Originally posted by me on the Nebular Health Tech blog.
On April 9, 2013, Nebular Health Tech kicked off with it’s first meeting featuring projekt202. Erin Gilmer started the meeting with an ignite speech introducing the group, why she feels a group like this is important for our community, her personal health challenges, and how together we can break boundaries and create something Nebular. She handed off the meeting to Aliza Gold and Kijana Knight, user experience designers to talk about their experience “Rethinking the Fertility Patient Journey.”
What is user experience design (also referred to as UX)? UX refers to all aspects of a user’s experience with a given system, including the interface, graphics, industrial design, and physical interaction. For instance, the way your phone looks – the way the buttons are pushed and the way things move – UX’ers do that! They study behaviour and how to make technology accessible.
User-centered design is one of the most important aspects for health tech. In fact, the FDA requires software for medical devices (which may soon include mobile medical apps) to incorporate sound principles of design. This is where companies like projekt202 come in.
projekt202 is a design and innovation firm that focuses on user centered experience design and development. We utilize the disciplines of design research, experience strategy, interaction and visual design, digital marketing, and UI and application development to solve real-world problems. Our expertise enables us to create solutions for software, systems, and services. Take a look at their incredible portfolio including Logitech, Deloitte, e-MDs, General Electric, H&R Block and even the NFL – showing the incredible range of their talent.
Breaking boundaries, projekt202 worked with Dr. Arredondo (known as Paco to his friends) and the Reproductive Medicine Associates of Texas to find better, faster, more efficient, and creative ways to serve their patients through finding solution in the physical and emotional space. Stepping outside the technical aspects of UX into Service Design, Aliza, Kijana and their team collaborated with forward thinking health care providers to apply the principles of user-centered design to a doctor’s office.
In starting this “projekt” the team immersed themselves of the patient experience in a fertility clinic to understand precisely the journey these patients were facing. They noted the emotional roller coaster that couples went through – the highs of possibility and the lows of disappointment. The goal then was to create a smoother patient experience as they jumped into translating their user-design concepts into redesigning the clinic.
projekt202 knew that this wasn’t just about the results of successful pregnancies the clinic would achieve. They realized the mark of a good clinic was really in how it addressed the patient experience. And to do this they had to look at all aspects of care including billing, how the office was laid out, education of patients, the use of technology, staff needs, and communication alongside patients and doctors.
For instance, the billing area was in a public space which made emotional conversations difficult. The clinic space had many architectural problems that caused traffic jams and more embarrassingly what they’d call the “walk of shame” for those facing the long corridor to the rooms where seaman collection happened.
So they broke boundaries, shifting their perspectives, even teaming up with an interior designer who thought what if…
that window at the end of the office could be left unobstructed, shining down the corridor to represent “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Patients in the fertility process need hope – they need to believe in the possibility that they can conceive and this light would symbolize that in a subtle way.
Employing the same principle they utilize for their technology clients, the designers created a patient journey map to provide a holistic view of themes they heard. They broke down for each phase the problems and issues and directly mapped these to opportunities for improvement. Themes included the difficulty for patients, that they need support, want to be made a priority, needed preparation for what they were about to face, and how to establish trust. From this standpoint they found guiding principles and identified priorities in patient education, communication, technology, and the space.
All of these findings can be translated to any issue in health care – whether through service design, as here, or traditional UX in technology solutions. Above all, Aliza and Kijana impressed upon us the importance of empathy and patient care when creating solutions.
This presentation ended on a rather lively conversations with Nebular attendees from startups to patients and doctors to venture capitalists. As all came together to break boundaries in their understanding of how working in new spaces, working with unlikely partners, and shifting perspectives we learned new ways to truly impact the patient experience.
projekt202 and Nebular Health Tech encourage all working to disrupt health and healthcare through innovation to:
Understand the journey!
Challenge your beliefs!
Find opportunities for change!
Create a new experience!
and above all
Slides of the presentation can be found here.
Video of the presentation forthcoming.