User Experience Designer

Design Institute for Health

Design Institute for Health

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Brief: Create a digital platform that would educate, enable, and empower patients to traverse the outpatient surgical care experience with greater confidence, engagement, and less anxiety. 
Timeline: 3 weeks
Teammates: Britt Mottola, Stephen Webster
Organization: Design Institute for Health
Process: User Interviews, Contextual Inquiry, Journey Mapping, Service Blueprinting,  Card Sorting, Usability Testing
My Role: During the course of the project, I was individually responsible for creating a service blueprint outlining digital touch-points, physical interactions, and technology needs necessary to execute our solution. I also created a document detailing existing solutions the Design Institute for Health could leverage to help implement these digital tools within their limited timeframe. 

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The Brief

The Design Institute for Health is a new collaboration between the new Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. One of the Institute's first initiatives is to design a new Ambulatory Surgical Clinic, demonstrating to the healthcare industry what a design-centered approach can yield. Our group was tasked with developing a digital platform that would integrate with the new surgical center, educating, enabling, and empowering patients to traverse healthcare encounters with greater confidence, engagement, and less anxiety.

Stakeholder Interview

We kicked off the project with a stakeholder interview with Stacey Chang, Executive Director of the Institute. He introduced us to the primary persona his team has been working with: Brian, a 35 year old male who tore his ACL playing softball. Stacey walked us through Brian's flow, from diagnosis to surgery and recovery.

 
 
 
The user flow Stacey outlined for us.

The user flow Stacey outlined for us.

 

Brian's major pain points are:

  • Waiting for an appointment with primary care physician
  • Spending over an hour in the waiting room before his appointment begins
  • Getting an accurate diagnosis and referral to a specialist
  • Understanding diagnosis and treatment options enough to make informed decisions
  • Executing pre-operative instructions properly
  • Navigating through surgery with privacy and ease
  • Navigating rehabilitation and recovery

Stacey's team was focused on developing modifications to the traditional surgical clinic layout, but didn't have the bandwidth to interview patients and explore how a digital solution could enhance their traversal through the physical space. His team had created a rough service blueprint outlining Brian's journey through the redesigned clinic. Our team recreated this document in workspace, using it as the foundation for our design. 

 
 
DIH's rough blueprint.

DIH's rough blueprint.

Our version, with the beginnings of a journey map on top.

Our version, with the beginnings of a journey map on top.

Contextual Inquiry

 

We had the opportunity to tour an orthopedic surgical center, and get a firsthand account at how patients navigate through surgical clinics. Privacy concerns prevented us from interviewing patients, though we gained significant insights from the facility's Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer. This experience validated the pain points Stacey described to us, and provided insight on what parts of a surgical clinic's workflow could be optimized via a digital solution. 

 
My mom was so happy to see me in scrubs when I sent her this picture. She's been a nurse for over 20 years.

My mom was so happy to see me in scrubs when I sent her this picture. She's been a nurse for over 20 years.

 

User Interviews

Our team reached out to individuals in our personal networks who had been through outpatient surgery to conduct user interviews. We used their responses to identify key pain points, and took a goal-based approach to addressing each one. 

 

 
My doctor basically shrugged his shoulders during my appointment.
— Patient, Describing initial appointment with Primary Care Physician
 

Goal #1: Facilitate better communication between patients and medical professionals. 


 
During one of my appointments, the doctor didn’t do an examination; he just looked at the report.
— Patient, Describing journey to diagnosis
 

Goal #2: Address the fact that patients do not always need to physically come into the office for an appointment


 
I looked at Web MD, forum posts, and published papers to find out what my surgery would be like.
— Patient, Detailing quest for knowledge about surgery
 

Goal #3: Educate patient on treatment options, empowering them to make more informed decisions


 
My pre-op instructions were opaque and wordy.
— Patient, Voicing frustration with pre-op process
 

Goal #4: Adequately prepare patient for surgery with concise, actionable pre-op instructions


 
My friend [caregiver] was just a normal person. She didn’t know what type of support I needed.
— Patient, Detailing post-op frustrations
 

Goal #5: Empower caregiver to competently assist patient through surgery and recovery


 
I didn’t know what were important milestones in my recovery.
— Patient, Citing confusion visualizing recovery
 

Goal #6: Help patients visualize recovery and promote adherence to rehabilitation plans.


Journey Mapping

 

After identifying our design goals, we aggregated additional quotes from user interviews to form a patient journey map. Creating this map on top of the blueprint  allowed us to visualize how the physical improvements Stacey's team was working on would positively affect the patient journey. It also allows us to identify dips in the emotional journey that would be best addressed by a digital tool patients could have access to outside of a medical office building. 

 

 
Adding patient quotes to the journey map.

Adding patient quotes to the journey map.

 

After we completed this rough patient journey map, a teammate produced a more polished version. We thought it best to include the patient and their caregiver on a separate journey map, emphasizing the steps in their flow that take place within the surgical clinic. 

 
 
Patient journey map. Click to view full version.

Patient journey map. Click to view full version.

 
 
Patient and caregiver journey map. Click to view full version.

Patient and caregiver journey map. Click to view full version.

 

Ideation

 

With goals and key opportunities established, we began sketching interface screens. We arranged these sketches into a flow representing Brian's path from health incident to recovery.  

Adding sketches to the flow.

Adding sketches to the flow.

We then ran an open card sort to help determine how best to organize the app's content.

Classmates card sorting.

Classmates card sorting.

 

Service Blueprint

 

As our solution began to take shape, it became increasingly clear that we were tackling a service design problem. I felt it was important to explore and illustrate how our solution would operate within the ecosystem of a surgical clinic, so I took the lead on developing a service blueprint. The blueprint outlines:

  • Patient, Caregiver, and Medical Professional's various points of contact with the system
  • Physical touch points in the surgical clinic
  • Backend interactions required to produce the services patients, caregivers, and medical professionals interact with, and
  • Technologies necessary to support these interactions
 

I divided the blueprint into three documents to aid with readability. Click through to view all documents at full resolution.

Click to view full document. 

Click to view full document. 

 

In addition to this blueprint, I created a document detailing opportunities for integration. I recognized that the Design Institute is currently operating with a small team on a tight deadline, and thought it would be beneficial to recommend existing services with functionality they could leverage to implement the solution our team designed.

Wireframing & Usability Testing

Using our rough sketches and the service blueprint as a guide, a teammate developed a set of wireframes and conducted usability testing. After integrating user feedback, our final screens were aggregated into a unified flow, demonstrating the complete app usage journey. 

 
Click through to view at full resolution.

Click through to view at full resolution.

Feedback & Next Steps

 

Stacey responded positively to our designs. Since he is primarily focused on building the new surgical clinic, he was relieved to have another team concentrate on patient research. He was particularly impressed by the fact that we identified the caregiver as a key source of support, and integrated them into our solution. He was also pleased to have a unified document knitting together the patient's complex journey though surgery and recovery. View our presentation ⟶

If I continued to work on the project, I would perform additional user research and usability testing with patients, in-context. The new surgical clinic will be a research institution. I'm excited for the opportunities that affords in regards to having greater access to patient input and initiating a participatory design process.