Vhi Online Doctor: UX & UI Design and User Testing
Optimising the Online Doctor experience within the Vhi app
Vhi asked Graphite Digital to work with them to optimise their Online Doctor service rapidly. As the COVID-19 pandemic developed, it became extremely important for patients to stay safe and only to visit their GP face-to-face if it was absolutely essential. This meant that Vhi’s Online Doctor feature shot up their list of priorities. We undertook user testing, wireframing and concept testing to learn about customer needs before implementing our learnings through UX & UI design to improve the Online Doctor experience in the Vhi app.
The main focus of our work was to bring the Online Doctor feature into Vhi’s app. Although the feature was already listed in the app, once it was clicked, it took users outside of the app to another platform to progress the appointment. Vhi came to Graphite having found a new third party provider and asked us to work with them to create a new, optimised solution inside of the app itself. This would help to improve the overall customer journey and experience when interacting with the Vhi Online Doctor feature, as well as creating consistency.
Vhi also wanted to change the format of the booking process. The old Vhi Online Doctor process put customers into a virtual queue. This had worked well pre-COVID, and users didn’t have to wait long to speak to a GP. However, because of the pandemic, there was a huge increase in demand which created a need for the feature to include an improved booking process and for customers to be provided with set appointment times. This change would contribute to creating an overall improved and more efficient digital customer experience as it would prevent customers from waiting in a queue without knowing when they would see a GP.
We carried out user testing with Vhi customers to understand particular pain points in the user journey and the needs of Vhi customers when accessing Online Doctor. The challenges identified included;
Finding relevant information
The test revealed that users couldn’t find any information on what to expect from the consultation and how it would work. Users assumed they would be told this as they went further on in the booking process, but this wasn’t happening. We wanted to resolve this issue and ensure the process was clear, and all of the information that users needed was easily available on the app.
Booking appointments for dependants
We also learnt that there was confusion around booking appointments for dependants. Parents were booking appointments for their child under their own name instead of under their child’s name. In addition, parents were trying to book appointments for their children under the age of two, when in fact they needed to be at least two in order to use this service. In both cases, this meant that the appointment was booked incorrectly. This was causing unnecessary frustration for worried parents who needed medical advice for their child. We needed to present this information so that parents could clearly identify how to book appointments for children. In addition, errors in the booking could not be easily updated. Parents previously had to work all the way back through the booking journey in order to rebook and add the correct information. We needed to design a solution that would allow patients to edit their details with ease for a frictionless customer experience.
Vhi customers needed the app to communicate what they should expect once they had booked an appointment. Users indicated that being presented with a confirmation of their appointment booking and information around what the next steps were would improve the customer journey. This would help to remove any confusion and/or frustration around the appointment and help customers understand what they needed to do.
These challenges were identified as the key areas where Graphite and Vhi would work together to optimise the Online Doctor customer journey, making it more efficient and improving the overall experience.
As the impact of the pandemic heightened, Graphite needed to work extremely efficiently in order to deliver an optimised customer experience as quickly as possible. Taking Vhi’s and their customer’s priorities into account, we decided to take a phased approach, delivering the most important changes first before starting work on the next area.
Wireframes and concept testing
Using the valuable insights we had gained from our user testing, we created wireframes. Wireframes are an initial sketch of ideas to illustrate what we would like to take into the design phase. We then further tested these concepts with Vhi customers.
We tested two ideas in particular; a long-form with all of the questions on one screen and a step by step form. Users preferred the split booking form as they found the shorter step by step journey clearer, and more digestible. This user decision gave us the direction for mapping our user journeys.
UX and UI design
We began work on the first phase of our designs, incorporating ideas and learnings from the wireframes, user feedback and client requests. This phase focused on the booking journey, the consultations themselves, and a summary screen to load after the consultation.
Due to the huge increase in demand for Online Doctor, we moved Vhi from the previous virtual queuing system to a new booking system. This allowed Vhi customers to log onto the app, choose a date and time that worked for them and book their appointment. We split this journey into more logical steps with screens explaining what would happen next and what to expect along the way.
Previously, the consultation was hosted outside of the app. We helped to move the actual consultation experience within the app to create a more seamless customer experience. We also designed a waiting room experience which the app placed the user into before their consultation until their GP was ready for their appointment. Whilst in the waiting room, patients were also informed of any updates regarding their appointment, such as if their GP was running late. This creates complete transparency with the patient and helps to avoid any confusion or frustration if doctors are running behind on their consultations.
We designed a new summary screen that appeared after the user had finished a consultation. This screen shows any next steps for the patients, such as viewing consultation notes and accessing any prescriptions from their GP.
Once phase one had been delivered and was live on the Vhi app, we began working on phase two of our designs. In this phase, we focused on optimising the Patient Listing and Appointment History areas of the experience.
Patient Listing & Appointment History
Patient Listing allows the user to select a patient name (either themselves or one of their dependants) to view their appointment history. The Appointment History area of the app allows Vhi customers to view any of their previous consultations and access any notes or documents they or their children received during an appointment such as reports, medical certificates and referral letters.
After the launch of phase two, we listened to users and learnt that we needed to adapt and optimise Vhi’s communication through the notifications that their customers were receiving from Online Doctor. We designed and added helpful notifications to the app, such as reminders for upcoming appointments. These notifications helped to reduce the amount of missed appointments and minimised frustrations for both GPs and their patients.
COVID test referral
We also added a ‘COVID test referral’ feature for customers so that they could quickly and effortlessly request a test via the app. This meant that more Online Doctor appointments were being freed up for patients who needed advice on non-COVID related illnesses.
Throughout all phases of Online Doctor, Graphite worked closely with Vhi’s legal team to ensure everything we designed complied with regulations but also provided an exceptional customer experience and visually appealing designs.
The Final Solution and SUS Test
The final solution created was a brand new, fully functioning Online Doctor feature within the Vhi app that would help Vhi customers access support and advice from their GP in a safe and convenient digital environment during the Coronavirus pandemic. We carried out a SUS (System Usability Scale) test with Vhi customers to learn how the optimised Online Doctor feature has improved the customer experience compared to the previous experience. A SUS test is a tool we use to help us to measure the usability of a product. The test consists of ten questions with a choice of five responses for users; from 'Strongly agree' to 'Strongly disagree'.
The feature offers an improved digital customer experience through the addition of helpful notifications, a streamlined booking and consultation process for both adults and children, ease of access to information and clearer expectations.
Within one month (August 2020) of the new Online Doctor launch, utilisation of the service increased by 291%, and within three months (October 2020) of the launch, use of the service had increased by 407%.
The number of successful consultations completed has increased since the relaunch of the feature. In the month prior to the launch (July 2020), there were 1244 successfully completed appointments, and in just three months after the launch, this figure had quadrupled to 5063.
There has been an increase in successful appointments booked for children. In July 2020 (pre-launch), there were only 112 successful consultations completed for children. However, three months after the launch of the new Online Doctor, this number had grown by 33%. Reducing the number of incorrect bookings has drastically improved the customer experience.
Since the launch, Vhi’s overall app rating on the App Store has grown from 4.5/5 to 4.7/5 following an increase in positive user feedback.
We regularly review any user feedback with Vhi and are continuing to work on new phases of design to help further improve and develop the customer experience. One of the next phases of work will involve expanding Online Doctor into international markets.