Time flies when you’re immersed in a project that not only demands your attention but also ignites your passion for innovation and service. I’d like to say it feels like just yesterday when we embarked on a mission to create a state-of-the-art private blood testing website, but actually there was so much to it that the beginning feels like a distant memory! Now, three years down the line, we’re taking a moment to look back at the unbelievable journey we’ve had. From the drawing board to the final touches, this project tested our limits and taught us more than we could have imagined.
The Task at Hand
Given that COVID has caused changes to how GPs like to work, we realised that there was more demand for on-demsnd private blood testing.
We set out with a goal to design and develop a user-friendly public website (powered by WordPress), complete with e-commerce capabilities for ease of people ordering what type of test they actually wanted, and for easy access and convenience. Our vision was to create a seamless online experience for users to order blood test kits, send in their samples in the post, and receive their results back from the laboratory securely online, without any hassle.
The Tech Symphony
Creating harmony between multiple technical components was no small feat. Not only was I building a website; but myself and the teams I managed we were crafting an entire ecosystem. This included a custom medical reports portal for medical professionals and patients to access important data, and a bespoke CRM to manage communications and contact records.
APIs: The Connective Tissue
Integration was key, and APIs served as the lifeline of our project. They connected the website with blood testing laboratories, handling everything from the ordering of blood test kits to the delivery and testing of samples, and ultimately through test tracking data, making results available online to the end user.
Challenges and Triumphs
As with any ambitious project, we faced our share of hurdles. I became quite familiar with a lot of various biomarkers through provided information in tandem with nurse medical assistance – all while trying to resist the urge to suggest to my wife “oooh, you should take this blood test” repeatedly! But the complexity of integrating different systems, testing results data, user interfaces and more meant that our timeline stretched beyond our initial estimates. However, the dedication and collaboration of our team turned challenges into stepping stones, leading us to a successful launch after around a year. We did face some unexpected delays when the payment processor, Stripe, decided on launch day that they weren’t going to support the business and immediately closed the account, even though they could not explain why they powered payments for some competitors. A frantic scramble of applications to possibly hundreds of payment processors over the Christmas 2021 period did mean the site could begin to take real orders at the start of 2022. Phew!
Looking Towards the Future
With the website now live and operational, the site owner’s focus has been on expanding its impact. They have been in talks to potentially partner with the NHS, which would be a significant step in alleviating the load of blood testing requirements on the public health system. For me personally, I took a deal not only to be paid for the creation, but after operating costs are covered, to receive a share of every sale through the site.
The journey of building the private blood testing website was more than just a project; it was a profound learning experience that stretched over almost 18 months. It stands as a testament to the power of teamwork, perseverance, the relentless pursuit of innovation, and quite frankly, my own tenacity to see it through to completion. For business folks out there embarking on similar ventures, know that the road may be long, winding and stressful, but the destination is worth every step.