Ascension is one of the largest private healthcare systems in the United States, ranking second in the United States by number of hospitals as of 2019. I joined Ascension during the foundation of its software design and development studio.
Designing for Healthcare
Throughout my time at Ascension, I worked on various products and projects that encompassed various healthcare experiences. I worked directly with clinicians to design software that would meet the requirements of their clinical workflows and researched with patients to uncover various needs throughout their healthcare journey.
Anthropological research methods with doctors and nurses such as observation in a hospital setting.
Rapid iterative design and evaluation with clinicians in the field and virtually.
Establishing the design practice for a new software design unit within a healthcare organization.
Understanding the Clinical Space
I participated in ethnographic research with clinicians in med-surg units in three cities (. Jacksonville, FL, Tulsa, OK, Nashville, TN and Milwaukee, WI). The core team was comprised of a Service Designer, Lead UX Designer/Researcher (me), clinical informaticists and Product Owner. The team observed day and night shifts. We focused on patient handoff, patient rounding, and medication administration.
Images from field research:
Iterative Design & Testing for Clinical Workflows
My team delivered design iterations based on feedback from clinicians in a two-week sprint cadence. To achieve this, we leveraged a combination of guerilla testing at various hospital sites and moderated user testing via video conferencing.
Our access to clinicians was limited to their working hours and that often placed us in the middle of patient care, which proved to be indispensable for designing purpose-built software.
Images from field research:
I worked on several products that touched different areas of healthcare. My first team was focused on developing clinical apps for doctors and nurses. I then joined the virtual care team which was focused on delivering a virtual care solution for patients and providers. I was also part of an initiative to help migrate Ascension’s workforce onto its own prescription medication offering.
Clinician Companion Apps
A suite of applications to aid doctors and nurses in communication and patient care.
A smartphone application to aid nurses at the bedside and wherever their workstation on wheels can’t go. A custom Android based app for a healthcare specific rugged device with barcode scanner.
An app to aid providers in reviewing their patient's status and reports throughout the patient’s hospital stay. A custom iOS application for iPad.
Initially the lead designer for both apps, later focusing solely on the Nurse Companion as the two apps had diverging user needs.
Screens from the Nurse Companion:
Screens from the Provider Companion:
Barcode medication administration and the nurse companion app.
Bar code medication administration (BCMA) is a bar code system designed to prevent medication errors in healthcare settings and to improve the quality and safety of medication administration. BCMA ensures that you have the right patient, the right medication, the right dosage, the right route, and the right time.
A process within a continuum of care.
BCMA takes place among many other tasks a nurse must carry out for the five, or more, patients in their care. There are seven major steps to administering medications as well as nuances and special requirements depending on the type of drug and the medication route.
Images for the BCMA concept:
Necessity is the mother of all invention and virtual care arose from the need to continue providing care to patients during the pandemic. Both patients and clinicians were weary of spreading covid but healthcare is a vital service.
Video Chat by AscensionConnect
Video Chat is a lightweight platform that helps connect patients with their providers through a HIPPA compliant video channel that integrates with Athena. It is a web-based application with separate experiences for clinicians and patients.
- Lead designer for two products under the virtual care umbrella.
- Modernize and bring both products to par with our design system.
- Improve the user experience.
To reduce costs and streamline its pharmacy operations, Ascension created Ascension Rx, a presription medication delivery service. I joined the Rx team to design a tool to transfer employees enrolled in Ascensions health plan, SmartHealth, to Ascension Rx for their prescription medications.
We leveraged a digital and print campaign to inform SmartHealth members of the upcoming change in their pharmacy service.
We developed two channels for users to migrate their prescription medications to Ascension Rx, online and through the SmartHealth app.
We researched and conceptualized for Ascension Rx a product to allow patients to manage their prescription medication needs.
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