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CASE STUDY | ALLINA HEALTH

SPRINTING TO UNLOCK A WORLD OF HEALTHCARE KNOWLEDGE

CREATIVE PLATFORM & PRODUCT STRATEGY • IN-MARKET CONCEPT VALIDATION • ITERATIVE PRODUCT RELEASE • AGILE & SPRINT METHODS AND TRAINING

HOW WE HELPED ALLINA HEALTH UNCOVER A NEW WAY TO WORK

In late winter of 2016, we began talking with Allina Health, a large healthcare system based in Minneapolis and our client since 2014, about an exciting new project. They wanted help solving a number of complex digital challenges they were facing with their patients and employees.

Initially, there was a lot of energy and interest around rethinking the way knowledge could be shared across their company. The goal was to reimagine their intranet which receives 1.2 million visits monthly, and more effectively connect clinicians and technicians with the medical data they needed to better serve patients. We adopted a sprint approach to the work for greater efficiency and effectiveness. Sprinting is a three-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Over the course of our week-long sprints, we helped their team uncover a new way of working.

A photo of a man who is pointing at a whiteboard with wireframe design sketches.

To begin, we conducted a series of surveys to uncover the specific problems that kept Allina from the data and content they needed. We repeatedly heard that the navigation was cluttered, the content was buried, and the overall experience was not user-friendly. With these central problems in mind, we set out to build a better intranet. While highly focused on the end user, we needed to strike a balance between both the day-to-day needs of intranet users with the high level strategic communications and marketing needs of Allina’s leadership.

At this point, trying to use our internal network is basically trial and error.

Amy, Clinician

After identifying user experience issues, we analyzed why Allina wasn’t able to solve these problems despite repeated efforts. As our sprints progressed, we learned that they suffered from many of the same challenges that plague other big organizations:

  • Team bloat (forced consensus by inclusion)
  • Waterfall solutioning
  • Build-everything-then launch
  • Non-enrollment
overlays a photo a man facing a group of people, intently listening to someone out of camera frame.

When solving a complex problem, a strong collaborative group is not only useful, it’s imperative. To prototype a better intranet that benefited a wide range of users, we brought together a diverse cross-functional team from both Allina and GoKart Labs to run the series of sprints. Relying on a small team meant fewer variables and better outcomes. It also made it easier to test prototypes and provide realtime feedback when discussing ideas and hypotheses.

a photo of a woman and man studying a collection of diagrams and writings tapped to a whiteboard.

OUTCOMES AND RESULTS

Our sprints each lasted three days, beginning with hypotheses and evolving into functioning prototypes and learnings from real users. Through the sprints, we helped the Allina team learn new methods for their work. Simultaneously, we focused on a different area of the intranet experience. From our learnings, we created a more role-centric experience, that aided users based on their position within the healthcare system. We also made massive improvements to overall usability and personalization. Lastly, we brought in a greater sense of community to the health network.

To help Allina align their broader company behind our work, we delivered tangible artifacts and takeaways to mark the end of each sprint. The true value of this work was not only the testing and output, but the collaboration between our team of user-centered designers and strategists with Allina’s internal team, who would be using the solutions we built every day.

A small group of people gathered in an office workspace, focused on what a man is pointing to on a busy whiteboard.

SPRINT OUTCOMES TO-DATE

  • New teams and work process
  • New focus on user-testing
  • Redefining Allina’s services
  • Reorganizing Allina’s intranet
  • 21 sprints
  • 305 surveys
  • 63 in-person interviews