Doctor by Day, Developer by Night

by Julie Fiedler

in Featured Posts,Mobile Apps,Mobile Health,Mobile Women,Slider

Gregory P. Moore, MDGregory P. Moore is a self-proclaimed geek.

He is also a busy guy. He’s got a family. He’s got a full time job as a physician with James River Obstetrics & Gynecology in Richmond, Virginia. And app development? Well, that’s just something he does on the side.

I recently connected with Greg over the phone to find out how he got into programming and app development. His love of technology, it turns out, started long before the iPhone.

“My dad was in the computer field and he taught me how to write simple apps in Basic. I found it interesting, but I always knew I wanted to go into the medical field.” And pursue medicine he did. But he also kept up with programming to make extra money in college and medical school.

However programming took a back seat until he connected with Trey Moore a lead programmer for AirStrip OB, which lets Obstetricians monitor their patients in Labor & Delivery.

“He started talking about Apple, saying this thing [the iPhone] is going to come out and it’s going to be huge. He was largely responsible for getting me going for [app development].” Trey helped Greg learn the iPhone’s programming language, stayed up until the wee hours troubleshooting, and kept him motivated.

“I had this idea I wanted to do medical apps. I wanted to utilize my position in the medical field.” So Greg put in long hours to get OB Patient Tracker, an app for Obstetricians to keep track of their patients and where they are in their pregnancies, out the door as quickly as possible. “What’s been astounding is there’s a fair number of people who use it as their sole database of patients, who rely on that simple little program.” Since the app’s release users have been extremely helpful to Greg, who is working on an update now. Fellow physicians have provided positive feedback and made feature suggestions. “I’m souping it up to add a bunch of bells and whistles. It has potential to turn into so much more.”

For his second project, Greg wanted to reach a larger audience. “The audience was just too limited with [OB Patient Tracker]… I was going to do a menstrual tracker, but there were already several in the app store by then and I realized I had to come up with something else. I started working on [a pregnancy tracker] app and two-thirds of the way through someone else released an app called Pregnancy Tracker. I was devastated. I was going to bag it and forget it.” But Greg’s friend kept pushing him. He changed the name of his app to iPregnancy and ended up getting to market early in the game. Good timing and great reviews helped land iPregnancy in Apple’s Top 25 list for Health Apps, a huge promotional boost.

Just as with OB Tracker, Greg has gotten a lot of feedback to help him with ideas for updates. “I get patients all the time who have used my apps. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from direct users that way.” For example, one woman wanted to keep her husband, who was serving in Iraq, informed about her pregnancy. “That’s a big feature of what’s coming next.” Greg is also working on “better systems for backup.”

However, the going has not always been easy. Greg is a one-man-band. “As a sole developer who already has a full time job, it’s really challenging to find the time to put into an app.” Greg personally answers all of the support emails and handles all of the debugging. “It’s a lot of investment in time and money,” he says. In addition to the technical work involved and the time that takes, there’s the problem of getting noticed. “It’s almost impossible now. There are so many new apps that it’s a bear… People have thought of everything. It’s crazy. You [can] get lost in the sea.”

Greg knows the landscape has changed a lot since 2008 when he released his first iPhone app. But he remains undaunted. “I do a lot of this because I like it. If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t stay up until 2:30 in the morning. There has to be some incentive to continue… It’s a satisfying thing to get emails from people saying I really like what your doing.”

What’s next for Greg? “I’ve got two projects going: to add more features and stay competitive with [iPregnancy] and release OB Patient Tracker 2.” He’s also taking requests. “If anybody has any great ideas for an app that hasn’t been done yet, I’m open to ideas.”

Greg may be a doctor, but don’t tell him to quit his side job. “I’m such a geek,” he says. “I love stuff like this.”

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