Wellness platform development for a US healthtech company

Wellness platform development for a US healthtech company

Itransition delivered a HIPAA-compliant SaaS wellness platform that connects users to virtual nutrition, fitness and wellness support on the go.

Case study

Wellness platform development for a US healthtech company

Context

Our customer is a healthtech startup headquartered in New York, US. The company was looking to build a digital service to deliver highly personalized wellness support to users through a network of partners, at any given place and time. Developing this concept, they came up with an idea of an all-in-one SaaS platform for connecting those providing personal nutrition, lifestyle and fitness support with their clients.

They sought a technology partner who would elaborate on their initial idea and bring it to life in full compliance with the HIPAA regulations. The startup chose Itransition due to our proven track record of end-to-end healthcare software development as well as the experience in building SaaS platforms.

Solution

Within three months, Itransition developed the solution’s core functionality and delivered the MVP, which was further extended into a full-fledged product.

The MVP of the SaaS platform offered wellness support by subscription through:

  • Virtual one-on-one appointments with fitness coaches, health specialists, and nutritionists
  • Private unlimited messaging with users’ chosen professionals
  • Real-time fitness classes and lifestyle modification consultations
  • A media library containing on-demand exercise videos and dietary tips

The completed platform supported multiple user roles, each with a distinct set of permissions and capabilities:

  • Clients. People looking for fitness, lifestyle or nutrition consultations.
  • Providers. Organizations that partner with our customer to offer services via the platform. They invite end clients to the platform and track their overall activity.
  • Consultants. Fitness coaches, nutritionists, and lifestyle specialists who provide wellness support to the clients via personalized video consultations.
  • Admin. The platform’s administrator with a wide scope of responsibilities, from inviting consultants and providers to the platform to creating groups and appointments. Also, the admin tracks and calculates consultants’ billable hours and manages media content.

After the MVP release, our team continued working on the platform, integrating more advanced features into its functionality.

Food Diary

Our team developed and implemented the Food Diary module to help end users track calories and food intake. Linked with Nutritionix, a global nutrition information database, the tool offers the user accurate and detailed information regarding their nutrition. The platform also allows users to upload personal recipes and automatically calculates their nutrition value.

Food Diary

Through the Food Diary, consultants can set eating goals for users and create custom recipes and meal plans for them. Last but not least, the module allows users to visualize their calorie consumption in graphs and charts and get a better view of their progress.

Wellness Tracker

Itransition also implemented the multi-faceted Wellness Tracker module which includes Activity, Steps and Weight Trackers.

In the Activity Tracker, users can log the type, duration, and intensity of the physical activity they performed during the day, and track their weekly progress. Users can also connect their Fitbit or MyZone accounts to the module and synchronize activity and workout tracking.

Activity Tracker & Weight Tracker

The Weight Tracker stores user weight records and visualizes their weight changes in diagrams.

Profiling

To allow users to set fitness goals and receive media content tailored to their needs, we built the Profiling module. After registering on the wellness platform, a user fills out a set of surveys about their eating habits, physical activity, and lifestyle. Based on the replies, the module recommends relevant media content and generates exercise, eating, or personal goals for the user. Exercise goals are automatically synchronized with the users’ Fitbit account, while eating habits and personal achievements need to be logged in manually.

Goal tracking

Platform packages

Since the wellness platform is proprietary, end users can join only by invitation from their fitness service provider. Along with the invitation, each user receives a service package containing individual subscription prices, terms, and available platform options. To simplify the task of creating and customizing these packages, our team delivered the Packages module that allows putting together a package in several minutes.

When building a service package, the admin selects from four categories:

  • Standard packages that multiple providers can access and tailor to their needs
  • Custom packages that are created by providers individually and cannot be used by others
  • Initial packages that end clients receive upon invitation to the platform
  • Renewal packages that end clients can purchase when the initial package expires

Next, the admin can configure the package further by the following parameters:

  • Payment & subscription: who makes the payment; when to ask a client to submit their credit card details; whether a client requires recurring monthly billing, etc.
  • Consultants: types of consultants available to the user; whether consultants are public (can view all clients in the system) or private (can view only the clients linked to a specific provider), etc.
  • Group events: unlimited or restricted access to online group events; the number of group events a user can participate in, etc.
  • Appointments: what type of consultant a user can make an appointment with; the number of appointments available, etc.
  • The media library: whether a user can access media content from the library

Online store

Itransition equipped the platform with a bespoke online store for the customer to sell wellness products, like healthy foods, smart scales, and such, to end users. Along with these goods, users can also purchase additional one-on-one appointments with nutritionists and fitness consultants. We also enhanced the store with a single sign-on authentication, allowing platform users to skip the lengthy registration process.

Reporting

Equipped with a powerful analytics engine, the platform can generate two types of reports: UI reports and backend reports.

  • The UI reports are for administrators and consultants, providing them with insights into their clients' progress.
  • Backend reports are for the customer and white label partners, containing information about the number of platform users and their status, user activity, subscriptions, and more.

Native mobile applications

Initially, the customer intended to develop a mobile-friendly web platform. However, since the SaaS functionality was rather complex with multiple third-party tools integrated, our team could not guarantee its stable performance on mobile devices. Moreover, at the start of the development, OpenTok, an audio and video streaming service, didn’t support the Safari browser, which would hamper user experience on iOS. Therefore, we suggested developing native iOS and Android mobile applications, to which the customer agreed.

The delivered applications had a robust set of features identical to the web application except for additional security measures applied to user authorization.

White-labeling support

Originally, our customer planned to offer their platform directly to end users via subscription. After the MVP release, they decided to add the white-labeling option.

