Foundry BC

  • UX
  • Web
  • Mobile

This virtual health clinic app empowers youth to meet with health professionals and access tools or support from any device, in any place.

Project Summary

Foundry BC is removing barriers and increasing access to health and wellness services for young people ages 12–24 and their caregivers across British Columbia. At Foundry, young people can easily access integrated services by connecting virtually through the new Foundry BC app, walking into a local Foundry centre, or exploring online tools and resources at foundrybc.ca.

FreshWorks partnered with Foundry BC, The Ministry of Health, BC Children’s Hospital, and CGI to build a modern virtual health clinic app that empowers youth with digital tools and resources to support their mental health.  

The Foundry BC App services B.C youth aged 12-24 and their caregivers to navigate life’s challenges, large or small. The digital health platform includes features like drop-in and scheduled counseling, peer support, and other tools and resources that support Canadian youth.

Available on Web as well as iOS and Android mobile devices, this new application was co-created with the youth that it was made for. To date over 1,000 appointments have been made using this tool which has broadened Foundry’s ability to deliver ongoing support and recovery services to youth in B.C. 

The Challenge

Mental Health Crisis

Mental health issues have been on the rise in Canada, with a significant effect on youth between the age of 12-24.

“10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide. Only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.”

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

The 2020 COVID-19 global health crisis has brought along its own set of hurdles. Although many individuals have experienced normal stress responses, there are a number of populations that are particularly vulnerable to mental health effects. For instance, Canadian youth are at a heightened risk of developing depression and anxiety symptoms.

Barriers to Recovery

The negative impact has been further amplified in rural areas throughout British Columbia, as many residents have limited access to mental health resources. This includes an inadequate number of mental health providers and a lack of assistance to support residents who need help.  

In addition to access issues, there are often travel and financial barriers. When a rural community resident needs to get mental health support, they generally shoulder the burden of unrealistic travel times with inadequate transportation options, or financial struggles with limited to no insurance coverage. 

Foundry BC knew something needed to change. To help support the mental health of youth in British Columbia, a critical mission was born.

Foundry's Mission

To reach and empower young people with modern digital tools and support options where in person options are not available.

The Solution

Transforming Challenges into Opportunities

With a focus on user-centric design and agile development, FreshWorks helped build a set of digital health services that will change the way youth access health services in B.C for years to come. Announced on Child and Youth Mental Health Day, the Foundry BC app was featured in:

 

The Foundry BC Web, iOS, and Android Mobile App provide essential mental health resources and support to those who need it most. Co-designed by youth, for youth, the intuitive virtual health clinic app breaks down barriers and opens up opportunities for youth to access vital resources from the comfort of their own home. Targeted at youth and caregivers of youth aged 12 to 24 living in British Columbia, the virtual health clinic app offers:

  Drop-in and scheduled counseling
  Peer support
  Groups and other services
  Tools and resources that support Canadian youth in living a good life

Project Discovery & Design

Our team follows a well-defined iterative model of Discovery, Design (UX and UI), Development, Testing, Release and Post-Release Maintenance. 

The project discovery phase paves the way for the success of the entire project. It is essential to ensure timelines are set and requirements are outlined clearly. This initial period is also critical to uncover user needs so that we can build the right solution, the first time. To promote communication on project requirements before diving into development, our team met with Foundry Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) regularly. We set expectations and ensured alignment on the vision and goals of the work.

"The Foundry team was super passionate about their vision for the project. Excitement to deliver a high quality product spread across our whole team as we realized what an important impact the project would have on our community."

David Fallis

Full Stack Developer

"The Foundry team was super passionate about their vision for the project. Excitement to deliver a high quality product spread across our whole team as we realized what an important impact the project would have on our community."

David Fallis

Full Stack Developer

At FreshWorks, we place design thinking principles at the forefront of every decision. We recognize that well-designed applications are based on understanding user behaviours, thoughts, and emotions. Once the initial scope of the project had been established, our team conducted brainstorming sessions and technical interviews with stakeholders to develop a solid understanding of the business and user requirements.

