"Love without conversation is impossible." This quote by American philosopher, Mortimer Adler, embodies a fundamental pillar of pMD design - something we'll call "love injection." Ever since the beginning, building software that is as intuitive as it is useful has been a core component of pMD product development. My previous post highlights empathy as the first and most important step of our design process and this post will focus on the upsides of a love injection and how it plays a part in our empathic design process. Love injection is our design team's internal call-to-action whenever our users encounter a scenario that leaves them feeling lost and unloved. Learning how we used it to overcome our missteps in product design will hopefully encourage your health care design team to leverage even more conversations with customers in the future.
Back in the early days of pMD telehealth we had far fewer patients on the platform. Then COVID-19 spread, and everyone was sent home, told to stay there, and attend medical appointments remotely. In the span of a couple of weeks, we suddenly had over 36,000 new patients using pMD for video calls. The deluge of new patient users - many of whom had never used telehealth services before - increased the customer support volume to unexpected levels. Questions we may have previously seen a few times over the course of a week resurfaced several times an hour: "What do I need enabled on my phone to have a video call?", "When will the doctor call me?", "What do I do now?", "I have a question for my practice...", etc.
Immediate steps were taken by our customer success team to create more patient-facing documentation, so our new patient users could feel comfortable using pMD. These updates drastically improved our team’s response to patients, but we knew more had to be done to reduce the reliance on documentation alone while maintaining scalability. This became the catalyst for a new round of updates from the design team to make the user experience as intuitive as possible. Prior to COVID-19, we had been focused on telehealth through the health care provider lens and now it was time to revisit telehealth strictly from the patient's perspective.
To design effectively for patients, we revisited our design thinking process and focused again on empathy and designing with love. I'm referring to the three "laws of love”:
Instead of a traditional user research study, I embraced Adler's quote and joined the support team in fielding phone calls from patients. Effectively, I became tech support for several hours every day. Assisting the customer support team opened my eyes to critical areas for improvement, namely around the onboarding experience for patients. One missing link was to ensure patients enabled all the proper app permissions whilst reassuring those that had properly enabled permissions, that they didn't have to do anything else until the doctor called at the scheduled time.
As I answered patient questions and took notes, I thought about what I would like one of my own family members to see when setting up pMD. From start to finish, the pMD design team ultimately came up with an onboarding experience that we would feel comfortable having our grandparents use - that’s when we knew we had succeeded in injecting more love into the product experience. A week after the new onboarding update was released, the number of support inquiries related to app setup and onboarding before they started their first appointment decreased significantly despite a steady increase in new patient users!
Improving communication amongst the medical care team has long been a focus for pMD. This experience has shown us that we can never pause for a moment from speaking directly with our customers (both providers and patients alike) and showing them some love! I encourage you to open up more conversations with your customers - even temporarily hop in the trenches with your customer support team - and learn how you can give your product a proper “love injection.”