IMQ Clínicas, a patient social tracker

A complete product design process, from scratch to client implementation, for a hospital social application.

Overview

IMQ Clínicas is a mobile application that connect the clients of a private healthcare system with their loved ones.

The key feature of this product is a tracking system for patients that provides real time information about their status and location. The objective was to generate a flow of information that relieves the stress of their relatives while they are waiting.

Figure 1. Useful information about the hospital, including emergency status

Discovery

Identification of needs

This project started with a very vague description of needs by the client, IMQ hospitals. They knew that they needed to provide more value to their clients, but they didn't know where to start from.

Our team started by doing a user safari directly on the hospital, visiting all the different departments. We realized that the attention to the patients was exquisite, and they felt so satisfied that there was little to do with them.

But during these visits we realized also that the people who were accompanying the patients were in a situation of great anxiety, and there were no specific services for satisfying their needs. So we decided to create an application for the relatives, instead of the patients themselves.

Then we decided to describe the journey of the companions using a mapping system, based on contextual interviews and direct observation. We identified four critical moments:

  • If we are going with the patient.
    • Before going. What is the occupation of emergency and how long could it take to be attended.
    • Once we have arrived. Where is my relative and how is it going.
  • If we are going to visit an admitted patient.
    • Before going. Which is the room number and what is the direct telephone to contact.
    • Once we have arrived. How can I get oriented in the hospital.
Figure 2. Interactive map of the hospital, on isometrical view.

Finding the solution

The key feature of the platform was to provide a tracking system for the patients once they have been admitted in the hospital. We brainstormed several possible solutions:

  • A tracking bracelet, based on beacons. But the budget for the project couldn't afford such an expensive solution.
  • A manual input in every stage of the process. But the hospital staff had other task to do and couldn't get engaged in keeping this information updated.

Then when we realized one thing. Since the very beginning of the process, patients were assigned to a bed. The flow would be as follows:

Entrance boxes (stretcher number) -> Operating room (operating table number) -> Recovery boxes (stretcher number) -> Hospital room (bed number)

At every moment the patient was assigned to a bed, and all the beds had a fixed position inside the hospital. So we only needed to match the bed code assigned to the patient with the bed position and we could get information such as: the operating room speciality (for example, maternity), the room number or the kind of entry (pediatric, traumatology, etc.). And all this information was already registered automatically by the hospital.

For this tracking solution we needed to manage the contact permissions for accessing medical information, a very delicate issue. That's why we implemented an asymmetrical social network, were every user needed to grant specific privileges to their contacts in order to make them available their tracking information.

Figure 3. Patient tracking inside the hospital, visualized as a timeline with vertical drawers.

Results

Two months after the launch of the pilot, the platform was such a success that it was was adopted by one more hospital, La Virgen Blanca. Nowadays, patients from both hospitals can be connected to their dear ones thanks to a simple matching of databases.

Date March, 2019
Type eHealth, product design, app design

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