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Assistive Devices Purchasing System

The Customer is a supplier of assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for elderly and challenged people. The Assistive Devices Purchasing System is an iPad application designed to help the company’s staff with processing requests for equipment designed to make patients’ everyday routines more comfortable. Doctors or consultants visit the people in need of assistive equipment directly at their locations. Together they browse the catalog, select devices, and make an order. All the items in the catalog are categorized according to their functions. The product range varies from special furniture to medical footwear and mobility aids.

Once the necessary equipment is chosen, a doctor or a consultant selects the patient’s profile and the application automatically fills in all fields in the order form with details retrieved from the health insurance fund. If necessary, the information can be edited or corrected. The updated details are then sent back to the insurance fund.

Very often the physically challenged live in distant areas with poor Internet coverage. This is why the application can work offline while preserving all its functions and maintaining integrity of information. The data is synchronized with the server, when there is a stable connection. Items can be added to the list of favorites, so that the staff can make preliminary selections while on the way to a customer. This helps to save time necessary for browsing the catalog and completing an order.

The system features various search algorithms that enable searching items by name, ID, or other criteria. If needed, a user can make photos of some additional documents and attach them to the order. An unlimited number of attachments can be sent at a time. Once all the necessary devices have been selected, they are added to the cart and the order is automatically redirected to the health insurance fund for payment processing. The application has an “Info” tab containing contact details of all branches across the country that the staff might need.

The customer’s main idea was to create a mobile catalog of various assistive devices and have a page with contact information. The team analyzed the concept of the prospective app from the usability point of view and came up with the idea to add new functions and components. As the result of close cooperation, it was decided to implement a list of favorite items, a search option, and an off-line mode.

  • When the order is completed, the request is sent to the server of the health insurance fund. A request containing an order form with multiple fields and documents attached (about 10–15 MB each) to it can become too heavy for mobile Internet connection.
  • The off-line mode was not factored in, when the developers started their work on the application. Ensuring data integrity in conditions of unstable or absent Internet connection required a different approach.
  • A resizing algorithm was implemented to minimize request size. It scales attached pictures making them lightweight and readable at the same time. A number of tests were conducted to find the optimal ratio of request size to quality of images sent with orders.
  • The unstable nature of mobile internet connection dictates that the size of requests sent to the server should be minimized. A lightweight request has more chances to reach the server before connection is broken or interrupted. To resolve this issue, the information about patients is stored on the server with each profile assigned to its own ID. When an order is completed, the application sends the ID instead of profile data. The server decodes the request and displays information on the order in full as it was sent.

The possibility to purchase high-quality medical equipment and receive medical consultations from home greatly improves the quality of life for physically challenged people. The Assistive Devices Purchasing System leverages iPad usability and helps medical staff to quickly fill in and to place orders containing images, descriptions, detailed patient information, and all additional documents required by health insurance funds.

Technology Stack

Server Platform

MS Windows Server

Client Platform/Application Server

MS Windows Server

Technologies

.NET, iOS

Programming Language

C#, Objective-C

Database

MS SQL

Development Environment

MS Windows, MS VSTS, X-Code

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