CHEN MED EMR Redesign
I led several projects at ChenMed, but the most noteworthy product was redesigning their EMR (electronic medical record) system. It consolidated a doctor’s schedule (in real-time), updated lab results, vitals, diagnoses, and observational information (I.E. “paleness of skin”).
If you’ve ever been to a doctor appointment, there’s a gap in patient-to-doctor face time, because the doctor has to document everything they’re seeing, assessing and hearing. The Dr. notes are sent to the insurance department with “billers” and “coders” which is how the clinic is paid .
I spent a full day each week in real patient sessions. Very quickly, I saw patterns in treatment for patients with specific chronic disease(s). After months of quantitative and qualitative data, and regularly working with the Chief Medical Information Officer (along with the development and product teams), we made practical use of a complicated challenge. The product received rapid adoption and praise across ChenMed’s 30+ clinic business, and aided to automate insurance billing and coding. We also conducted training sessions, where feedback was given for iterations to be implemented.
The creative process with Chen Med’s EMR redesign was very collaborative. Each morning, I met with the executive team and product directors to present and discuss current and future progress. The vision was intrinsically based on a better patient experience, while making the doctor’s responsibilities less based on documentation and more on treating the patient.
The decision to create a touch/tablet interface was made to enable face-to-face contact between the dr. and patient.
Through data, we were able to identify prominent patterns that linked disease, medications, lab tests & results, allergies, and vitals – all of which are billed via insurance.
Our team designed a system that made intelligent assumptions, based on those patterns (which can be modified), and made it “fat finger” friendly.
There wasn’t a hard timeline constraint for this project, so exploration was freeing. As aforementioned, weekly, I spent a full day in doctor sessions, documenting each step of both new and repeat patients. The tech team was very agile and talented, able to ad-hoc the app based on new designs and HTML/CSS provided by me.
My team with ChenMed was very experienced, and if roles weren’t clear, there was enough emotional intelligence to quickly get on par with peers, regardless of discipline. I conducted research, designed wires and tested with doctors while working extremely close with my development team to keep design fidelity. Findings from doctor sessions were shared with the whole team and an empathetic culture was established.
With access to physically be in clinics and observe patient appointments (with their consent), testing, as well as training, was very easy and encouraged. Our users were “power users”, so the feedback typically was feature requests – rarely negative feedback.
ChenMed required little market research. The company operates on an innovative business model “Value Based Service”, which rewards the business for keeping patients out of the hospital. The typical clinic operates on “Fee for Service”, meaning any medication, test, assessment, is charged to the patient’s insurance, treating symptoms but not the patient.
Getting to understanding the “Value Based Service” model was both rewarding and eye opening.
© Jonathon Thomason 2020. All rights reserved.