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Business agility is key and constant innovation is critical to succeeding in the new digital business. Staying relevant demands quick yet meaningful adoption of emerging technologies and modern products that are high performing and deliver compelling user experiences. To keep up with this digital hypergrowth, software development has morphed into digital product engineering to enable the rapid delivery of innovative products and features at scale.

GS Lab | GAVS conducted a very insightful webinar on digital product engineering. This blog captures some key discussion points and takeaways from the webinar titled ‘Digital Product Engineering – Designing your Future.’ The link to the entire webinar is available at the end of the blog.

Mr. Balaji Uppili, Chief Customer Success Officer at GS Lab | GAVS, moderated the session. He has over 23 years of experience in the IT industry. The panelists were: Mr. Chinmay Devada, an experienced entrepreneur in the healthcare technology domain and co-founder of Croleon Innovation Labs; and Mr. Mandar Gadre, Director of Engineering (IoT), GS Lab | GAVS, providing end-to-end solutions to healthcare and manufacturing verticals.

Digital Product Engineering and Healthcare

Digital product engineering in healthcare is about leveraging the latest technologies to help patients. Simply put, it is a marriage between current clinical needs and the available technologies to fulfill it. To successfully create a healthcare medical device for example, the company must focus on taking it from a concept level through the product engineering journey. This involves creating a proof of concept, building a prototype, and arriving at a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to be given to the first set of users for testing.

Simply put, the zero-to-one journey is the defining factor of digital product engineering. While embarking on the journey, it is essential to consider mobility, user experience, agility, and scalability. The journey starts with a clear definition of the problem statement for the user. Once that is defined, the next step is to have a minimum set of features to develop to prove that these features can start to solve that problem. Then come the architectural considerations and the technology choices while focusing on user-centricity. In the case of healthcare, compliance needs have to be taken into consideration from the beginning.

Difference between Digital Product Engineering and Digital Transformation

Digital product engineering is a subset of the digital transformation journey. To achieve digital transformation in totality, one may have to do multiple digital product engineering initiatives. There is a big difference between software and hardware products’ needs when implementing new technology.

For instance, when it is software, the manufacturer can quickly learn from the users by making a few edits, performing A/B testing, carrying out limited launches, and learning from that before the final launch. With the hardware element, there is an additional manufacturing cycle in the whole implementation journey, along with the regulatory requirement in the healthcare industry.

On the other hand, there could be cases where certain products developed on legacy tech stack or frameworks needs to be modernized. While this is not entirely zero to one, bringing in the digital transformation thought process is still necessary as it needs a modernization journey.

Key Tenets of a Digital Product Engineering Journey

From a healthcare standpoint, patient benefit should be the primary focus of product engineering. A business looking to enter a digital product engineering journey, whether for a product or service, must focus primarily on five critical parameters – how to improve patient care, lower the cost of patient care, reduce hospital time, reduce the pain points in the current process, and enhance the quality of therapy offered.

Some of the secondary focus points when it comes to product engineering are the utility of the device itself – if it is going to be battery powered, the size of the battery, the size of the device, and the type of communication technology to be used.

To give an example, startups venturing into medical device manufacturing always look to showcase new technology to differentiate from their competitors. They are eager to show their USP and prove their novelty in the market. But in the healthcare industry, that is a double-edged sword. To get regulatory approval and get to the market soon, it is imperative to show that you are doing exactly what everyone else is doing to prove that the product does not put the patient’s life at risk. The biggest challenge here will be to balance innovation and technology when creating a new product from the ground up. This is to get patients to use the product and to have regulatory bodies approve the product.

While there are some challenges, the main journey is driven by what patients need and how the product can benefit the patient in the long term. Usability and security are two determining factors for getting the product approved. And ofcourse, in healthcare – a critical point to consider is compliance.

Finally, medical device manufacturers must also consider the feedback cycle in the digital product engineering journey. Hearing from real users and making modifications to the product is quintessential to the success and long-term use of the product.

This blog offers only a high-level gist of the webinar. Here, you can watch the entire discussion, including the poll questions and the experts’ take on audience questions.

GS Lab | GAVS periodically organizes insightful webinars with tech leaders, the leadership team, and industry thought leaders to explore current and emerging trends. To watch all our webinar recordings,
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