How might we improve the outpatient experience through refinement of existing touchpoints during extended wait period at the Medical Daycare at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre?
There were two main goals that I sought to achieve in an attempt to reduce the effects of long waiting times. They were; to engage stakeholders through participatory research methods to gain insights towards identifying factors that contribute to wait time and then to brainstorm possible design solutions.
The core aim of the features is to create an experience that will allow users to achieve their goals with minimal difficulties intuitively, and this required research and multiple design iterations.
Healthcare has many challenges, and one such problem is long wait times, which causes a lot of uncertainty and stress experienced by patients. Through research at JPOCSC, I was able to identify causal factors that contribute to these long wait times. I was able to understand that the wait time could go up to 3 hours, which could affect the outpatient's physical comfort as well as economic and psychological well-being.
Using exploratory methods to map the outpatient's experience through their treatment encounter and prototype possible design solutions.
Having to facilitate two design sprint workshops.
Conducting user interviews and user testing with stakeholders to evaluate the design prototypes and improve product features based on on-site requirements. Created the visual language and prototypes of the touchpoints.
Insights from Prototyping
Insights from the mapping exercise show that there is a need to make more information available to outpatients while they are waiting for treatment.
There is a need to have customized information available for outpatients while waiting, with it being free from noise and clutter.
Outpatients tend to be bored and anxious when going for treatments. This feeling can sometimes affect test results and ultimately affect the quality of care.
Health professionals believe time cannot be promised, but instead, there’s an opportunity to have outpatients prepared for what to expect during treatment encounters.
Significant Research Shift "Priority" to "Pathways"
A significant shift in the design decision was going from the idea of ‘priority’ to ‘pathway.’ This shift was one of the key outcomes of the participatory exercises with health professionals. It opened up a new understanding that each outpatient is a priority and that the only difference is their pathway.
Service design indeed has a role to play in healthcare. Working with stakeholders during the exploratory phase through iteration, testing, and implementation is beneficial to the research process and overall project outcome.
A holistic approach is needed to reduce long wait periods and an opportunity to effect change on factors that contribute to wait time and not the time that it takes to carry out treatment procedures. Outpatients need to be better informed of their encounters, and the wait times' effect goes beyond the physical inconvenience.
There is a problem caused by policies and culture within healthcare that can contribute to long wait times.