"Molina Healthcare, a FORTUNE 500, multistate health care organization, works with doctors, hospitals and other providers all across the U.S. to deliver health care services to millions of financially vulnerable individuals and families through Medicaid, Medicare and other government-assistance programs. To accurately assess patients’ needs and provide a variety of services, Molina sends case managers into members’ homes. They may make recommendations for modifications to the home, such as a shower bar in the bathroom, or a worker may be scheduled for regular visits to prepare meals for the patient or attend to his or her personal needs.
“The intent is to provide the appropriate medical services funded through the government programs,” said Erik Brown, director of the Emerging Technology Group at Molina Healthcare. “If the state can save thousands per year by managing care out of the home rather than through a nursing facility or hospital, everyone benefits.” Molina’s case managers had been using pen and paper to take notes during assessments and visits. Following the visit, they had to return to the office and enter their notes into the system, so the state would receive the information required for funding the services. Often, data had to be input into multiple systems, which was time- consuming and errorprone. Molina saw a business opportunity for building a mobile app that would enable case managers and other in-home workers to enter information on a tablet, and sync it with multiple systems upon connecting to the network.
“The tablet solution would allow them to collect information once and communicate it to systems electronically,” said Brown. “We needed a solution that would enable data entry in offline mode for multiple patients in a day, then synchronize the information automatically once the worker is connected to our systems.” In addition to support for offline data entry, there were other requirements. “One of our biggest challenges is that users expect mobile apps to behave in a certain way, like a consumer app,” said Brown. “For example, users want to be able to validate information on the tablet as they enter it. If they type in a bad phone number, or if a field doesn’t synchronize, they want to know immediately. So, the ability to customize business rules was critical.”
Another key requirement was the separation of forms from the app itself. Medical forms have to reflect specific requirements for each state in which the app is used, and they change frequently. “We wanted to be able to write the forms in HTML so we could make changes as needed, without rewriting the entire application every time,” said Brown. The developers had been using jQuery Mobile, but experienced performance issues because of the size and complexity of forms being created. Additionally, a 6-week pilot with six users yielded feedback that the app was too business-like. “Our users wanted more of a consumer look and feel,” said Brown. The team began looking for a new approach that would better handle forms and enable developers to improve the UI.