Better software for better health care
Worldwide, health care is radically changing. People are living longer and moving more often, putting pressure on governments to provide quality, affordable health care to a changing population.
Collaboration is essential to delivering improved services, but the hierarchical nature of health-care institutions presents a significant challenge.
A group of MBA students at UTS Business School is working to overcome this with a case management software startup called Pynx. Designed for the community, aged-care and disability sectors, Pynx is cloud-based software that aims to improve services through collaborative care.
“At the moment what’s happening in the community sector is that everything is on paper. Nothing is there in the system, so there is a lot of duplication,” MBA student Sumedha Zadoo says. “Pynx makes collaborative patient care easier and more productive.”
Zadoo and peers Kshitija Deshmukh and Lyndell Evans worked with Pynx founder Juan Pereyra in a new UTS Business School partnership with Social Traders, where teams of students in the subject Management Consulting work with startup social enterprises to make recommendations to improve the businesses.
"At the moment what’s happening
in the community sector is that
everything is on paper...
Nothing is there in the system"
Under the supervision of subject coordinator Dr Natalia Nikolova and mentored by an industry adviser, students have 13 weeks to compile a report for their assigned social enterprise. In this time they build key management consulting skills such as data gathering and analysis, team and project management, report writing and presentation.
“Suppose you have a fracture,” says Zadoo. “You need a carer, a physiotherapist, and maybe you’re having some mental issues and you need a psychiatrist. These services are provided by three different organisations.”
With Pynx, all three service providers – as well as family and friends – can input and view information from each other, such as appointment times, test results and comments.
“The input from all is valuable – when exchanged, it can make a lot of difference to the care of the patient,” Zadoo says.
The main business challenge for Pynx was onboarding, meaning that clients were not using the full suite of features available in the software. For a startup social enterprise, understanding the reasons behind this is essential to improving and developing the product.
The MBA students undertook competitive analysis and benchmarking, and conducted interviews with existing clients to understand why Pynx was having a problem with onboarding and to identify solutions.
“This type of market research, testing and validation is essential work for business planning,” Social Enterprise Advisor at Social Traders Margaret O’Brien says. “However with the resource constraints of the social enterprises it would have been challenging to manage without the students’ help.
“The final reports were detailed and polished and I was impressed by the strength of the recommendations.”
"...with the resource constraints
of the social enterprises it would
have been challenging to manage
without the students’ help."
Team member Kshitija Deshmukh says a lot of the recommendations the group made were in terms of the flow of the software.
“How many times have you actually opened a manual to learn how to use software? You don’t do that anymore. The software needs to be that easy.”
Software recommendations included a features tour, hover text on buttons and a frequently asked questions section. Another important recommendation was improving Pynx’s client training model.
“Community organisations have a lot of volunteers that come and go, and they cannot afford to hire Pynx to deliver training every time there are new volunteers”, Deshmukh says.
“Instead of trying to train all the staff in one day, we created a training model that focused on training only a few permanent staff, who could then go on to teach the volunteers.”
The Pynx team was mentored by Jeremy Chee, General Manager Strategy & Commercial at 1-Stop Connections and a UTS Business School alumnus.
“As a first-time mentor for this subject, I found it to be a rewarding experience in seeing the students develop in assessing the problem at hand and working their way through real issues for their client,” he says.
Pynx founder Juan Pereyra was impressed with the students’ final report. “The recommendations are excellent – I can see that there was a lot of thought put into it.”
"When you go to the organisations
and help them with the software
on board, you can see how
you are actually contributing..."
Pereyra has wasted no time in implementing the students’ recommendations and has invited Deshmukh and Zadoo on board to take up the job.
“When you go to the organisations and help them with the software on board, you can see how you are actually contributing there. You can see this change happening.”
“It’s satisfying because we have worked on this project for three months and now it’s time to implement it, so I was attracted by that opportunity,” Deshmukh says.
Read more about the Management Consulting subject here.
Photo: Top from left to right: Margaret O’Brien of Social Traders, Dr Natalia Nikolova of UTS Business School, student Kshitija Deshmukh and Jeremy Chee of at 1-Stop Connections . Bottom from left: Student Lyndell Evans, Juan Pereyra of Pynx and student Sumedha Zadoo.