About Redbank House
Redbank House was founded in the late 1970s to provide tertiary diagnosis and treatment for children, adolescents and families having mental health problems. It is part of Westmead Hospital, New South Wales, Australia.
In Redbank House, currently patients give feedback at admission, midterm through their care course, end of the course, and there is also a follow-up survey but these are not well integrated and hard to get useful information out of them. A design project would be to make these more accessible and efficient, align them and design them in a way that they are connected.
How We Worked
I worked together with Min Yi Tan and Elektra Jiang in this project, using human-centered design methodology to understand, define problem, then explore and create solution (see diagram below). We worked individually in the research phase in March 2017 then regrouped in April 2017 to start the ideation, then followed through the rest of the project. The project ended in May 2017.
Methods We Used
In this case study, I want to highlight some of the most important human-centered design methods we used.
Understanding The Problem
The Role of Feedback in Improving Healthcare system
The feedback provided by patient at different stage of the experience pathway and cross different path ways can help form a complementary instrument in evaluating the delivery of integrated care. The insights will be used to facilitate the improvement in quality of integrated care in the NSW public hospital sector.
We recognised the trend of people giving reviews about services, including healthcare, on social channels such as Facebook and Google. Researching these reviews gave us an overview picture before interviewing people at hospitals.
- People described their unpleasant experience in details on Facebook Google Pages.
- Some people didn’t agree with the feedback given, thinking it was unfair to the doctors.
“People give feedback about doctor, but not necessarily about the hospital. There are good and bad doctor in the hospital” - A person commented on Facebook review.
What we want - As healthcare is new knowledge domain for foreigners like us, we want to understand it from perspective of local residents in Sydney. Reading online reviews and discussion wasnot enough. We went to several hospitals in Sydney and had a chat with people at canteen and waiting areas.
The interviews were conducted at several hospitals in Sydney, including:
- Redbank House (Westmead Hospital) - Our focus
- Sydney Children Hospital
Around 25 people interviewed include:
- Patients going for monthly checkup
- Relative and parents of children participating in the treatment program
- Social workers in the hospitals
Why this method - From the beginning, the staffs at Redbank told us about the time-consuming process of distributing, collecting and analysing feedbacks. Therefore, we followed a psychologist in Redbank House for a few hours to understand how the process is being carried out in a daily basis.
Redbank House Feedback Process
After interviewing and shadowing psychologists, we understood the whole picture of feedback process in Redbank House.
Our Potential Users
We then created 3 personas representing our potential users in order to empathise with them.
- James: 61 year-old grandfather who doesn’t have much use for digital technology in his daily life.
- Lucy: 32 year-old girl with a full-on job, living with two uni mates.
- Wesley: 23 years-old male, forever young at heart: no big long-term plans for life – he’ll ride the waves as they come.
People going to hospital for checkup have different concerns at different touch points. We used customer journey to identify the area of problems, and potentially when to offer our solution.
What we want is to solve a problem well at a time. Having discovered other problems in other areas in Redbank House aside from feedback, we want to design and create a significant impact given limited time and resources. Therefore, we used the Impact/Effort scale, commonly ultilised in product development, to prioritise problems.
Impact is measured by frustration level and the the number of people benefits from potential solution. High impact means high number people having frustration greatly reduced.
Effort is measured by how unique and complex the solution will be. High effort means potential solution is unique and highly complex, and that not many of current existing solutions haven’t been able to fix the problems well.
Problems in Giving Feedback
We used affinity mapping to group similar problem together and created pain points themes to understand the core problems. There are 4 of them:
What is a framed problem? Framed problem is a statement that specify the problem to the extent that everyone in design team can understand it as well as the direction of solution. According to IDEO Human-Centered Design Framework, having a framed problem helps design team have the right understanding of the problem, be more confident in exploring creative possibilities and solutions.
How might we make the feedback system in hospitals more accessible, engaging, effective and efficient for people?
Before brainstorming ideas, we agreed on a set of principles to guide our solutions. This created constraints for our ideas and kept us aligned. Within these boundaries, we had freedom to explore many well-focused ideas.
We started with 3 different ideas of how to collect feedbacks from users. However, our solution focused on single aspects of problem:
- Visibility and accessibility - Idea #1
- Transparency and trust - Idea #2
- Engaging feedback - Idea #3
We drew storyboards for our three personas James, Lucy and Wesley to visualise how people will use the product. We then used the storyboards as testing scenarios.
We combined the strength of our ideas and improved their drawbacks to produce a prototype that follows our design principles. The prototype include:
- Designed space for giving accurate feedback.
- Feedback form in tablet for convenience.
- Interactive feedback visualisation to monitor feedback status.
The hypotheses we are testing with this prototype are:
- The stress-free atmosphere can help facilitate communication and feedback.
- People would like to give the feedback in a fast and direct way.
- People would like to track feedback status and view others’ feedback.
User Scenarios for testing:
- Participant is immersed in Healing Garden Simulation
- Participant gives feedback via digital form on tablet
- Participant tries VR/AR demo to have fun and give feedback
- Participant interacts with Feedback Data Visualization
The testing gave us a generally positive results with some minor problems in the interface of feedback form. Most people feel satisfied after giving the feedback and would like to use the product if implemented in hospitals. Most importantly, our hypotheses were proven to be true.
We kept improving the design and getting feedback via user testing. Regarding time constraint of the project, we are satisfied with the final solution.
What I find most useful in this project is conducting interviews and analysing the result using research method to extract insights from it. It was easy to have a fixed mindset in the beginning about problem but being open-minded and using analytical thinking led us to new insights of the actual problem.
Working in a team with people from different background (Marketing, Design, Media) is rewarding and challenging. Seeing problems from perspectives of users and working on solutions from different disciplines help us have creative solutions and possibilities.
Following human-centred design thoroughly was tiring at some points, but practicing them make us understand the framework much more than reading about it.
Update on 30 August 2017: The project was mentioned in University of Sydney News article Design student ideas aid the delivery of better healthcare, receiving positive feedbacks from social workers at Redbank House.