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Every month, we hold an all-hands meeting for engineering, product, and design. The agenda always starts with a cherished tradition, “MeetMe’s.” Each newly-hired team member introduces themselves, including what we can’t find on LinkedIn and a special talent. These introductions consistently do not disappoint. As a way of sharing this fun tradition with folks outside of Grand Rounds, we launched this virtual version.

Welcome to our MeetMe web series. In each episode, we interview someone on the engineering, product, or design team to learn more about them and their team’s work. We talk about what matters most to Grand Rounds contributors and how they bring their best selves to work every day. We hope that through this series of peer-to-peer interviews, you get to know our team, as individuals and as a group of people with shared goals and values.

Our third MeetMe is a conversation between designers, David Moore and Tony Kennedy. Watch the full video of Tony interviewing David or see highlights from the conversation below.

Tony:
Hey, and welcome to the Ground Rounds Health MeetMe web series. In each episode, we’re talking with a few members of the Ground Rounds Health team. This week, we’ve got the designers on board. So you’re going to hear from a couple of designers on the team. My name is Tony. I’ve been with Ground Rounds Health for about a year and a half, working as a senior designer on everything from our mobile app to our find care tools. You’re going to meet a number of… another person I’ve been working with, David. David, tell us a little bit about yourself.

David:
As Tony mentioned, my name is David Moore. I’m a staff product designer here at Grand Rounds. I’ve been here for a little over a year with a focus on our brand refresh, accessibility, and building out our design system. Really exciting stuff going on right now.

Tony:
Seeing the rebrand recently go live, it’s been awesome to see the impact that design can have on a product overnight. As designers, you don’t get a chance to do that very often, where you can change the look and feel of so many things very quickly. It’s been cool to see. We’ve both worked in a lot of different areas in design, David. What about healthcare tech has been most interesting to you?

David:
I think there’s two things. One, it’s a challenging field. We have a very large demographic. We have many different things that we’re trying to solve for — whether it’s your insurance, setting up appointments, or simply having a conversation. How do we solve all these things and make them easy and digestible for people who may not be healthcare literate?

The second thing is a little bit more vague. We have a big opportunity. Historically, healthcare technology applications and products haven’t been advanced as far as your banking apps, or your transportation apps. So when you start talking about looking across the field and usability, healthcare is one of those places that has been underserved by technology. We are at a really good juncture now where we have the opportunity to be one of the front runners in the healthtech space, to build out a really beautiful, polished product that is helpful to our members, and is also very modern. We have a really good opportunity to start building in a space that hasn’t really been shaped by technology in that way just yet. So personally for me, I think it’s exciting to do that and be early in influencing this space.

Tony:
Being pioneers in the field is pretty fun, going places other companies haven’t been in the past. What makes it gratifying for me too, is that we get to see a lot of impact in our work. For me personally, I enjoy working on the “find care” tool, getting people to the right care. It’s awesome when people get to see the right specialist and they have a good outcome.

You’ve worked for a lot of technology companies, and sometimes you don’t get to influence that direct impact, especially within design. So that’s been cool to see.

Talk to me a little bit about the rebrand. What is the process you went through with that, and the specific challenges, and goals that we had for that project. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

David:
Yeah, sure. I think one of the biggest challenges was the timeline. I’m sure you have heard that at plenty of startups, but traditionally a rebrand takes about six months to a year to go through all the cycles that are involved in building and implementing a new brand expression. In this case, we had a significantly tighter time crunch. We had to complete the process within a couple of months.

Fortunately, I’m a big proponent of communication, and I’ve always invested in building relationships between marketing, product development, PMs, and more, so we can quickly collaborate with each other. So when this project came around, I was able to leverage those relationships to help us move forward quickly.

Marketing had already done a lot of amazing work as far as modernizing our color system, our fonts, and focused on, “How do we even speak to our members? What is that language like? Is it a very structured doctor’s office language, or is it more like you’re a family doctor, that you can call up and talk to on a whim, very informal.”

So the product designer’s job is to determine how we take some of that work and sprinkle it into our products. And how do we make those two worlds compliment one another? So that’s what I really have been focused on.

There were some challenges there. A marketing website and a product are two different things. And we also had some design debt to clean up. So doing all of this in a matter of two months was definitely a challenge. It took having those open lines of communication between our sub-teams to pull it off. There’s no way to do it on my own. It was really a group project to bring it together in such a short amount of time.

Tony:
Cool. It’s so challenging when you’re thrown that big of a project with a short timeframe.
To give everybody a little bit of context, the “find care” tool that I’ve been working on is a tool you use to find the right care, whether that’s through a specific benefit or finding the right doctor in your network. You can enter a condition type or a specialty type, and we’ll route you to the right care. I’ve gained a real appreciation for how complex a task like searching for a doctor can be, whether you’re in a rural area, within a city, whether you care about reviews, or convenience. There’s a lot of things that go into finding a doctor and finding the right care that matches a person’s personal situation and preferences.

The biggest challenge that I’ve gravitated towards is the impact of the trade-off between convenience and quality. There’s a lot of tension between those things when it comes to finding care. You might zoom in on the map and find a neighborhood doctor, but he might not always be the best quality. One thing I’ve gained an appreciation for while working at Ground Rounds Health, is that our data science team is top notch. We have a lot of metrics that help us identify who is a quality doctor, so I feel empowered as a designer. We have a lot of data and things that we can serve up to our members, that allows people to give signals on quality as well as convenience. So the tension of being able to give people the tools to process information for convenience, and also reflect quality, has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve gravitated towards.

David:
In going through that process to develop the “find care” product, was there anything that you didn’t expect that was pretty cool?

