Rewriting a clinical decision support tool for handling pediatric medical concerns in a more modern, cross-platform framework makes the app more stable, secure, and enables the addition of new, life-saving modules.
Children’s Mercy Hospital Center for Pediatric Innovation
The Innovation Group at Children’s Mercy Hospital wanted to develop an application to help health care providers and emergency services personnel make diagnostic and/or treatment decisions for children facing acute illness. Recognizing that treating children in a critical scenario can be stressful, especially in an urgent moment when a provider’s early decisions have a significant impact on the child’s outcome, they wanted this app to give users access to evidence-based, up-to-date, fast, and interactive clinical decision support on key pediatric urgent conditions, guidelines for which would be available in the app’s multiple modules. This app would eliminate the need to dig through care algorithms, a process that can be time-consuming and confusing, by translating evidence-based AAP guidelines into an intuitive, user-friendly interface to decrease users’ cognitive load and provide rapid access to important clinical guidance.
Children’s Mercy Hospital was able to develop the app with another vendor. However, as researchers sought to add new, life-saving modules, it became evident that the framework in which the app was written was not the optimal choice for a new round of development. Issues with the codebase resulted in the following:
1. Problems with development: because the codebase was written in several languages, development of new modules was time-consuming and expensive.
2. Problems with performance: errors in the codebase, along with a lack of maintenance, were making the app slow and unstable, decreasing its ease-of-use.
3. Problems with security: dependence on aging frameworks/technologies were making the app less secure.
Developers at illumisoft responded to these issues in three steps:
1. Rewrite: First, illumisoft developers rewrote the codebase in React Native, a more modern, cross-platform framework. This improved performance, maintainability, and security, and also halved the development time for new modules.
2. Maintain and Support: Next, developers added automated tests to the codebase at unit and functional levels. This reduced the overhead burden of manual regression testing by catching and surfacing issues within user-facing components in an automated way.
3. Update: Developers at illumisoft are providing ongoing support in order to update existing modules to reflect new guidelines, and to add new modules to the app.
- Halve development time and expense for future modules
- Improve app performance, which is key in reducing users’ cognitive load during high-stress situations and providing rapid access to important clinical guidance
- Decrease dependency on aging frameworks and technologies, making the app more secure, which is essential for a technology intended for medical use
- Ensure that the app continues to provide access to up-to-date, evidence-based clinical guidelines
- Add new modules that provide access to potentially life-saving clinical guidelines