Hospital visits are stressful: there’s lots of paperwork and your doctor barely remembers you. Our team of 5 set out to improve the patient’s emotional wellbeing and security in the fall of 2008.We conducted user studies with Mayo Clinic staff and patients and designed a system that helps the doctor have more meaningful interactions with patients.

What I Did

The process of medical visits can be very stressful. Our team of five set out to maximize the patient’s emotional comfort throughout the primary care process. We interviewed and surveyed Mayo Clinic staff and patients, and devised a support system that allows more personal connections between patients and the medical staff. All members of our group were equally involved in the research and design phases, and I was most involved in mediating meetings, creating the final mockups, and presenting our solution to the class.

How do we increase emotional comfort?

It’s no secret that doctors are busy and patients feel like they can barely get the medical attention they need. Even at an advanced institution like Mayo Clinic, patients still feel like they are just an insignificant one of many. One patient told us:

I feel like a number.

After exploring scenarios and personas, we proposed a support network between fellow patients, family members, and medical staff. Doctors will only need to be consulted occasionally. This decreases the workload that burdens doctors and increases a feeling of community and comfort between patients and the medical staff.

However, when we interviewed doctors at Mayo Clinic and acquired staff and patient feedback through MadLibs-style journals, there was overwhelming evidence that doctors desire more interaction with the patient. When talking about pain points of the current process, one doctor exclaimed:

I didn’t even see the face of the patient.

Doctors want to see the patients they’re helping, but currently most of their time is spent on paperwork, and it’s hard to remember information about patients who were last seen months ago.

We revised our solution to focus on providing support for meaningful social interactions between the doctor and the patient. The system is an internal tool that all medical staff can access to add notes alongside the medical information of the patient. The system stores a picture of the patient for each visit, provides information on the patient’s family members, and allows the staff to take notes on important events in the patient’s life.

Journey Map

The desktop version provides a comprehensive display of the patient’s personal and medical information, while the mobile version helps doctors to quickly review information while they’re running to their next appointment.