In my time contracting for CVS Health as a UX Designer within the Digital Innovation Lab I gained valuable experience in concept testing, rapid prototyping and user interface design. The Lab operates as its own team to enable a faster development cycle to test new and innovate ideas that have the potential to bolster the company’s suite of digital products.
I got to work on exciting new spaces in the realm of chatbot and voice technology as well as refining digital experiences within the existing mobile web, desktop and app platforms. CVS Health has a wide range of departments and services that include the front-store retail department (think soda, chips, and other knick-knacks) and the pharmacy department. There’s also the Minute Clinic retail medical clinic that serves walk-in patients needing care and CVS Caremark that provides employers and insurance companies with comprehensive prescription benefit plans. This shortlist doesn’t even cover half of the subsidiaries and assets under CVS Health, but it does paint the picture that the company does a lot and has a lot moving parts within it that make innovation a complicated task.
The various CVS Pharmacy stores across the United States receive a lot of calls from customers looking for answers to their questions. The questions, as it turned out, are usually simple questions about inventory, pickup times or something else seemingly trivial. The problem is that these calls take up precious time from pharmacists who should be focusing on filling prescriptions and tending to customers in the store. If you walk into the store you’ll notice yourself how much time they spend answering these calls.
The challenge was to create a chat experience for pharmacy customers to help lower call volume for the pharmacists and discover how CVS can best serve customers online to get their questions answered. Complicating the typical chat experience is the fact that most of the information shared in these conversations crosses the line of PHI (protect health information). PHI comes with all sorts of requirements including 1) Safe storage of the data 2) Authenticating that the user is in fact who they say they are and 3) Providing prescription advice through a qualified and certified representative. This is not an exhaustive list and only touches on the red-tape surrounding the healthcare industry.
I worked with a team of SME’s (subject matter experts) in the CVS team such as pharmacists, customer support team members and managers, as well as our legal and branding team. We collaborated to define how customers would be interacting with this new product and how to scale the operation following a successful implementation. I designed the user interface and interactions to support users with an easy and intuitive tool that focused on quick time to reply from support representatives and clear expectations around the unfortunately inevitable wait times. Not all chat experiences are created equal and being clear about what types of questions can be answered and how the system can be interacted with were the keys to the success of this solution.
While I cannot expand on the details of this project, it involved the creation and testing of multiple voice technologies and the thoughtful implementation of accommodating a wide variety of voice capabilities. I helped to define the various inputs and interactions that guided the user through the defined use cases.
This project was defined as a company initiative to solve the growing problem of patients who are paying more and more at the pharmacy for their prescriptions. The rise of high-deductible health plans and the advent of online price transparency tools has transformed the healthcare landscape. Patients are becoming more price-sensitive and are price shopping to get the best price for their prescriptions. I worked as the lead designer to help define user needs, ideate a list of possible solutions, and ultimately design the user interface and interactive prototype to solve this problem. The project involved SME’s and high-level executives from across the CVS organization who worked together in a Design Sprint led by myself and another CVS team member.
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