The tech world is familiar with the 20% Time concept popularized by Google: Simply, employees can dedicate 20% of their working hours to a personal or passion project. Some local companies, like Callowhill’s Azavea, have adopted a version where they encourage their people to dedicate time and tech skills to volunteering.
Old City software company Arcweb Technologies has done something similar with the recent donation of employee time to develop a UX guide for digital health app developers.
Alongside CARIN Alliance — a health industry group that counts members such as Independence Blue Cross, Humana, Microsoft and Google — Arcweb teammates created the open-source CARIN UX Guide to “help app developers communicate their data policies to consumers to ensure informed consent,” per a statement.
Arcweb Head of Content Marketing Kurt Schiller told Technical.ly a regulatory change enacted in July has enabled healthcare apps to access users’ claims and billing data, with permission. Because it’s new, there’s also a need for more standards to manage that change.
“We’ve been involved in CARIN for a year or two now and our design team stepped up to build a guide and example app, which is now being released as an industry standard by CARIN and [Health Level Seven International, a standards development nonprofit] and could even be formally adopted by the federal government down the road,” he said.
With CEO Chris Cera as a proponent for the efforts, Schiller said the volunteer work has been a great way for Arcweb as a smaller organization to work alongside industry leaders like IBX and Humana.
“I think there’s an assumption by a lot of younger companies that if you’re not Google or Microsoft nobody cares what you think, but the reality is that relatively small groups of people do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that informs the course of technology adoption, and they’re always looking for more help,” he said.
With Arcweb working heavily in healthcare and healthcare data, volunteering its time and resources in working with CARIN was a natural connection of the work the company already does on a daily basis, Schiller said. He’s found that every industry has organizations like CARIN and that most are nonprofits eager to engage with new participants.
Using Arcweb’s volunteer work as a positive case study, Schiller believes that more professionals should push for their companies to become involved in volunteering with industry standards groups. The work allows companies to better prepare for changes in their respective industries while also giving back at the same time. This collaboration has allowed Arcweb’s design team to work on new UX challenges before they become industry standards.
“In this case it turned out that we had specific expertise in UX and product design that helped bring some of the policies and standards CARIN was outlining to life and ultimately make a better resource for other developers, which helps ensure better customer experience industry-wide,” he said.
Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.