SMART RX

An assistive app to facilitate the process of decision making in prescription management by offering comparable alternatives

 

Organization

Premera Blue Cross

HCID 511 A Au 18: Ideation Studio

My Roles

Design Researcher

Product Designer

My Responsibilities

Competitive Analysis and Market Research

User Research

Project Management

Sketching and Wireframing

Prototyping (lo/Hi-fi)

Information Architecture

Prototype Testing

Duration

Oct 2018   —  Dec 2018  

Team

Augustus Arthur

Surabhi Wadhwa

Sayena Majlesein

Platform

iOS Application

INTRODUCTION

Premera Blue Cross was our sponsor for the Ideation Studio. As our sponsor, they defined our problem space by asking us to improve the pharmacy experience for caregivers.

PROBLEM SETTING

 

Given the initial prompt, we had to narrow down our problem space. Therefore, we conducted secondary research, market research, and did brainstorming to grasp the existing issues of the pharmacy experience from the caregiver's perspective.

Through our research, we found out that today there are over 46.2 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States and by 2060, that number is expected to double to 98 million. Nearly 92% of these older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77% have at least two. Therefore, we decided to investigate this issue by conducting formative research around the responsibilities of the the caregivers of the elderly.

As a result, we decided to focus on the caregivers for the elderly (ages 65+)

FORMATIVE RESEARCH

Before starting the research process, we defined our initial assumptions and desired outcomes.

 

INITIAL ASSUMPTIONS

Caregivers do not trust medication information given by pharmacists and practitioners.

 

- People don’t actively seek medication information even if the information is available.

 

- There is a lack of constant access to medication information.

 

- There is a lack of knowledge about caregiver’s rights, options for medication, and policies.

DESIRED OUTCOMES

- To proactively provide personalized medical information.

-  To provide reliable information through transparent communication between pharmacies and caregivers.

- To simplify and facilitate the process of finding alternatives to prescribed drugs.

- To help authorized caregivers track prescriptions, changes in medication and refills.

RESEARCH METHODS

Secondary Research

Semi-Structured Interviews

Competitive Analysis

Online Forums

Cultural Probes

 

GET TO KNOW JUNE!

Before discussing the insights and findings, we introduce June to better understand experience of caregivers with pharmacy and prescription management.

 

Today, there are 40.4 million unpaid caregivers like June, who take care of adults ages 65 and older.

Therefore, we decided to respond to this issue by focusing on the following problem space:

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Providing access to insurance coverage information and create awareness about alternatives to prescribed medication

 

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

 

To gain a better understanding of the existing products in the market, I conducted competitive analysis and market research.

We evaluated different products that are used by patients and caregivers to facilitate the process of decision making in prescription management. 

the following products were two of the most popular products used by patients and caregivers to improve their experience with the pharmacies.

ONLINE FORUMS

 

In addition, I connected with the caregivers of seniors and asked them about their experiences with pharmacies on AgingCare and Caregiver Action Network forums. As a result, we received 7 responses.

“ I feel like the worst daughter. Lately, as the idea sets in that she could not function alone in her home, I feel depressed and cry suddenly.. ”

- A daughter taking care of her mom who is suffering from Alzheimer

FINDINGS

Caregivers believe that providing efficient information about changes in the medications and policies by the insurance companies, help develop a better understanding of the medication management process.

Caregivers think that the insurance company could play a more important role in providing easy and effective access to the medication.

Many of the caregivers that take care of their senior loved ones with severe illnesses feel mentally and physically drained.

CULTURAL PROBES

We designed 3 engaging cultural probes to gain more information about caregivers life, their struggles, and pain points.

Carebook

As one of our probes, I created a booklet with activities and questions designed to understand the emotions that caregivers go through. Caregivers were asked to draw themselves and their loved one (1). We also asked the following questions: “I care because…” (2), “It is sometimes frustrating for me to…” (3), and “I wish I had more…” (4). Lastly, we asked participants to pick three wishes from a set of cards (4).

 

My goal was to allow caregivers to think of their loved ones and remember how that makes them feel while answering the questions. I wanted to gain a sense of their emotional needs.

 

Emoj(ack) in the box

We handed caregivers a box containing three strips of paper, each with a different emoji. They were asked to pick one based on how they were feeling that day. Our goal was to capture the caregiver’s current state of mind by giving them an opportunity to share how they felt at that moment.

A day in your life

Caregivers were given a calendar to describe their daily activities. Our goal was to get a better understanding of the caregiver’s daily life. We wanted to see how much time caregivers spend on themselves vs. caring for their loved ones.

SYNTHESIS 

We were able to gather inspirational data about our target users’ lives, values, and thoughts through our research methods. The insights that were derived from the probes enabled us to better understand the emotional needs and pain points of the caregivers of the older adults. Based on the combination of our previous insights and our findings from the design probes, I formed the following three main design principles specifically for our challenge and design.

Simple

Simplify the pharmacy experience for caregivers. Do not add complexity to the process because they are already dealing with a lot of stress.

 

Intuitive

Caregivers and seniors should be able to interact with the design response easily.

 

Reliable

Present the information in a transparent and credible fashion.

 

RESEARCH INSIGHTS

CHOICE

Customers are not aware that they have more affordable options or alternatives to the medicines they have been prescribed.

COST 

 

Customers are not aware that different pharmacies have different pricing structures for the same medication.

COVERAGE

Customers are not aware of which medicines are covered by their insurance till they reach the pharmacy.

IDEATION

90 Concepts

Once we gained a mutual understanding about our problem space and the insights, we were able to start linking our desired outcomes to our findings through ideation.

