Massachusetts General Hospital Virtual Visits

What can others learn from how you conceived of and designed your mobile solution or application?: 

Understanding the MGH stakeholders/client audience was important. Knowing that doctors and practitioners are less “right brain” than designers, Mad*Pow conducted an internal design studio session, before the MGH client design studio. This allowed us to bring initial concepts to the MGH design studio, and present them a workshop setting that allowed the client to better express what they wanted to achieve with the redesign. Bringing initial ideas to react to, vs. have the client try to identify ideas, allowed us to achieve a more efficient design/discovery process in the early stages of the project.

Please describe how the concept for your mobile solution or application came about, and what research, information, inspiration, etc. informed it.: 

Mad*Pow began this program by conducting extensive audience research to uncover the best and worst features of the pilot version of the Virtual Visits site. As a collaborative effort, the patients, providers, and the Mad*Pow team conducted numerous contextual inquiry sessions. Through these meetings with patients and providers, Mad*Pow uncovered details about how this service would fit into the lives of its disparate audiences. This included hearing from one user who was able to save 6 hours of travel time from Cape Cod to Boston by participating in the Virtual Visits program for her hypertension check-ups.

How does your mobile solution or application take advantage of the unique device capabilities, contexts of use, modes of use, and other factors to create a new and valuable experience or utility?: 

This mobile solution is accessible on any device. It also integrates the GPS feature to look up the location of nearby pharmacies, divide forms into smaller sections to make the content more digestible in a mobile context, and prioritizes the visualized patient data to allow physicians to more efficiently complete tasks in both a mobile and a desktop environment.

In what ways has your mobile solution or application benefited the lives and/or work of its users in ways that weren’t previously possible?: 

This mobile application is designed to change the way patients and doctors interact to help support a simplified, long term relationship. For providers, “seeing” more patients via Virtual Visits can save the practice time and ultimately lower costs. Patients found it extremely helpful that Virtual Visits provided convenience, speed, and efficiency to their routine health care visits. Virtual Visits also supports lower healthcare costs, as there are no co-pays for using it. The user experience supports and encourages repeat engagement by establishing trust and clinical credibility, and by illustration a friendly tone and style.

If applicable, how did you adapt your solution or application to differing platforms?: 

The MGH Virtual Visits website was designed responsively, so it adapts to whatever device it’s being accessed from—desktop, tablet, smartphone.

How might your mobile solution or application serve as inspiration or a starting point for future innovations for mobile platforms?: 

By facilitating the communication between physicians and patients using available technology, Virtual Visits sets an example within an industry that is often slow to adapt to the ubiquity of consumer technology. MGH handles over 1 million outpatients each year at its main campus, as well as at 7 satellite facilities in Boston. The Virtual Visits Application now welcomes patients from 5 of those locations, including: Beacon Hill Primary Care, Department of Psychiatry, Crohn’s and Colitis Center, Downtown Primary Care, and Everett Family Care. Looking into the future, MGH would like to expand Virtual Visits to all of their practices and perhaps to other hospitals and healthcare organizations.