Designing a patient's first interaction with their Electronic Health Record.
With the launch of the new Dell Medical School at UT Austin, representatives from the Design Institute of Health asked my team to design a patient's first experience when accessing their Electronic Health Record (EHR). Our goal was to consider the entire process – from the moment a patient calls their doctor to schedule an appointment to when they access the EHR from home.
We felt that healthcare professionals could give us the most knowledge in terms of the function of EHRs, since they had a more complex understanding of healthcare services. When we interviewed healthcare professionals about their experiences as patients, many complained about the repetitive and tedious nature of going to the doctor's office.
We looked at existing alternatives to traditional login and registration systems. We wanted to rethink the standard username and password method because we wanted to make the process more secure. In addition to security, we also wanted to reduce the repetitiveness of the current process. We brainstormed items that people already carry around, including wallets, keys, and cell phones.
We found a way to make the check-in process more meaningful and less repetitive by implementing kiosk systems. Kiosks would be placed at local doctors' offices, environments that patients are familiar with and trust. We were inspired by existing systems at airports, where travelers can easily check-in on the spot or check-in from home. Rather than filling out the same information over and over again (date of birth, insurance, allergies, etc), patients can spend more time accessing valuable, personalized resources.
Since patients are already required to use driver's licenses as a form of identification, we decided to incorporate a scanning technology into our kiosk system. The scanner would automatically collect basic information about the patient, so we could create an account for them to access their EHR. After their first visit, patients will be able to quickly check-in and access their accounts by scanning their licenses.
Another part of our problem statement was that EHR logins should be sympathetic. In our interviews, we discovered that many people felt nervous about visiting the doctor's office. To make patients feel more at ease, we wanted to create a playful, yet useful interaction that emulated the personality of a nurse.
Benefits: A personalized WebMD, self-care & diagnoses, personal record of health problems, suggests patient to contact doctor in serious conditions
Potentially, the chatbot could use data from other health apps to suggest areas of improvement. As the system records more data, the chatbot will be able to ask more targeted questions based on a patient's health history. This service not only makes an actual nurse's job less demanding, but it also gives patients an easy way to be more involved in their own healthcare.
Healthcare professionals expressed that they would most likely access EHRs through their mobile devices since it felt convenient and secure. To encourage patients to download the mobile app, patients will only be able to 'activate' their accounts after downloading the mobile app. This would be prompted during the registration process at the kiosk.
One of the biggest challenges was finding a way to remove the need for a standard login and registration system, which is incovenient and lacks sufficient security. In our research, we found that two-step identification methods were the most secure, and they were already being implemented into monetary applications like Mint and Venmo. With this knowledge, we decided to use a download code on the kiosk as the first layer and TouchID technology for each login after.
Due to the time constraints of this project, we were not able to test the prototype on potential users. Instead, we focused our efforts on brainstorming feasible solutions to the problem based off of our user research. This project challenged me to question design solutions that currently exist in the healthcare industry. For example, although standard username and password login systems exist almost everywhere, they did not closely meet the needs of the patients we were targeting.
Another thing I learned was to consider every factor in a user's experience. Every moment shapes a user's overall satisfaction, so it is crucial to identify with how they are feeling and what their intentions are.