Mobile Integrated Health Service for Unplanned Care
The first step towards feeling better is knowing what to do
Consumer & B2B2C Medical Industry, North America
Mobile Integrated Healthcare On-demand Service and AI Triage Chatbot
I worked as the VP of Product at Pager, an early stage healthcare on-demand startup. The company was focused on reducing unnecessary emergency room costs by routing patients to a more cost effective level of care by use of a mobile application and a robust set of clinical operational processes that quickly designate a degree of urgency.
At Pager, I curated a product process to support measured and considered results, drove efforts for team-development, understanding our audience, definition for the vision of our platform, as well as packaging our value proposition in a digestible way to support sales. I was product employee #1, and this was a job with many hats. I found myself wherever there is a gap in need – from foundational user research, system, service, interaction and front end designer, to process evangelist to cultural advocate. My team also worked closely with our Operations and Engineering teams to create delightful experiences for Pager’s customer facing and internal applications used by our medical professionals group.
Highlights of what I did:
When I came into Pager, there was very little knowledge about their existing customer base or who they wanted to target. I brought on a Director of UX to define our audience’s needs and assess how the company might better serve people seeking care. The company was able to utilize these insights and focus our resources towards areas that had the most promise for impact.
The product team used these audience insights to fundamentally reform the customer-facing platform and ultimately, the consumer experience. We worked with the engineering team on an alpha release of these revisions that also incorporated AI chat technology.
I performed an asssessment of the company’s exsting product process, which was convoluted, not repeatable, and not getting the company to desired results. I worked with leadership, operations, marketing, and engineering to implement a new product process that supported needs-driven decision-making, objectives as well as measuring outcomes.
With my Director of UX, we formulated a hiring process to suit our vetting criteria and built a team to support our rolling design and product needs.
Creating patient connections to navigate the complex healthcare world
Identifying and addressing the problem at hand:
• The healthcare industry is used to a very inside-out way of thinking, often fixated on their own expert terminology and operational processes. Stakeholders can be quick to assume they know what’s best based on industry norms, without understanding the user needs that will drive growth.
• There were many attempts to incorporate service improvements and evolve the product for enterprise, and were faced with conflicting stakeholder goals.
• Evolving the perception of design internally beyond beautification was a major challenge. A shift towards user-centered thinking is still foreign to many in healthcare.
• My team’s new sales materials secured new contracts covering 500k+ people as a result of efforts to redesign the way the platform was sold to enterprise partners.
• The product team worked across teams to revise the customer acquisition process for an effected annual savings of $1M by identifying unsuccessful customer acquisition moments with the development of a product acquisition funnel tool.
• The product team drove an initative to reposition the brand to gain patient trust and drive adoption. We assembled product messaging from consumer ideals to communicate value in their language. This was in production as I departed ways from Pager, but is currently live now.
• With the Director of UX, we designed the initial incorporation of artificial intelligence technology into the healthseeking process. This has just been released Spring 2017.
Falling Short in Developing Relationships with Patients
Steady active users and repeat engagement were both on-going challenges when I joined. The company was operating on a lot of assuptions. Our research efforts showed us that people are looking to develop an on-going relationship with medical providers. This led us to learn that services such as Pager for unplanned care came off as low-reward to these people.
The Cost of Healthcare has Turned People into More Careful Consumers
We uncovered a belief that urgent care introduces the risk of unpredictable costs. Our research respondents were convinced they could predict how long an illness would last, and based on this, determined how much it was worth. All were nervous about unanticipated healthcare expenses and reluctant to spend money on care that did not contribute to his long-term health.
Using our audience’s habits and beliefs to build a baseline knowledge set to generate ideas and uncover strategic opportunities
Convenience alone was not enough to drive engagement
How Do You Engage the Person who Considers Themselves to be Healthy Overall? The Future.
Patients are looking for practical ways to improve their health over time. My team suggested the use ancillary services to customize patient care as an aqusition tactic over traditional marketing media buys as a way to more effectively engage patients. This change led to a calculation of $1M annual savings.
Visual concepting tools to aid implementation
Advocating for an Ideal Experience
Service design techniques like journey mapping, workflow diagrams, and service blueprinting were used to tie research findings and new concepts into the larger customer experience across multiple touchpoints. These visual tools also framed constructive conversations around operational changes. The operational teams in particular found it very helpful to be provided updated workflow diagrams for internal training and documentation purposes.
Leveraging automation for ease of information gather
Revamping Patient Onboarding for Better Results Over Time
In an unplanned care moment, our nurses used text protocols adapted from call center triage guidelines including Briggs and Thompson-Schmidt. The protocols begin by identifying chief complaint and then reviewing signs and symptoms indicative of high-level of acuity. This process via text message quickly proved cumbersome for patients – especially someone feeling ill. Alongside the Operations team, my team worked to identify key moments where the clinician and patient experiences would benefit from automation, focused on where it might improve key KPIs. The result was a series of widgets that supported top use cases such as booking urgent care, scheduling a referral, and reminders for appointments and medication.
A Conversation-based Experience
We found in our research that patients value provider relationships because they think it leads to better care and greater understanding of their issues. We used this as a insight to ideate ways to encourage relationship-building in the experience. Combined with the fact that the company had made a decision to invest in chat technology, our response was to evolve the experience to be conversation-centered.
Tying it all together
Mobile health on-demand services are still facing an uphill batttle as they compete for consumers against more tried and true methods such as 911, emergency rooms and brick and mortar urgent care centers. The stakes are high, and consumers are careful to try anything new during a highly emotional event. Partnering with health systems and creating low risk connections with patients in advance shows promise, but it is certainly a long road ahead before we see vast improvement in the consumer health experience any time soon.