Every first responder knows that seconds count. In an emergency medical situation, outcomes often depend on how fast a person can be treated or transported to a hospital. That means when you lose time, you can also lose lives.
Typically, EMTs must take the time to understand a patient’s medical history and status before they can determine the best course of action — which can be a challenge, especially if the patient is unconscious or incapacitated. Carlos Revilla, the client and EMT, wanted to create a platform that securely stores a patient’s medical history, which could be accessed by first responders on their way to an emergency — and allow them to take action the moment they arrive.
A large percentage of these medical emergencies — about 85% — occur among the elderly, specifically at nursing homes and other senior living facilities.
The concept was framed as a “Fitbit for seniors:” essentially, an electronic health record (EHR) would be stored in a wristband adorned with a QR code. Bringing the idea to life was not only an exercise in UX, but in rapid product design. I began by mapping out a very specific flow of information:
- At an institution level (an assisted living facility, for example) the staff will populate and update the QR code wearer's EHR through an online portal.
- The First Rescue App accesses this information via a HIPAA compliant and secure API.
- Upon scanning the QR code (or searching the app by patient name), the app authenticates with a unique Token identifier to each device/first responder, to hit the database with all of the information on a particular patient.
- The app then pulls up the EHR, showing the patient's vital information, including medical conditions, medications, physicians, emergency contacts, DNRs, etc. The first responder can quickly and easily reference this data as they triage.
Before jumping in, a Lean Canvas was created on the business side of First Rescue. The team and I then worked with Carlos to create a needs/wants/desires map. (Needs are the features required for the app to function; wants are features that will be included only if time and resources allow; and desires are features that may be included at some point in the future — but we can’t plan for them just yet.)
Once the main features were decided on, we created an information architecture map, which shows exactly where the features are and what content is associated with them. We also mapped out the user flow to show how the user will move through the app. All of this informed our Lo-Fi prototype. We performed user testing on it, analyzed those results, and adjusted the wireframes accordingly.