This week, we were able to test our product’s value proposition with a couple of new users who hadn’t heard about what we were doing. This was a great opportunity to hear the questions they had for why we were involved and how our solution would really be different from what currently exists. Through these experiences, we were also able to see how many different resources and communities there are for Special Operations medics to join, but how they all speak to different aspects of the problems. This brings us back in a way to the first few weeks of this course, where we were still attempting to understand the different challenges that medics do face and how we could make a difference. But it also brings us forward to thinking about how we can actually deploy our product, including the costs and technical steps required- and how the level of security we need to develop Mediscope is certainly great and certainly not something we know a great deal about. We also have been thinking about how it might be beneficial to deploy the dual use public version before the military version to establish a proof of concept. This will require a different kind of marketing and fundraising, apart from small business and woman-owned businesses, as well as the various ways to obtain a contract from the government. These contracts could be completed through licensing the app as a SaaS (software as a service) category product, but there are different levels and different pricing structures to consider based on how much our product actually ends up costing to make.
Interview #1: Jon, 17 years as Special Forces Medical Sergeant and now instructor of 18D/SOIDC refresher course (New User)
- It seems simple but the ability to search this information would be so powerful- right now, the medical asset information might be “in an electronic form” like a Word doc, but a bunch of word documents in a folder is the same thing as a physical file cabinet- it just lives on a computer
- With technology (including in the military) advancing and information tools becoming specialized, it would be helpful to separate the medical information from everything else because it is a huge priority
- App is great, here are some cautions for development:
- Information like number of beds can mean so much, and isn’t telling- but you wouldn’t know that unless you have experience as a medic (It seems like we really need to identify who can help us develop the assessment guidelines to be even more useful than what exists today)
- User profiles or rewards for reviewers like on Yelp would be great because “you start to go and see who tends to be right”
- Suggestions of how to market the product:
- SOMSA and other events where medics and other people involved in military medicine gather
- Relying just on 18D’s to get this rolling is not feasible because there’s only about 3000 active duty and that’s not nearly enough to get towards building info on geographic coverage that you need
Interview #2: Rod, Currently SOF Medic Instructor, Retired after 20 years of experience in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa (New User)
- Seems like a Google Earth overlay of medical facilities
- Definitely uses apps for planning and health information (Relief Central)
- Crowdsourced info: this will be the difference between the resources we use that are out there (like Relief Central app) and what we have, and that could be useful if deployed properly
- Key is getting verification of crowdsourced information right
Interview #3: Josh, Special Operations medic with MARSOC and 13 years of Navy experience in Middle East and Afghanistan, founded SOM+C (New User)
- Usage of NCMI for current medical planning needs- what gets addressed, what doesn’t get addressed
- Take a look at https://www.promedmail.org/aboutus/ for infectious disease information
- Uses multiple sources of information, is free and anonymous to access, to display reports of health outbreaks and toxic emergencies for human and animal health
- Uses a map format and helps encourage collaboration between medical personnel
- Example of a messy scenario:
- “a host nation with 100 hospitals but all the assessments are 5 years old and only 1 is approved through tricare and 2 have a helipad and 1 is the only trauma capable for our guys in the country” —> where our product could be useful
Interview #4: Will, Special Forces PA (New User)
- CDC Website is what he uses currently
- Thoughts on deploying the dual use scenario first and get an active user base, and then the military would really see the value in use (like how they use Google Maps or CDC Yellow Book to find the information they need right now)
- The CDC would be big partners by providing mapping
- From the get go you would have a huge mapping
- Need a clearer definition of:
- “Are you still in the “good idea” phase or “how do we make it better” phase?”
Interview #5: Samuel Williston, Former 18D, Consultant @ Raytheon (Repeat)
- Sam has deep knowledge into the implementation and acquisition of military manuals from his 18D transition to an advisory role at Raytheon. He works with the ATAC test office to vet new vendors and capabilities
- Thoughts on acquiring users:
- Suggests looking into consumer market for inspiration. Product must first be consumed before adopted.
- Concerned about the compliance/legal components to the app
- Some degree of uncertainty with implementing apps in a saturated mkt.
- Interested in seeing if VC firms would invest in something that may be easily duplicated. Emphasize the “secret sauce” of the offering
- Wondering if there there are similar services for doctors and if provider groups can be brought in to test
- Key to adoption is to have “power users” be advocates to the general success of the product. The cost to acquire these power users would be worth it since they have such lift towards general sentiment.
Interview #6: Josh Mosciwicz, 18D (SOCM instructor) transitioned from Navy SWCC (New User)
- Josh has deep knowledge into the medic training schema as a SOCM instructor. He works with the foreign medics to train them on US standards.
- Thoughts on cost/resources:
- Suggests setting up a top user game system to reward frequent users
- Concerned about the application of the service for all medics
- Suggests that a pilot could be run with 18D trainees who are looking to increase their influence in the company
- Interested in seeing if VC firms would want to invest overseas given the volatility of foreign markets
- Wondering if incentivizing families of medics would be a good way to go. Give wife/dependants access to tools.
- Hesitant to say he would believe the data without understanding a clear system of validation and quality metrics instilled.
Interview #7: Karl Chopes, Implementation Architect, Raytheon (Tech Expert)
- Jon has deep knowledge into the development of code used for the AEGIS defense system used on DDR ships. He is currently with Raytheon working with the small liabilities innovations group that funds small pilots for the military in ad-hoc projects.
- Thoughts on cost/resources:
- Partner with provider groups that have established systems to build off their infrastructure. Suggested Kaiser Permanente as an example.
- Concerned about using the app in a non-secured environment. What happens if passwords or logins are compromised?
- Reminds us to factor in maintenance and operational costs related to running an app. Software architect needed for update reboots and server refreshes. Need someone paid to handle password recovery and data backup.
- Suggested a possible dual use would be with students studying abroad in college who look for resources and assets when injured or ill.
- Wondering if the app can be a smaller size 50mb or less. This way it can be loaded and stored on local phones and web browsers in Humvees or other carriers easier.
- Suggests running a focus group that is representative of a particular deployment demographic to give a sense of how viable the app would be in that region.
Interview #8: Dan, Civilian EMT (Repeat)
- Certainly would use this, especially if it already has a well-populated database
- Super handy to see these things in the context of healthcare resources where if we had conflict somewhere in the last 6 hours, we may not want to go to resources there or don’t want a helicopter flying near there
- He would like access to the DOD/DOS version because of his work in conflict zones (aid groups need this access too)
- Talked about extreme sports enthusiasts being a niche segment of potential customers
Interview #9: Paul, CPT and Former Army Medic (Repeat)
- Thinks the interface is extremely well-structured
- Likes the idea of crowdsourcing information (good way to keep costs low) → definitely have to prove you can provide a solid foundation of this information refreshed regularly
- Social media portion seems confusing, what is the point? (Also not allowing him to login through Twitter function currently)
Interview #10: Justin, 18D (Repeat)
- In the user profile portion, have a way for medics to organize or ‘favorite’ assets and that way they can refer back to certain resources more customized to their personal context (area they are deployed in, resource needs)
- This is a great activation of a list of resources that is currently kept in a ‘virtual, dusty file cabinet’ — the app will allow us to do a lot more with the information that is collected
- Definitely sees commercial value as well, loves idea of military version — “they would definitely pay money for it”