How we built Premier Specialist Digiportal

In July 2019, Premier Medical partnered with NE6 to streamline their digital evidence reporting process for helping their customers win clinical negligence cases. Fast-forward 3 months later, version 1 of ‘Premier Specialist Digiportal’ has reduced report creation time from 1-2 days to just 5 minutes; version 2 of the product is due to be released next week and NE6 are set to work with Premier Medical on several new digital products over the coming year. This article will give a brief overview of how we facilitated this digital transformation in such a short space of time.

Introduction

Premier Medical “provides expert opinions for legal and insurance industries, related to when people have been involved in car crashes and workplace accidents resulting in personal injuries”. Premier Specialist is a department of Premier Medical that focuses specifically on “catastrophic injury and clinical negligence cases”.

Due to the nature of many Premier Specialist cases, claimant injuries must be photographed and used as evidence to win clinical negligence legal disputes. This evidence is presented to the court in the form of a report that includes a cover, contents page and various sections of photos for each injury the claimant is claiming medical malpractice for.

Framing the problem

In order to make the report creation process more efficient, we first had to understand the core components of the existing digital evidence reporting process. To do this NE6 conducted an ‘As-is’ scenario mapping exercise with Premier Medical so we could visualise the flow of events. At a high level this looked something like:

Notes

As you can see, reports are created using a standardised template but the process still largely relies on a designer creating each report manually with design software.

We then used the ‘As is’ scenario map to inform a ‘To be’ scenario map that proposed an efficient process we wanted to work toward. This is a high level version of what that looked like:

Notes

Like many technological advances, the area with the biggest opportunity involved reducing the need for manual input/mundane task completion. In this case, we thought it best to work toward a web platform that allowed Premier Medical teams to build reports themselves instead of relying on a designer. This was the start of ‘Digiportal’.

Release planning

In order to deliver value quickly, we planned to release Digiportal in 2 stages. The ultimate outcome for Premier Medical was to create reports faster, therefore, each release of Digiportal had to introduce a quicker alternative to the current process or it would not be used.

Release 1

  • Release 1 would act as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Meaning, only essential functionality was included and nothing else. In this case, our MVP would be a large dynamic form that created a compliant digital evidence report in-browser for the user to download immediately.
  • Releasing a version of the tool to real-users would also give us the opportunity to gather user feedback and verify the direction taken as well as making improvements based off the feedback collected.

Release 2

  • Release 2 would then enable users to sign into a system that stored old reports and allowed them to be edited/updated before being re-downloaded.

Design

To kick-off design we pulled Premier Medical’s existing style guide into a sketch library and started mocking up the user-flow we’d drawn on whiteboards in our scenario mapping sessions.

Once the first iteration of designs had been completed we shared these with Premier Medical, gathered feedback and iterated again. This involved designing both releases of the tool up-front to improve clarity for better design/development collaboration. Throughout this process, several peer-reviews were completed and research into the best development tools for the task in-hand was conducted to mitigate technical challenges as much as possible.

Here’s an outline of what some of those technical challenges looked like:

  • How would the team build an interactive avatar that allowed users to mark where claimant injuries were for the report contents page?
  • How would the team achieve drag and drop functionality so uploaded photos could be re-ordered within the tool to generate the desired report?
  • How would the team generate reports on the fly so users could download them immediately?

Development

Due to the requirements of the tool and the team’s existing skillset we chose to build Digiportal using React, a cutting-edge Javascript library created by Facebook and often used for building complex digital products. To address the technical challenges listed above we trailed several third-party services for achieving drag and drop functionality and PDF creation before settling on:

  • React-beautiful-dnd, a service managed by Atlassian (creators of Jira) boasting over 300,000 weekly downloads supported by a free tutorial course on egghead.io
  • React-pdf, a pre-build component library with strong documentation and examples showcasing ‘on-the-fly rendering’.

The key factors influencing our choices included amount of documentation, learning difficulty and cleanness of code so we could create a scalable codebase that was easy to understand when revisiting the project in the future.

The outcome

  • Release 1 was launched in mid-September and received glowing feedback almost immediately.
  • Both the third-party tools implemented proved easy to use and we’d happily use them again.
  • After a few weeks, it became apparent that there was a strong demand for the functionality included in release 2, therefore validating the direction taken.
  • Most importantly, the report creation process which used to require a designer and take days due now took only 5 minutes and gave more control to the people who needed it.

Conclusion

Overall, Premier Specialist Digiportal release 1 was a great success and user testing feedback suggests release 2 will be as well. Subsequently, Premier Medical and NE6 are working together on several new projects such as mobile apps, web platforms, and more digital tools.

If your business is experiencing process inefficiencies, looking to expand in innovative ways or reduce costs via digital transformation NE6 may be able to help. Get in contact with myself (harry.ronchetti@ne6.studio), Steven Symonds (steven.symonds@ne6.studio) or ring the office on 0191 394 0028 to start the conversation as we’d be happy to hear from you.

Harry RonchettiHead of UX