Timely care for outpatients

A system designed to provide useful and timely information to patients about their treatment encounter during outpatient visits

My Role I led design sprints and workshops with care workers, nurses, and support staff at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care Centre to map out the end-to-end experience of patients before designing an app to help improve the outpatient experience during treatment encounters at the facility

Research Techniques Desk Research, Observation, Interviews, Design Sprint, Mapping Sessions, Personas, User Testing

Date: 2020

Why - Long wait times affect patient experience, thereby affecting the overall quality of care that they receive

Long wait times frequently occur during outpatient visits and contribute to many health concerns, including patient dissatisfaction and distrust of the healthcare system.

Outcome - Improved experience for outpatients by providing more transparency and information about their wait time

A system that allows outpatients access to the right information in a timely manner to help improve the current patient wait-time and experience at JPOCSC outpatient healthcare facility.

Collecting data and defining the target audience

1. Workshop and Facilitation: Organized and facilitated two design sprint workshops with 4 participants.

2. Interview: Engaged healthcare professionals from JPOCSC, patients, and designers (experts) to learn about their experience.

3. Usability Testing: After designing prototypes, I tested with patients and care providers to understand that features and product purpose are in line with how they will use the solution.

Before designing a solution, I kicked off with discovery research, where I spent time observing outpatients and healthcare provider interaction during treatment encounters.

Facilitating a 4-day design sprint through sketching and prototyping with stakeholder allowed me to explore ideas and encourage divergent thinking as everyone had a role to play thereby reducing the cost of failure.

Designing a solution

1. Communicate seamlessly: Knowing who to talk to and when can be helpful in a hospital setting. The pathway app provides more transparency of backstage and prep activities to reduce anxiety levels during medical visits.

2. Get notified of important updates: It is common to get carried away or get lost within the maze of the hospital. It is sometimes difficult to know when and where to meet with a healthcare provider for treatment. Having a way to be notified helps prep outpatients for treatment.

3. Scan and proceed: Sometimes it’s difficult knowing exactly how long the treatment will take. With the app, you can easily scan and learn more about the type of treatment that you will expect. In addition, providing information about progress made on specific encounters will help reduce patient anxiety.

4. Easy navigation: Not knowing the steps to take when completing a task or achieving a goal could add to an already existing uncertainty. An important part of the solution is designing an easy-to-follow interface that presents information and steps at a glance for easy navigation.

Validation of Design Decisions:

1. Feedback from health care workers showed that providing information to patients during outpatient visit is important in the overall quality of care.

2. Easy access to pathways and an improved approach to managing communication with patients improved patient's rating of the facility.

Gathering new knowledge and learnings

For this project, methods like mapping exercises helped provide me with a better understanding of healthcare in general and to appreciate all that happens behind the scenes. Prior to working on this project, I didn't have enough knowledge of outpatient care but having worked on this project, I learned more about outpatient care and health policies. Healthcare policies and the current culture of care were causal factors contributing to long wait times when not properly managed.

Doing testing helped me uncovered gaps in the initial design, which I had to iterate on. Getting data from JPOCSC was quite difficult as it is the case in healthcare in general, which ended up affecting my ability to prototype a more extensive design solution. Irrespective, I went through a process of frequent iterations incrementally, where after each testing session, I gathered insights from stakeholders and made changes to the design and continued the process repeatedly. Taking into consideration insights from stakeholders was important in improving the design, however, there were still a lot more aspects that needed to be innovated and improved on once we had enough information from health providers. One of such is the area of planning ahead of the patients' visit.

Health providers at the facility believed that nurses were more equipped to plan patient's visits due to their knowledge of the patient and their expertise. However, this process didn't prove realistic at the time as the facility was already stretched and healthcare workers were in short supply. In the future, this could be a potential area to do more research.

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