A Guide to User-Centered Healthcare Software Design and Development

Designing for Clinical Workflows: Stakeholder Considerations

Whether your app is intended for a hospital, clinic, hospice, or even personal “home” setting, digital health software is often complex, involving different user personas interacting together. Clinical environments, in particular, contain a large number of autonomous patient-care delivery professionals. Typically, each member has a pre-scheduled list of patients. When a difficult case presents itself, multiple staff members may collaborate on the case to gain experience. If there are no available means to perform patient care workflow progress checks, the primary caregiver would need to physically check-in with colleagues. Without this physical status update, the clinician would need to keep checking until the case is ready for them to do their portion of the workflow.

Consider the following as an example of a cardiac exercise test workflow:

Cardiac Exercise Test Workflow

Cardiac Exercise Test Workflow

In this scenario, each member of the patient care team works through his or her respective portion of the workflow until the case is complete. If the system is not able to identify the progress of the case, team members will not know when to contribute.

Traditionally, a piece of paper is used to synchronize a patient care team. Receipt of the paper implied that it was that team member’s turn to commence work. It is much more efficient to let people work when they want, and do as much work as they want. For this reason, healthcare software should support a workflow process where each member is empowered to have autonomy over tasks, but is able to get a sense of how many tasks need to be completed overall.

Communication between healthcare professionals, and with their patients, is largely asynchronous. This asynchronous user behavior needs to be understood by developers so that the resulting application maps to the right user personas and the existing workflow process.

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