ProCredEx

 

Transforming Healthcare Credentialing with Blockchain

 

ProCredEx is a proposed digital marketplace that aims to revolutionize medical credentialing. This new business model could lead to savings of millions of dollars in annual revenues for hospitals.

 

Our  4 member design team  was tasked with building and testing a mid-fidelity prototype for a desktop based medical credentialing application over a 4 week period.

 

DIVING INTO THE DOMAIN

 

The Industry

Medical Credentialing is the mandated process that involves gathering and verifying all the credentials of a healthcare professional before they are taken on hospital staff. At present this process is extremely manual, unstructured and long drawn out.

Unstructured

No standard processes for many credential classes

Redundant

Multiple organisations verify the same information

Time Consuming

It can take up to 4-6 months to onboard a new doctor

Expensive

Revenue losses of ~$600k-$900k per doctor

A New Business Model

ProCredEx proposes to streamline this process by setting up a credentials exchange

Product

CREDENTIALS EXCHANGE 

where organisations can buy and sell credential verifications

Infrastructure

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY will ensure a highly secure, immutable, transparent and verifiable infrastructure

Customized

SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS

will ensure that every organisation can meet it's unique credentialing requirements

Ownership

HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

to retain complete ownership of their personal information and decide who gets access.

DECIDING THE DIRECTION

 

 

Narrowing Focus

When we started, ProCredEx only had a series of screens showing verification details that will be available on the exchange. Ultimately they would need four user applications for their product. Considering our time constraints, I steered our first meeting with the CEO to decide on one primary user and three major task flows as our focus for this project.

Setting Project Goals

Once the general direction was established, we zeroed in on two primary goals for the project 

2

PRIMARY GOALS

First, to find out if the proposed ProCredEx solution would in fact make the credentialing process more efficient and streamlined

Next, to design an application interface which at once feels familiar and intuitive to users and allows them to complete their intended tasks easily and efficiently

UNDERSTANDING THE CREDENTIALING PROCESS

 

 

Comparing What Is To What Could Be

 

If adopted, ProCredEx has the potential to streamline medical credentialing in the following ways:

Customised to organisation rules

Users will not need to manually check that their organisation's credentialing conditions are satisfied

Verify only exceptions

Users will only need to follow the manual verification process for the exceptions

Reduce redundancies

Users will not have to do the work already done by their peers in the industry 

Standardisation

Over time credentialing processes across the industry will get more standardized, leading to more efficiency 

The Big Picture

Before we jumped to wireframes and prototypes, I wanted to take a step back and think about whether we might be overlooking any big picture concerns that might prevent users from using the new platform.

For ProCredEx to work, users would need to feel confident about the veracity of the verifications they were purchasing. They would need to  trust the verifications on two levels  and we decided to also explore this direction in our user interviews.

Trusting the platform

Users should be able to trust the exchange platform on which they can view, access and acquire the verifications

How can this feeling of trust be conveyed without needing users to understand the inner workings of blockchain technology?

Trusting the work of others

Users should be able to trust the work done by their peers across the industry.

What information about existing verifications would users need to see for them to trust the work done by other credentialing specialists?

 

 

BUILDING THE TASK FLOWS

We started building a basic prototype of the new product to conduct our fist round of user interviews. 

 

Putting Our Thoughts To Paper

We began by jotting down the specific steps that users would need to take for each major task flow under the new process. This outline was primarily based on desk research and discussions with Anthony. This exercise helped bring clarity on the details of each task flow and got all team members on the same page.

 

The Three Task Flows 

For each task flow, we first finalized the steps, sketched our ideas on a whiteboard and then created mid-fidelity wireframes using Sketch.

 

#1: Gaining access to a new Provider's portfolio

The key feature of the first task flow was giving users the ability to instantly request access to a provider's portfolio, which could then be approved in one click by the provider on their companion app.

#2: Acquiring verifications on the exchange

The key functionality of this task flow was to provide users with the ability to easily view and acquire verifications from the exchange.

 

For the first part, we relied on the client for verification details that would be relevant to users before they make an acquisition. This was then tested with our users for adequacy.

 

For the second part, our primary aim was to create an experience which is familiar and intuitive to users - following a path similar to most online shopping websites.