Effective user research helps uncover features that truly matter and deliver an effective user experience, the first time. For example, through a number of co-design sessions with youth, it became apparent that users did not want to be asked about their story every time they met with a new counselor or service provider. To solve this pain point, our team created and integrated a My Story section into the Foundry BC application. This is a place where youth can add text and a photo to tell their unique story. This will be read by the counselor prior to every meeting, so that youth do not need to reiterate their story when meeting a service provider for the first time. 

To provide a picture of the project specifications and acceptance criteria, we created detailed user stories and use cases. Our team also facilitated activities designed to understand what the future state of the application should look and feel like. This included in-depth discussions around features, integrations, user personas, and non-functional requirements.

With a focus on rigorous documentation and transparency, we reviewed our findings with the Foundry team and presented the product roadmap, priorities, and vision

Finally, our team took the insights from project discovery and transformed them into a functional, intuitive, and modern application.

Privacy & Data Security

Privacy and data security are an integral component of our development process. Our wide range of public and private sector experience has allowed our team to become well versed in developing solutions that comply with standards such as PIPEDA, FOIPPA, PIPA and BC OCIO Security Standards. This reduces risk exposure, increases trust from users, and allows our team to focus on creating a great application.

It was important to take special care of the collection and treatment of youths’ personal health information for the Foundry BC app. To ensure the application would keep user data safe and provide the best user experience, we ran privacy impact assessments and security risk assessments.

Privacy Impact Assessment

Privacy Impact Assessment

Privacy Impact Assessment

We identify, evaluate and manage privacy risks to ensure personal information is protected.

We identify, evaluate and manage privacy risks to ensure personal information is protected.

Security Risk Assessment

Security Risk Assessment

Security Risk Assessment

We assess and report security risks during planning, development, and implementation to make well informed risk-based decisions.

We assess and report security risks during planning, development, and implementation to make well informed risk-based decisions.

The Foundry BC application contains many features that optimize privacy and data security, including 2-factor authentication, recovery codes, password reset, and account deletion. 

2-Factor
Authentication

Upon registration, users are requested to set up 2 factor authentication. This allows users to securely access the web portal and ensure personal data is safe.

Recovery
Codes

Once users have authenticated themselves for the first time, they’ll be given recovery codes to store in a safe place should they lose their phone.

Password
Reset

Users are able to reset their password at any time from the settings section. To ensure the user requesting is the owner of the account, the request requires a validation confirmation sent to their email.

Account
Deletion

Every user is in control of their account, which means youth can delete their account and all of their stored data at any point. The Foundry BC app will send a confirmation email with a verification code that youth can use to confirm the process.

The Features

The Foundry BC application is available on both mobile and web for youth and their service providers. Youth can access the application on their iOS or Android mobile device and through the youth web portal. Service providers and system administrators login through the Clinician web application, where they are able to access the full range of health services and resources to support youth. 

The Clinician
Web App
iOS & Android
Mobile App

computer icon in red The Clinician Web App 


The web application is used by two different types of users – service providers and system administrators. They both login to the same portal, but have different privileges.

Authentication

Upon registration, administrators and supervisors will be requested to set up 2 factor authentication. This allows users to securely access the web portal and ensure personal data is safe. Once the user has authenticated themselves for the first time, they’ll be given recovery codes to store in a safe place in case they lose their phone.

Registration 

When registering, service providers can fill out their bio and add a profile picture. This will be viewable by youth so they can learn a little bit about the person who will be helping them. This also allows youth to select a counsellor or peer that they think is the best fit for them.

Queue Triggering & Triage Level

The walk-in queue has triage levels to assist counsellors in helping young people in a priority manner. Coloured tags are used as a visual cue for what level of triage has been determined. The triage levels can only be managed by a supervisor, however a timer allows the service providers to see how long a youth has been waiting in line. Youth within the same triage level will be prioritized based on their time in the queue.

Appointment Scheduling

Administrators and supervisors are able to see any appointments they have booked or a young person has booked with them. Users can schedule multiple types of meetings and add recurrence to those meetings at either weekly or monthly intervals. They can also add multiple facilitators and multiple participants to meetings.

