Vhi Innovation Workshop

Creating an innovative online booking service for doctors appointments

The Brief

As a business, Vhi are prioritising innovation and have asked Graphite Digital to run three Innovation Workshops a year with them. This case study will be exploring the first of those.

The main objective for this innovation piece was that it had to be something that was application-focused and that was a midterm solution.


The Story

Graphite split this innovation sprint into three phases of work.

Workshop Preparation

We quickly set about understanding Vhi’s business and workshop goals to set the foundations for the project. Setting these out clearly at the start ensured that the team were all aligned and could make sure that all the decisions that were made throughout the process would help towards achieving Vhi’s goals.

The goals for this project were:

  • To raise awareness of the Vhi app amongst both new and existing customers.
  • Shift customers' perception of Vhi from a health insurer to a health provider.
  • To create something that will be beneficial to Vhi members, backed up by real-user insights and data.
  • To get ahead of the competition and showcase this work through PR opportunities.

We then began to crowdsource our problem over a remote collaboration tool called Miro. This allowed us to collect ideas and thoughts from everyone within the Vhi Squad to identify the areas that we would be innovating in. We narrowed our ideas down to just five in a group vote. Our decisions were based on current challenges, goals for the workshop and areas we felt needed some innovation.

We then conducted desk research on each of the subjects against five criteria points;

  • Does it align with our project goals?
  • Is there a want or need for this to be solved?
  • What are competitors doing in this space?
  • What are the trends around this right now?
  • What insights can we find on this?
  • Are there any similar products currently available?

These criteria helped the team to narrow down their top five subjects to just one; creating an all-in-one in-app booking service.

idea generation

Innovation Workshop 

Day One: Learning

The first day of our workshop was focused on coming up with and sharing ideas. We began by presenting our overall user research findings with Vhi’s customers on their experience of the current online booking journey.

We also had 2 speakers from Vhi who gave an insight into Vhi’s current customer lifecycles and helped inspire the group to come up with new ideas.

We then began creating post-it notes on Miro using the ‘How Might We’ framework e.g ‘How might we ensure that users fully understand the booking process?’

Day Two: Ideation

On the second day of the workshop, we focused on turning our ideas into concepts. We split into groups of three and began to sketch and outline together early ideas, capturing as much as possible to then present back to the group. A group vote was then taken on which of the concepts should be developed and worked on further. 

By the end of the day, we had four concepts drawn out as early prototypes:

  • Yearly health checker - A concept to help users with their ongoing healthcare goals by directing them to the correct services to help them achieve them.
  • Chat triage - A chatbot that could suggest what service you may need to book.
  • Chat booking - Not going down the traditional form of booking, but making the booking process feel more like a conversation to help speed up the process.
  • Aftercare - Making sure our members are getting the right services they need and are recovering well.

Days Three & Four: Creation & Validation

Days three and four were dedicated to prototyping these ideas into five different journeys. 

The prototype combined all of Vhi’s healthcare services into one simple gateway, that would allow users to quickly book via a simple booking form or chatbot interface, which embraces Vhi’s partnerships. The purpose of a prototype is to demonstrate the UX, functionality and concept of a product idea at speed, saving money and evidencing value. A prototype is then developed based on user testing and feedback into a more robust and visually appealing product.

prototype screens

We then tested these journeys with real Vhi customers to understand which concepts were most popular.

We received an incredible amount of positive feedback from users and achieved Vhi’s project goals:

  • Raise awareness - 80% of users commented on the chatbot service directions and said that it provided an easy gateway to relevant services and would be happy to book.
  • Change perception - 80% of users mentioned that after seeing our prototype, they saw Vhi as more than just a health insurer. They pointed out that there were multiple services that concentrated on mental health and overall wellbeing, and felt that Vhi were working hard to support people on their health journeys.
  • Benefit users - All users said that the booking experience was a great improvement from the way they currently have to book appointments; “I like it way better. The last few appointments have been quite stressful, hard to get through on the phone. It's been quite frustrating, not knowing how to do it in COVID times and what's going to happen. You try to put it off. This is really easy and clear.”
  • Staying ahead of the competition - Features like service directions and aftercare were a pleasant surprise to the users and something they hadn’t seen before. The form booking journey was felt to be a vastly improved experience in terms of speed, ease of use and convenience compared with their last appointment booking.  

Whilst insights from the users told us that our overall prototypes were a success, we also learnt which aspects of the concepts didn’t work so well allowing us to learn, adapt and improve our prototype. 


The Outcome

The collaborative nature of Graphite’s relationship with Vhi continues post the Innovation Workshop. Our delivery team has continued to work closely with Vhi to schedule the launch of this prototype into their 2021 roadmap for maximum impact.

Our work with Vhi on the Online Doctor project was highly commended in the 'Health and Pharma' category in The Drum Digital Industries Awards 2021. 

A graphic that says 'The Drum Digital Industries Awards 2021: Highly Commended'


“The Graphite team ran an excellent innovation workshop. The workshop preparation was incredibly thorough and always aligned with our project goals. The innovation sessions were fun, interactive, informative and energetic. The outputs of the workshop exceeded our expectations and pushed the boundaries of what we had hoped to achieve at the outset.” - Denis O'Neill, Senior Product Owner at Vhi


Looking to Innovate?

Digital innovation is at the heart of Graphite. We encourage an innovative mindset when working with our clients, as well as in our internal squads. To learn more about our Innovation Framework, you can read our internal innovation case study to explore how we innovated to improve the blood donation journey, learn more about how to run an Innovation Workshop remotely, or visit our Innovation Workshop service page.