PERSONAL SAFETY APP

AccelOne rebuilt the breakthrough personal safety app for iOS and Android, which contains features designed to:

  • Protect users in unsafe areas: If the user feels unsafe, they can open the app and it will begin recording video and the user’s GPS location. The user can tap anywhere on the screen to automatically make a 911 call.
  • Prevent crimes from escalating: Tapping on the screen also sounds an alarm and causes the phone to emit bright light, which draws attention from others and makes it easier for the user to identify their attacker – this alone will cause many criminals to flee.
  • Facilitate contact with emergency response: In addition to calling 911 with one tap, the app also sends a text with the user’s location to pre-set emergency contacts.
  • Facilitate the capture and prosecution of criminals: Videos are stored to the cloud, meaning that even if your device is stolen or destroyed, video evidence of the crime will still be available.
The personal safety app is easy for people of all ages to use, including children.

THE CHALLENGE

The original version of the personal safety app was developed using legacy architecture for the back end and cloud infrastructure. This made the application complex for users to operate, lent a dated appearance to the app, and made use of an inefficient video processing server implementation. This inefficiency led to a slow video processing speed, as well as frequent failures. Some features were not working at all, and the original development team was no longer available to make improvements. The tech company that originally built the app brought on AccelOne to make usability improvements, fix features that were no longer working properly, update libraries and frameworks, and update the programming languages used to the latest versions. AccelOne needed to reverse-engineer the legacy architecture in order to rebuild the back end components.

THE PLAN

AccelOne’s team consisted of four members:

  • Senior iOS Engineer
  • Senior Back End Engineer
  • Technical Project Manager
  • QA Engineer
The project was divided into two phases.

Phase 1:
The goal of phase 1 was to implement immediate, partial updates to both the iOS and Android apps in order to get key features working again. As it was a priority for the creators of the app to fix these features first, AccelOne designed a solution that would allow those fixes to be done as soon as possible, with more complex overhauls handled in phase 2. AccelOne created a new backend using Node.js and Express, which ran in parallel with the original legacy backend, which powered some features but not the entire app. Both backends used the same database. This fix helped get several of the broken features working again, but problems with video processing speed persisted, as well as issues with user signups. The AccelOne team had developed a plan to solve these issues in the second phase.

Phase 2:
After implementing the immediate fixes necessary in phase 1, the back end was fully rewritten in Node.js and Express, and a much more modern architecture for the app infrastructure was created. This improved the app’s performance greatly. To solve the video processing issues, a Node.js-based media server was created. Using Node.js for both the app backend and the media server improved efficiency by streamlining the development process and reducing the likelihood of file corruption or problems with slow processing as videos move from the app to the cloud. The iOS app was migrated to Swift 5. Libraries were updated, and all app screens were tested and prepared to display correctly on the latest iPhone model, which at the time was the iPhone X. Issues with videos and signups in iOS were also corrected. Despite the significant amount of work involved, phase two was completed in only three months.

QA Testing
The Quality Assurance (QA) engineer assigned to the project worked with the development team from beginning to end, testing at every phase in order to ensure the proper functioning of each feature and a smooth launch after each phase. The app has been monitored with a QA framework for crash and bug reporting, and has proven to be stable in all current models of iPhone. The once-problematic video media server has been working without issue, and is providing usage statistics.

RESULTS

AccelOne’s version of the personal safety application proved to be stable, scalable, and resolved the problems of the previous outdated version. The new Node-js-based media server solved all the video processing issues of the previous back end platform, which means that videos are now always available and are processed significantly faster than before. The old application code had been updated to all the newest coding languages and frameworks, making it easier to obtain support for modern versions of mobile operating systems. All features now work as expected, and thanks to these updates, the personal safety app platform is seeing new paying subscriptions every week. Additionally, as the app was updated for the latest model of iPhone, owners of this popular device now have a dramatically improved experience using the app. Because the code base for the app was migrated to the newest versions of its frameworks and languages, both the Android and iOS versions of the app are much more able to support modern versions of mobile operating systems.



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Based in Seattle and with offices in Las Vegas and Buenos Aires, AccelOne aims to solve software development’s biggest challenge: delivering quality solutions on time and on budget. We offer custom software development, nearshoring, and IT staffing and recruiting services. Browse our site to learn more.

MOBILE HEALTH APPLICATION & DEVELOPMENT

ABOUT THE CLIENT

Our client is a healthcare company that works to reduce the incidence of opioid dependence by facilitating safe management of pain medication after surgery. The client partners with a local university to design solutions that help physicians and patients communicate effectively and work together for safe medication management, as well as driving research in this field.

