Doctor Visit or Contextual Inquiry? You Decide!


Matthew talks about visiting the doctor on the doctor’s first day using the new system for capturing visit notes and ordering prescriptions.


Matt: I'm not dressed for this.

Matthew: Neither am I. Got my housecoat on and ooh.

Matt: I didn't shave today.

Matthew: Me either. I haven't shaved, 1973.

Matt: So you were going to tell a story.

Matthew: Yes I am going to tell you a story. Sit back children. One inappropriate joke later. I'll begin again. Here we go, ready?

Matt: Alright.

Matthew: Good anecdote.

Matt: That was funny.

Matthew: Oh terrible. So I went to the doctor today.

Matt: Yes.

Matthew: Can you see me okay?

Matt: I can see you as well as I wanna see you.

Matthew: I went to the doctor today. It turns out I didn't have an appointment like I thought I did. So that was the first thing.

Matt: What was your first notice that you didn't have an appointment?

Matthew: They said, yeah you're not in our system. You have an appointment on Monday. I was like, oh yeah.

Matt: And today is? Tuesday.

Matthew: Not. Not Monday. Yeah next Monday.

Matt: Not yesterday?

Matthew: No, no, no, no, no. I set up this appointment yesterday and I remember this while she's saying, you don't have an appointment today, that while I was on the phone yesterday, she said, oh I have an appointment tomorrow at 9:40. And I said, hmm. Because we had, you know, a meeting. I was like, well the next one's Monday and I should really get this done sooner so let's go ahead and do the 9:40 and she's like, oh someone took it while we were talking.

Matt: What?!

Matthew: And somehow I logged into my brain that I still had that appointment. So I showed up and they're like, no, let me see what we got. Oh, well we have one at 10:20. And it was like, well that's you know another 40 minutes that's not a big deal. And she said, here's the paperwork, fill this out. I sat down, put my name at the top of the paperwork, the door opened, Matthew? And they were ready for me right away. So, I went back, they did weight thing, blood pressure, all that stuff. And like two minutes later, the doctor came in, she says, something along the lines of, you know after the hello, nice to meet you and stuff 'cause this is the first time seeing her. She said, well you get to be my first patient with a new epic. And I was like, epic?

Matt: Tell me more.

Matthew: Tell me more. She turned the swivel screen thing that they type on, you know? I don't know what doctors' offices are like in Atlanta but we have them. 

Matt: We don't have them.

Matthew: We don't need them. We walk everything off. She turned the screen around and it said, epic, on the screen. I was like, oh today's your first day of a new system. And she logged in and the screen came up and she was like, what? Wait. And it was just like, good use of like, white space but the screen was just filled with stuff and it wasn't clear where she was supposed to start. It took like five minutes to figure out how to actually begin the appointment. She said, normally you don't see any of this stuff but,

Matt: Did you say, it's okay, I'm a software designer?

Matthew: No, I said, of all the people to be your first patient on this, I'll be your most sympathetic one. I'm your most sympathetic audience possible. And it kinda turned into a regular appointment slash contextual inquiry. Obviously I wasn't getting paid to improve they system, at all.

Matt: Like your normal projects.

Matthew: Yeah. So, anyway.

Matt: So did she use it during the appointment?

Matthew: Yeah, yeah, yeah and there were times when she was hunting around for the things she knew she was supposed to do next but couldn't figure out how to do it in this new system. My understanding is, based on a small little comment she said, that they didn't get any training on the new system.

Matt: I was going to ask about that.

Matthew: Just sort of rolled it out and good luck people.

Matt: That's interesting. I've talked to other people, not doctors but in the medical field who have been in that situation. These are bigger places, like a hospital and they do have training and then they have like, what do they call it? Like coaches, with them for the first couple of weeks.

Matthew: Oh really? Wow.

Matt: with 'em too, make sure everything goes well. They cannot get the white glove treatment.

Matthew: Yeah and I don't know if it was just she didn't, maybe she was on vacation or something or whatever. 'Cause Providence is a pretty big medical company whatever, organization. I'm here in the northwest. Yeah and it was, you know. We got to the point where we'd gone through everything and she spent about two minutes saying, I don't know how to close the appointment. Like that was her term for, you know, she was basically looking for the button to say, save all the information I just did to the person's chart and print out the instruction for care after the meeting. She said, I'm sorry and I was like, it is not a problem 'cause you know. If it wasn't me, if it was someone else who was in more serious medical need than me and doesn't have the background, etc, etc, I imagine it would be very stressful for the doctor in that situation. It was stressful for her.

Matt: And it could annoy the patient too. I mean they wanna get their appointment goin' on and not wait for the doctor to figure out how to use the software.

Matthew: Right. So it's interesting to me that the choices that these, any company rolling out a new system makes with the stuff and I wonder, do they do small roll out or do they just flip a switch and good luck everybody?

Matt: Well I just got a letter from my doctor a couple weeks ago that they're rolling out some new system. The letter's basically saying, we're gonna have fewer appointments for the next whatever, three, four months. I forget what it was. 'Cause they want to give their doctors and doctor assistants more time to ramp up on the new system. So they're intentionally reducing their load over this transition period, which I thought was good.

Matthew: Yeah it is good and at the same time, it's like, well that's less supply for the same or potentially growing demand, depending on what the population fluxes for Atlanta right now. Because initially, when I called yesterday, my choice for appointments was initially today at 9:40 or the 26th of April and while she was talking to me, something opened up on the 15th but anyway. So healthcare organizations, we should be fake patients. That's how we should do the research from now on.

Matt: It's better than being a real patient.

Matthew: My sciatica is acting up and uh, which is why I was there today. 'Cause my sciatica was acting up.

Matt: I just want to go for the free lollipops.

Matthew: So that was all.

Matt: Scene.

Matthew: Scene.

Related Post

What Is UX?What Is UX?

S01E01 Yep, we went there. Well … a little. We talk about pay rates, responsibilities, and career paths for people in “UX.” You can watch the episode or listen to it. Transcript Matthew: Set a reminder for a month from now for a check-in. Matt: Yeah. Matthew: And be like,

Pushing Back on ExecsPushing Back on Execs

S01E07 Whether you’re internal or a consultant, we chat about when it’s appropriate to push back on the decision-makers and how to go about doing it. Transcript Matthew: I’m on antibiotics for the next five days and then. Matt: What do you have against Biotics? Matthew: They know what they