Our client is a national not-for-profit healthcare system committed to improving the health of all people. The system includes hospitals, clinics, and a comprehensive range of services.
Among its services, the client’s organization offered a web portal where donors, patients, providers, and research scientists could look for clinical trials to improve patient health outcomes, called the Healthcare Research Accelerator.
The Healthcare Research Accelerator is a special project because it is used by doctors across the globe who are working with patients who are out of options. These doctors want to help their patients, and they have to be creative, so they seek out the latest trials in hopes they can enroll their patients and get them access to promising therapies. These doctors are often under a lot of pressure when they come to this tool, and they need a tool that is easy to use.
The original search tool was designed and developed long ago by in-house resources, and because of considerable gaps in functionality and usability, platform support was going to end. Further, the design and development team that had originated the portal had disbanded and there was no documentation about its architecture or functionality. Our client needed to replace the Healthcare Research Accelerator with a new solution for this critical service.
The accelerator is incredibly important, but the search function had coding flaws and had reached a point where patients and providers didn’t like or trust the tool – because our client’s organization is on a mission to improve patient outcomes, it was urgent that we deliver a better way to connect people with clinical trial information.
Thanks to our significant experience working with this client on other digital projects, Valence had gained the client’s trust and was engaged to re-platform the clinical trials Healthcare Research Accelerator tool. Services included user experience design, user interface design, engineering, quality assurance, and deployment support.
Because of the loss of user confidence, change management practices were woven into our approach. From discovery to user experience design, and through user acceptance testing, we engaged a variety of users and provided visibility into our thinking and process. This rebuilt trust in the tool’s potential and helped to improve market sentiment.
“If you want a deployment to be adopted, you must invest time and energy in communication and collaboration with your users. The change management plan needs to address stakeholder communication and internal business processes.”Glen Lewis, Valence technical project manager
One of the first stages of the effort was to reverse engineer the structure of the previous iteration of the platform to identify data sources and reveal the cause of the failed search results. We conducted a four-week assessment to document how the platform was built.
Understanding why the previous platform was failing was an important step in rebuilding trust among users that this new iteration would perform as expected.
The assessment unearthed that the previous platform relied on a search function in what amounts to a continuous document. Valence engineers built a new database according to industry best practices, which is more flexible and can scale and be managed over time.
Our data team also built custom logic for the clinical trial searches to address the unique and specific needs of users. The updated search function uses criteria to return highly relevant results without requiring an exact string of words.
We simplified the XML ingestion process by reducing and consolidating a three-step process that moved data across multiple servers to a single drag-and-drop interface.
The User Acceptance Testing period (UAT) included additional time and resources to engage users and build trust in the new tool. We prepared users for the UAT by explaining what they should expect and how we expect the tool to work before they tested it. The UAT process was divided into three testing events, and each event was followed by a detailed review of issues identified, including what happened, why it happened, and how it would be fixed, further building trust in the system.
Upon completion, we provided comprehensive and detailed documentation of the new platform and how it is built so it can be referenced, integrated, and updated more easily in the future.
“This project was not easy. You handled our requests with grace and with integrity, and we’re so thankful to you for this hard work.”
Client Project Director
The new Healthcare Research Accelerator tool is easy to use, and users are excited to use it. The database has also become the primary source for clinical trial information across client websites. The design was seamless with the client’s updated brand strategy, and the platform nested within the larger brand strategy perfectly.
Through our collaborative process and open communication, we won over users who were skeptical that our project was merely to re-skin a dysfunctional tool.
Valence’s efforts to build elegant mapping logic will help doctors and patients easily find the trials they need, which will hopefully enable patients to overcome their sickness and feel better.