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HEALTHCARE_E7NVIRONMENT-RENDER_09_edited

Eco-Conscious Camper: Can You Be Clean and Green on the Go?

Can campers truly live out their eco-conscious values while ensuring a safe and hygienic outdoor experience?

The Roadblock: Friction in the Check-in Journey

Imagine a hospital experience where check-in is a breeze, and long queues are a thing of the past. This was the vision for Geisinger Health, a leading healthcare provider, seeking to transform its patient intake process. However, inefficiencies in the existing system, including a lack of standardization and heavy reliance on manual processes, were creating bottlenecks and frustration for both patients and staff.

Due to the confidential nature of my work, governed by a non-disclosure agreement, I cannot provide specific details about the project itself. However, I am more than willing to discuss the general responsibilities I am currently undertaking as part of this team.

Client

Geisinger Health

Sector

Healthcare

My Contributions

User Research and Visual Design

Patients & Staff  Seeking Relief

Our mission was to understand the needs of two crucial user groups: patients and staff.  For Patients, They crave a clear, streamlined check-in/out experience to minimize stress during their healthcare journey. Ideally, they want options that are user-friendly and reduce wait times. For Staff, They desire efficient workflows to manage patient flow effectively and reduce their workload. Standardized procedures and integrated technology would empower them to focus on patient care.
 

By understanding the nuances of needs, leverage human-centered design principles to develop actionable insights to help leadership in their vision of a digital first checkin/out process.

..the concern in camping is not about being dirt free, it about being safe. Those are different things!..

- Research Participant

A System in Need: Unveiling Challenges

Through a comprehensive research effort, we delved into the complexities of the existing system. We interviewed patients, staff, and leadership to uncover the root causes of frustration.
Our findings painted a clear picture: a lack of standardized procedures, an overreliance on manual processes, and a decentralized approach to patient account representatives (PARs) were creating bottlenecks and inconsistencies. This led to:

  • Confusions in Check-in: A multitude of check-in options with no clear check-out process left patients feeling lost.

  • PAR Accountability Challenges: The decentralized system meant competing priorities and a lack of clear communication for PARs.

  • Staff Challenges in Payment Requests: Staff discomfort with requesting payments highlighted a training and communication gap.

“..I need to use minimum water. I have environmental concerns about dumping used water everywhere...”

- Research Participant

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A Vision for Transformation: Streamlining with a Digital-First Approach

Geisinger Health leadership envisioned a digital-first kiosk experience to enhance customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Our challenge was to bridge the gap between this vision and reality through actionable research and insights.

We presented our findings to internal stakeholders and meticulously crafted service blueprints. These blueprints served as a comprehensive overview of the patient journey and service models for various check-in methods. They provided a visual representation of the:
 

  • Current State: Reflecting the existing inefficiencies in the check-in/out process.

  • Potential State: Aligning with leadership's vision for a digital-first kiosk experience.

  • Future State: Envisioning a streamlined and optimized check-in/out experience.

“..I need to use minimum water. I have environmental concerns about dumping used water everywhere...”

- Research Participant

Analyzing these service models yielded crucial insights for transforming the role of PARs, addressing staffing challenges, and concurrently improving revenue collection. We proposed a three-pronged approach:

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Centralized
Governance

Introducing centralized governance for PAR management will not only streamlines procedures but also improves communication between different departments.

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Strategic
Harmony

Balancing conflicting department priorities requires customized strategies to achieve efficiency and precision in user experiences.

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Data Quality
Enhancement

Enhancing data quality extends beyond technological upgrades; it necessitates enhancements in training and communication processes as well

Presenting a Vision: People, Process, and Data/Tech

Conveying these insights to senior leadership demanded a clear and concise approach. We translated complex findings into actionable recommendations for the Revenue Management, Operations, and Customer Experience teams, leveraging a framework of "People," "Process," and "Data/Tech." Each team received two targeted recommendations, ensuring a holistic approach to process improvement.

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Process Highlights

Research Highlights

Our team conducted a comprehensive exploration of the current operational landscape, scrutinizing technology, staffing, check-in procedures, operational considerations, and payment collection processes.

Guided by focused research questions, we sought to unravel key aspects:
 

  • What challenges exist within the technology framework?

  • What are the intricacies associated with Patient Account Representatives (PARs)?

  • How is the current check-in service model structured?