Tony:
What’s been a pleasant surprise is just how much of an appreciation people have for quality metrics. When you go to a Google or a Yelp, you don’t get any sort of indication about whether doctors are high quality. You can look at the reviews and get some feedback, but you don’t have things like hard metrics that we pull from claims, that can tell you, “This doctor is really good in their field. They’re good at what they do and in their specialty.” We have those metrics. So putting a metric like clinical quality in front of people through prototyping and seeing how they respond to it, has been cool. It’s great to see that people are hungry for that data, and they want to use it to make a good decision for their health.

It’s gratifying when you introduce something new and novel and people find it valuable and pleasantly surprising. Impact doesn’t always happen when you first introduce new stuff, so it’s been cool to see the impact this product has created so far.

David, can you tell me how work gets done and what collaboration looks like on usual projects for you?

David:
As I was mentioning before, before I even focus on designing, it’s really important to talk with all of the stakeholders, especially our PMs, to determine our capabilities. So first we need to figure out, what are we capable of? What is holding us back in certain areas? Did development come into this with some ideas of their own already that they’ve seen out in the field? Then, it’s the discovery phase. We look at products that are in our space that we feel are solving specific challenges really well, and assess if there are any bits of gold that we can pull from those experiences.

Then there’s an opportunity to take a step back from that and look at other fields and other verticals and see what we can learn from them… Looking at apps like Uber, DoorDashs, Spotify, or whatever app you can think of that you really enjoy and trying to figure out, what are some things about this product that brings me delight? What is really easy to use and why? What is really digestible that I could apply to the Ground Rounds product? Is there something I can pull from that feature that would make something in healthcare easier or more enjoyable to go through? Too oftentimes when you’re dealing with healthcare, it is not a super enjoyable experience, or your reason for interacting with it, and we want to change that.

So how can we make healthcare more enjoyable? We start pulling all that information together to create some really rough wire frames, to begin solving for the challenges that you’re supposed to be designing for. We start with your classic user testing, cycles of that. And then from there, we focus on increasing the fidelity. And then from there, we continue to test our model to improve efficacy towards our goal.

Of course, in a perfect world, you want to keep everyone abreast of the changes all the way through, so you don’t get near the end of the product development stage and everyone’s surprised. The more that you can keep everyone involved, the more eyes you get on it, and the more perspectives you get, the better your product is likely to be. You may get some really interesting ideas from different departments.

Great ideas come from anyone, and being open and receptive to those is important.
Ultimately, that’s what helps us produce a product that everyone’s going to really be proud of. And here, we are able to share the product with our friends and families to a certain extent. This gives us all that sense of pride to say, “Hey, you should try this app. Or if you have this situation that you want to have someone look at, here, try the Ground Rounds app, because we just finished building something that may be useful for you.” So that’s super awesome.
My advice is to always focus on communication, thinking to yourself, “Can I communicate better at any stage of this project?” And if you feel like you can, there’s always an opportunity to reach out.

What about you, Tony? Do you have a specific process that you like to adhere to when you start a project?

Tony:
You mentioned cross-functional collaboration. That’s what gets me excited as a designer when I’m working on projects. It is getting to work with not just people within engineering and product, but also pulling in care team members, and data science team members, and bringing people throughout the organization into the process early when we’re thinking about a new feature. That’s what I’ve enjoyed most about the “find care” work as a designer — we’re given the time to validate ideas. We want to test them, and we want to cross-functionally collaborate.

We get to collect all of the ideas, put them together, test them, and have everybody there along the way in our process. It’s not just design, product, and engineering going off in their own way. Everybody gets to see how people are interacting with this new idea. I think that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most. And it’s led to a lot of great things within the “find care” project team as far as producing a vision. This is what we want to work towards. Maybe we can’t get there in six months, but how do we incrementally work towards this direction, now that we’ve tested a few times, and prototyped, and recognized it’s a pretty good direction as far as involving evolving the tool? That’s what I’ve enjoyed most.

David:
Saying, “Maybe we’re not able to build it today, but in six months we can set the groundwork to do that,” that allows everyone to get invested. And so by the time you go down that road, everyone’s advocating for it — maybe it’s accessibility, maybe it’s a certain feature, but you have now six people who are invested in this project and rooting for it. I think at that point, you get everyone’s best work, so I’m with you.

Tony:
Everybody’s aligned on where the finish line is. So when everybody can look towards that, and build towards that, you just work backwards.

We are almost out of time. I want to throw one more question your way, just to end it on a lighthearted note. What’s one place that you’ve really wanted to travel over the past year, that maybe you had a trip planned to, but it got canceled because of COVID? Where are you really looking forward to going once things open up?

David:
Oh man. I’ve probably chewed your ear off about this since I’ve joined. As you know, I was planning on heading to Thailand, maybe two weeks before COVID became a serious thing that we were all paying attention to. So hopefully, when things begin to calm down and more people get their vaccines, I’m looking forward to taking that trip. Especially the family out there I wanted to catch up with and check up on. As soon as things calm down, that’s what I’m looking forward to. I know you were looking to go places too, what was on your list?

Tony:
Well, other than the backlog of weddings throughout the U.S. that I’ll probably be going to over the next year, I really wanted to go to New Zealand, and I’m still looking forward to that. I know that was a 2020 goal. I had it on the calendar and it just got pushed out. So yeah, I’m really looking forward to making a bigger trip like that. Hopefully, things start opening up soon.

That’s our time, everybody. Thanks for joining us on this latest episode of our MeetMe web series. Stay tuned for more episodes, as you get to know more members of the Ground Rounds team, and thanks for tuning in.

 

Thank you for joining us on our Meet Me web series. Stay tuned for more of these episodes as we get to know more members of the Grand Rounds EPD (Engineering, Product, Design) team. And if this sounds interesting to you, check out our open roles. We’re hiring!

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