How RIVA is Enhancing Citizen Facing Applications for DHHS SAMHSA

Mobile Apps: How RIVA is Enhancing Citizen Facing Applications for DHHS SAMHSA 

This week we asked CTO, Raj Dasgupta, about the Android and iOS mobile applications RIVA’s Innovation Lab is developing using agile development framework and Apache Cordova mobile development platform.  Here’s the scoop:

RIVA appreciated the opportunity to be able to support SAMHSA’s extremely important mission to reduce the impact of substance misuse and mental illness on America’s communities.    For this effort supporting the SAMHSA Public Engagement Platform (PEP) group , our team followed the DHHS EPLC  (Enterprise Performance Lifecycle Framework) from the planning phase through O&M, working side by side with the SAMHSA IT Security group (DTM) to navigate security requirements and future ATO (Authority to Operate)  requirements.

For citizen facing mobile applications, RIVA’s mobile development process places a focus on the User experience (UX) to ensure end users can easily access useful, usable, credible content. Our developers enhanced featured by ensuring that the UX design encompasses the principles of human-computer interaction (HCI) and used the following techniques to ensure alignment. Key activities included:

  • User Research – We analyzed other Federal apps to understand user behaviors, needs, motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, surveys, and embedded analytics
  • Usability Evaluation – Our team focused on how well SAMHSA end users could quickly learn and adapt to use SAMHSA mobile applications to achieve their goals.  We align to best practices outlined in usability.gov
  • User Interface Design – Our team performed analysis on the mobile interface to ensure application elements are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions. 
  • Automated Testing Tools – Our team leveraged open source automated testing tools to quickly test new features and reduce overall cycle times for implementation.

Now you know the history, here’s a summary of our mobile apps below:

MATx – MATx is a free mobile app that empowers health care practitioners to provide effective, evidence-based care for people with opioid use disorder. The app supports practitioners who currently provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT), as well as those who plan to do so in the future.

Suicide Safe – For individuals at risk of suicide, primary and behavioral health care settings provide unique opportunities to connect with the health care system and access effective treatment. Suicide Safe is a free mobile app that helps providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice and address suicide risk among their patients. The Suicide Safe app is based on SAMHSA’s Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) card.

KnowBullying–  Research shows that parents and caregivers who spend at least 15 minutes a day talking with their children or teens help build strong relationships, and prevent bullying. SAMHSA’s free KnowBullying app will help you boost your children’s confidence, resilience, and build effective strategies for facing bullying.

SAMHSA Disaster App– In a disaster, it’s essential that behavioral health responders have the resources they need—when and where they need them. The free SAMHSA Disaster App offers first responders immediate access for any type of traumatic event at every phase of response, including pre-deployment preparation, on-the-ground assistance and post-deployment resources.

Are you a health care practitioner or part of the DHHS user community using these apps? Share your feedback here!  

By Raj Dasgupta

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