Lab Scheduling Flow Update

Millennium Physician Group: January-February 2022

I worked on this project as the designer in a team with the patient experience manager, and a developer.

Final version of the lab page after the update to the navigation and reorganization of the information into a single page.

Project Overview

The patient experience team wanted to find a way to better direct patients to schedule their lab work online, patients currently had the ability to schedule online but were not using the feature. We implemented a solution to make finding and scheduling lab appointments online easier.

The Results

The solution implemented doubled the average amount of lab appointments scheduled online for each individual lab, growing from an average of 150/month to 300+/month. The resulting growth in patients scheduling online instead of walking-in allowed for better time and resource management in the labs as well and created a better overall experience.

A visualization of the old pathways to schedule a lab appointment on the website and the confusion it creates.

The Problem

Users weren't aware that they could schedule their lab appointments online and those who were, had difficulty finding it. The process for going through the website required several pages that were unnecessary to the flow and provided no value for to users. The results of that were patients frequently walking into labs and waiting for long periods of time to be seen, this caused a lot of friction for patients as well as lab employees because of the delays it created.

A scheduling flow map for the lab appointments, visualizing the redundancy of of the old pathways.

User Goals

Users want to be able to get their lab work done quickly, at a convenient time, and plan for what they need to do in order to be prepared. The process is already painful and worrisome if they suffer with needle anxiety, are unsure if they need to be fasting or not, or have a health condition that may be affected if they need to fast and can't be seen quickly. The scheduling option is important to patients, because getting lab work done has a major impact on their day.

Business Needs

The labs are often overwhelmed with patients who don't have appointments during the high traffic times like early mornings and lunch, creating strain on staff, delays on preparing many of the patients blood work, and poor resource planning.

An animation of the final scheduling flow demonstrating the simplified version of the flow and reduced effort.

The Process

We began the project by looking at the behavior flow in Google Analytics with the knowledge that labs were being overwhelmed with walk in patients trying to be seen. The behavior flow showed that users would go to the Appointments page or the Lab Locations page but few were making it to the lab appointments page.

We mapped out the current pathways to scheduling lab appointments and looked for opportunities to simplify the process, there were two main paths to scheduling and for both, the first page had the link to the scheduling feature at the bottom of the page, explaining why so few users were able to find and use it.

We reviewed the Appointments page that was the easiest path to Lab Appointments, the page contained only a paragraph about scheduling online appointments and a link to the Find a Doctor page, then a link to the Lab Appointments page much lower down. We proposed removing the Appointments link in the navigation and replacing it with a link to the Lab Appointments page, since the Appointments page didn't serve users in any way.

The other pathway to the Lab Appointments page was through the massive Patient Services dropdown menu, the Lab page was a landing page with a link to a list of lab locations, fasting information, and the lab appointments page. The page itself didn't contain much helpful information, so we chose to remove it.

The proposed solution was replacing the Appointments item in the navigation with Lab Appointments, and linking the Fasting FAQs on the Lab Appointments page since the fasting information was more impactful to when they might schedule their appointments.

The implementation of the solution has reduced the resource strain on the labs and resulted in nearly double the amount of appointments scheduled.