For this purpose, our team prepared a set of customizable scripts to enable icon recoloring, changing of logos and footer texts, and other branding personalization as needed.

Since the platform’s release, ten companies have opted for the white label. As these companies offer various services, from fitness to pregnancy planning, our team also delivered in-depth modifications to the platform's UI, feature set, library content, profiling surveys, and other features for some of the white labels.

HIPAA & GDPR compliance

With the solution intended to handle highly sensitive health and wellness data, Itransition’s team placed a strong emphasis on HIPAA and GRPD compliance during development. Among the key measures we implemented for the platform’s HIPAA compliance were end-to-end user information encryption and separation of end users’ video streams from one another. We also tested a variety of video streaming scenarios to secure the application against unsanctioned streams and potential issues.

Driving GDPR-compliant mobile app development, our team implemented the HTTPS protocol for secure connection, obfuscated the source code to avert unauthorized access, and performed multiple security tests to detect rooting (for Android) and jailbreaking (for iOS). Beyond that, our in-house QA team was systematically running vulnerability tests to detect potential cybersecurity threats.

Technologies & tools

We used the C++ programming language and the ASP.NET Core framework to develop the cross-platform web application.

Due to the project’s strict time limits, our team chose a monolithic architecture for the platform, as it allowed developing, deploying and managing features at a comparatively fast pace.

On top of the monolithic architecture, we also enhanced the web application with a microservices module consisting of three Windows Services: two for Fitbit and Nutritionix integrations and one for the notification service. We made such architectural decisions to ensure stable performance regardless of how much the platform was going to scale in terms of its size, number of features, or user base.

We created the web application’s frontend using JavaScript and TypeScript programming languages.

Our team chose Kotlin to develop the Android app and used Objective-C to build the iOS application.

In addition to custom-built features, Itransition also integrated the following third-party tools and solutions into the platform:

  • OpenTok for audio and video streaming
  • Fitbit for users to track their weight and activity
  • Allurion Scale and Weight Gurus for monitoring users’ measurements, such as body weight and body fat, bone and muscle mass, etc.
  • Nutritionix for nutrition tracking via a global nutrition database
  • MyZone for monitoring users’ physical activity during workouts
  • Concierge Health, an insurance platform collecting information about their customers’ physical activity
  • Qencode for encoding WEBM videos into the MP4 format
  • Twilio for IP telephony and messaging
  • nopCommerce for mobile commerce, including selling service packages, virtual appointments, etc.
  • Stripe for secure online payment processing
  • UPS for managing and tracking deliveries
  • Firebase for sending push notifications
  • Sendgrid for email delivery
  • MS Exchange for sending calendar notifications about booked events
  • Mayo Clinic as a health content provider

Process

Itransition was the only technology vendor overseeing the entire project, from requirements analysis and project roadmapping to the platform and mobile app development and white-labeling support.

During 5+ years of collaboration, our team grew to twenty members and now includes project managers, business analysts, web and mobile developers, QA engineers, and support specialists. Initially, there were three teams: web development, mobile development, and QA, each with a separate manager, budget, and agreement. However, when problems with communication and project synchronization started to arise, we united the teams and shifted to a dedicated team model. It allowed us to overcome communication and planning issues and helped to increase project visibility and transparency.

Agile development

The team was following the Agile approach and broke down the development into three- or four-week sprints in line with the scope of tasks. We also held regular meetings with the customer to exchange our ideas, collect regular feedback, discuss releases, and plan the next steps.

To ensure stable and predictable releases, we implemented continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) practices. Throughout the project, our team performed regular code reviews and carried out automated integration testing, unit testing, and UI testing with Selenium.

Addressing ad-hoc requirements

A certain number of new features and capabilities were introduced outside of the initial requirements, yet our team managed to come up with viable solutions on the fly and still meet the project’s deadlines.

For instance, when the customer decided they would like sending personalized email reminders about upcoming appointments to their clients, our team devised a custom solution for modifying email notifications and sending them at a scheduled time.

Another ad-hoc solution was designed for language file management. We initially developed the English-only platform aimed at the US market. However, it soon grew globally, so our team added localizations for eight languages, including Arabic, and RTL support to the solution’s backend and frontend.

Mitigating performance bottlenecks

As the number of the platform’s clients grew, the heavy load slowed down the performance of mobile applications in the parts responsible for scheduling appointment slots. To address this issue, our team promptly delivered load distribution and introduced the availability condition. Now only unreserved calendar slots were displayed to the clients.

Report generation was another feature that needed improvement on the go. Originally, it relied on complex runtime calculations, which slowed down the user interface response times. To optimize this, our team came up with a service for recalculating and caching report data every ten minutes. As a result, users could now quickly retrieve even the most data-heavy reports.

Following the high user growth, the platform started experiencing server performance issues. To mitigate this challenge, Itransition’s team implemented tools for load balancing, storage scaling, and server monitoring. We also performed code refactoring, optimizing the platform’s most commonly used and data-heavy components. These improvements allowed us to reduce server performance issues and timeout errors by 20 times.

Results

Itransition delivered a HIPAA-compliant SaaS platform and complementary iOS and Android mobile applications that connect lifestyle, nutrition and fitness specialists to people seeking to improve and maintain their health. Now, the platform helps users around the world receive ancillary care on the go, transforming the way wellness services are provided.

Within several years after the solution’s release, the platform has attracted:

  • 700+ active providers offering wellness services through the platform
  • 100,000+ registered users
  • 10+ companies using the platform’s white-label version.
Web app interface
Mobile app interface