The patient summary is where all clinical information for patients is aggregated. It provides a central location to add, review, and edit clinical information such as: medications, diagnoses, social history, risk scores, allergies, etc. I was the lead designer on this project and my role was to research and design a solution that addresses user feedback and improves usability of the patient summary. I collaborated with user research, design, engineers, and product management. This feature is ongoing and has not been built or released.
The patient summary functions as a face sheet of the patient's current and historical data along with interaction with a practice. How can we apply a consistent design system to improve readability, findability, and overall usability of this information rich page? How can we create flexibility with the design that accomodates different types of practices?
- Gain user insight into pain points of current design and deeper understanding of how summary is being used
- Improve overall visual styling of patient summary page
- Unify and correct inconsistent interaction patterns and data capturing
- Apply customization to page organization that accommodates different practices
- Collaborate closely with user research to better understand user goals, pain points, feedback
- Unify the visual system of the heterogenous patient information
- Improve interaction patterns
Historically, the summary has been treated as an afterthought in the product. No one team owned the summary page thus resulting in inconsistent data detail, interaction pattern, and display. At the start of this project, I complied user feedback lifted from our user forums to better understand our users' experience with the patient summary.
After reviewing user comments and working closely with user research to understand user pain points with the summary, I compiled the feedback into some general areas for improvement:
- Missing sections of patient information
- Lack of customization of the summary
- Inconsistent level of data between sections
- Inconsistent interaction between sections
- More efficient bulk actions
Known Visual/interaction issues in Summary
The summary never had a dedicated team that advocated for consistency, functionality, or organization. So this was a great opportunity for me to rethink the summary. I started first and foremost with the overall organization of the page. One point of feedback circled around the EHR's header styling that visually distracted and pulled focus from the data on the page.
In addition to addressing the visual styling of these sections, I was also aware of an unfavorable interaction pattern within the summary. One major pain point expressed around our interaction patterns in product is how modals or detail panes would obstruct the view of information on the page.
The design team organized an offsite to brainstorm and share knowledge/findings on user behavior, workflow, and goals. I along with two interaction designers lead workshops around the high usage patient chart of our product (patient summary, profile, and encounter). We found that our users are often referring to/reviewing recorded data while simultaneously inputting data. By understanding that our users switch between review and input, this helped inform my design explorations to build a solution that supports user workflows.
Addressing Visual design issues
Using our updated and simplified type styles and spacing guidelines, I focused on the layout of the page. The data on this page was better served in a tile or card format as it contained heterogenous information. The tile formatting created visual organization and an opportunity to support future customization of the summary page.
Our research team had an opportunity to get this redesign in front of users to see if we were on the right track. Overall we received positive feedback around the tile execution. Users felt they didn't need to scroll as much and could more easily find sections they were interested in. They were still quick to point out tiles they wish to see added to the summary like: Immunizations and Screenings/Interventions/Assessments. During this round of research, we also gathered that our users often reference, edit, and input directly onto the summary. This helped us understand what functionality to maintain in these design iterations.
Addressing INTERACTION issues
I shifted my focus to the interaction of the summary. Below is a map of the different components used when interacting with each section of the summary. A great deal of different components are being used which causes disruption in workflow and inconsistent user experience. Some of the challenges with the current design is that users refer and input, they reference past data as they input new data. This observation helped shape and guide my design exploration.
The tile design of the patient summary supported an interaction pattern of referencing while inputting. It gave access to all current/past patient data for users to reference as they input and collect new data from the patient. By creating a consistent pattern and component used throughout sections, it reduces the cognitive load of experiencing different modules to input data.
In order to get the project prioritized onto the roadmap, we wanted to fold in visual design updates along with added sections to the summary. We want to measure success of the patient summary by using Mixpanel to measure the following:
- Time spent on patient summary
- Number of times users edit directly on patient summary
- Number of times historical data is expanded
Our providers who use Practice Fusion come from a variety of specialties and office organization structures. With these varied user types, practice types, and specialties, customization is top of mind for our users. They want the product to work with their practice. The summary is no different, providers what to show, hide, reorder the layout of the summary based on their practice needs.
This is an ongoing project that we as a design team try creatively to fit onto the product roadmap, however, shifting business goals and priorities keep designs from being implemented. As a design team, we try to move along the process by conducting user calls to test and validate our designs. This allows us to further experiment and work through challenges before development.