DrFirst Case Study: Clarifying the Direction for a New Product

Rajesh Nerlikar May 24 2021

The following is adapted from Build What Matters.

Since 2000, DrFirst has pioneered healthcare technology solutions and consulting services that securely connect people at touchpoints of care to improve patient outcomes. DrFirst calls its product portfolio the “Healthiverse, an interconnected healthcare universe where information silos are shattered and where all stakeholders aspire to a higher purpose: improving patient care.” Prodify started working with their consumer product managers in July 2019, a few months before they launched Huddle, a mobile app to keep medication and medical records organized. The product manager for Huddle, Valerie Garrison, saw how important a detailed vision and strategy are at product launch:

“When building a brand new product, it’s easy to believe you’re focused. For Huddle, DrFirst started out with a simple and intuitive vision of allowing consumers to collect, organize, and share health records. However, as new ideas and use cases popped up, it became increasingly difficult to explain why one idea fit into the vision for Huddle and another didn’t. Prioritizing between many good ideas started to feel impossible. Several pieces of the Vision-Led Product Management framework helped us crystalize what we’re really doing with Huddle—today and in the future. For one, starting with the top outcome for our users and breaking that down was the perfect foundation for everything that followed. It was a north star that we could always come back to. Then, mapping out a customer journey in detail helped us see which parts of the product journey we had figured out, and which parts needed improvement. Each step of the process built off another part, which created a cohesive connection from the vision to the roadmap.”


One of the key areas we worked on with Valerie was prioritizing the target audience and use cases. Was it for new parents, so they could feel on top of things by tracking doctor appointments and immunizations? Was it for siblings who just started taking care of their elderly mom and needed to share notes after each visit on how she’s doing? In answering these questions to decide where to focus, we also considered factors such as the frequency of the use case, the urgency of getting records organized, and the satisfaction with existing solutions (especially paper filing). Once we decided on the target audience, the right set of KPIs wasn’t crystal clear. Most consumer products usage metrics like monthly active users, but is that appropriate for episodic use cases like a child’s annual vaccines?

While we can’t share all the details of what Valerie decided with Huddle, she was finally able to present to executives and other stakeholders a concrete story on the product’s success metrics and how the near-term roadmap for Huddle connected to a longer-term vision for the product as a part of the DrFirst “Healthiverse” ecosystem. In particular, the presentation allowed Valerie to proactively answer stakeholder questions like “when can we scale this product?” by laying out the path to helping millions of Americans better manage their own health and that of loved ones.

“Working through the frameworks and defining all of these important pieces of our product wasn’t easy. It took hours of thought, required input from stakeholders and users, and plenty of rework as our thoughts matured. However, having the framework was essential. I’ve been in situations before where we wanted to define these things, but no matter how much effort we put into it, we couldn’t. The Vision-Led Product Management framework made the difference with Huddle.”


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Written by Rajesh Nerlikar

Rajesh is a co-founder of Prodify and Principal Product Advisor / Coach. Prior to that, he was the Director of Workplace Products at Morningstar, a Senior PM at HelloWallet (which was acquired by Morningstar) and a PM at Opower (which went public in 2014).

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