User Management

Accessible by administrators and supervisors for functions such as resetting passwords, resending invitations, or setting up business hours for specific service providers. Setting up scheduled times will define when each service provider is able to join calls or be bookable for appointments. The interface makes it fast and easy to set up custom weekly schedules which can be changed at any time.

multiplatform gadgets icon in red  iOS & Android Mobile App


My Story

The My Story section was not originally meant to be part of the virtual healthcare app. Through a number of co-design sessions with youth, it became apparent that users did not want to be asked about their story every time they met a new counselor or service provider. My Story is a place for youth to write a story in their own words and share it with service providers so they only have to tell their story once. This is important because telling someone’s story can be triggering and difficult.

Sign up and Demographic Survey

Every user is encouraged to fill out a demographic survey in their sign up process. The survey includes non mandatory questions to help understand the youth better and provide targeted support in the future.

Drop-in Virtual Appointments

Youth are able to talk to the right person when they need to via messaging, audio, or video sessions by joining the drop-in queue.

Scheduled Virtual Health Clinic App Appointments

Book appointments up to two weeks in advance, at a time that works best for the user. Gives youth the option to read the service providers’ bios and choose someone they connect with. Specialized appointment settings help users keep track of their missed appointments with notification options such as calling or emailing.

Group Sessions

Youth can sign up for groups to get support and connect with other young people or caregivers.

Urgent Help Tab

If a youth needs urgent help, they are able to immediately contact crisis support or people they have entered as trusted support resources. To ensure the tab is easily accessible, this section does not require a login or an account to access. 

Resource Packed Home Page

Curated content for youth including stories, articles, information, and tools surrounding a wide range of topics that youth may need guidance on: body image, anxiety, alcohol, depression, mindfulness, money, online safety, sleep, stress, and more. 

Find Foundry Centres in Person

Users can search and find Foundry centres near them. 

Offline Mode

Youth in rural and remote communities often have poor access to WiFi and the 4g network. Offline mode allows users to download articles when they have service and access them when their network is unavailable. 

Results

Since its release in February 2021, the Foundry BC virtual healthcare app has been used across British Columbia. As of July, 2021:

Youth Stats

2,252

registrations

2,876

appointments completed

142

future appointments

Family/Caregiver

482

registrations

224

appointments completed

10

future appointments

Technologies

The iOS virtual health clinic app was developed in the Swift programming language using the Xcode software development kit. We prefer programming iOS apps using native languages because it allows the most flexibility which ultimately provides the best user experience. 

Our Android development team has been at the forefront of native Android apps since 2014 and has built dozens of modern applications using this highly performant approach. The Android app for Foundry BC was built in Kotlin and utilizes the Android Studio development SDK. 

The backend of the Foundry BC application was built using Node.js, Nest.js and Typescript. The frontend uses HTML and React. The apps are hosted on Telus’ AWS platform.

Our team used JIRA for project management and GitHub for version control. 

Download The App

What's Next?

With the recent release of the iOS, Android, and Web application, Foundry BC already has plans for the next version of the mobile application. The virtual healthcare app will add features including:

Circle of Care

This feature provides youth and service providers with the flexibility to chat asynchronously and allows youth to add service providers and/or caregivers to their accounts. Users will have full autonomy over the information they choose to share.  

Medication History Log

Youth will be able to track their current and past prescribed medication.

The Foundry BC application will help prioritize safe, non-judgemental virtual therapy and support for youth in British Columbia. We are proud to be part of an initiative that will accelerate and improve access to care for generations to come.

What the Client is Saying:

4.5
Quality
4.5
Schedule
4.0
Cost
4.0

FreshWorks Studio is a really passionate and committed group of people

"Having delivered MVPs of both solutions, FreshWorks Studio is a critical ongoing partner. An energetic work ethic and a deep level of commitment have been evident throughout the ongoing work."

Patient Empowerment Portfolio Lead

Government of BC

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