Want to improve your UX? Start with service design.

Categories: #LifeAtGR, Product

Healthcare is complicated. It’s even more complicated when you’ve been hospitalized or when you have a chronic condition. Not only do you have to learn about your medical condition, you also have to learn how to best use your health insurance. On top of that, you have to learn how to communicate with your doctor in a way that they’ll understand and take you seriously. And you often have to do all of this in a 20-minute appointment that feels much too short.

Here at Grand Rounds, we create products and services to raise the standard of healthcare for everyone, everywhere. In 2020, we’re launching the Connected Care Program (CCP) to continue to raise that standard and help Members get better healthcare by reducing its complications.

Designing a new service

CCP is big. It impacts every team at Grand Rounds. When we first formed the cross-functional CCP team, we quickly realized that our old ways of launching a new service wouldn’t work. We needed to do a better job of collaborating. An early pain-point was that each of our cross-functional teams felt they knew what they had to do, but didn’t know what interdependencies they had with others. As the design lead on the CCP team, I recognized what was happening. We were getting overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem that we were trying to solve. 

I ADVOCATED USING SERVICE DESIGN TO ALIGN OURSELVES ON THE PEOPLE, PROCESSES, AND PRODUCTS THAT DELIVER AN EXCELLENT MEMBER EXPERIENCE. 

At first, the team was skeptical: a workshop to build a service blueprint would take a whole day of many people on the team. As we continued discovering incorrect assumptions and unexpected dependencies, we decided to take the leap and invest in the workshop.

The workshop was fun and productive. We took over the conference room with the biggest whiteboard. We had care coordinators and clinicians from our care team, a product manager and program manager from the product team, and myself and a designer representing the product design team. We started with the Member journey: what happens from their very first interaction with us to when the Member no longer needs our ongoing support. As we mapped it out, we reached a key decision unanimously: the Member must have a consistent care team to build rapport and trust. We also realized that we wanted to test this new program. We created a plan to launch CCP early to a handful of Members so that we could carefully monitor their progress and make sure we were ready for the full launch.

By the end of the workshop, the whiteboard was full. Not only did we have a first draft of our service blueprint, we also had a prioritized list of work across our teams. The relationships that we built during the workshop carried forward as we built CCP and helped us manage those interdependencies. After we started our early launch of CCP, I conducted a second workshop to pressure test our first blueprint, identify gaps and opportunities for optimization, and prioritize our remaining work. 

When and how to use service design

Service design is an excellent tool to have in your toolkit. How do you know when it’s time to use it? Looking back on my experience with CCP, several things led to the decision to bring it in. CCP is a complex new service that spans our entire organization and requires cross-functional collaboration in ways we haven’t done before. We were losing sight of our goals because of that complexity. We were duplicating work and missing things because we didn’t know we were missing collaboration with others. Service design helped us cut through those problems and deliver the right Member experience, and know how our collective work makes that Member experience the best one.

Source: Nielsen Norman Group’s example of an appliance retailer’s service blueprint

Creating a service design blueprint is deceptively simple. All it takes is a workshop with people who deliver your product or service to your customers. Start out with your customer journey. It helps everyone keep focused on the most important stuff. When you find people starting to go deeper into other technology or processes, the question that I use to get them back to the customer journey is, “how does that show up to the customer?” Once you’ve got the customer journey mapped out, you can then start filling in the blueprint of the employee actions and technology that your customer sees, and the employee actions, technology, and processes that the customer doesn’t see. For more information about service design, including more details about how to workshop your service blueprint, check out Service Design 101.

I’m proud of the work that we’ve done to better serve our Members. CCP is only one of the ways we’re working to raise the standard of healthcare for everyone, everywhere. Healthcare is still complicated, and there’s more work for us to do. I’m looking forward to the challenge. If this sounds interesting to you, join us!

See open positions