Designing Inclusive Telehealth
Summary | The pandemic introduced many challenges for all of us. For me, a child of first-generation immigrants, one of the unique challenges was the number of times I had to help my parents with their telehealth visits. Knowing many others were in a similar situation, our team set out to tackle the current state of telehealth for mature first-generation immigrants by identifying their unique needs, solving for them, and creating a guide for designers of telehealth that was published on Medium and Figma's Community with 80+ downloads.
What I did:
The pandemic only worsened the digital divide.
When doctor visits moved online, people like our parents, with low digital skills and low access to the internet and/or devices, were left vulnerable. Many children of immigrants found ourselves calling and driving back and forth to our parents' homes to be interpreters and tech support.
Empower our parents to manage telehealth on their own.
We set out to tackle the current state of telehealth for mature first-generation immigrants. Our ultimate goal was to empower our parents, and many others in similar circumstances, to manage telehealth on their own.
People like our parents are not even considered in the telehealth design process.
After speaking to telehealth design stakeholders (who wished to remain anonymous), the results were clear: People like our parents have not been considered in the design process. In fact, they have been:
Excluded "I was asked to explicitly exclude people with accents for our screener survey because it was hard to understand them.” - UX Researcher at major health insurance company
Stereotyped "If they are immigrants then they must be uninsured.” - Designer at agency
Not prioritized “We focus on physician needs." - User Insights Researcher at leading telehealth platform
If you design for our parents, you solve for a million others.
Designing for mature first-generation immigrants creates a curb-cut effect that solves for other populations affected by the digital divide, like people living in rural areas. Doctors and telehealth companies also win. With more patients having access to effective telehealth, doctors can improve productivity, reduce administrative costs, and reduce burnout.
Influence telehealth designers to be the catalyst for the change by making it easy.
A solution guide with templates—so there are no excuses.
We solved for the five main barriers first-generation immigrants faced during telehealth visits and created a guide with templates that was published on Bootcamp, a product design publication on Medium, and on Figma's Community.
The Telehealth Redesign Process
Identified five main barriers
We gathered insights from our research and did affinity mapping to get to the five main barriers.
From our user and telehealth stakeholder interviews, research paper reviews, and assessment of current telehealth apps, we created personas and mapped the patient journey.
Turned barriers into opportunities
Our opportunities were inspired by our user needs, available technologies, and accessibility best practices.
Solved for each opportunity with prototypes
We created example solves for each barrier and then put them together as full prototypes for user testing.
Conducted user testing
We tested the prototypes with our end users, our parents.
“It’s so easy I feel like I barely did anything.”
“I feel like I can manage this on my own rather than have to wait for Gaby to come to visit again to help me.”
Access the full solutions:
Building inclusive telehealth checklist