We applied the Crazy Eights and 2x2 methods to come up with 90 concepts. Then we organized the concepts by grouping complementary and/or similar concepts, and categorized them under mobile apps, web apps, wearables, high-tech, low-tech, non-tech, and static.

Down-Selection Process

After demonstrating the concepts to the Premera representatives, we evaluated the feasibility of the concepts, as well as how the concepts addressed our desired outcomes.

To further narrow down our concepts, we used the six thinking hats activity and a decision matrix.

 

In order to organize these activities, I used strings to connect complementary concepts together and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

 

THREE CONCEPTS

Based on the results of the six thinking hats activity and the decision matrix, we narrowed down our concepts to the following 3 concepts that best met our desired outcome:

1. Pharmacy Chatbot

2. Premera Kiosk

3. Custom Prescriptions

FINAL CONCEPT

Custom Prescriptions

As part of the down-selection process, our team reviewed the desired outcomes to select the concept that better meets our objectives and responds to our challenge statement. According to the following selection criteria that was derived from the desired outcomes by me, the concept of Custom Prescriptions was chosen as the final concept.

Selection Criteria

Does it provide reliable information?

Is the information easy to consume and understand?

Does it provide better alternatives and options? Does it provide personalized coverage information?

Does it give access to caregivers?

Design Scope

Generic Allowed

We are addressing the scenario generics are allowed by the PCP. In this case the pharmacist is permitted to switch brand name to the FDA approved generic.

Limiting options

We are limiting suggested medicine alternatives to address patient’s personal needs and to reduce the pressure of making the right choice for the caregivers.

 
 

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

Before designing the low-fi prototypes, I designed information architecture of the system to better define the technical requirements of the system. Moreover, the information architecture of the system and the user flows helped us create seamless experiences for the caregivers.

USER FLOWS

To make sure that that our proposed solution meets the desired outcomes, I designed the user flows for different use cases. In addition to designing smooth flows, I designed the data flow in order to accurately design the architecture of the system. 

Add a New Caregiver

Refill a Medicine

View Alternatives

LOW-FI PROTOTYPING

After selecting the 'costume prescriptions' as our final concept, we designed low-fi prototypes to test and modify this concept. We took the low-fi prototype to the UW Medicine and asked  7 caregivers and patients to test our concept.

 

Objectives

- Assess the desirability of the prototyped idea

- Evaluate ease of use and learnability of the three key paths

- Check for missing steps in flow

- Seek feedback from participants about areas that can be improved

FINDINGS​

“ Pretty straight forward and seamless.

Definitely better than the phone call. ”

- A 22 year-old caregiver

Almost all participants found the flows easy to follow and straightforward.

However, through testing the following improvements that needed to be made were identified:

- We needed to provide comparable information about the alternative drugs that are displayed.

- We had to use the generic names of the drugs for easy identification.

- Existing information about the previous pharmacies they have used should be easily available to use for subsequent refills.

 

VISUAL SYSTEM

The mood-board was created by me with the goal of empowering caregivers and reassuring them that they can make smart choices.

Color Palette

I designed the color palette to trigger the following emotions:

Transparency

 

Trustworthiness

 

Reliability

 

Simplicity

HIGH-FI PROTOTYPING

For high-fi prototyping, we used a modular design to control the complexity of the app by dividing it into different modules. Furthermore, to provide the needed flexibility in order to deliver the needed functionalities and components we developed a layered architecture. 

 

Walkthrough

Introduction to the app and what it does.

Use case

First-time experience for new users.

Add a Caregiver

Patients can send their caregiver a request to join the app and give them access to their medical information.

Caregivers can add their loved one’s as well.

Use case

Doctor’s prescription allows for for alternatives.

Alternatives

View alternatives to prescribed medication that are not covered by your insurance.

Use case

Certain medicine brands aren’t covered by patient’s insurance but doctor’s prescription allows for alternatives or generic drugs.

Order Pickup

The app remembers your preferred pharmacy but it will tell you when you can save more by buying your medication from somewhere else.

Once you have placed an order for pickup, a QR code is provided and can be used to collect medicines from your pharmacy.

Use case

Pharmacies located near patient or caregiver’s location/preferred pharmacy have a better price.

 

NEXT STEPS

We presented the final product to our sponsors and received multiple of positive feedback about the concept and its architecture.

 

However, after the final presentation I decided to redesign the interface in order to make it more engaging, fun, and modern for our target audience.

Moreover, I wanted to challenge myself by redesigning the "cards" and creating a new interface that can more strongly follow our visual system and information architecture. For future, I would like to do more rounds of testing to evaluate this newly designed interface.

 

RETROSPECTIVE

THE AMERICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IS BROKEN!

With more than 318k healthcare applications, the traditional healthcare system has not been able to effectively follow the fast pace of technology to address the current needs of its target audience.

The relationship between caregivers, pharmacies, and doctors can be improved by establishing a transparent means of communication and advocating mutual support between each of these three groups.

Caregivers are underprepared to on-demand decision making and require insurance coverage information and medication options to make educated choices that meets the patient’s needs.

PERSONAL TAKEAWAYS

As a designer who was working in the tech industry before joining the MHCI+D program, I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of design projects in academia.

This project improved my skills and enabled me to effectively confront unexpected changes and risks in a design process. I learned how to evaluate the findings more effectively and make changes that support business goals.

Sharing my knowledge about business and project management, as well as explaining the technical requirements of the project improved my communication skills and allowed me to easily work with a team of diverse professionals with different backgrounds and skill sets.

 
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