MA in Design in Health
How might we design a care system for COVID-19 long-haulers that flexes to meet the challenges and uncertainties facing patients?
The COVIDConnect team worked with the University of Texas at Austin’s Post-COVID-19 Clinic. Our client was Dr. Michael ‘Mike’ Brode, MD, at the clinic. The project was completed over a 15 week period where we interviewed patients, created and ideated concepts, produced and tested prototypes, and we created a final presentation with our findings and recommendations for the clinic.
We started our research on 2/11/22 where we narrowed our scope, completed our primary and secondary research, and synthesized our research findings. After our research was completed, we started the ideation process where we defined our challenges, brainstormed possible solutions, and identified ideas to prototype. We then started prototyping on 3/11/22, where we created low fidelity prototypes, received and implemented feedback, and revised these prototypes. Lastly, we started testing on 4/18/22 and tested our prototypes and refined them until they became our final deliverables, which were presented in our final presentation on 5/3/22.
While we worked as a team of five on this project, we all had different roles. I was the Project Manager and Design Researcher. Adan Tijerina was the Content Matter Expert and Project Manager. Jared Cruz was in charge of Client Engagement. Lana Schommer was a Content Matter Expert and Visual Designer. Shariq Mallick was a Scribe and Design Researcher.
Our client gave us a challenge that we could work on where they believed design could help them the most: “How might we design a care system for COVID-19 long-haulers that flexes to meet the challenges and uncertainties facing patients?”. We performed design research to understand the struggles of a typical patient that the Post-COVID-19 clinic would see, consolidating that into a persona named ‘Claire’. We created three different concepts, which included a website reorganization, group visits, and an email template for patients. These three concepts were thoroughly tested and ideated on, and the deliverables included: a site map and recommendations list for the website, a recommendations list for the group visits concept, and a usable template for the clinics’ email. I specifically created the site map and recommendations list for the website, and I created and prototyped the first email template.
We worked with our client throughout the entirety of the project, and met with them nearly every week to go over our findings and research. We occasionally worked inside of the clinic to get a feel for what the patients go through when they step inside the clinic and throughout the entirety of their visits at the clinic. This allowed us to experience any pain points they had within the clinic first-hand. Lastly, we engaged with our target audience which were the patients at this clinic by interviewing them and having them test our prototypes throughout the design process.
While not every idea and concept we created was brought into the final deliverable stage, we did repurpose our ideas and reoriented ourselves as needed, which helped us to see which concepts were most needed and most helpful for this patient population. The first deliverable, the website reorganization concept, aimed to help Claire more easily navigate and use the website. The second deliverable, the group visits concept, aimed to make a space for patients to connect with one another in a healing, therapeutic manner. The third and last deliverable, the initial patient contact email template, aimed to have more consolidated information for patients that was easy to understand and take in.
Overall, we ended up with three final deliverables, which we transferred to our client at the end of the project so that the clinic could use and implement these findings to help their patients. The clinic has plans to implement all of our recommendations, especially the initial patient contact email template since it is ready for them to use.
We learned that patients want easy-to-find information online, they want to be prepared for their appointment, and that they want validation and affirmation of their symptoms and experiences.
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