  • What refinements can be proposed for the check-in service model?



Early Stage Goals

At the start of our research on Geisinger hospitals' staffing challenges, we recognized extra tasks for patient representatives. Despite limited insights, we outlined our initial plan.

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4-7 interviews with patients and families  about their experience and perspective about current checkin process, including services that they get.

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7-10 interview with staff and providers about their experiences in understanding current workflows, technology adoption painpoints, and other concerns from the following departments:
 

  • PAR/Front End (workstream lead Holt)

  • Rev Management

  • Clinical/Admin 

  • Health IT

  • Patient Contact center

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2-4 interviews with leadership  about their perspective and strategies about staffing challenges.

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Observations and primary research at one of the pilot locations.

We faced our initial obstacle when hospital privacy policies impeded patient interviews. Adapting, we shifted focus to address tech and internal stakeholder challenges, adjusting plans due to limited access. Juggling conflicting organizational priorities heightened the complexity of our research, demanding adaptability.

 

Upon delving into staffing challenges and the role of PARs, our research synthesis revealed strategic imperatives for improvement. Key solutions included streamlining data verification processes, reducing the necessary number of PARs, and strengthening quality control measures to address turnover issues.

 

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Synthesis and clustering of  primary research about PARs and departments

Key research findings

Through the research, we found out the following:

Confusions in check-in

The multitude of check-in options without a corresponding check-out process indicates a potential source of confusion for patients.

 PAR Accountability challenges

The decentralized operational model of PARs resulted in competing priorities and a noticeable lack of accountability.

Staff Challenges in Payment Requests

The reliance on staff uncomfortable with payment requests highlights a potential training and communication gap. 

After sharing our findings with internal stakeholders, we developed draft service blueprints to provide a comprehensive overview of the patient journey and service models for different check-in methods that to communicate the findings and get more insights. We designed a current state blueprint, a potential state reflecting leadership decisions, and a third model for the future. The revelations from these blueprints underscored the necessity to transform PARs, addressing staffing challenges and improving collections concurrently.

Key insights 


Key insights emerged out of analysing current service models and proposed future models:

mirror.png

Organizational
Alignment

Introducing centralized governance for PAR management will not only streamlines procedures but also improves communication between different departments.

union.png

Strategic
Harmony

Balancing conflicting department priorities requires customized strategies to achieve efficiency and precision in user experiences.

data-collection (1).png

Data
Quality

Enhancing data quality extends beyond technological upgrades; it necessitates enhancements in training and communication processes as well

Communicating insights

Conveying these insights to senior leadership (VP of digital transformation, Product management, Innovation operations, and Chief Innovation Officer) was the subsequent crucial step. With these key insights in mind, the team formulated a set of recommendations aimed at enhancing operational efficiency in line with the leadership's vision of implementing a digital-first kiosk experience.

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Challenge

The main challenge was crafting brief and clear information because, from a leadership perspective, there was a preference for easily comprehensible visual content at a glance. It was crucial for the language, visuals, and overall scanability to be simple and straightforward, avoiding any design jargon.

Strategy

The approach was to distill the insights into practical recommendations for the Revenue management team, Operations team, and customer experience. We leveraged the digital transformation team's framework of "people", "process", and "Data/Tech" and devised two recommendations for each of these three categories.

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One pager document for the senior leadership including an overview, stakeholder relations and design reccomendations.

Initial Hurdles and Adapting on the Fly

Our initial plan to interview patients was hampered by hospital privacy policies. We swiftly pivoted our focus to address the technological and internal stakeholder challenges, adjusting our approach due to limited access to patient data. Furthermore, juggling competing priorities within the organization demanded agility and adaptability in our research strategy.

Reflection

My internship at Geisinger Health has been a rewarding challenge. Stepping into an entirely new domain, I needed to quickly grasp the intricacies of a healthcare system, especially within the context of Geisinger's integrated health structure. Demonstrating the value of design in an organization not traditionally design-centric was a key objective, and each small change we implemented within the organization felt like a significant victory. One noteworthy achievement was successfully securing approval and funding for the establishment of an on-site innovation lab. This experience allowed me to collaborate with a fantastic remote team and gain invaluable insights into the pivotal role of patient-centric design in both the patient experience and the business aspects of a traditional healthcare system like Geisinger.

Looking for more?

I am happy to talk more about the project that is not on this website!

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