We helped the medical staff to upgrade the level of work process organization and patient care during the pandemic.
About the client
Connected Clinic is an American clinic, specializing in remote care of chronically ill patients in grave conditions. The company takes care of patients both online and offline.
The client approached us with a task to improve the existing interface of an internal clinic management system. Using the system, doctors managed and conducted patient’s appointments, monitored patient’s state based on data, transmitted by medical devices, kept information about patients, their medical history, previous appointments and prescribed medication.
The previous interface was quite complicated, with no well-defined structure. It had lots of irrelevant, rarely used features. Data about a patient were placed in different sections of the website, which were not related to each other. There was no unified list of patients for search purposes; appointment management was not automatic and doctors needed to manually search for vacant time slots in their schedules. Moreover, due to the pandemic, the demand for telemedicine skyrocketed but this format was extremely inconvenient to use as a doctor needed to launch a video call and open several separate tabs with information about a patient, which made the entire process slower.
Considering the responsibility for the well-being and life of patients, which is already lying on doctors’ shoulders, the clinic could not allow any possible danger to its clients, which could be caused by a mistake due to the use of an inconvenient interface. And this issue needed an urgent solution due to the increased number of remote patients.
The main challenge was the impossibility of conducting a range of research necessary for the solution of the issue. The main users of the system are the medical staff of the clinic, and the most detailed information for further analysis could only be acquired through in-depth interviews with 4-5 doctors of different specialties and observation of their work throughout a day. This way we could get a full picture of how exactly doctors interact with the system; which functions and in what order they use; what issues do they face; how they act in different situations and how they solve issues. Unfortunately, the client could not provide us with an opportunity to conduct such research.
Also, as it is an internal management system, it is almost impossible to research any similar platforms as such systems never have open access. Therefore, we could not apply all the techniques and possibilities we usually use. But, a representative of the company, who was in charge of communication with our company, helped us collect data for the analysis: he answered our questions, made up a list of necessary features and participated in user story mapping.
First of all, we conducted an in-depth interview with the client himself, basically, in the same format as we would do with doctors. The interview helped us reveal that doctors use both PCs and tablets of a particular resolution. This way we found out that screen adaptation to several resolutions was not needed but the interface should be convenient for both a desktop and a tablet.
We found out that along with regular appointments, the clinic offers the following patient care programs: Wellness Screen (annual overall medical examination), Remote Patient Monitoring, Chronic Care Management (monitoring over chronically ill patients). A patient can receive care through several programs at the same time. There was no list of clients for the purpose of search: all patients were grouped by care programs + there was a separate list of patients who had appointments with doctors. One patient could have several files with information about their health and prescribed treatment, which would be placed in different sections of the website. A doctor could not manage all the data of a single patient from one place on the website, as they would need to look for it all over the platform.
It was also revealed that a client’s record can be filled in by a doctor before or after an appointment or by a client themselves during a face-to-face appointment.
The next step was to distinguish major sections and subsections of the system; eliminate all irrelevant features, based on a doctor’s work process during a day.
Later we designed main user stories, creating user flows for them and approving them with the client. While working on simple projects, we usually design a unified user flow for the entire future interface. This way we get a big branched scheme, describing various actions of a user and case scenarios.
But this project was massive and by creating a unified user flow we would only confuse ourselves and the client. That is why we decided to divide it into several major branches and work through each of them separately.
While working on projects, especially ones as big as this one, we always start with paper sketches not to waste time on computer drawing and detailing at the initial stage to establish the screen structure as soon as possible.
All randomly placed information about patients, used on the previous website, we put into a system and divided it into 3 major sections, providing access to it on the left sidebar. Following logging into the system, a doctor needs to see the most important and relevant information, meaning the closest appointments of patients. We placed this section on the home page for that reason.
The most time-consuming section was Patients section, where we needed to locate information about each patient in the most compact and accessible way, taking into consideration that some of them have been already registered with some care programs and had extensive medical histories, while others only got their first appointments with the clinic.
We placed the main data (name, last name, age, date of birth, gender, contact details, insurance data) with necessary Message and Video Call buttons in the header of a patient’s page. Data on the state of health, appointment dates and prescribed medication were located lower in the form of widgets, while these widgets were divided into subsections for fast and easy navigation.
We added a log of appointments for each patient with the option of reviewing all notes, left by a doctor during an appointment.
If a patient is registered with any care program, then their page shows a section where a doctor can track indications, provided by medical devices, and adjust widgets, if necessary.
A doctor is able to see a list of patients, who have appointments in selected time (today, by default). A patient registered in the system has a double tick sign; a registered patient with missing data on their state of health has a single tick sign. The list shows which appointments will be held online and which ones — offline. There is easy access to the patient’s medical history and Message/ Call buttons. By maximizing this block, a doctor can see programs a patient is registered with or cancel their appointment.
By default, all appointments are shown as a list but we also added an option of observing them in a calendar format. It makes it more convenient in case a doctor needs to see appointments within a week or a month.
We made a unified list of all patients, adding the filtering option, in case a doctor needs to see patients, registered with a particular program. The list reflects if a patient has an appointment and, if needed, it is easy to schedule an appointment without opening a patient’s page.
Opening a patient’s page, a doctor sees a dashboard with primary information like the current state of health, recommended treatment, prescribed medication, allergies, and performed surgeries. If a patient is registered with any care program, then this page shows the major health data. The same page can be used to register a patient with any care program by clicking a relevant button on the right side just below the header.
The second block is the list of all appointments of a particular patient where a doctor sees a date, the reason for an appointment, the name of a doctor and notes made during an appointment.
In case a patient is registered with any care program, their page shows relevant sections with necessary indications of medical devices, notes, and progress diagrams.
Requests for setting up an appointment sent by a patient are sorted by date. A doctor can confirm an appointment or cancel it offering a patient another time/day.
A dashboard is usually made a home page of a management system. But in our case, it is more important to see relevant patient information rather than a summary of all results.
The previous version of the website had too much of irrelevant information, placed on the dashboard. That is why we made it as simple as possible leaving only crucial blocks of information and making it more user-friendly in terms of UI.
The client made it clear that Telemedicine needed the most of our attention as it had become the most popular function in the clinic. We needed to figure out how to place a video call window and the entire information about a patient with a note section on the same screen, so a doctor could see all of them at the same time.
We placed ‘Message’, ‘Patient’s Medical Record’, and ‘Notes’ buttons in a single window in the right part of a screen that could be minimized/maximized at any time. A user can go through tabs with a video call window always open.
A doctor can make notes during an appointment, which will be stored on the patient’s page. A medical expert can also issue a prescription and send it to a patient by e-mail or text.
There was no chat in the previous version of the system. We added it in case a doctor wants to send a patient something, like a helpful link, during an appointment.
Moreover, we added a function of notifications. This way it is easier for a doctor to track important events and act in case a patient needs urgent assistance.
By clicking on a notification or a notification sign in the right corner of the header, a user goes to the notification page where they see up-to-date indications of medical devices (indications out of the normal range are shown red), major upcoming scheduled examinations, etc.
It was not an easy task, considering that we were not able to use the most appropriate research methods. However, we managed to reach the goal. Thanks to the detailed study of a user and their work process, the interface became simpler, more user-friendly and convenient. Suggested functions are very popular with the clinic staff. Tests performed by the client later confirmed the 100% success of the executed work.
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