UX Design and Strategy at IQVIA

Assessing, researching, and proposing a new strategy for notifications within clinical trials management software

UX Research, Stakeholder Interviewing, UX Design

Context

In 2021, I was a UX Design intern at IQVIA in Durham, NC. During this period, I conducted subject matter expert and user interviews and usability testing, developed new user personas, and worked on the notification and communications strategy for clinical trials participant management software.

The notification strategy for this software was overdue for an overhaul
. Notifications had been placed on the backburner when developing the program, but even in its early usage, notifications had quickly become an evident problem to users. However, user requirements and their exact experiences with these notifications had not yet been well-documented beyond initial user reactions. My research began with taking stock of all existing notifications, including their recipients, triggers, frequency, and timing.

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Research and Interviews

The next phase included discussions with the design team about how notifications, emails, and alerts currently fit into the platform. I carried this information over into interviews with subject matter experts, who shared their opinions on communications from the platform, as well as important practical considerations for the clinicians who would be using the software. Combined with best practices research, I processed this feedback into a list of primary goals and considerations for redeveloping the notifications and communications strategy for the software. 

Key goals for the new notification strategy

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Design Phase

Following the first research and feedback phase, I began by designing example screens that showcased a variety of different strategies for addressing each of the above goals. All notifications currently in the platform appeared in one place and in one group, from emergencies to appointment confirmations. To maintain some consistency, I retained this box, but proposed designs that would aid clinicians in finding the notifications that mattered most, or that they were otherwise looking for. One version simply allows important notification types to sort to the top; the others cluster them in tabs or aggregates.

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While the current version of the software did not include an option for viewing all notifications, this seemed crucial for the hundreds of notifications and alerts busy clinicians receive in a day. This view optimizes workflows for actions such as rescheduling appointments, marking tasks as completed, and following up on overdue patient reminders by providing the necessary buttons to complete these tasks. Formerly, notifications provided no option to follow up on necessary actions, or even to dismiss in bulk.

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The needs of each clinical trials study are unique, and vary by study site. This calls for a degree of systematized customization at the study level, rather than the level of the individual clinician. The next design proposed an interface to make study-level notifications optimization easy. The interface allows for the user to alter notification names, set custom categories, establish a default cadence for the notification, and toggle user-specific preferences.

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Conclusions and Feedback

These designs and their accompanying strategies were shared and discussed with subject matter experts, and ultimately presented to the project management team for this and other patient engagement software products to kickstart their focus on communications strategy. Ultimately, the work was well-received by SMEs, who felt it would be a great start towards addressing their pain points with the software. The project management team agreed that notifications should indeed be a priority moving forward, and that these goals and strategies could better serve the needs of their users. Next steps would include further assessment of user preferences and needs, as well as a unified strategy that improves both notifications and email communications consistently.