Designing a global digital patient services platform

Within our customer experience capability at Blue Latitude Health (BLH), our user experience researchers and designers are tasked with the understanding customer and client needs, to drive innovation and to solve real problems.

Recently, a client required a centralized system to drive the development and deployment of data-driven patient services. They wanted the design and build of the patient services to be centralized and accessible by local markets for localization.

There was the added complexity of ensuring the new platform would support innovation inpatient services coming from local markets. This is how we rose to the challenge…

  1. Understanding the business challenge

We started by examining the organization’s current workflow and uncovered the following challenges:

  • Patient services were globally developed in isolation across the organization and lacked a culture of learning and reuse
  • The delivery of patient services to local markets was costly, arduous and lengthy
  • Services were being created without using evidence-based techniques to ensure they were delivering on the promised outcomes
  • The needs of the local markets were not taken into account, making the uptake of services ‘not created here’ unlikely
  • There was a variety of pre-existing service design capabilities, initiatives, and intellectual property, but many were hidden from the local markets.

2. Gathering insights from stakeholders

We then captured stakeholder requirements and progressed the design of the solution using a user-centered service design process.

To begin, we conducted qualitative interviews with internal stakeholders, including the core digital team, IT, service designers and local markets, to ensure that we had developed the insight needed to clearly understand all of the challenges and to inform the design of the solution. We then used these insights to define use cases and requirements.

3. Mapping the service design ecosystem

The next step was to create a service blueprint with the core team, which was validated by both global and local stakeholders.

A service blueprint is essentially an extended customer or user journey. Traditionally, a customer journey focuses on a single user, mapping their interactions, behaviors, unmet needs, emotions and touchpoints along a specified time scale or defined task.

The purpose of the service blueprint is to map the processes of some actors within a service ecosystem. This is done visually by assigning a process or actor to a ‘swim lane’ and visualizing interactions and tasks within and between swim lanes to represent the flow.

4. Storyboarding

The service blueprint was then used to create a storyboard, that was produced using co-created validated insights.

The storyboard communicates the intended purpose of service in a visual language that everyone can follow and understand. It shows the proposed solution without the need to focus on the interface design or technology, telling the story from the user’s perspective.

5. Developing the wireframes

The blueprint and the storyboard provided the details required to design the service. We created low-fidelity wireframes and early prototypes that were evaluated and refined through workshops and usability testing, informing the creation of more detailed designs. These were created with the internal IT stakeholder to ensure that the organization’s existing technology would be incorporated to ensure reuse, where possible.

6. The playbook and deployment model

As part of the delivery, we created a playbook and deployment model to provide support and guidance to the organization. This helped to ensure that all stakeholders had the information required to understand, implement and use the new patient service platform.

The deployment model was created to illustrate the development and approval processes, to evidence outcomes and to track approvals. It also provided ‘live’ versions and key performance indicators, including meta-data on the performance of the service. Importantly, it showed how to create and deliver a base model of each service that was easy for local markets to localize.

The model was essential for ensuring the quality of the platform-distributed patient services and providing a mechanism for bringing in locally created patient services onto the platform.

Meanwhile, the playbook provided a step-by-step guide to using the platform, ensuring all stakeholders understood their roles and responsibilities.

7. Roadmap from design to a minimal viable product

We then worked collaboratively with the core team, IT and key stakeholders to create a roadmap aligned to global and market priorities. It was used to inform the minimal viable product launch timelines and the creation of a more fully formed platform over time. It also gave details of how already existing digital initiatives could be incorporated.

The benefits of a user-centered approach

We designed the patient services platform following a user-centered service design process that ensured all the challenges were identified and addressed and needs were met for every stakeholder. This ensured improved engagement from local markets.

Delivery of the initial service blueprint showed stakeholders that their needs were being addressed, while simultaneously informing the design. The storyboard provided a tool to communicate the purpose and the value of the platform, and the playbook, deployment model and roadmap gave support and guidance for the implementation and use of the platform. All this contributed to the successful delivery of the patient services platform design and the associated guidance to facilitate the efficient and effective delivery of global patient services to local markets.

What is a user-centered approach?

The user-centered approach involves an iterative design process in which researchers focus on the deep understanding of users’ needs and challenges and designers focus on the identification of solutions to address them. The approach involves users throughout the process via a variety of research and design techniques, to create fit-for-purpose solutions.

By Elisa del Galdo