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Hospital buildings surrounded by greenery and a calm stream in the foreground.

Patient-Centered Insights

Our Human-Centered Design approach provided insights into the technology needs and goals of American Indian and Alaska Native healthcare facilities to inform the IHS’s future investments in infrastructure and software.

The Challenge

Client Name(s):
Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service
Partner Name(s):
Delivery Date:
June 26, 2020

IHS decision makers wanted to understand how healthcare technology could better meet the needs of American Indian and Native Alaskan patients.

Our goals were to contextualize the unique functional needs of Health IT for the I/T/U environment, help government and Congress understand the needs and challenges of AI/AN patients, and create a rubric by which to evaluate bidders on future improvements and modernization innovations.

Small plane where medical supplies are being unloaded and transffered to an ATV to transport to the hospital.
Maia Laing
The personas and service blueprints Coforma created allow decision makers to create a sense of empathy and urgency for addressing challenges that are faced across the country. Suddenly an IT project shifts focus and the patient becomes the center of the work.
Maia LaingHHS Optimization TeamUS Department of Health and Human Services

Our Approach

User interviews, synthesized research, and an elegant, easy-to-follow design allowed us to deliver the insights the IHS needed to move forward with human-centered modernization innovations.

The team conducted in-person and remote interviews and workshops with almost 150 staff members, patients, subject matter experts, and other key players to get a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the IHS facility staff and patient's needs for HIT from end to end. We synthesized findings and developed Service Blueprints and Journey Maps based on typical patient situations. These visualizations were easy for stakeholders to follow and understand: they showed all actors involved in providing healthcare, from providers to admin to healthcare outside clinics and hospitals.

With a deep understanding of the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native people, the IHS can leverage findings to secure the best solutions for healthcare facilities as they move forward with their innovation and modernization plans.

7 Stories, 14 Archetypes, 200 Use Cases

The resulting artifacts made it easy for stakeholders to review and act on our findings.

HHS Indian Health Service Human-Centered Design report service blueprint sample.

A portion of one of the service blueprints developed for the report.

Service Blueprints

Hundreds of interviews, site visits, surveys, and listening sessions yielded seven stories.

HHS Indian Health Service Human-Centered Design report map

Map illustrating how remote some patients can be from accessing the help and services they need.

Mapping Complexity

To tell these stories, factors outside the four walls of the hospital that impact the delivery of care to AI/AN people living in diverse scenarios were considered.

Chart of use cases that help show the challenges that people may have and the reasons behind why they need to do certain actions.

Administrative practical outputs captured and displayed in a table.

Practical Outputs

A rubric in the form of use cases was extracted from the storylines to test future software and hardware solutions for Health IT provided by the Indian Health Service.

Project Team

  • AngelaAngela HopkinsCopywriter & Editor
  • ArdenArden KlemmerDesign Lead
  • EduardoEduardo OrtizTechnologist & Advisor
  • KateKate MurphyDesigner
  • SabrinaSabrina FonsecaResearch Lead