May 21, 2021

The US Healthcare System – Tackling The Patient No-Show Problem using Tech

Joshua Ogunbo, the Nigerian software developers at Naya Labs behind 360eMed hospital's patient scheduling application.
Front-end: React, Programming Language: Typescript, Back-end: Node js

In a tech-enabled world where convenience reigns supreme, consumers expect frictionless experiences both offline and online. These expectations are not limited or bound by industry. As a result, businesses are beginning to leverage modern technology to revolutionize the way they interact with end-consumers. The healthcare industry, which has been slow to modernize, is undergoing rapid transformation through the use of digital solutions.   

Self-scheduling or DIY appointment making is at the heart of that marketplace shift.  Currently, 80% of healthcare consumers say they select their doctors based on convenience factors alone. The ability to self-schedule is part of that convenience. In 2019, 68 percent of patients in a survey said that they are more likely to use a provider that offers the option to book/change/cancel appointments online compared to 58% in 2016. 

This new tech-enabled approach not only benefits the customer, but it also helps practices optimize costs and attract new patients. Currently, no-shows cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $150 billion annually. Also, an average of 63% of appointments booked online stem from new patients.

With a vision of making the scheduling process effortless, 360eMed is helping healthcare providers grow their practice by introducing automated scheduling. Which gives patients the ability to book appointments 24/7 and sends automated reminders to patients with an upcoming appointment.

I spoke with Joshua Ogunbo, developer at Naya Labs, about developing the 360eMed application, the challenges of building it, and Tech in Africa. 


How do you translate the requirements of a specific business problem into code?

This was the first application I built for the health care industry, and it felt different. Although all the products I build help people. I knew I was contributing to society differently. For the first time, in my heart, I felt there was someone on the other end, in dire need of the product. 

The 360eMed application was built for 360eMed hospital patients to assist them in scheduling their doctor’s appointments. The app gives patients the option to choose from a variety of doctors and times.

Understanding the main problem we were trying to solve was my first step. Once I understood the problem, I created civil charts to visually demonstrate the requirements, the problem, and the possible solutions. Then, I sketched out the architecture of the whole application. Together with Erick, Naya Labs CTO,  we decided on the front-end and back-end tools, and I got the mockup slides from the designer. Finally, the coding began. 

How important is empathy in the software development process?

When you have empathy at the core of your development process, you build products that are valuable to you, your team, and the end-user. Empathy should not be underrated. 

During the development process, I used the application as if I was a new user, putting myself in their shoes. During the project, I suggested to Erick that we drop some of the fields from the user’s information mockup. We both looked at it again, not from our developer’s view, but the user’s perspective and agreed that changing it would enhance the user experience.

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What do you believe are the keys to being a successful software developer in Africa? 

Passion. You have to be very passionate about what you do. If you’re not passionate enough, you won’t push to become a better developer. How I display, my passion has changed. Last year, I did a lot of reading and self-learning. Now it’s not just about me. I want to help people who also have this dream of being a software developer realize that dream. So I started mentoring people. After I graduated, I applied and accepted the role of an Andela mentor. It’s a big joy for me to mentor people that hope to one day become software engineers themselves. Also, invest in yourself. Read articles on Medium and take courses on Udemy. 

Built In Africa? What does that mean to you?

It symbolizes hope. Growth. Most of the world sees Africa as a developing continent. Having products built in Africa is a big deal for me. It means we are doing something. Yes, we have a lot of talented software engineers and developers here, but we’re also building products that other parts of the world are now paying attention to. They’re getting the vibes, that there are people and products in Africa worthwhile.

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