Many reading this article will already be all too familiar with Eric Ries’ book The Lean Start Up where the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is at the core of startup methodology. It outlines a process, structure, and feedback loop from which entrepreneurs, designers, and product developers can learn as quickly as possible to test, iterate, and get products into the hands of users without exorbitant costs.
As Europe’s fastest-growing digital healthcare provider, launching new products for our patients and clinicians has been critical to helping us scale and deliver against our vision of ‘great healthcare for everyone.’
But can the MVP concept of ‘move fast, break things and fail’ work in a highly regulated sector like healthcare, when ultimately the products you deliver are designed to diagnose and treat patients?
Expect to learn:
- Patient first
- The Kry product pathway
- #1 Frame
- #2 Create
- #3 Deliver
- Setting up a Kry task force
- Learn fast
MVP by its definition is about delivering a ‘minimum’ baseline product, providing core functionality without any additional features. But the challenge with this is that as a designer or entrepreneur you will always question whether the product you released is good enough to truly test your hypotheses once your MVP is in the hands of users.
Certainly, building an MVP can help assess how customers feel about an idea/hypothesis. It can validate that an idea has potential. But in healthcare, the scope needed to make a minimum viable product is often far greater than the MVP approach implies. It cannot be about ‘moving fast and breaking things.’ The product experience needs to build trust in every interaction – whether that is meeting face to face with a doctor via video, chatting with a nurse through text, or reading the results of your last lab test. As a scaleup, we also need to do that quickly.
This requires going deeper and beyond the MVP to the value proposition. From looking at the user and utilization to external factors like healthcare reimbursement models and understanding the interoperability of the tech; to baking in the go-to-market (GTM) strategy at the start so we can understand how, and if, it will deliver for the business, patients, healthcare professionals, and the system. Every facet plays a critical role in healthcare. Everything has to be about delivering tangible value, benefits, and products that our patients and healthcare professionals want and need, so how can you do that at the pace of a startup?
The Kry product pathway
We have stripped back the traditional MVP methodology and taken elements from shared experiences to redefine how we can deliver products into the hands of thousands of healthcare professionals and millions of patients. At Kry, it is a structure that places the patients’ or healthcare professionals’ (users’) experience into the central process of product development.
Our three-stage product pathway focuses on these core principles: Frame. Create. Deliver.
It is a common and shared process that defines our path to ‘yes’ and achieving a world-class user experience from the start. It does this by providing rules, norms, and methods by which a team makes decisions.
We have prioritized defining a shared language for the key steps of our process across R&D and we work consistently to evolve this together. We set a clear process around each phase that enables us to assess and test if we have solved the right problem. Do we have the right solution? Do we have the right execution and GTM strategy?
This approach allows us to build confidence in the scope well beyond a traditional MVP, build momentum towards delivery, and ship with clarity and speed.
The ‘Frame’ stage enables us to gather insights, assess the problem, and create hypotheses. It’s the discovery phase. The stage at which we consider if what we intend to deliver is going to help us meet our mission of fast forwarding the future health and the vision of great healthcare for everyone. This stage is often led by a small team of cross-functional experts unburdened by dependency on existing work, teams, or systems – a Kry task force. Tapping into your company vision and mission at this stage frames everything you do, every decision you make and take.
The ‘Create’ stage is about building the full solution, with fast and ready sequencing and sprints that can last weeks. We get a full picture of how the complete product can and will be used while enabling our teams to continue to build at pace. During this phase, we break down the original hypothesis internally without disrupting the user experience by adding and removing features.
The third stage ‘Deliver’ is about roll-out and implementation. Localization in healthcare is key and we collaborate with systems and partners to ensure that our products are the best fit and can be easily integrated, which reduces fragmentation and improves interoperability. We also focus on key markets where our products are most relevant and can be scaled outwards. This way we keep costs low by minimizing scope, rather than compromising on quality.
Setting up a Kry task force
The MVP process – Frame, Create, Deliver – brings in consistent and standardized frameworks for our patient and clinician product development. Yet sometimes we have to move quickly, responding to market dynamics, regulation, and user experiences.
We set up Kry task forces to cut through the noise and remove costly operational silos. Its mission is speed. Its role is to tactically focus and simply ‘attack’ a specific feature or problem. Do one thing, and do it well.
The task force has a clear focus – ‘action or cut’ – taking its cues as if operating in a startup to solve the underlying value proposition with a requirement to scale fast for the future.
It means these lean squads get to conceptualize, test, and validate the value proposition within weeks – not months – so we can be responsive and agile, working closely with the founder to envision our mission for great healthcare for all.
Case Study: Chat with your Nurse
An example of the Kry process has been the development of our Nurse Chat feature which has now been gradually rolled out to nearly every region in Sweden, with plans to scale in 2022.
Nurse Chat was developed to allow patients to interact with healthcare professionals in an easy and accessible way and to receive on-demand care without long waiting times. From our own care provision, we knew that some patients preferred to speak to their clinician over text rather than video. It’s particularly useful for patients who need help or reassurance while on the go (they might have a poor connection or can’t find somewhere private to speak).
A lean and readied Kry task force was created to condense the development process, gain speed and minimize risk. This allowed us to quickly frame and create a Nurse Chat experience that could be released to a control group in Sweden. To ship this ‘MVP’ we needed an experience for patients to chat with nurses, a method for nurses to accept chats and chat with patients, and a reasonable path to earning revenue.
Once we were confident in understanding how comfortable users and clinicians were with the new feature, the task force then turned to iterate and scale the value proposition, looking at how to drive efficiencies and offer immediate access to healthcare professionals across Sweden. This included interoperability and utilization of the product, onboarding healthcare professionals, and implementing reimbursement models to generate income.
One of the most exciting aspects of the chat is how efficient it is proving to be in helping us connect more patients to healthcare professionals. Initial results have shown that the number of meetings per hour carried out by a nurse via chat rather than by video almost doubled. This means that we can see more patients per hour and keep waiting times lower for patients – improving efficiency and providing immediate access.
With the scalable Frame to Deliver model, we develop in the real world, enabling us to iterate and adjust asynchronously. It’s lightweight and scales as you grow thereby avoiding costly outlays and investment.
As Eric Ries quoted in his book “the only way to learn, is to learn faster than anyone else” and a combination of our scale-up global framework and startup task force enables us to deliver better care for more patients, better tools for more healthcare professionals – and better efficiency and lower cost for systems. And that’s how we measure our success.