Clinically Speaking

Clinically Speaking

A 'Youtube-style' mobile app and web application for training doctors

Clinically Speaking banner

Clinically Speaking

We developed the Clinically Speaking iPhone mobile application to enable Bristol Medical Pro to deliver their library of patient interviews. This 'YouTube-style' app helps training doctors to understand what it's like living with a disease by providing detailed patient interviews, adding a new level of empathy and understanding to their training. The materials, recorded over a period of twenty years, give an intimate insight into a wide array of ailments, injuries and diseases.

Our brief was to put this unique, emotional and insightful content front and centre. To do this we created an elegantly simple design which "gets out of the way" as much as it embellishes the content.

The mobile app has been great success leading to the expansion of the product into a web application. Bristol University are the first subscribers of the web app and their Technology Enhanced Learning team are in close connection with us to develop the product. The new web app will lead to thousands more students using the product and a wide spread adoption of this new form of medical education.

Challenges

Clinically Speaking posed a number of challenges, chief of which was the various different sizes, resolutions and formats making up the video archive. We developed a content processing, storage and delivery pipeline which integrates Amazon's Simple Storage Service, Elastic Transcoder and CloudFront to overcome this.

Other challenges included; presenting such sensitive and emotional content in an empathetic manner; scaling the backend system to deliver hundreds of hours of video content to a global userbase; and ensuring a seamless aesthetic across both the web and iOS.

Process

We worked closely with the client to understand not only their vision for the application but also the labour of love that has been the creation of the content over the last two decades.

After the initial discovery phase we produced an industry standard software requirements specification inline with IEEE Std 830-1998. This allowed us to codify the research and analysis into a formal document by which the project's success could be measured.

The next stage in the process was to mock up the user interfaces to facilitate more discussion about how the content was presented. These were initially created as rough sketches which were then translated into digital mockups that formed the basis for the final design.

The client was adamant that the design not only fulfilled the usual prerequisites of aesthetic beauty, functionality and user friendliness but also that medical elements were accurately represented. Thus, when we settled on the ECG trace in logo very specific attention to detail was paid to ensure it closely represented realistic cardiac rhythm.

Once the design was signed off development was conducted in an agile fashion using the interdependencies identified in the software requirements specification to determine the order in which the components were developed.

Technology

The project consisted of three distinct areas; a universal iOS application; a front facing promotional website; and a custom backend to handle content entry.

Both the front facing website and the custom content entry components utilise the Django web application framework. Doing so enabled us to quickly deliver a working prototype which we were then able to iterate on in tandem with the development of the iOS application.

The iOS application itself is written in Objective-C and makes use of many industry standard tools and technologies including the AFNetworking library and the CocaPods package management system.