Healthcare is not just an important field – it’s also an industry that’s rapidly transforming. Technological advancement makes access to experienced medical personnel easier, quicker, and hassle-free. And there’s no more important time for these changes than the world we live in today.
We got excited by the opportunity to take part in this transformation when the insurance company UNIQA Bulgaria came to us with a project request. The team came to us willing to develop a full-feature solution for online doctor consultations. This is how MedUNIQA was born.
The goal behind MedUNIQA was to connect people with minor health complaints with doctors in an easy and fast way, without leaving the house. It also serves as a replacement to the existing plastic insurance card clients had to present when using healthcare services.
The app would serve both existing UNIQA Bulgaria clients with a health insurance package, as well as uninsured clients through one-off paid consultations. Seeing the ease and speed of the solution first-hand would be a great marketing mechanism to attract new insurance clients. It would also solidify UNIQA Bulgaria’s position as a leading service provider and innovator.
The goals were ambitious and what made the project even more challenging was the inherent complexity. Managing a user’s health information requires great responsibility and we needed to ensure that the provided technical solution is not just slick and easy to use, but also secure and private.
On top of that, the new application would serve purposes related to many different departments. It’s not just a tool for existing insurance clients. It’s also a marketing tool for new user acquisition and a sales tool that differentiates UNIQA Bulgaria’s offering from other insurance vendors on the market. To that end, there were many business requirements to take into account.
The first step in developing the application was to understand the business objectives and requirements. This helped us deliver a solution that doesn’t just tick off boxes from the initial customer request, but it also brings real business impact.
For the first 2 months, we went through interviews and discussions with different stakeholders within UNIQA Bulgaria. This in-depth business analysis helped us understand and link together different demands into coherent user stories.
At the end of this 2-month process, we had a detailed Software Requirement Specification that explained all user stories, a rough estimation, and a release plan.
In the implementation phase, we employed a Scrum process that we tailored to the project at hand. Here’s what that looked like:
Considering that we were building a full solution from scratch, so we used a cross-functional implementation team. It included an Agile Project Manager, a QA Specialist, a UX Designer, and an experienced development team.
The stakeholder team we regularly consulted on the client side was also very diverse. We worked with insurance specialists, legal and GDPR advisors, as well as experts from the marketing and sales teams.
Since health services should be accessible to all users regardless of their device operating system, we built MedUNIQA as a Progressive Web App. This meant a user can have the look and feel of a real native app, but we could also have better-optimized dev and release cycles in terms of effort and cost.
The tech stack we chose for the solution was based on Angular, .NET Core, Firebase, and numerous Azure services (Web Apps, SQL Database, Service Bus, Blob Storage).
On the design and usability side, we had to balance between ease of use and flexibility. Since the app would be used for contacting a lot of different medical domain experts, we planned for a lot of freedom in how the user describes their symptoms and questions. Through the intake form, we nudged them to provide important information and also add relevant photos and documents.
The app was launched at the beginning of 2020 and could not have come at a better time. It allowed patients to contact doctors from the comfort of their homes during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic when access to hospitals for non-urgent requests was severely limited.
UNIQA Bulgaria also used the launch period to do some good. The company gave away 500 free consultations to anyone who needed a doctor’s opinion – even if they were not clients with existing insurance accounts. Thanks to that UNIQA Bulgaria won the prestigious “Insurers for society” award – and the gratitude of many new users.
Seven months in, 40% of virtual insurance card users already registered with the mobile app and have used it. This great adoption numbers show that such a solution was wanted for users.
What’s more, soon after the app was released, close to 1 000 registrations came from users who are still not UNIQA Bulgaria health insurance clients. This validates the assumption that the e-health app can serve as a customer acquisition channel, too.
This last point is confirmed by the sales team, as well. They already include extensive information about the app’s capabilities in new client pitches and see heightened interest in MedUNIQA.
So far, more than 1/3 of UNIQA Bulgaria’s health insurance clients are registered with the virtual insurance card. This means the company will be printing and distributing 30 000 plastic insurance cards less. It is a great addition to the company’s new environmental sustainability goals and is much safer for both patients and receptionists when visiting a health facility.