Software development company and Python specialist STX Next has successfully created a new web application for Medassist, a company specialising in the diagnosis of skin conditions. The app facilitates remote contact between doctors and patients, reduces waiting times and lightens workloads for medical professionals.
The application was developed when Covid-19 was at its peak and contact between doctors and patients was limited. Many people were hesitant to visit hospitals for fear of being infected with the virus and to avoid overwhelming healthcare services.
The resulting web application allowed doctors to continue assessing patients’ skin lesions.
In 2021, medical professionals at the Provincial Multispecialist Centre of Oncology and Traumatology in Łódź approached STX Next to create a web app that could assist patients with concerns about skin changes. In dermatology, quick diagnosis is vital, especially when testing for skin cancer. The web application would be an important tool in the treatment of melanoma for example, which is fully curable in its early stages, but if left untreated too long, can lead to death.
When face-to-face contact became limited in the early stages of the pandemic, medical professionals naturally turned to email to carry out skin assessments and quickly ran into a number of problems. Storage and organisation of patients' photos became an immediate issue, while there quickly became a need for a better way to store, retrieve and assign images, as well as quickly and effectively progress treatment if necessary.
Developers at STX Next were tasked with creating a tool that could efficiently facilitate the exchanging of photos of skin lesions between the patient and the doctor. Its aim was to reduce physical contact between doctors and patients and simultaneously aid effective treatment.
When the product was first presented to the Product Design team at STX Next, it had a very basic user interface (UI). STX Next immediately highlighted a need to implement changes to improve the overall design of the app and include features to support the user experience.
STX Next delivered an end-to-end solution, working on the front end and back end development as well as the UI and UX design. The resulting app allows doctors to generate a private link that is shared with a patient. The patient then takes a photo of their skin lesion and can send it securely without needing to leave their home.
If there is no cause for concern, the app removes the need for an in-person appointment. This means that when resources and personnel are stretched, doctors have more availability and patient waiting times are reduced.
STX Next’s UX designers also successfully mapped out the user journey and created clearer and more understandable flows within the app. The result is that it is now much easier for patients and medical professionals to upload photos and navigate within the app.
Other key features such as tags, a search function and a dashboard were also added to the app. The introduction of tags means that medical professionals can clearly see a patient’s status within the app. For example, the app can easily organise and indicate which photos are newly uploaded or which information has already been reviewed.
The search function allows doctors to go directly to a specific patient’s page. The dashboard provides quick access to all data and a review of recent activity.
Medassist has significantly sped up the process of diagnosis and removed unnecessary delays for patients who need treatment or face-to-face consultation.
Łukasz Cieślak, a patient that used Medassist and subsequently had a skin lesion removed, said:
“I found out about the application through an old colleague from when I worked at STX Next. There was a birthmark on my leg that was worrying me but seeing a doctor in person would have meant joining a long waiting list.
“When I found out about the application, all I had to do was take a photo. Later that day, I was informed that the doctors advised that I should have the lesion removed. Two days later it was over.”
Dr. Magdalena Kędzierska works in the Department of Cancer Chemotherapy of the Provincial Multispecialist Centre of Oncology and Traumatology in Łódź. Speaking about the effect that Medassist has had, she said:
“Very often, patients are unaware that multiple skin moles represent a health risk. Many people are wary of seeing a doctor for a variety of reasons, not least because changes occur in intimate places and cause embarrassment.
“Skin changes can often be very discreet and small, and can go unnoticed. Thanks to Medassist, we are able to effectively track skin changes and easily contact patients who require quick surgical intervention.”
Moving forward, STX Next plans to be involved in next stages of the application’s development. Creation of a new user interface is already under way and its implementation will vastly enhance the user experience.
Work has also begun to engage with medical professionals and patients elsewhere in Poland who might benefit from the use of Medassist. The application will hopefully encourage people to be diligent when it comes to any skin changes and contact a doctor when necessary.
STX Next is the largest software house in Europe specialising in designing and creating digital solutions in the Python programming language. The company has been operating since 2005 and cooperates with over 500 people through eight offices in Poland. STX's clients include leading international corporations, small and medium enterprises and the most innovative start-ups from around the world.
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