Reaimagined the pharmacy experience for the digital age
For my capstone project for BrainStation’s full-time UX program, I decided to tackle the pharmacy experience. From generative research, analysis, wireframing, and prototyping I designed a patient facing pharmacy management app.
Nimble allows users to fill their prescriptions with their phones, access their medication history, receive reminders to take their daily medication, and read accurate, succinct, and jargon-free information about their medicine.
The current experience
Pharmacy plays a vital role in the healthcare system and is one of the most accessible healthcare services in the country—with an estimated 10,000 pharmacies across Canada. Despite advances in scope and access, the pharmacy experience has remained unchanged for over 100 years.
Today, the pharmacy experience is archaic, siloed, and hampered by decades-old regulation. It continues to be held back by 90’s technology and paper-based workflows.
To validate my assumptions and build a hypothesis, I interviewed 6 users. Three pain points quickly emerged:
Filling a prescription for the first time is a dreaded experience. Users described it as slow, cold, and inconvenient.
Users rarely have a way of managing their prescriptions. They often lose track of when they need to get another refill or if they need a new prescription from their doctor.
Users often forget what their pharmacist told them and found the information pamphlet overwhelming. If they have a quick question about their medication, they ask their friends or Google.
Visualizing the experience
I visualized the experience of filling a prescription based on my user interviews—highlighting every action that user needs to take and complementing it with what they are feeling and thinking. This helped me uncover a series of problems that are ripe for solving.
Journey map of filling a prescription at a pharmacy
How might we?
I generated a number of HMW questions from my research. I decided to focus on the three that I felt would make the biggest impact on users.
How might we make it simpler for patients to fill their prescriptions?
How might we provide patients with accurate and easy-to-read medication info?
How might we help patients take their medication as prescribed?
I explored a variety of design options drawing from varying industries—specifically banking and food delivery.
Sketches of a checkout screen, a pharmacy selection screen, and a prescription scanning screen
I ran my early set of sketches through a round of guerrilla testing using Marvel’s Pop app to eliminate poor assumptions and iterate on my design solutions quickly.
Early prototypes launched the app directly into a camera screen to fill a prescription. This proved to be disorienting to users and didn’t align with their expected behaviour.
Users expected to open the app a couple of times a week whereas they would only fill a prescription once a month.
Revisions of the Nimble home screen as it went through user testing
The first set of cards included a lot of text and it was difficult for users to quickly scan the card and know what to do next. It lacked hierarchy, glanceability, and action.
Several rounds of user testing gave clarity on how to help users remember when, how, and why to take their medications.
Medication. Past and Present.
Most users simply don’t keep track of their medication history and if they do, they rely on a number of resources that they’ve glued together.
With this design, I intended to give the user access to their medication information—past and present. And a place to read about their medication in a succinct, accurate, friendly, and jargon-free way.
When a medication is dispensed from a pharmacy for the first time, the pharmacy provides an information leaflet for the patient to take home. When asked about the information leaflet, users found value in it but thought it was difficult to understand at best, and overwhelming and scary at worst.
Using the information provided in the information leaflet and drawing on my healthcare experience I designed and wrote a TL;DR for each medication.
I made sure the language is accurate, friendly, welcoming, reassuring, and easy to understand. The conversational tone resonated well with users during testing.
Medication cards opened a screen outlining pertinent information in a friendly, welcoming, and non-jargon free language
Filling a prescription remotely
A strong signal that I received during user interviews is that users did not appreciate the time they spent filling a prescription. There was a lot of idle time for the user that led to impatience and frustration.
After several iterations and a few rounds of user testing I designed an easy, deslightful, and intuitive prescription filling flow.
Auto-triage and status updates
Users often cited how little they enjoyed waiting around for their prescription. In addition to filling a prescription remotely, I also included required intake questions to expedite the experience and to deliver a safe healthcare experience.
Something else that came often is that users often felt left in the dark. They had no idea what was going on behind the counter—increasing their anxiety towards the whole experience. With Nimble, once a prescription is filled a prominent status card takes precedence on the home screen to keep the patient in the know at all times during the process.