Patients First is an app that serves as a digital database of medical records. Users can view and share their records with their doctors directly from the app. The convenience of being able to complete this task with just a few taps will encourage users to adopt this product, which will, in turn, help reduce the number of unnecessarily repeated medical tests.
ROLE UX Researcher, UX Designer, UI Designer
PROJECT LENGTH 4 weeks
TOOLS Sketch, InVision, Pen, Paper
Americans have a hard time accessing and obtaining their medical records despite the federal law guaranteeing their right to do so.
To better understand this problem space, I conducted some secondary research that helped me gain insight into the current state of access to medical records and its impact on the healthcare industry in general and on the wellbeing of patients in particular.
A patient might see physicians and specialists at multiple locations over the course of treatment, but without a reliable mechanism for sharing information between them, tests are liable to be repeated. One effect of repeated tests is that excessive radiation exposure is not considered safe, and can increase your risk of disease.
$700 billion is the annual cost of procedures that did not improve health outcomes partly due to redundant medical services according to the Congressional Budget Office
$63 million would be saved annually by Medicare if doctors used a Health Information Exchange (HIE)
Galen Gunther, 59
To set up the framework for my primary research, I started by writing down some assumptions based on the secondary research above. My goal here is to uncover further insight regarding users’ attitudes and behaviors towards the issue of access to medical records.
Patients are frustrated when they can’t access their medical records.
Patients find it difficult to access their own medical records.
Patients want transparency in healthcare.
Patients are negatively impacted by repeated tests and procedures.
How might we design a digital solution that allows patients to easily access, share, and track their medical records?
I believe that creating an easily accessible digital database of medical records for tech-savvy young professionals will achieve an efficient healthcare experience. I will know this is true when I see a reduction in medical tests and lower medical expenses overall.
I interviewed some potential users that fit the following criteria:
• Young professionals
• Age range 25–30
• Changes jobs often
This process revealed behavioral and qualitative insight into how users interact with the American healthcare system. Then I grouped that insight into the following 3 themes:
Communication with insurance providers
This was a common pain point amongst interviewees.
Familiarity with doctors
Respondents preferred to stick to their doctors due to the convenience of not having to repeat the onboarding process with a new doctor, even when their doctor became out of network.
Participants favored doctors that used an online system.
After further studying of my interview notes, it became clear that an online system is desired by busy young professionals and that it will be used for making appointments, communicating with doctors, and sharing the required medical information/records.
Mary is a creative young professional who keeps a busy schedule. She was recently diagnosed with a condition that requires her to get check-ups at the doctor’s office on a regular basis.
• Can’t track all the documents needed to dispute a claim with her insurance provider
• Finds the healthcare system difficult to maneuver
• Doesn’t have time to deal with healthcare logistics
• To be able to manage her doctor’s appointments online
• To communicate with her doctor online
• To have her healthcare needs to be met in as few steps as possible
After exploring multiple user stories, I chose “Medical Database” as the primary epic to reflect the primary user’s desirability in an online medical system, and “sharing my medical records with my doctor” as the selected task to explore how this solution could contribute to the assumption that “$63 million could be saved annually if doctors used a Health Information Exchange” that was uncovered in my secondary research above.
• Grid view emphasizing icons
• List view allowing space for more information
• Large profile pics, full-screen confirmation
• iOS-style sharing + confirmation screens
I combined the list view and the large profile pics from my preliminary sketches and refined them before digitizing them into wireframes. This approach allows more information to be displayed on the home screen, and the large profile pictures will make it clear to users which doctor they are choosing to share records with – an important detail considering the sensitive nature of health records.
After digitizing the refined sketches above into lo-fi wireframes, I conducted two rounds of usability testing that revealed some gaps in the user experience that could be improved upon. I implemented the changes needed to enhance the usability of my prototype and ended up with the following wireframes:
The usability testing revealed some valuable insight that informed the changes I made to my low-fi wireframes. Throughout multiple rounds of testing, the user experience was improved upon as evidenced by the higher scores that subsequent tests scored. Here's a couple of key highlights from my usability tests:
• Most users struggled to find the search button when prompted to search for a specific record.
• Users felt that clicking on "View by" was adding an unnecessary step.
• Some users requested filtering their records by test type.
• Adding a clearly visible search bar in proximity to the list of records resulted in all users successfully finding the search function.
• Records can now be easily filtered by test type using pills, so to speak.
• Some users requested the ability to obtain documentation of this transaction, considering the sensitivity of their medical records.
• Users asked for the wording to be more specific than just stating "doctor".
• Users now receive a confirmation email of their transactions, as well as a small message that notifies them about that email.
• In addition to a profile pic of the doctor that these records have been shared with, this screen now displays the title of that doctor, ensuring users are sending their records to the right doctor.
My earlier interviews revealed how much patients value convenience when dealing with an overly complex healthcare system. I kept that in mind when creating the branding for this product, so I opted for a clean layout inspired by apple's UI and selected a color palette reminiscent of apps that users like Mary Alma are familiar with and use daily, like Instagram and facebook messenger. I believe this familiarity will make dealing with healthcare a little less daunting.
• User stories and task flow diagrams are essential starting points for the ideation process. It allowed me to think of features I wouldn’t have otherwise introduced to the solution.
• The sketching, prototyping, and user testing process informed the usability of these features and components. What made perfect sense to me was actually very confusing for the majority of the testers to navigate. Their feedback was essential to the efficiency of the user experience of my final prototype.