#3: Resolving discrepancies (missing documents)

This task flow allows users to revert back to their manual verification process for the exceptions. Once verified, users can then upload the newly verified document on to the exchange and become owners of a new verification.

We allowed users to easily notify the provider about a missing document with just one click

While uploading a new verification on the exchange, users would have standardized form fields to select for each class and type of verification, reducing the chances of data errors.

 

Once finalized, we created our first prototype using InVision and started user testing.

TESTING OUT PROTOTYPES

 

 

Testing Strategy

Due to the highly specialized user base and their scheduling limitations, we could get access to only 6 credentialing specialists over the 3 week period. I worked around this constraint by scripting our user interviews such that we could get answers to both exploratory as well as evaluative questions during each interview:

(Exploratory)

  • what is their current credentialing process?

  • do they find their current process credible?

Current Process Overview

(Exploratory)

  • do they understand the proposed new business model?

  • do they have any reservations about using it?

ProCredEx Beta Demo

(Evaluative)

  • do they complete the tasks successfully without much assistance?

  • do they find the tasks easy and intuitive?

Task flow Usability Testing

Design Refinements

The prototype went through 2 rounds of user testing covering a total of 9 evaluative tests. 

Following are the major design refinements that were included in the second prototype:  

HAVE/NEED TOGGLE FEATURE

We received feedback that users might already have a verification in their records. In that case, they would still need to update the platform so that the professional can be marked as 'Compliant'. 

We designed for this by adding in a 'Have/Need' toggle feature which would allow users to mark a verification as already in their possession.

 

4 out of 5 users successfully used the toggle option without any assistance and 1 user successfully completed the task after receiving some more explanation about the situation when they would need to use the toggle feature.

CHAT FUNCTIONALITY

We received feedback that just sending a system-generated message to the practitioner might not be sufficient in most situations. 

We solved for this by adding in a chat functionality through which users would be able to communicate with the practitioner directly on the platform:

5 out of 5 users successfully used the chat functionality without any assistance. We also learnt that the chat message should be accompanied by an email notification to ensure it receives attention from the practitioner.

 

 

 

DOWNLOAD MASTER DOCUMENT

 

We learnt that our users need to compile all the verifications in one place so that they can be easily accessed by different parties. 

We designed for this by creating a one click option for users to preview all acquired verifications in a single Master PDF file.

 

5 out of 5 users successfully completed the task of downloading a Master PDF. We also learnt that users wanted the ability to save each credential class separately.

Usability Findings 

 

The second prototype was tested with 5 users. Overall we did not encounter any major usability issues. HOWEVER since our tests were still at a new process evaluation stage, we recommended more thorough usability tests as a follow up.

5

USERS

ALL USERS completed task flows 1 and 3 sucessfully without any assistance 

4 OUT OF 5 USERS completed task flow 2 sucessfully without any assistance

ALL USERS found the task flows intuitive and easy to understand

ALL USERS' correctly interpretated the significance of the Red-Amber-Green colors

Final Prototype

 

 

After the project was completed, I added visual design elements to arrive at the final hifi prototype: 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

 

Exploring Trust

Trusting the platform

Trusting the work of others

I initially imagined that one of our big objectives would be to enable users to trust the blockchain platform.

But none of our users questioned the technology.

Users' immediate concerns seemed to be whether they could depend on the work done by other credentialing specialists.

ProCredEx should focus on this aspect of trust 

Designing For Trust

Exploring the causes for mistrust

The main reason for the mistrust is that verification processes across the industry are extremely unstructured and non-standard – what one organisation considers as a credential might not be sufficient for another organisation. 

TRANSPARENCY

All our users said that they would depend on the verifications performed by another credentialing specialist if:

 --> they could see all the relevant details of the verifications, and

 --> they were satisfied with process followed.

STANDARDIZATION

Ultimately, only complete standardization of the verification process across all classes of credentials will enable users to trust each others' work and this would require industrywide agreements between healthcare organisations. 

 

 

 

My Recommendations

At this point, adding as much transparency as possible for each verification and having a standardized process of uploading verifications is the way to build trust amongst users and also to increase awareness about the verification standards used by different organisations.

 

Over time, this is likely to lead to more standardization, allowing credentialing specialists to confidently rely on the ProCredEx platform as a means to make their worklives more streamlined and efficient.

get in touch
kavita@kavitarajput.com
linkedin/in/kavita-rajput