This week in Los Angeles, the first App Developer’s Conference (ADC), from the creators of the Game Developers Conference (GDC), will make its debut. Content will include Entertainment, Health and Wellness, Enterprise, Lifestyle, Education, and Brand Marketing Apps. Michael Prichard, Founder and CTO of WillowTree Apps, who will be a featured speaker at the conference, answered a few of our questions to highlight the upcoming event.
Medgadget: What is the main focus of ADC this year?
Michael Prichard, WillowTree Apps: For WillowTree Apps, the main focus is to discover what other App Developers are doing in our space. To learn from and share with other developers on what works, what doesn’t and what we can do to improve our client’s experiences.
Medgadget: Can you share with us WillowTree Apps’s company goals for the upcoming year?
Michael Prichard: WillowTree Apps is looking for continue to grow our agency’s mobile strategy, marketing, design and development offering through continued focus on specific verticals in our market. These include Healthcare, Media & Entertainment, Enterprise and Education practices. We are also always looking for smart, passionate people to join our team in Charlottesville, VA where strive to maintain a culture of individual responsibility, best-in-class code and quality apps and services for our clients.
Medgadget: Can you summarize / highlight some key aspects of your upcoming talk at ADC?
Michael Prichard: In particular, I will emphasize that we have an unprecedented opportunity to use mobile devices to improve healthcare through a personalize, contextual approach to care. We have the opportunity to truly educate patients and influence behavior to provide for more meaningful care and treatment. Given that 40% of premature death in the US is cause through behavior, and much of it preventable such as smoking, lack of activity, and obesity, we can work on ways to leverage the devices in our pockets to improve lives. It is a fact that we can influence a buyers decisions in-store with mobile, so we can certainly do the same for healthcare.
Medgadget: Can you identify the main challenges that current healthcare app developers are facing today? How is the industry/consumers working to overcome these challenges?
Michael Prichard: The main challenges we are facing as developers is regulations such as FDA rules for medical devices, HIPAA, and HITECH, to name a few as well as breaking out of the current view of apps mainly being rehashes of your website or marketing tools. The industry is now beginning to understand that these devices are actually powerful because they are contextual, personal and part of many people’s everyday connected lives. We must treat them with that respect and provide great value for patients (or physicians) to put apps on their mobile phones. The industry is also figuring out how to develop proper patient privacy and security policies and how to implement these into apps. While much of the consumer industry is a few years down the road on leveraging these channels, the Healthcare industry is just starting. This is a actually an advantage because we can see what worked and what didn’t from the 4 years of consumer driven application design and development.
Medgadget: What group of apps that has seen the most growth recently? Why? Which areas do you think have the most growth potential in coming years?
Michael Prichard: I see two groups that will see huge growth over the coming years. First, medical device and wearable technology integration; This is the use and federation of data from various sources used to provide better care and meaningful outcomes for patients through personalized healthcare. Second, the proliferation of apps for healthcare providers making it easier to manage care for their patients.
Two featured Apps by WillowTree include MediGuard and BabyCenter:
MediGuard: MediGuard’s My Medicine native iOS mobile app for the iPhone and iPod, developed by WillowTree Apps®, Inc., offers users a convenient way to manage personal prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Users can customize how the app delivers information, choosing from 4 types of customized pill-taking reminders. Other features include access to an in-app drug database with over 4,000 drugs as well as information on safety alerts, side effects and drug interactions. Users can print or email their medications list to doctors and store questions in the app for future doctor visits.
BabyCenter | My Pregnancy Today: The BabyCenter My Pregnancy Today app, developed by WillowTree Apps®, Inc., for iPhone, iPod Touch and Android, features database integration for display of day-by-day pregnancy information including checklists and nutritional guides. Rich media provides users with access to weekly fetal development images, and award-winning videos documenting fetal growth in the womb. Social integration features give users access to “Birth Clubs” to easily connect with other expectant mothers. Additional features include a kick tracker for monitoring fetal movements, and the option to create a personalized baby registry.