CompetitiveAnalysis-AndreyLukatsky

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Overview

Our application is a mobile social network for family doctors that allows them to consult other physicians in real-time when making diagnoses.

Competitors

  • Diagnosaurus DDx - This application targets the same user group as ours: general healthcare professionals who diagnose patients. This application allows users to get information about diseases by names, symptoms, and associated organs. The application includes "1,000 differential diagnoses for Medicine and Surgery". Our application is inherently different because it uses the knowledge of other physicians to help doctors make diagnoses. Other doctors can also rate the diagnoses given, so a system of checks does exist with our application. From a usability perspective, this application does quite well. Its interface feels very natural (due to their use of standard iPhone components). It's also uncluttered and easy to use. One major challenge of such a reference application is presenting information in a way that fits the screen and is easy to read. Doctors won't have time to read 10 pages of text. Although this application does quite well in this regard (they provide bullet point summaries), our application may do better because the doctors who'll be answering will be providing relatively short diagnoses (they won't be able to type a whole lot on such a small device). This will force doctors to be concise in their feedback.
  • Merck Manual - This application is very similar to Diagnosaurus DDx. It targets the same user group (healthcare professionals making diagnoses) and provides them with a reference. It allows users to search the database of diseases, and provides information on these diseases. As noted before, our application takes an very different, people-powered approach. From a usability point of view, this application is much worse than Diagnosaurus DDx. This application packs a lot of information on the screen, making it difficult to glance through. This application seems like it was not designed from a mobile point of view (small text, small screen, etc.) We plan on presenting information in concise chunks, so hopefully our application will alleviate this issue.
  • Medical Encyclopedia - This reference application targets a very a larger group of users (all physicians who need to lookup medical info, not family doctors like our app). This application is much larger than the previous ones, with over 50,000 pages of medical information. It provides information on a very wide range of topics including symptoms, injury, disease, surgery, nutrition, poison, tests, etc. As before, our application differs in the fact that it crowd-sources the process of diagnosing. From a usability perspective, this application does not take a very mobile-centric route to display information. Large blocks of text (in a rather small font by default) are displayed on the iPhone screen. Our application will take an approach that values brevity to make it more convenient for physicians on the go.
  • BLACKBAG Medical Resources - Similar to Medical Encyclopedia, this application targets a large group of medical users: physicians, pharmacists, nurses, hospitalists, etc. This provides users with latest information on conferences, breaking medical news, videos, etc. Although this application is not a direct competitor (ie, it doesn't directly help in the diagnosis of disease), it was included in this list for the following reason: similar to our application, this application focuses on providing real-time information to medical professionals. This information serves to benefit the patient. As far as usability, this application is very designed. The app is very intuitive (ie, the mapping between buttons and intended actions is very easy to see). It's also very aesthetically pleasing - particular how well the colors work together. Our application will definitely make it a point to create a UI that's pleasant to look at. This application really illustrates how a good UI will make the user want to come back to the application.
  • Medscape - This application targets not only medical professionals, but regular users (this app is from WebMD). The target group is thus quite large. This app provides a reference on drugs, diseases, and clincal procedures. However, it largely focuses on drug information. The difference between this app and other competitors (apart from the large focus on drugs) is a directory of doctor contact info. So there's a slight social touch to this app. However, as before, our social centric approach for family doctor diagnosis is very different from this app. From a usability perspective, this applications is very well done. The design is uncluttered, and very easy to follow. Information is presented well in a manner that's easy to read. The design itself is very aesthetically appealing. There's really nothing about this application that I would change.
  • Epocrates - Similar to Medical Encyclopedia, this application targets medical professionals in general. As mentioned, our application targets a more specific subset of users: family doctors. It provides information on drugs, diseases, medical billing codes, terms, lab tests, etc. Generally speaking, Epocrates is one of the most trusted names in medical reference. Everyone has heard of it and in most cases owns a copy. Our app is very different from Epocrates in its social approach to disease diagnosis. This app is well designed (perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing as other apps due to its bland choice of colors) and is very easy to use. Information is presented in an easy-to-read format, and the app does a good job of packing a lot of information into one app. Our app will strive to emulate this design to make it easy for doctors to use. Also, most doctors will have already used Epocrates, so basing our app UI on a UI that they're already used to makes sense.
  • HarrisonĀ“s Manual of Medicine - Similar to other medical reference apps, this targets medical professionals from all spectra. Among other things, this app provides information on signs and symptoms of diseases. Our app uses a more social approach to disease diagnosis for family doctors. From a usability perspective, this app is a bit confusing. They seems to mix the UIs of a web page and standard iPhone components. So at one point, it seems like you're viewing an HTML document - at another it feels like you're using a native app. This lack of consistency is something our app will be sure to avoid.
  • MacPractice iPhone Interface 2.0 - This web application targets a slightly bigger superset of users (all physicians, not just family doctors). It's important to note, that this is not a standalone native app. It's an interface to a much bigger system that's also installed on computers. While the system has many parts and is used by various office workers, etc., the iPhone interface is geared for physicians. The application offers quite a bit of functionality for doctors in regards to the daily tasks they perform (viewing patient information, calling patients, etc.) Although it attempts to offer all the features a doctor would want, it doesn't help them diagnose diseases. The interface of this app is very uncluttered, and simple to use. It doesn't attempt to present too much information at once. Our application will attempt to do the same thing.
  • MedicalRadio - This application targets medical professionals, which is larger than our target group. This app lets users listen to live streams and podcasts featuring "medical information, conversation and education." This application was listed because it competes with our app for doctors' free time. When a doctor asks a question, the other physicians will likely be answering him when they have a passing moment. In that passing moment, a doctor could either be listening to MedicalRadio or using our app. With our app, he/she will be helping other doctors as well as also expanding his/her breadth of knowledge from reading others' replies. This app is very easy to use. (This may be due to the fact that it doesn't offer much functionality.) In terms of UI design, there's nothing new that we can take from this app due to its simplicity.
  • Wikipanion - Wikipanion is probably the most general (in terms of targeted users) app in this entire list. It targets any user who reads Wikipedia. However, it's used by a lot of medical professionals to quickly look up medical information. Our application not only uses a social approach, but it gets information from real doctors. Considering the point of this application is to read Wikipedia articles (which tend to be quite large), the usability of this app is quite good. It sizes the text appropriately and allows for pinch-and-zoom. It allows for search term highlighting, which I think our application should also employ.

Summary

The one encompassing aspect that the majority of the competitors share is reference. There are clearly many good solutions for physicians that need to quickly reference medical text. The major difference between our application and the competition is the social angle. We provide a way for family doctors to share information with each other in real-time. The benefits of this people-powered/social-centric approach are many. With our application, the latest information will be spread without having to wait for updates to medical text. Doctors will be able to better understand the problem than any search algorithm that analyses user input. Our innovative solution brings the power of social networks due to the medical community!



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