a technical level, the app’s release has gone off without a hitch: so far, the app has received zero user-reported errors, and social media buzz for the app continues to be overwhelmingly positive.
The comprehensive capabilities of Mobile Measures, as well as its sleek, user-friendly interface, wouldn’t have been possible without using the Ionic Framework to quickly build and customize a professional app on a limited budget.