As with any technology solution, the most important thing to start with is figuring out what you're trying to accomplish: What's the service you want to provide and why is it going to be useful to end users? You can expand your scope and do more later, but you need to know where to start. Assuming you have that covered, there are a few unique dimensions to mobile to consider and a few pitfalls to avoid.
If you want to reach a broad audience, don't limit yourself to only 1 technology (e.g. web, SMS, interactive voice response (IVR), SMS, iPhone…) unless you can ensure that everyone you want to reach has that technology. iPhones are great, but less that 1% of the world's phones are iPhones so assuming you want to reach the other 99% you need a broader approach. Voxiva's platform is an integrated, multi-channel platform combining SMS, IVR, handheld and Web so that you can build an application once and users can interact with it using the technology of their choice.
Think beyond the first use case and ensure that you have the flexibility to expand. Many organizations build or buy an application to support a single disease state or single use case (e.g. diabetes care or appointment reminders) and when they want to tackle the next use case they have to build the next application from scratch. This means high costs, long development cycles and multiple parallel apps. Voxiva applications are configured on a flexible, extensible platform that can be rapidly modified and expanded to support multiple use cases.
The price for leveraging the massive scale and reach of the mobile (i.e. 4+ billion phones) is the challenge of dealing with the 700+ mobile operators and the telecom infrastructure. While there are a number of simple solutions for experimenting with SMS applications at small scale, large scale deployments require significant service delivery infrastructure (hosting capacity, connectivity, SMS gateways, etc) and business relationships with the mobile operators in each country. While we're not everywhere yet, Voxiva has developed this capacity in the 14 countries where we operate.
Mobile phones are designed for two-way interaction which makes it possible to stay in closer touch and more engaged with patients and consumer than is possible with traditional one-way communication methods (e.g. printed material) or even the web. But designing compelling interactive user experiences for mobile phones requires much more than translating existing content into 160 characters or less. For 9 years, Voxiva has been working with partners and outside health experts to create these engaging interactive protocols for a broad range of health care needs. We're ready to put our expertise to work to help you.