November 11th, 2015

Week 7 – MVP – Minimum Viable Product Released!

By mary

Week 7 for MCOLi (the online learning innovation group) was about putting our “minimum viable product” into the hands of real users.

7_1-1024x418To recap: in our initial research, we identified that case learning was the best and favorite way for healthcare professionals to learn. However, we believe that people are so busy these days that they need a more efficient, yet still effective, way to engage in case learning. One idea that emerged was a mobile-based product we called “Cases.”

Cases allowed someone to invite a set of peers to a kind of discussion group. People in the group could submit and review short-form video cases of 1-2 minutes in length. Then they could submit their own short video responses, taken with their phone.

7_2-1024x543In week 6, as described in our last blog post, we designed and built a working version of the product with a combination of custom-code and existing software frameworks. For week 7, we needed to get it in the hands of as many groups as we could.

Our initial trial groups included:

* Dr. Richard Berger’s hand group

* Dr. Farrell Lloyd’s hospital internal medicine group

* Dr. Badr Al Bawardy’s gastroenterology group

* Gayle Flo’s inpatient CV group (with an emphasis on NPs and PAs)

* Andy Herber “Teaching Cases in Hospital Medicine”

First of all, we would like to give a huge “thank you” to the group organizers listed above. They have all been generous with their time and supportive of what we are trying to test.

We also welcome anyone else to create their own groups! If you are interested, check out

7_3-1024x733We have instrumented as much as we could. Some metrics we are gathering with software tools such as Google Analytics, but for others, we just manually count. With such small sample sizes and short time frames, we cannot take the metrics too literally, but they give us important directional insights. Here is our “board”:

As you can see from the numbers, the initial days of “launch” was not without bumps:

1.) We had the change the product “onboarding” design once due to tech constraints, and we are currently changing it again because our sign-up rate is far too low. We think that people are getting the invitation email on their desktop computers, but not then opening it again on their mobile phones. We were hoping not to support desktop usage for this prototype but it might be necessary.

2.) We were pleased with how easily our group organizers were able to make their video cases, but still most of them only had time to make a single case. Of the 9 invitees who actually signed up, they all reviewed that video case, but only 1 has taken the step of submitting a video response. Now we need to figure out if this is because of: A. they are uncomfortable with video (a distinct possibility and why we are testing video in the first place!); or B. no one wants to be the first one to respond (a common issue with community-based products); or C. we have a usability problem with the design; or D. something else we haven’t considered.

3.) Right now we are trying to encourage our invitees to sign onto the app and give it a shot, and making some simultaneous design changes to make this easier. (Aside: one of the advantages of creating the MVP as a mobile Web application, rather than a native mobile application, is we can continually make and push improvements, as opposed to have to wait days or weeks for App Store approvals).

In addition to the product experiment, we have also done some research into legal risk around this idea, as well as begun the logic exercise around business/financial model, which will then be translated into an Excel document.

Here is our latest status around our risks:


For the rest of week 7, we are trying to get enough people to try the application so that we can get an intuitive read on whether the concept has legs, even if pieces of the product need to be changed. If we can’t, that is a bad sign, but our job is to test things against the world that is, not what we wish it would be!

Tags: Experiments, Prototype, Weekly Updates


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