Monday, March 14, 2011

Meta Thoughts on MTN

No technical notes here. Just us thinking about what we think about this app and some of the marketing and business challenges we think lie ahead.

What is Making Us Nervous
We are not a Massage Therapist. This app came out of an unsatisfying few sessions with a therapist who could not remember from one month to the next what our preferences were or where we were injured. We thought that if she just had some way to take five seconds and jot down a few things so that she could pretend to remember us next time we would be happier customers and her tips would have been bigger. So, we are nervous because it is possible that we just had a bad therapist and the market for this app is tiny. We are nervous that Massage Therapy isn't classified as medicine for a lot of regulations, but it might be something where people are uncomfortable using the iPad to keep client data. We are nervous that the American Massage Therapy Association only has about 60,000 members.

Where We Want to Go Now
The camera on the iPad 2 and the possible release of Duke Nukem Forever really spurred us to finish this thing and get it out there. We think that if a massage therapist can take photographs of client intake forms she would find that really valuable. We think that integration with the iPad calendar so that appointments would pop up session data in the app is important. As Massage Therapy moves more into the arena of being covered by insurance and regulated by states, we think the ability to spit out reports of client visits and therapy regimens in a state's requested format could be the bees knees. We think that having a small group of therapists be able to share client information (within a practice for example) or having the session data sync with an iPhone or desktop application to help run the business.

If we implement all of those features, we think this will be a robust and valuable tool for the Massage Therapy profession.

Where We Don't Want to Go
We don't want to replace Quicken or Billings, or QuickBooks. We don't want to deal with salesforce integration. We want the start to finish interaction with this app to be 5 minutes. Some quick notes about a client after a session or a quick review of trends before starting a session.

Who is This For
We find it helpful to envision the core customer when writing software. You can make decisions better and you can think through use cases. During the development of this application our core customer was Ginger. She is a middle-career massage therapist who sometimes works out of a studio but also does in home visits. She carries her big, green massage table on one shoulder and she has a duffle bag of linens and creams on the other. The town where Ginger works has a number of seasonal residents, so there are people in her practice that she might see only three times a year. There is no way to really advertise to these people since they are not local so word of mouth from current clients is her best way. Since she started using the app, Ginger has been doing a good job of sending follow up emails to clients a long with a little note based on some snippet of their conversation that she had recorded after the session. These emails just happen to have her contact information so that they have it for their reference. Ginger processes client intake forms and generates SOAP notes after her initial meetings with a client but often has to leave them at the office when she makes her calls (that duffle is almost stuffed full already). Though she checks her iPad when the client is scheduling their appointment, she always takes the few minutes between when she first greets a client and when she starts the session, Ginger checks her iPad again to go over their records. She really likes that she can flip through all of their past sessions and see what areas need special attention. Ginger likes to use the different colored stones in the app to signify different kinds of issues. She uses the orange stones to denote surprise areas that the client didn't realize were issues but which caused them to really yelp when she worked them. Ginger also keeps notes in the app about whether a client is chatty or quiet and what kind of music they like. As she's cleaning up Ginger makes a few notes in the iPad or might even schedule the next session with the client.

1 comment:

Continuum said...

Really very interesting blog post.

- Jonathan
Portable massage table reviews

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