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Carbon Health Internship

Personalized in-clinic experience

A connected service design prototype that provides a personalized end-to-end in-clinic experience for primary care patients.

Mentors: Pablo Stanley, Eren Bali, Mitsue Karaman
Team: 2 designers, 5 engineers, 3 product managers
My role: Led research, ideation, and delivered experience prototypes of Carbon 2.0. Consulted medical staff members such as nurses, lab technicians, and doctors during the design process. Collaborated with interior designers to align project goals. Also, assisted the growth team with content strategy.
Duration: 3 months (Summer 2017)

About: Carbon Health is an integrated healthcare management solution for small-to-medium-sized providers and their patients with the goal of becoming the world's largest healthcare network.

Disclaimer: Some steps in my process and projects that I have done during my internship is excluded (or blurred) due to confidentiality. The implemented designs may differ.

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Some of my 12-week internship deliverables

The Challenge

Carbon addresses US healthcare system's important problems such as interoperability, transparency of health records, and billing. While as a digital product Carbon was tackling these challenges through its provider and patient app, its in-clinic experience wasn't reflecting the same patient-centered thoughtfulness. To solve this, the team has decided to expand and rethink the experience of their flagship clinic at SF Financial District.

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Thinking Carbon As a Service

To become familiar with the company and get exposed to the medical procedure and jargon, I started mapping Carbon on a service blueprint. I collected pain points, critical moments, ideas, and bugs through contextual inquiries with medical staff, product team as well as patient reviews.

Defining Project Goals for Different Audiences

My research presentation quickly turned into a product meeting where we discussed Carbon's today and future. As an outcome of this meeting, we also defined our initial project goals for our different user groups.

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Co-Designing the New Visit Flow

Then I continued to work on defining the visit flow for patients. As I didn't have enough expertise in medical spaces, I design the flow with our medical team. I printed architectural plans and furniture from Sketchup and asked our staff how they will design the exam room and why. 

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Carbon Clinic 2.0: A Scalable Patient Visit Flow

Finally, I delivered a user visit flow that included several screens such as a check-in kiosk, a lobby display, exam room displays and exam room status displays. All the equipment I selected was available across the country to meet our evaluation metric: scalability to other Carbon in-network clinics.

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A Better Onboarding Experience: The Kiosk Flow

I continued with designing the components. I started by revising Kiosk flow, which is initially designed by Carbon's lead designer, Pablo Stanley.

The kiosk is a built-in mode in the provider/EHR app to turn any iPad into a check-in kiosk. It works as a fallback to onboard patients who don't own a smartphone or have a Carbon account.

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Creating a Unified Onboarding Experience

The biggest challenge was creating a unified experience for patients, who had appointments from different channels such as Carbon app or website, ZocDoc, or phone call whether they are returning or first-time patients.

Mapping the Flow of Environmental Displays

I continued with designing environmental displays. They support Carbon's promise of a smarter and a more transparent experience. I designed all displays to work without any patient interaction, but through the actions of the staff and providers. I mapped all screens to staff actions on EHR app.

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Lobby Display: The First Touch

Lobby display provides an instant confirmation for patients who have an upcoming appointment. We used First Name + Second N. Initial to signify patient identity while fulfilling the HIPAA privacy complaint.

Although Carbon clinics are far more efficient than others, we acknowledge that sometimes a short wait is unavoidable. For those times, I proposed a mini slide deck to highlight the features of the Carbon app to inform patients, who haven't used it before.

Lobby Display: Staff-Only Interactions

As both lobby and exam room displays run on tvOS, I proposed staff-only actions such as how can a room assigned. Practices can authorize themselves in tvOS by using the Carbon EHR (iPad) app.

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Room Status Display: Guiding Patients in Clinic

I aimed to create a more personalized experience by showing patient names on room status displays. In larger practices, these displays primarily work as wayfinding signage.

One major feedback I received early in the process was that some patients weren’t comfortable seeing their names on both lobby displays and room status displays. To solve this, I decided to propose this feature optionally rather than making it default.

Room Status Display: Making Triage Easier

With room status displays, the staff can mark a room as available when their occupancy ends. If they ignore marking it, the system automatically updates the status to "available, but not inspected". 

As mark-as-available is a staff-only interaction, I also designed a hidden gesture to prevent others to run it. To execute it, users long-press the status text at the bottom and swipe it to the right.

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In-Room Display: Building Patient Trust

When patients enter the exam room, they are also greeted with their names via the exam room display. This helps to maintain the conversation throughout the diagnosis. 

As nurses execute the regular triage processes, exam room displays show what a staff member submitted to the system step by step. By this, users can see all of their submitted data such as their vitals, medical history, or the history of their present illness.

In-Room Display: Step-by-Step Transparency

Providers also can use the in-room display to share information such as blood tests, or medical imagery, as well as clinical orders through using the share function of the EHR App.

The system ends the conversation personally and informs patients how the care continues via Carbon mobile app when the visit ends.

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Carbonhealth.com: Revision

I also worked on smaller projects such as the revision of Carbonhealth.com. I unified the visual elements in terms of pixel-perfecting, minimizing the number of used colors. I also updated the copy with our growth manager.

Old Version 

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Revised Version 

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Provider Digest No. 2

In another weekly project, I have teamed up with our Growth team to send the second email digest for business partners. I produced scientifically-correct product shots along with assisting the copy.

As being a lean startup, this email had a lot of new features to digest and show. Using gifs captured all requested features as well as enabled viewers to click and inspect them more.

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Key Learnings

Here are some of the key learnings from my internship at Carbon:

  • Defining what to solve is more important than any solution, especially in high-stakes domains such as healthcare that have complex processes.
  • User research is and should be the core of any well-designed product team. When the research is at the core, it becomes the intuitive way of problem-solving in the ambiguity.
  • Taking risks and failing in the early stages is very important to learn from mistakes and it is the part of the design process.
  • Communication is the most important skill of a designer. Not only communicating visually but also having excellent verbal and written communication is crucial to explain ideas in an understandable way and drive conversations.

Going Forward

I worked with great people and mentors at Carbon Health. Being one of the two designers in the team, I was able to put my hands in different areas of design and collaborate with developers and managers to ship the best work and see some of it in real life.

If I had more time in Carbon, I'd definitely do more user testing and iterate on my final designs, particularly with patients to get my designs validated. While I had the chance to present my work to medical staff and improved the final design accordingly, I was only able to test the screens with our product team and get their thoughts. Similarly, I'm also curious to know how investors or our potential partners will think about the design and to see how successful it will be on persuading them to invest in Carbon.

© 2018 Meriç Dağlı