Aurora

Holistic approach to improve healthcare systems User Experience

Background

I grew up moving from place to place, meeting doctors, dentists and eye doctors and telling them my medical history from scratch every time. This is a normal situation that doesn’t entail any risk, unless a patient suffers from a medical condition that requires specific attention, in which case, any omission on the side of the patient can become a problem.

 

Back in 2010, when I had my first smartphone, I was visiting doctors from three different healthcare systems at the same time, so I asked myself if there was anything this device could do to make my life easier. As I was also starting my path as an User Experience designer, I decided to develop my own case study, no graphic design involved behind, just observation, problem statement and problem solving.

The Challenge

Current health systems have been designed to provide their service at a stable cadence. Unfortunately, over the last few years they have proven their lack of flexibility as they aren’t capable of reacting in time and adapting themselves to service priorities under stressful situations.

 

In certain circumstances and given the impossibility of focusing efforts where they are immediately needed, health systems require drastic measures to continue operating, such as the courage, determination and overexertion of its professionals, their ability to improvise in the absence of medical supplies, and the total closure of certain services that are required for those patients who need certain treatments in order to stay alive.

 

As we have been able to experience, the chain reaction that occurs ends up further weakening our health systems in the long term, causing physical and mental exhaustion in health personnel beyond what is acceptable, even leading them to abandon their profession.

 

During the last 10 years there have been many case studies proposing similar solutions for only one kind of user (patients), but I haven’t seen a holistic solution yet.

Empathize

Interviews goals

Discover user reasons to use a healthcare system.
Understand users behaviour while using a healthcare system.

Discover how users manage their medical history records.

Interviews research goals are oriented to gather qualitative information about user behaviour while interacting with healthcare systems.

Questions

A first general question about the person is always made, there are two purposes, to relax the person and to gather personal information, personal background, age range, personal interests, daily routines…

 

After this introduction, specific questions driven to collect information related to the interview goals are asked. These questions are open enough to encourage the interviewee to talk about personal perceptions:

Define

User flows

I used the information to generate my personas and to create the different journey maps that show how a healthcare system works, how different user profiles interact with it, and to identify potential issues and improvements.

 

Different user profiles are identified by colour codes (Institutional, doctors, pharmacists, insurances, patients…).

Ideate

Looking for solutions

By observing my journey maps from the points of view of every profile, I can start identifying existing issues and propose solutions for those profiles. This means the original scope of my case study needs to expanded to more user profiles. Healthcare specialists, private insurances and public institutions could benefit from an improved healthcare system.

This means the original scope of my case study needs to be expanded to more user profiles,

Summarizing users interactions

Solution

A multi-device dashboard

A dashboard will allow the different users to have a global view of all their information.
Users can send and receive requests depending on their needs, avoiding queues and unnecessary displacements.
Users can update their health status when necessary, keeping the system updated at any time.
Specialists can focus their efforts where needed, optimizing their and the healthcare system time.
Healthcare institutions can monitor the use of their resources in real time, allowing them to give new services, adjust them depending on the other users needs, prevent fraud and predict future needs.

Patient

Group 32

Control over medical records and sharing possibilities to improve medical diagnosis

Group 2

Appointments, reminders and treatment follow-ups to prevent forgetfulness

Group 17

Expenses control thanks to payments and paybacks management

Group 15

Medicines reservation and remote prescription renovations to prevent waiting times

Group 28

Nearby specialists and medicines availability

Ontime notifications in case of health outbreaks or critical situations

Healthcare specialists

Group 32

Unified and updated patient medical history to provide better diagnosis

Group 2

Working load organization and business optimization

Group 15

Medication reminders to prevent patient mistakes

Notifications to patients in case of cancellation of services

Group 8

Patient insurance coverage status to prevent payment defaults

Group 9

Payback requests sent inmediately to healthcare system

Pharmacists

Group 16

Medicines online booking for improved stock optimization

Group 21 2

Updated information about healthcare market offer and demand

Group 25

Medical prescriptions remote ordering to prevent waiting times

Patient notifications about medication availability

Group 9

Payback requests sent inmediately after medications delivery

Healthcare Institutions

Group 31

Automated administrative tasks to enable information traceability

Group 21 2

Accumulated data analysis about system usage to predict future needs

Users notifications in case of health outbreaks or critical situations

Healthcare-icon-people_thief

Resources optimization and fraud prevention

Group 25

Automated dossier verification to speed-up third-party paybacks

Group 26

Ontime emergency medical deployment in special situations

User main concerns

Technology learning curve

Back in 2011, about 30% of US & European populations where using smartphones. It was very difficult to find +65 users that were able/willing to use technology in order accomplish certain tasks. In 2023 almost 90% of europeans and american citizens have a smartphone.

Data protection

Another drawback twelve years ago was how personal information was securized. The lack of users habit of sharing personal data made very difficult to let them trust a digital platform where their medical records would be stored.
Today we are used to store our credit card information in our smartphone

High initial investment

Healthcare institutions need to adapt current softwares to allow hospitals, privat einsurances, patients and health professionals to communicate with each other.

Naming

I decided to give the case study a feminine name, Aurora, not only because it means warmth and hope, but also because human beings instinctively trust women when talking about health and taking care.


If we have a look at those AI that live inside our smartphones, almost all of them also have feminine names. Like Siri, Alexa or Cortana.

Final outcome

Traditional administrative communication is time and resources consuming. There’s a great opportunity to improve how we manage our healthcare systems, focusing our resources where they are really needed.


Unfortunately, human beings are used to their routines and facing change is very often seen as a danger rather than an opportunity.