CRISP InContext: Designing to Simplify Health Information Access

CRISP joins forces with the Technology Innovation Center to enhance physician usability of the widely used InContext tool.

How do providers view health information about patients that were previously seen at other hospitals?

For clinicians in Maryland, DC, and West Virginia, an application embedded as a narrow window in the medical record allows them to scroll through clinical notes, labs, imaging, medications, and more from care providers external to their networks.

In 2019, the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) design team collaborated with Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), the health information exchange that manages this app, to maximize utility and reevaluate the user experience from the providers’ point of view.

Mike Banfield, who leads development and innovation efforts for CRISP, said his software development team came to the TIC because they were looking for added expertise and clinical thought.

“We had received some user feedback and we felt like our presentation of data was a little naïve relative to the sophistication of data that providers might be used to,” says Banfield.

The TIC design team worked with CRISP to center design decisions around user workflow and feedback. TIC designers interviewed and observed providers from eight regional hospitals and collaborated with CRISP to prioritize the most impactful design adjustments.

“I realized the strength that I didn’t anticipate was [the TIC’s] ability to go out and get feedback and organize it in a useful way and present it back,” says Banfield.

Feedback that rose to the top as impactful to users included adding filters for health information, clarifying where images were available to view, and adding more white space to make complex information easier to read.

The TIC translated design decisions to mock-ups, then went back to users to ensure the new content and structure was feasible before passing the baton to the CRISP development team.

The development team leveraged user feedback and ideas about future features to reorganize the app’s navigation. In mid-December 2019, Version 2 of CRISP’s InContext app was launched across its healthcare network.

Prior to the deployment of Version 2, InContext use totaled 25,000 launches per week. In early February 2020, launches jumped to 31,000 per week and continue to trend upward. While not all user increase can be attributed to the redesign alone, Banfield says the effort helped center the conversation around the providers which would continue to drive future improvements and use.

“We are going to continue to incorporate the user feedback and try to make it as easy to use as possible,” says Banfield.

The TIC and CRISP will continue collaboration. In 2020, the TIC is on track to deliver new designs for problem-oriented views that CRISP is exploring for the CRISP InContext app.

“We do recognize the need and the value of getting this end-user feedback, shadowing, and organizing this information,” says Banfield.

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