THE HEALTHCARE APP DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGE

Our client contracted AccelOne to develop the mobile application that would help post-surgical patients and their providers monitor and adjust the pain medication regime. On the patient side, our client wanted individuals to be able to track how their pain responded to prescribed opioid medications, as well as easily find nearby locations where they could safely return unused opioids. On the provider side, physicians needed to be able to monitor patient application inputs so that they could flag patterns of high-risk medication use. On a large scale, data from the app would present a research opportunity for examining correlations with specific medications, surgical procedures, and patient attributes, with the ultimate goal of expanding knowledge on how to improve outcomes and prevent opioid dependence.

It was up to AccelOne to propose the specific set of screens that would be included in the app, create a branded design, and build the application. This presented several exciting challenges for our team:

  1. The app had to be extremely easy to adopt and use, as an application intended for patients who are already experiencing the challenges of recovering from surgery. The enrollment screens required a lot of information, and we needed to find a way for patients to make all entries in as few steps as possible. Then, the app had to be so simple that they would stick with using it through recovery, providing up-to-date information to their physicians.
  2. As an application with patient and provider interfaces, it had to account for the distinct ways that physicians prefer to visualize and download patient data.
  3. As a behavior change-focused mobile app, it needed to provide a simple, visual way for patients to interpret how they were progressing with their pain, ultimately encouraging them to use only as much medication as they needed.
  4. Because this product was academically funded, the available budget was lower than usual. The architecture needed to accomplish all requirements while providing a great user experience within budget.
  5. As for all healthcare products, the app needed to be fully HIPAA compliant.

OUR PROJECT TEAM

The design and development for the app were taken on by a highly qualified AccelOne team that included a senior user experience (UX) designer with extensive experience in mobile health application design and healthcare platforms, a user interface (UI) designer, two full stack web developers, and a mobile application developer. A technical project manager (TPM) tracked technical requirements and ensured that the project was on time and within budget. Our senior quality assurance (QA) engineer designed and implemented the quality assurance process.

THE HEALTH APPLICATION SOLUTION

In response to our client’s requirements, AccelOne designed and developed a medication management app with more than 25 screens created for two distinct user types for use on both desktops and as a native mobile application. Despite the app’s complexity, our team achieved a product that was very easy to use for both patients and physicians.

Patients using the app can:

  • Enroll in the application to connect with their physician
  • Track their opioid prescription use by dosage and frequency
  • Record their pain level at regular intervals
  • Set up notifications for checking in about pain and medication
  • View a graph of their medication use over time
  • Find locations for returning unused opioids

Physicians using the application can:

  • Receive real-time data on their patients’ pain recovery progress
  • Monitor patient data and identify intervention thresholds
  • Find patterns and correlations between high-risk medication use and patient attributes and conditions
  • Aggregate patient data
  • Download reports

THE HEALTH APP DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

The entire design and development process was conducted with an open flow of communication between the client and the AccelOne team, and all deadlines were met to deliver the product to the client’s requirements. AccelOne built the application in four phases:

  1. Design
    Our UX designer first created low fidelity screens and wireframes, and then iteratively refined them with the client to come up with the final screens. Our UI designer then applied the color scheme and added images and branding. Invision was used for the initial wireframes, and then Figma was used for UI design and digital assets sharing among team members.
  2. Web Development
    Because the goal was to have the app available for use on both desktop and mobile, our full stack web developers started by first creating the web app version of the product.
  3. Mobile Development
    Using the web app version as a guide, our mobile developer embedded the new web application in a mobile app using a cross-platform framework and added the notifications feature.
  4. Quality Assurance
    Our quality assurance engineer then designed and ran end-to-end testing to ensure that the entire platform was accomplishing all use cases and edge cases. We documented cases using Cucumber Studio and utilized YouTrack to manage the QA process and for bug tracking.

THE RESULT

The app was able to achieve great user experience and performance with all functionalities, making it highly usable for patients as well as an important tool for patient-physician collaboration around safe opioid use. Meeting the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements for patient data privacy and security was of utmost importance, and AccelOne was able to create an app architecture that stores no personal data on mobile devices. In response to the client’s goal to launch this app with few providers and increase the user base in the near future, the platform we created is also ready to scale to support a large patient base and allows for the addition of new features. The original platform and architecture created by AccelOne for this app are also now ready to expand to new specialty areas within healthcare as well as outside the healthcare field.

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Based in Seattle and with offices in Las Vegas and Buenos Aires, AccelOne aims to solve software development’s biggest challenge: delivering quality solutions on time and on budget. We offer custom software development, nearshoring, and IT staffing and recruiting services. Browse our site to learn more.

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