Building a groundbreaking digital therapeutics app in the mid-aughts

Digital therapeutics
Telehealth app

The client

In 2015, digital therapeutics was a new field with very few pioneers. Our client, a prominent U.S.-based physician, had developed an application in development to understand allergy triggers based on weather patterns, and alert users when their allergies were likely to flare up. The app monitored thousands of weather and pollution factors across North America, and tracked data from users on how they responded to changes in their environment. The ultimate goal was to help users understand how the air they breathe could positively or negatively impact their health.
The app included a real-time allergy plotting map, personalized push notifications based on allergy data entered by the user, and was intended to have integrated telemedicine capabilities, with a “Talk to Your Doctor” feature.

The ask

The founder had an initial MVP-version of the app, but it was not market-ready. With Rangle’s support, he hoped to get to market quickly with what was a very cutting-edge application for its time. Rangle’s early task was to understand and improve the UX flow, and ensure the app could be available across platforms.
Investments in digital-therapeutics companies in the United States have grown by an average of 40 percent a year over the past seven years to reach more than $1 billion in 2018.  
— McKinsey, 2021

Our discovery

While the client was under the impression that the app could be ready for launch with some UX improvements, our team discovered several challenges both in user experience and the underlying architecture. We focused on a lightweight redesign of the application that would be able to reach the market quickly, but also be able to support the many features and capabilities the physician-founder was hoping to add as the market matured. This included improving the algorithm the app was based on that created the weather-based allergen alerts.  

Our first goal was to map the critical features and user flows, and then to ensure the experience was less clinical, and more friendly and personal. The key features included an in-app questionnaire where users could input all their relevant allergy information, triggered push notifications based on the data and user behaviour reported to the algorithm, and a call or video connect to speak to a doctor.
Turning these inputs into insights to improve patient health is a key component of digital therapeutics today — We understand how positive reinforcement can trigger health-supporting behaviors that in turn promote beneficial, long-term health outcomes.

The result

With a new design and user flow for the app finished in a few short months, we were able to launch the core features, plus add additional features over the course of the next year.  

Core features included a Quick Chat function to contact nearby physicians and clinics, Symptom Severity Tests to monitor for allergy, asthma, arthritis and migraines, and Health & Emergency Weather notifications, with daily reports on weather conditions for sufferers of allergies, asthma, arthritis and other health conditions.