It’s clear that COVID-19 is unlike any pandemic we’ve faced in recent history. The non-linear growth of the disease, coupled with shortages of medical equipment needed to effectively respond has left us exposed. And like all crises we’ve faced in the past, we will overcome this one. Our focus now needs to be with those who urgently need care. Our challenge at the moment is that those who are sick and need help risk unnecessary exposure when visiting hospitals.
The government’s response includes removing some of the telemedicine regulations to allow people to get immediate attention while maintaining social distancing. Specifically, the administration on March 6 signed into law the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. This made it easier for doctors to bill patients for services provided via telehealth, and also waived some of the HIPAA penalties for patient-doctor communications.
Expect a huge spike in usage of these services. A surge in traffic will undoubtedly expose deficiencies in the architecture, design, and implementation of these apps. To my engineering brethren, the health and safety of fellow Americans rest on your shoulders. These applications have to work. The more people who can be diagnosed and triaged remotely, the less likelihood of their exposure.
Mark Zuckerberg CEO & founder of Facebook famously said to move fast and break things. But now is not the time for that. Rather, I believe you should move fast and fix things. Defects and usability issues need to be found and eliminated as fast as possible. I urge you to step up your efforts to ensure the quality of your applications, and staff up customer support centers to answer the questions as they come in.
To our friends at Apple and Google, please prioritize bug fixes and usability improvements in the approval process for telehealth apps. I understand the logic of having detailed reviews of any app submission, a process that can take hours, or sometimes weeks. But we’re in a crisis, and these approvals need to happen in minutes.
To our engineering counterparts working on telehealth apps, we want to help. Mesmer will offer free mobile app customer experience testing for the duration of this crisis. Our goal is to help these organizations service at least 1 million patients remotely. I’d encourage my colleagues in application monitoring, load testing, performance monitoring companies to offer similar free services to engineering teams in need.
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Mesmer, the leader in Robotics Process Automation for Development (RPAD), is radically changing the way developers work. Mesmer’s AI-powered bots use patent-pending Deep Learning Automation (DLA™) to accelerate every function of customer experience testing. This means means crazy fast releases, better apps, and happier employees. Mesmer is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and funded by Intel Capital and True Ventures.