Helping Nurse Managers Make Better Staffing Decisions
Research, User Experience, Interface Design, Development
PinnacleHealth developed static reports to prototype new metrics for its nurse managers. Andculture was brought in as a partner to evolve and consolidate the prototypes into a single, scalable platform and to facilitate the discussion around its growing and supporting processes.
We began analyzing the datasets and exploring the challenges nurse manager face. To gather insights from the datasets, we sketched concepts and dropped the data into pre-built visualization tools. To understand the challenges of nurse managers, we interviewed each nurse manager, our primary user audience; our questioning was focused on their current scheduling processes, tools and challenges. We also met with representatives from other service lines within the hospital to learn about the hospital as a system, independent of our user’s perspective. Secondary research was also conducted about scheduling processes, dashboard interface patterns and data visualization practices.
We created profiles for each interviewee and highlighted their answers to key questions so that we could easily make comparisons. We mapped the different processes and structures that we had discovered, including the variety of hiring processes. We reviewed our sketches, chart prototypes and secondary research and, from this, developed our own set of guiding principles to use as additional design constraints.
Design & Development
Our multi-disciplinary team collaborated heavily, beginning with thumbnail sketches and iterating through final mock-ups. Working with large datasets in such a tightly regulated and fast field created unique challenges. We worked through each detail to ensure that we were not only developing a great experience, but one that was built with the utmost care.
Deployment & Testing
Having grown accustomed to the static report prototypes previously developed, our users were unsure of the new system at first. Having a small initial user base, we met with each user to introduce the new platform. This process was imperative to help them understand how their data, which was previously only accessible via spreadsheet, was now accessible. It also proved to be an invaluable research opportunity.
Once deployed, we continued observations and interviews. We met with nurse managers and their supporting administrators to understand how they use the platform. We also conducted impromptu user testing to help us learn which aspects of the interface were confusing and which tasks were challenging to complete.
Deploying a product that was such a radical improvement over previous tools opened people’s eyes to new opportunity. This synthesis process was imperative to understand what was a functional priority for continued effectiveness, versus what would simply provide additional value. That said, we needed to ensure we didn’t lose a single valuable suggestion, recognizing that each provides great opportunities for future feature expansions.
Armed with new knowledge, we updated the platform design. In addition to tweaking the information presentation and an evolution of the navigation, additional charts were needed to provide a more useful and comprehensive view into the machinations of the hospital. Using the same guiding principles developed in our initial research, we evolved the system to better align with newly discovered needs.
Working again with the same groups, we built on our previous deployment process to educate users about the changes. At this stage, the platform is well established, and, with the streamlined access to new metrics and trends, we’ve started to aid in new process development. The previous staffing models have become unsustainable as the new tools we’re providing enable better decision-making. Both technology and process evolutions are imperative to ensure the platform continues to be relevant and useful.