John Muir Hospital
10 min read
The John Muir Physician Network is a not-for-profit health care organization. While I was looking for a new health care provider, I met several UX issues using their website. These issues were interesting enough to leverage them into a study case.
The challenge was to use mixed-methods research methodology to support recommendations.
Through findings of qualitative and quantitative researches, I presented recommendations that could improve revenues and user experience of health care practice websites through the perspective of JMH website.
Both qualitative and quantitative researches revealed that online scheduling is a key criteria when participants are in the process to select a new doctor or healthcare conglomerate. My main recommendation was to deploy the feature to the entire John Muir Hospital network, and also redesign their “Find a doctor” search engine based on the geolocation.
Project type: Health Care organization website
Industry: Health Care
This project was completed as part of a UC Berkeley Extension course.
What I did
Ad for the new Berkeley John Muir Health center.
2019, Downton Berkeley - CA
Photo by Stephanie Lesperance
While I was looking for a new health care provider, I met several UX issues using the John Muir Hospital (JMH) website, such as booking an online appointment.
These issues were interesting to leverage them into a study case about Health Care.
The UX challenge was to use mixed-methods research methodology to support recommendations implying funding an appropriate operating budget.
According to a PatientPop study, that represents a loss of $118,000 per provider per year*.
These numbers were significant enough to keep them in mind while doing my researches.
Being native from Western Europe, I needed to understand better how people apprehend Healthcare and what could be their special needs in a State - California - where about 40% of residents speak another language than English** (or in addition to English) at home!
*Survey shows 44% of healthcare practices aren’t fully booked most days - Patient Pop, 2018
** United Census Bureau - California languages, 2013
Photo by Jonathan Borba
To identify issues new patients could meet while visiting for the first time John Muir Health website, I asked to 4 participants (who never have visited JMH website before) to perform few tasks such as find if the conglomerate accepts their insurance plan, use the filter and find a practitioner, and schedule online a first appointment with a practitioner.
Then I probed for additional information so that I could fully understand their thoughts and opinions about the current JMH website.
The Usability Test was the first step to identify several issues new patients could encounter that would likely affect the JMH website conversion:
UX + Information Architecture
These slides regroup the detailed findings.
I organized a round of four interviews to understand participants' motivations, behaviors, and needs.
🧐 In our "Yelp World," it was interesting to hear that participants still prefer to refer first to family, friends or, co-workers when choosing a new practitioner.
From those tests and interviews, I was able to prioritize issues:
Short term projects
While the two first issues (Health care plan page and urgent care labeling) could be implemented on a short term schedule, with a minimal budget...
Long term and projects
...Redesigning the Search page and expand the online scheduling system to the entire JMH network would be a larger project implying working across departments and likely extra funding.
Results of the Surveys (Survey Monkey)
Study results: I didn't expect that about 25% of the participants need to speak their mother tongue with their doctor!
On a field, to convince stakeholders launching such project, I would need quantitative data to support my recommendations. I conducted then two external online surveys (Survey Monkey) to understand:
🧐 Ideally, on the field, I would also conduct interviews and surveys with JMH doctors - half already using the online scheduling tool, the other half no.
Prefer to schedule online their next appointment
Proximity with the doctor’s office in their main decision factor
Find important to speak another language than English with their doctor
In the survey, on a scale to 0 to 10, the presence of a profile photo on a doctor's website/page was marked 2.8 (between not important to somewhat important).
Which doesn't fit with my observations during the usability tests!
... might be different from what they do!
Once on the SERP - which is a long list of doctor profiles - all participants scrolled down - or patiently browsed several pages, and only then, they selected a contact card with a profile photo.
I asked why: participants answered that profile photo gave them a good first impression. A participant specified he found "suspicious" the doctors who don't publish their profile photo!
First Impression matters
Profile photos engage users and help building trust. They grant more credibility while users are seeking critical information.
🧐 Another possible interpretation: participants of the survey might not want to admit they give importance to profile photos by fear of being judged or they simply don't have conscience they do it!
The participant visited several pages before having a look further on doctors' pages: he only picked doctors with profile photos available!
Several recommendations I did: some are an "easy fix", some are more important and long-term projects, demanding further researches, extra-fundings and working across departments.
Deploying this feature to all JMH doctor network should be a top priority.
Other interesting data to leverage
What I learned
This project was the opportunity to get a better overview of the Health Care Industry, and understand how UX searchers and designers might improve the way that people interact with health care. Nothing is more important - especially in Health Care - than creating efficient and consistent interactions between humans and systems.
UX writers often point out the importance of using plain language and avoid vague jargon when creating content. I could realize how this rule is crucial in the health care industry: during the usability tests with the example of "urgent care" label that most participants (both native and non-native English speakers) interpreted it as "911 urgent care level". Originally, that label was created to schedule non-urgent appointments!
From the angle of John Muir Hospital website, I used different search methods to understand patients needs and habits.
I used qualitative searches (user testing, interviews, observation) to detect a pattern (participants seem to be familiar with online scheduling). This pattern was confirmed with the two quantitative searches (participants already use online scheduling, why they use it and how they feel about it).
On the field, combining the results of the different searches would help to convince stakeholders to improve the SERP and doctor pages - a long term project requiring funding.
What would I do differently today?
If I had to work on this project again and have access to JMH doctors network and patients:
LET'S BUILD SOMETHING MAGIC TOGETHER
Whether you are looking for a seasoned Product Designer to add to your team or just curious to know more about this case study, reach out and tell me what's you're up to.
I am always on the lookout for my next challenge!
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