Visit Planner: Paper-based Medical Report & System
A tool to aid and facilitate patient-provider communication.
After a patient’s visit with a provider, there were three frequent complaints:
The provider did not have the proper information at hand when treating the patient. Too much of the visit was spent finding this information. The patient is left feeling personally under-prepared for the visit, and not getting enough out of it.
The patient felt overwhelmed by the amount of information they were told during a visit. Upon existing the visit the patient will frequently forget most, if not all, of the information. Especially as time moved past the day of the visit.
The patient must repeatedly explain their issues and information during each visit, with each clinician. By the time the provider has a true mental image of the patient's reason for the visit, it is already 10 minutes into a 15 minute encounter and the provider’s cognitive load is at capacity.
"I told them on the phone and again in the room with the nurse... When I got in front of the doctor, he still asked "So, why are you here today?" and I spend half our time together explaining what I already told everyone else." -
The team designed, tested, and built an up-to-date, visit-specific, printable, encounter overview report containing the patient’s latest medical information, chief complaint, and visit goals. We also developed a delivery system and workflow that allowed health assistants to quickly and easily produce the reports. These visit plans are sent via mail, email, and/or fax to the patient and the practice prior to their scheduled visit and become part of the patient’s health record.
By creating a glanceable and clear distillation of the patient’s visit and health summary, the visit planner reduces cognitive load of both the patient and provider. Scalability was at the core of the report’s design, allowing for a large amount of patient data to be quickly understood. The resulting solution helps patients feel heard and less rushed during visits and more confident that providers are engaged and acting on the right information.
Clarity: The report must allow for quickly and easily visual scanning by a physician in the moments prior to entering a room with a patient. The visual hierarchy must facilitate the transfer of the most important information within the first 10 to 15 seconds. While the design was constrained to black and white to be printer and fax friendly, the final report would still use data visualizations for specific health vitals and levels of severity to accomplish an at-a-glance transfer of knowledge.
Accuracy: The visit planners must use the most up-to-date patient data, be accurate, and validated by a medical professional. Any discrepancy in health information could lead to serious consequences and could easily dishearten the patient, and add mistrust.
Scalability: Each section of the design must be scalable due to the wide range of patient health. One patient may have two chronic conditions, while others may have over 60 specific health conditions. Medications and allergies can also range from zero to dozens. Each section of the design must be bulletproof and work with nominal information as well as full data.
Producibility: The visit planners need to be produced in great numbers due to the volume of patients in the system and the frequency of medical visits. Through service design, a new workflow and set of processes were developed, along with a visit planner builder utility \which would allow health assistants to produce accurate visit plans, quickly, and in large enough numbers to meet the demand.
What We Did
Ethnographic and In-Person Research, and a Design Sprint
Contacted users that fit our patient personas and scheduled one-on-one interviews, as well as in-person shadowing of medical professionals and patients together.
Researched the patient-provider interactions—from the time patients began to feel symptoms and the decision to make an appointment, through the act of scheduling a visit, to the actual encounter with their doctor, and how they felt afterwards.
Created a user journey of this experience to understand the key pain points and how a solution would fit into the current workflows of the clinicians and health assistants, and how it would impact the patient and their journey to improved health outcomes.