SMART Charts is a visual data-management tool for educators and healthcare practitioners to track patient and student progress. With goal-writing, note-taking, and session-tracking functions, users can create personalized plans and share information with recipients, family members, and caretakers. SMART Charts is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant.
The founder of SMART Charts would like to test out her product on some of her target users which include speech language pathologists, case managers, and occupational therapists. She's looking to discover what's working with her software as well as what the main pain points are in order to render SMART Charts more competitive.
Scope out and analyze SMART Chart's main competitors
Conduct user research on target users
Synthesize data by creating user personas, customer journey maps, user flows, and high fidelity wireframes
I worked with two fellow UX/UI designers to conduct research, implement proper UX guidelines, regularly communicate with the SMART Charts founder to hear her needs as well as communicate our design decisions, and harness good UI practices to create modified wireframes.
My team chose to evaluate three of Smart Chart's top competitors: Embark EMR, Clinic Note, and SLP Toolkit. For my part, I took charge of researching the strengths and weaknesses of Embark EMR's current software.
Profile of Embark EMR:
• Low-cost, functional solution to creating a full-featured EMR for private practices
• HIPAA Compliant
• Designed with therapists and counselors in mind
• Solves problem of having to use paper, Excel or complex and costly EMR to document patient information and progress
Affordability—plans start at $20/month
Number of providers and clients you can add is unlimited
Online appointment scheduling
Monthly text and email appointment reminders
Create patient goals, use SOAP note manager, and keep track of patient progress
Inclusion of some live charts to provide visual indicators
Online self-pay billing and payments
Online secure provider-to-patient messaging
Provider manager to manage team credentials and increase audit readiness
Doesn’t offer customizable templates
Doesn’t offer document management
UI choices lack consistency and modern-feel, some functions aren’t intuitive
Doesn’t appear to have an option to share session results with patients, family members, and caretakers
Other than a goal completion status pie chart, there is no visual aid to show a patient’s progress
My team was able to recruit a few participants from our own networks in addition to some that were provided by the SMART Charts founder. Due to time constraints, we decided we would combine our interview questions and usability testing into a single session with each participant provided this worked for them. My task was to be in communication with our occupational therapists and to develop a user persona based on my findings.
During our testing sessions, we discovered that some of SMART Chart's features including "adding a new patient," "adding a new goal," and "tracking a new patient session" were causing some user friction and could be improved upon.
Task: Adding a New Patient
• Users struggled to see the asterisks and so thought they were required to input all information in order to add a new patient
• For those with an existing EMR system, they wondered if they could simply transfer already existing patient information to avoid having to re-log everything
• In some cases, the insurance section isn't relevant to all patients in which case these items don't need to be shown
Task: Adding a New Goal
• Users couldn't figure out where to go to add a new goal
• Wasn't obvious that some information fields were optional
• Found it inconsistent that they had to switch between drop-down menus and manually inputting for many sections
Task: Reviewing A Patient's Progress
• Users weren't clear on what the circle icons represented in terms of progress and were confused over whether there was specific meaning to certain colors
• Interest over being able to view one goal's color at a time on the graph
• Some practitioners were concerned over accuracy considering some patients experience "off days" that don't necessarily indicate overall regression
Considering the overall needs, expectations, and concerns of my participants, I created a user persona to help my SMART Chart's team and founder better understand this target audience.
Customer Journey Map
I was then tasked with focusing specifically on the function of "adding a new patient" and mapping a visual to represent the user journey as I currently understood it. At the bottom of the document, I added some suggestions for improvement.
I proceeded to create a user flow that included an optional insurance section to accomodate the fact that some users felt this wasn't always relevant to their patients.
High Fidelity Wireframes
Using my customer journey maps and user flows for reference, I wrote up suggestions for wireframe modifications and then rendered my ideas into high fidelity form.
Original SMART Chart's Wireframes
On the dashboard:
• Allow the “add a new patient” function to stand out more by filling it in with an on-brand color and thereby highlighting it as a primary button
• User has the option to transfer existing patient information with the “upload existing patients” button. For this button, the upload icon and outlined style (rather than filled-in blue) distinguishes this as a secondary button with a different function than the primary one
• Search bar is clear and noticeable and again incorporates one of the brand’s colors
On the new patient page:
• Distribute information into two columns to create cleaner, more professional and accessible feel for user
• Asterisks are larger and in red so that the required information sections are more noticeable
• Allow the user to input more than one diagnosis by including a drop-down menu where they can select from multiple options
• Replace gray exit button in upper right-hand corner with a bolder, larger “X” button to make it stand out more
• For “notes:” specify what is meant by “notes” by adding a clarification in parentheses and create a larger box where the user can type in as much as they need
• User would be presented with the option to select whether the insurance section applies to them or not. If “yes,” then the page would expand to include the full section to complete
• User has the option to either “add another patient” in which case the system would automatically save the current patient information and open a new page to fill out or “save and finish” to simply finish inputting the current patient information
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Through working with SMART Charts, I was given the opportunity to dive into the completely unfamiliar territory of patient charting. This emphasized to me the importance of openly communicating with our collaborator (the founder of the company) and conducting my own research to stay well informed. My teammates and I met with the founder regularly to understand her vision as well as present her with real-time information on what we were discovering about her users and where she could focus her efforts. Throughout our time with her, I was able to explain the UX process to her, clarify the value of each component, and offer her suggestions based on my findings.
Overall, the founder expressed satisfaction over our proposed ideas, modifications, and findings from user research. If I had more time to work on this project, I would dive even deeper into research and explore the following:
• Other user types such as school teachers and nurses
• Usability tests to determine the effectiveness of my high fidelity mockup iterations
• The use of color codes to help make sense of graphing tools
• More customization options including methods of tracking goal completion