For Dr. Ali Esmail, a 4th year Head and Neck Surgery resident at the University of Manitoba, a regular schedule leaves little time to evaluate the performance of residents. The residents are assessed based on how well they handle different situations, how they interact with patients, and on their knowledge base. The assessment covers surgery, clinic, and general ones. Recognizing that the evaluations on paper or on PC-based web access did not fit with the typical workflow, Dr. Ali Esmail came up with the idea to develop a mobile version of the form. Dubbed “ResEval,” the app is an iOS, Android, and web-based application that allows doctors to evaluate their residents and residents to log their activities through mobile devices.
In this chat with Ali, he reveals to Freelancer.com the importance of this app not only to practitioners but also to medical schools, and why Freelancer.com was his solution-of-choice.
The ResEval was developed to provide convenience for doctors to evaluate the residents. Please describe how the app is meant to do this.
Physicians, especially surgeons, are always on the move and the evaluations are required to be filled out and discussed with residents as things are happening right after a surgery or a clinic. This means that the paper evaluations need to be carried around by the residents; this is quite troublesome. Then the papers need to be taken to the secretary for the required signatures, filed, and tallied in an Excel spreadsheet—a huge pain. Resident doctors require very frequent, almost daily, evaluations so you can see how this can add up to a lot of paperwork.
The mobile app and the website automate this tedious process and make it easy for everyone.
Failing to find the solution in other online platforms and traditional providers, you almost gave up on the idea until you came across Freelancer.com. Why did you choose Freelancer.com?
I chose Freelancer.com because it seemed to be the easiest platform to use and there are safeguards like the milestone payments. I tried other freelancing sites but I had more results on Freelancer.com and the user interface was better.
How was your experience as an employer on the platform? Please take us through your bidder evaluation process.
I really liked how easy to use Freelancer.com was and how secure I felt it was. I could organize my project in milestones and know that the developer needed to meet those targets before getting paid. It was also nice to be able to do everything from within the site.
Generally I dismiss any bids in the first 48 hours, especially for a project with a budget of over CAD 500, then I contact the interesting bids with good user ratings. If they respond in a timely manner I start interviewing them. If they stay engaged and answer well, it usually means they are going to be responsive. I then start with a small requirement and see how they deal with it. If this test goes well, we have a winner.
You sought the services of traditional providers; how would you compare their quote with the price you paid on Freelancer.com to have ResEval developed?
We looked at other solutions that ranged from CAD 30,000 a year in license fees to CAD 100,000 to build our own system. On Freelancer.com, the cost came out to CAD 3,500, including an iPad app. The actual budget was CAD 5,000.
What are your plans for ResEval in the near future?
We are currently beta testing at the University of Manitoba with great reviews, and we hope to release ResEval by January 2014 on Github. The doctors really love how easy it makes things for them, and the program director loves having less paperwork, of course. We will not be selling the app; we will be offering it for free in the App Store and Google Play. As soon as testing is done, we are going to offer it as an open source software for any medical university to use, especially those in developing nations. We are calling it the ResEval Project. We hope to give these medical schools the tools to better evaluate and train their residents.
If you were to sum up your experience on Freelancer.com, what three words would you use?
Fun, easy, and secure.