Digital Patient Experience

(I worked on this project as Senior UX Strategist at Phase2)

Americans increasingly expect personalized and seamless service wherever they go — including the hospital and doctor’s office. A major New York hospital network came to Phase2 knowing they needed to raise the bar.

As UX Lead, I led a UX design team at Phase2 to conceptualize, design, and build a groundbreaking digital patient experience platform from mid 2017 to Dec 2018. My day-to-day included:

  • Designing and facilitating workshops with executives, team members, and other stakeholders
  • Developing high-level visuals like Story Maps, User Flows, Screen Flows, etc
  • Leading collaborative design activities like brainstorms, team sketching, live diagramming, etc
  • Wireframing screens at different resolutions, from sketching to higher-res designs
  • Designing and leading user research activities
  • Providing direction to UX team, UI designers, and copywriters

Story Map: To unify, we needed a story

Because our project was far-reaching within the health system, we wanted to create a single infographic that would communicate, from the user’s point-of-view, the full cycle of user engagement. We began by brainstorming with executives and stakeholders, and then internally sketching and iterating with the team. Following are drafts of the Story Map we ultimately designed.

Workshop design: We had to get into the heads of our patients

After completing some user research with patient groups, we were able to present them kicking off a day of offsite executive workshops. After sharing highlights from our findings about the real-world patient experience, we designed a physical Empathy Map exercise that we affectionately named the “Gingerbread Man”. We used this exercise to map out the patient’s physical state and tangible experience with the healthcare customer experience.

Big picture visual: Creating activity maps

As we began to envision user flows the multi-platform digital patient experience, we realized we were diving too deep too fast. Rather than diving into user flows, the team needed a collective understanding and visualization of record for the users’ activities in order to move forward. We designed the Activity Map visualization and workshopped it heavily, both in virtual workshops,where I live-updated the graphic on a screen share, and in hands-on workshops, where we created 36″ tall blank templates and moderated full-team activities with sticky notes. Ultimately these visualizations became the documents of records during the key early stage of the initiative.

Research & prototype: Reimagining patient intake

As the health system sought to design a seamless patient customer experience, “Kill the clipboard!” became a rallying cry. The last thing a patient walking into a cutting edge medical office expects is to be handed a clipboard full of badly photocopied documents that they already filled out the last time they were there. We were given a chance to reimagine this experience with key stakeholders and an advisory panel of physicians.

We gained a wealth of insight from the physician panel, but it was clear that we really needed to learn more by observing patients and other medical staff (such as medical assistants, nurses, and administrative staff) in the office environment.

The team Product Manager and I traveled to doctors’ offices and urgent care facilities within the health system to “follow the clipboard”. The insight we gained from sharing space and speaking with the real patients, patients’ caregivers, and medical staff led us to prototype a streamlined and conversational tablet app that would guide patients through the intake process. You can read more about our work in this Phase2 blog post I wrote about it.

Mobile app: Putting the patient in control

From day one, a key element of the digital patient experience the client imagined was a mobile app. As we proceeded to clarify the vision, we spent a lot of time designing not only the mobile app, but all touchpoints of the experience, including websites, emails, text messages, tablet apps, kiosks, and more. Still, the majority of visual design efforts were focused on the mobile app, because this was an area where our team was given leave to extend the brand using new visual metaphors.

As the UX Lead, I was responsible for representing the UX vision and user research in conceptual brainstorms with not only the design team but also engineering and product owners. We worked together to define a central metaphor for the app experience, associated visual elements and motion graphics, and ultimately visualize and present them to executive stakeholders. I also worked closely with the front-end UI developers to ensure we leveraged their input and ideas for an implementation that was cutting-edge but feasible. We employed a roughly “Lean UX” workflow, and volumes of sketches, whiteboards (real and virtual), wireframes, comps, user research, and other artifacts that contributed to the agile process.

I worked with the stakeholders and engineering team extensively to whiteboard and diagram key processes, which would later be refined with designers and user feedback. For example, we worked through a number of login process screen flows (which would later be simplified).

We employed a number of user research methods as we defined the feature set, including user interviews, hands-on studies, card sorts, navigational tree testing, and surveys. For instance, the patient’s informational profile was a key aspect of the value we were delivering to patients, and a lot of research went into its IA (Information Architecture). We wanted to know how patients conceptualized their the personal information housed by their healthcare providers. Are your insurance details personal information, or medical information? The way patients categorized this in a card sort helped us design an intuitive profile.

Some of our other research focused how users would navigate the app. As we built the sitemap, we tested various paths using tree testing. As that design became visual in the app design, we performed moderated user testing to find out what patterns were easiest for users to navigate.

We frequently iterated on the feature set as well as the navigation design. Our design team collaborated on a minute-by-minute basis and was in daily contact with client-side leadership and stakeholders. This ongoing app project is currently in its pilot stage. For a deeper look at some of the app screens, please see the screenshots below:

Are you looking to collaborate on something like this, or want to get in touch? Contact me here.

Christiann MacAuley

I’m Christiann MacAuley

I’m a highly collaborative and fun-loving design innovator with over a decade of experience and a passion for creating positive change. I’m an independent consultant, so hit me up if you’re interested in working together!

Yes I’m on social media…

Organizations I’ve worked with include:

Atlantic Council
Brookings Institution
CrossFit (Global)

DC9 Nightclub
Endocrine Society
Environmental Working Group
FHI 360
Green America
Harvard Business School
Northwell Health
Peterson Institute
Phase2 Technology
Social Investment Forum
Stanford University
STAR Systems
Unison Agency
United Nations Foundation
United Nations OCHA
Voice of America