Case Study: Public Health | Scheduling Medical Appointments on Mobile App

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

OVERVIEW | Technology is changing the way we interact with each other. Many processes and tasks that required a long time to do in the past are now a matter of clicking a button and voilá! As the public system incorporates technological solutions to big infrastructures, our experience as citizens should see that change too.

DESIGN CHALLENGE | Transform the end-to-end experience of scheduling medical services on a mobile app

How might we improve our service/product so that our customers are more successful based on the time spent searching and booking an appointment, as well as increasing the satisfaction rate of our users?

Mid-fi Wireframe Prototype

| Users and Audience

The Target User: Any adult (18+) who is a user of medical and healthcare services in the United States

On the first day we received the brief, our team had countless ideas on the interpretation and possibilities of the project brief. We defined the “end-to-end experience” as the user’s journey which begins with the user’s need for a medical appointment and ends with a successful meeting with the healthcare provider. In order to identify the pain points of our user, we created and distributed a survey to get insight users’ current experience. The questions included:

  • How frequently do you visit a doctor?
  • What is a step by step process of how you currently schedule your doctor appointments?
  • How did you booked your last medical appointment and what was your experience using it?
  • What is your experience with using telemedicine?
  • What personal and medical information would you be comfortable with sharing on an app that you can use to schedule appointments with a medical care provider?

| User Survey Findings and Affinity Mapping

Survey Results on our Affinity Map

The survey results confirmed some of our initial assumptions, and also brought some surprising findings:

  • There was a balanced mix on opinions regarding ease of scheduling an appointment and provider availability.
  • Users who made a schedule by telephone were the most likely to experience some sort of frustration during the process.
  • Users preferred to schedule their appointments online, or in-person. There were strong opinions against automated telephone prompts.
  • 87.5% of users said it takes them 5–10 minutes to schedule a doctor’s appointment while the remainder said it took them between 10–30 minutes.
  • 50% of users booked their last doctor’s appointment online.

How might we let patients schedule an appt with a doctor of their choice at ease, with a few taps on a mobile app?

  • 60% of users have used telemedicine.
  • The majority of users were open to the idea of sharing their health insurance enrollment status, vaccination status, and medical history on a healthcare mobile app, provided that the data security wasn’t a concern.

How might we use the health insurance info (eg. health insurance plan) provided by users to empower users to make well-informed decisions on selecting a new care provider?

Other findings include:

  • The majority of users felt comfortable visiting a healthcare provider in-person at this time (COVID-19 pandemic).
  • Users are aware of the co-pay amounts for their health insurance.
  • When it comes to medical bills and hidden expenses, users want transparency and an accurate estimate of out-of-pocket expenses before consuming the services.

| Empathizing with our User

Once we categorized our survey findings on our affinity map, we moved on to the putting the major points on an empathy map.

One of our users is a senior who lives in an assisted living facility and relies on the nurses to schedule medical appointments on her behalf. We realize that seniors were a significant demographic with vastly different needs from the majority of our survey respondents (young working professionals) so we organized our empathy map based on the two demographic.

The other focus of our empathy map is the young, working professional — a demographic that was highly represented in our user survey. This user may or may not have a chronic condition but doesn’t neglect their annual check-up. They also prefer to have full control in scheduling medical appointment, with a strong preference for an online scheduling management system as opposed to calling into a clinic.

With two users on our empathy map, we wanted to solve the problems for everyone but knew the importance of prioritization. Our group ultimately decided to focus on our primary persona for our prototype — the young, working professional.

User Persona (Mike)

Once we had our user persona, we put together a story board for the Mike’s story which would then be elaborated on the user journey map.

Mike’s Story Board

Mike’s journey would pan out as follows:

  • Mike remembers that he needs to schedule his annual check-up with a new provider.
  • Mike is frustrated as he navigates through the automated robot prompt to select the right department.
  • Mike gets left on hold for 30 minutes as he waits to get transferred to the right department.
  • Mike is disappointed to learn that the earliest opening is 2 months from today, which is much farther out than anticipated. With no other choice, he schedules the appointment — this frustrating process took up all the free time he had in the afternoon.
  • Mike finally gets his annual check up 2 months later.
Mike’s User Journey Map

| Prototyping

Next, we each carried out individual ideating sessions where we put together lo-fi prototypes containing features we had in mind, and then regrouped to discuss our favorite features from each of our prototypes.

Lo-fi Prototype Ideation

Lastly, we consolidated our best ideas and put together a mid-fi wireframe while adding modifications and improvements along the way.

Mid-fi Prototype
Hi-fi Prototype

| Key Takeaways

With this being our first group project and exercising the design theories and methodologies, it was inevitable that we encountered road blocks along the way. In the beginning stages of the UX Research phase, we discussed a lot about possibilities and were slow to get the process moving. There were also a few instances when we were met with uncertainty on the meaning and purpose behind a process; this is something we believe will clarify itself as we put the methodologies to practice more throughout the course.

For our lo-fi prototype, I’d started off ideating on Figma and was so engrossed putting my ideas in detail that I’d unknowingly put together a mid-fi prototype. While ideas are great, I’ll have to remember to focus on the big ideas and skip the minor details; this way I’ll be able to ideate faster and put down more ideas in a more efficient manner.

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