I was tasked with designing an EMR platform for physical therapy clinics, who often have to settle for applications intended for doctors' offices and hospitals. The scope of the project included general business concerns (scheduling appointments, tracking referral sources, billing insurance companies, etc.), as well as, niche requirements specific to physical therapy (injury evaluations, therapy progress, information organized by case, and more). At the time, the client was using an unsupported and aging tool, along with paper forms and various other scanned documents, to capture and track their data.
Role: UX/UI Designer
I started to discover the complexity of this project by conducting on-site interviews with the various user-groups: physical therapists, receptionists, and billing specialists. I observed how they used the current software. Both when they had "downtime" and while they interacted with patients. The latter added extra challenges since these offices accepted walk-ins along with scheduled patients. I quickly understood the need to save their work at any point in time due to a sudden influx of patients.
Those conversations offered insight into the tasks they performed, their current pain points, and how those tasks were connected in the larger case process and allowed me to define the screens and features needed to process a patient's case from intake to billing.
After defining the functionality needed to create the solution our users needed, I got down to brainstorming the design. I started with simple wireframes for some basic problem discovery to pinpoint issues early in the process. When I felt confident I'd addressed all of the users' needs, I built an interactive prototype that I took on-site. Each usability test allowed me to further iterate on the design until I found the right solution.
Our users needed a central hub to view and edit their patients' information. The UI had to make finding and accessing the assortment of data for each case easy while requiring as few "clicks" and scrolling as possible.
The physical therapists wanted a workflow that more closely followed their evaluation process to make recording the injury information and designing a treatment plan more intuitive and less time-consuming.
The billing specialists needed to be able to see all of the financial transactions associated with a patient and discern what charges and/or payments are associated with each visit to facilitate the claim process.
Business processes combining analog and digital technologies present an added challenge for designers. But by interviewing and observing users to fully understand the work they do goes along way toward unraveling what can be a rather twisted knot. Also, encouraging users early in the process to express their thoughts and concerns helps encourage them to find their voice, freeing them to challenge your ideas, which leads to a better overall product.