Designing a Better Healthcare System
Updated: Jul 3
Keather Roemhildt, Co-Founder & CPO, Dock Health
I’ve always been fascinated with human challenges and experiences, which led me to a career as a user experience (UX) designer and product strategist. But after two decades working with Fortune 50 companies like Twitter, GoPro, ADT, StubHub, eBay, Cisco and Symantec, I wanted to apply my skills and experience to more fulfilling work.
A 30,000-foot idea
On a flight to Boston from San Francisco, I read an article highlighting Michael Docktor, MD, as one of 40 under 40 making changes in Healthcare. Here was someone on the inside of the industry who was passionate about disrupting the status quo to make improvements in patient care. I contacted him, and we were able to meet for coffee later that week. As it turned out, the timing couldn’t have been better. He was looking for a UX designer to collaborate with, because he believed that applying modern design and good UX could help improve healthcare delivery and ease the pain of administration.
Identifying the problem
I started shadowing Michael, a pediatric gastroenterologist, and his team at Boston Children’s Hospital, to identify the issues and friction points.
It became apparent that the industry was overwhelmed and administration was technologically outdated. While healthcare delivery had advanced by leaps and bounds over the last 50 years, administration – the tracking of care, managing patients, dealing with insurance – had lagged far behind.
Nothing looked easy. As I spent time around patients with multiple diagnoses, requiring complex care and multi-disciplinary care teams, I encountered hard-to-use software, inefficient workflows and regulatory challenges. It was painful to see people who cared about humanity and healing, lacking joy in their work and experiencing a high rate of burn out.
The pressure to keep up with electronic health documentation, coupled with all the little daily to-dos required to provide care and manage practices, were burying healthcare workers.
Developing a solution
There were plenty of good project management solutions out there, but none that were HIPAA-compliant. So we applied for a grant through the Boston Children’s Innovation
and Digital Health Accelerator to prototype the first HIPAA-compliant platform for managing tasks inside of healthcare. Our pitch resonated, and we were granted a team to help get our idea off the ground.
While it may not be the solution I imagined myself creating, it’s the one that was needed most. Over and over, we saw desks covered in handwritten notes, purses stuffed with post-it notes, and we constantly heard how overwhelmed providers were by all the little things they had to keep track of.
The healthcare industry needed thoughtfully designed products and services, ones that consider current behavior and workflow. Dock, as it’s now known, is equal parts product design and clinical utility, a secure task-management tool focused on usability and efficiency. It represents a little solution to a big problem.
Powerful tools to help heal
Outside of work, every day, healthcare professionals seamlessly interact with the type of consumer technology I’ve spent the majority of my career developing. There’s no reason they shouldn’t have the same experience with the software they use at work. Creating Dock has led to what we hope will be a game-changing solution, one that not only improves care, but also improves careers for providers who can focus more on why they got into this industry in the first place: to help people.