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.
DIVING INTO THE DOMAIN
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.
No standard processes for many credential classes
Multiple organisations verify the same information
It can take up to 4-6 months to onboard a new doctor
Revenue losses of ~$600k-$900k per doctor
A New Business Model
ProCredEx proposes to streamline this process by setting up a credentials exchange
where organisations can buy and sell credential verifications
BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY will ensure a highly secure, immutable, transparent and verifiable infrastructure
SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS
will ensure that every organisation can meet it's unique credentialing requirements
to retain complete ownership of their personal information and decide who gets access.
DECIDING THE DIRECTION
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
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:
Users will not need to manually check that their organisation's credentialing conditions are satisfied
Users will only need to follow the manual verification process for the exceptions
Users will not have to do the work already done by their peers in the industry
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
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:
Current Process Overview
what is their current credentialing process?
do they find their current process credible?
ProCredEx Beta Demo
do they understand the proposed new business model?
do they have any reservations about using it?
Task flow Usability Testing
do they complete the tasks successfully without much assistance?
do they find the tasks easy and intuitive?
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.
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.
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.