Healthcare App Prototype Built In Delphi Wins First Place In Startup Weekend Competition!
A Techstars Startup Weekend event was held between November 17 and November 19, 2017 in Bakersfield, California. The Startup Weekend events are about bringing together entrepreneurs for meeting new people, building, and launching new products in a hackathon environment. I attended the event and took part as a competitor. At Startup Weekend ideas are purposed and then teams are formed around the ideas. The teams have 54 hours to build out their idea and the best execution of the idea (based on validation, business model, technical, and design) will win the competition. A panel of three judges decided the winners at the end of the event after each team presents a 5 minute pitch.
I was invited to join a team called Medi+Pal and our team won first place for it's solution that was built in Delphi! Second place went to a team focused on recycling old cars by building a database to help junkyards sell their inventory, and third place went to a team with an idea for allowing you to track where your food comes from using QR codes. So many great ideas! I would have liked to work on some of the other ideas as well. The winning team received ~$7,000 worth of startup accelerator style services like hosting and such.
Our team was made up of five members: Emma, Krystal, Sergio, Tamara, and myself. The idea behind Medi+Pal (working title only) was to create an enterprise system for deploying into hospitals to better patient outcomes by reducing response times. The Medi+Pal app would be deployed as a SaaS solution with HIPAA compliance.
The goal for the app was to make an easy to use system of workflows so that if a patient used the call button by their beside they would quickly receive a response. The app would provide easy access for healthcare professionals to order prescriptions and labs plus view (and record) patient vitals, notes, and allergies. Additionally, it would list the active patients under a nurse, PA, or doctor's care and provide an easy way to contact the patient via the app. A set of financials were created with three years of projections and a road to profitability. Validation of the idea was also achieved through polling of various stakeholders including patients, nurses, doctors, and others.
Suffice to say this was an ambitious undertaking to build out an entire enterprise solution prototype in under 54 hours. I think there was about 21 hours of actual work time available for building the app. I used a vector graphics application called Xara to design the screens from paper mockups and then import them into Delphi. During this time we created 4 apps with over 20 screens and the workflow for the prescription and lab request systems.
The four apps which I built in Delphi were working prototypes deployed to Windows and Android which allowed the user to navigate between the different screens and see the workflow. The functionality for calling a patient was also built using a few lines of code. Using LiveBindings and TFDMemTable the prototype could be quickly upgraded to handle real data. I used the Emerald Crystal FireMonkey premium style from Embarcadero as the look and feel of the app. Emerald Crystal has a frosted glass look which showed really well and made the app really look good.
The four apps of the enterprise solution include solutions on tablets for all of the stakeholders in the hospital setting. Delphi really came through by allowing us to deploy our prototype to multiple platforms quickly and easily using a single codebase and single UI. We used the Windows version of the app for the pitch and also demoed the Android version on phones and a tablet. Ultimately the app is deployable to Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows (plus Linux through FMXLinux). Either SQLite or InterBase ToGo could be used with the app for the datastore on each device. A HIPAA compliant cloud like what is offered by Cloud 9 could be used for the SaaS servers.
If you happen to stumble across this blog post and you are going to be attending a Startup Weekend I want to recommend a number of tools which really made it easy to collaboratively create and deploy our vision. They are:
- Delphi (Starter since it's free) for building the prototype
- Slack for inter team communications and file sharing
- Google Slides for collaboratively building a pitch presentation.
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