The COVID-19 crisis is making it much more appealing to do everything from the safety of our homes – shopping, virtual medical appointments, even at-home medical testing, when possible. As a result, there may be some new opportunities for businesses focused on remote and at-home health interventions.
At Mad*Pow, we’ve learned some key insights about the design and delivery of intuitive at-home diagnostic experiences – read on for seven key principles to designing and delivering at-home diagnostic experiences in a COVID pandemic and beyond.
- Simplify the experience
At Mad*Pow, we found that it’s important for products, services, and experiences to be intuitive and simple, even when the technology, operational facets, or other behind-the-scenes aspects of delivery are not.
To begin with, it is critical to ensure product instructions are easy to follow. One way to facilitate that is to create a quick-start one-page guide to summarize instructions, resources needed, and time commitment in a simple visual format, complete with pictures/graphics and how-to steps – all at a fifth-grade reading level.
If the product requires an individual to return the test or sample, the return deadline must stand out prominently. If a product requires a sample of some kind, we find it important to provide examples to illustrate the proper size and quality of what is acceptable – pictures are helpful.
The same is true for providing information about possible contaminants related to the sample. Informing consumers about what and how much of something may contaminate a sample is important as it reduces anxiety and confusion for the individual, making it more likely that the person will successfully complete the sample collection and submission.
It’s not always easy to know if product instructions are simple to follow. That’s why, at Mad*Pow, we consider direct user research in evaluating products, services, and communications. At the same time, we always recommend that employees who serve in consumer-facing roles also complete the process. This helps employees build empathy. It also serves to uncover deeper insights that lead to innovation and problem-solving in everything from the communication materials to the product itself. Sometimes, it even leads to insights on how to better collaborate with caregivers or physicians.
- Incorporate influencers
Including influencers in the conversation should be a priority. An influencer is anyone who affects decision-making for health behaviors, including family, friends, trusted information resources, care providers, even celebrities. For example, the physician will serve as an influencer during the patient’s office or virtual visit. The conversation a physician has with a patient about screenings is a critical part of the experience. Patients often trust their physician and follow their lead on what to care about, what to ignore, and what product to use. Helping connect your product to quality metrics and other population health outcomes can help empower physicians during physician/patient conversations.
- Establish next steps
Setting and sharing expectations for future steps is also critical. Understanding how and when test results will be returned is important to both the patient and the physician. At Mad*Pow, we’ve found it’s also helpful to think a step further. It’s essential to incorporate what comes after the test results – additional testing, a follow-up procedure, or even the next annual screening.
Physician-facing content and caregiver and patient-facing resources, including welcome kits and web content, can help set expectations for all.
- Create an atmosphere of support
At Mad*Pow, when we’ve worked with providers of at-home interventions, we’ve prioritized helping them create an atmosphere of support for patients, caregivers, and physicians through communications by implementing messaging guidelines to establish a consistent and cohesive message and brand voice. The voice, or personality of the brand, helps physicians, patients, and caregivers determine whether they can relate to and trust what the brand promises.
- Position your brand as the helper, not the hero
At Mad*Pow, we’ve also observed how positioning your brand to support patients in meeting their goals is important. Think: What are the ways we can serve as an educational resource for the conditions related to our product? Equipping people with good information to guide their behaviors and protect their health can be invaluable. We’ve found that patients are better empowered to take action by brands and organizations that support them in their goals.
- Foster a patient-centered, test-and-learn culture
And finally, Mad*Pow always promotes patient-centered, test-and-learn organizational cultures that drive continuous improvement. One of the most critical strategies in optimizing patient-centered business outcomes is to invest in the organizational structures and incentives that instill a culture where every employee is an advocate for — and a voice of — the customer. Building a deeply empathetic knowledge about the experience of physicians and patients empowers organizations to anticipate their questions and challenges — and design products and experiences that mitigate or preempt them. Early experimentation and a proactive commitment to patient centricity reduces the risks new projects pose and the costs of rework and reactive interventions.
- Develop a Playbook for Better Patient Experience and Adherence
When a company that offers at-home diagnostic screening kits engaged Mad*Pow to help improve patient experience, compliance, and completion, Mad*Pow married behavior change, experience strategy, and service design to meet the need.
Through robust research, clear guiding principles, and easy-to-follow experience directives, the collaboration resulted in the development of a research insights document, experience journey map and Mad*Pow’s most robust strategic deliverable – a playbook with clear strategies to address barriers to compliance and elevate the customer experience.
The playbook takes in the full breadth of the entire service ecosystem and synthesizes it down to actionable steps, including tactical solutions, such as a welcome packet and a quick-start guide – to drive a better patient experience and screening completion.
Mad*Pow’s research insights document, experience journey map, and playbook are now being used by the screening company to make experience improvements and guide its compliance initiatives.
All of this work was founded on Mad*Pow’s expertise in experience research, strategy, and service design, along with expert application of the evidence-based COM-B behavior change framework and best practices in value-driven, human-centered design.