At Genie Solutions, our focus has always been on the customer, and ensuring we provide a software solution that will help medical professionals deliver better health outcomes. This is why whenever we create new additions to our products, Genie and Gentu, we use a co-design approach. So what exactly is co-design and how does it benefit your practice management?
The principles of co-design in health
Co-design is a system of working that combines professional expertise and first-hand experience to create an outcome or a product. The principles of co-design ensure that the expertise of our users is combined with the expertise of our team of designers and developers when we create new product solutions.
“Instead of looking inward at what our organisation knows, we open up the design process to our users,” says Tam McKenzie, Senior Product Designer at Genie Solutions. “No matter if you’re a software expert or dealing with patients day-to-day, co-design in healthcare encourages us to work together and all opinions are respected as equal in the design of our products.”
Why we use co-design
One of our main goals is to help medical practitioners improve health outcomes for their patients through streamlined practice management. To be able to do that, we need to know what challenges our users face — and the best people to explain that to us are our customers. “Co-design helps us to design a more informed product for our customers, by making sure the subject matter is informed by our actual users,” says Komal Rele, Senior Product Designer at Genie Solutions.
The co-design approach is spearheaded by the User Experience (UX) team and goes beyond just consultation. It’s about collaborating equally with all stakeholders — from our software developers to medical receptionists — to ensure that the very best solutions are conceived and delivered.
How we use co-design
We use a co-design approach on every single project we undertake. “Co-design is not a ‘nice to have’ — it’s part of our everyday process,” says Michael Wilkins, Senior Product Designer. Whether it’s big or small, there is always an element of collaboration in play.
From online surveys and phone interviews, to on-site visits, our team first collects information from our stakeholders on the challenges they are facing, to new ideas and product requests. From there, the Genie Solutions UX team looks to prototype software solutions and again use the principles of co-design in healthcare to talk to all stakeholders to receive feedback before implementation.
Case study: Prescribing module
The UX team at Genie Solutions wanted to take a fresh look at the prescribing module when it came time to design for the cloud workflow. The team assembled a group of ten user subject matter experts and worked with them for four months, conducting research to identify any problems with the existing solutions, any pain-points that other solutions haven’t addressed and the expectations of the users. This research eventually became sketches and, as Tam says, “We started with a lot of ideas but through talking with our users, we were able to narrow them down. The concepts started off rough, we even did paper prototypes! However as we refined our ideas through engagement with the users and the product and development teams over the 4 months the design become more and more like it would look in Gentu.”
This process meant that the team was able to create a module that supported the Gentu user’s workflow and captured everything that they would need it for. Within the first week of the module’s release, over 300 prescriptions were generated, and even users who weren’t included in the research group commented on how much they liked the feature.
Why co-design in healthcare works
We are always looking to do things better — and differently. Unlike other teams, the Genie Solutions UX team uses the co-design process every day. And as a result, users not only get access to new product features and early releases, they also get to contribute to the solutions that are built.
Tam knows that the users are really the experts of their experience. “Often we find our customers use our product in ways we never could have dreamed of — so if we’re not getting out there engaging with our users so closely, we just wouldn’t know,” she says. “With co-design, you get to see the best case scenario, worst case scenario, and also things that change your perspective and you can adapt and change your approach.”