Health System

A large health system wanted to improve the patient experience for new patients scheduling their first appointment. The company brought me in as the lead designer to conduct user research, sketch and validate concepts, and create detailed UI design for a patient-facing and staff-facing application.


The innovation group received an overwhelmingly positive response from top leadership (ie. COO of the health system) and recognition in the system’s “state of the health system” address. The group secured additional funding to build towards their vision for unified care.

The MVP is underway with a release date of May 2020 with metrics towards reducing time from referral received to appointment scheduled.

Case Study

The problem

When a patient is referred to a new health system, their goal is to schedule their first appointment as quickly as possible to get the care they need. Unfortunately, many patients come up against painful scheduling inefficiencies and unclear patient expectations.

This leads to:

  1. huge delays in care
  2. additional stress to the patient
  3. may lead the patient to seek care at a different health system

"This hospital system is like the DMV on steroids" -Patient

Timely access is a critical need for patients. All too often, patients are frustrated by their initial interactions to get scheduled for their first appointment — a process that today is primarily conducted by phone, fax, and hindered by delays and missed communications.

Diving Deeper with Research


We met with stakeholders to get a better understanding of current state and success metrics.

At the time of this research, the health system was consistently falling short of their target for getting patients scheduled.

A graph illustrating the health system consistently failing to meet their target metrics

Other important metrics included:

Customer Research

We met with three health practices and one patient group to understand the current patient experience.


Through research, we created proto-personas to represent our main users and clarify their goals and motivation.

Experience mapping

Synthesizing the research into an experience map allowed us to concurrently illustrate what steps, feelings, and pain points were occurring for the referral coordinators and patients.

Prioritizing pain points

From there, we prioritized pain points with business stakeholders, end users, and the product team. This surfaced two key issues:

  1. Lack of transparency: the patient receives no updates about their referral unless it is ready to schedule
  2. Lack of patient empowerment: The patient is not empowered to take action on their care

The following journey map demonstrates where the pain points occur:

Reframing pain points as opportunities

We imagined what the experience could look like if we offered key digital touch points throughout the workflow:

Creating concepts


A storyboard illustrated the high-level ideal patient experience.

Key activities & features

In reviewing with the team and stakeholders, we focused on the following key activities and features. The experience should:

  1. Welcome patients
  2. Help patients understand next action
  3. Help patients understand progress
  4. Help them get in touch / find relevant resources

sketching & lo-fidelity

We collaboratively sketched. From there, I explored a few lo-fidelity options:

Testing concepts with patients and staff

success metrics

We tracked the following metrics when user testing:

  1. Comprehension: With asynchronous communications taking the place of person-to-person interactions, copy and tone were a huge component of the design.
  2. Task success rate: We gave each task a score of 0 (no trouble - failed to complete task), 1 (some trouble - completed task with some confusion), 2 (no trouble - task completed easily)

gathering feedback

We reviewed concepts with patient and staff.

Design decisions

The key issues we identified after research were the lack of transparency and lack of patient empowerment throughout the appointment scheduling workflow. Below, you can find decisions made to address both issues.


Showing progress is important so that the patient can feel confident they are in good hands.

Examples include communicating next steps in each text message update and using in-app progress indicators.


Empowering patients means that they can take action on their care.

An example of this is enabling patients to upload their latest insurance information.

Detailed UI design

I worked closely with the remote frontend engineer to deliver a pixel perfect patient application experience. Below is a part of the styleguide created in Figma and used for implementation:

The result