Sutter Health

Sutter Health provides care for 100+ cities in Northern California, and anyone who goes in for a visit is required to complete a patient history form. I am convinced that making a digital form of this would increase efficiency and accuracy of patient records management.




Convert a paper patient form to digital

My Role

Sole designer on an unsolicited design study



3 days 



Tree-Killing Paper Forms

We've all been there - sitting in the doctor's office with a clipboard and being instructed to fill out what feels like a thousand forms YET AGAIN. In today's world, where technology can be helpful in our lives, why have we not though of streamlining this process? While I understand some patients would still prefer to complete a paper form, this should not eliminate the option for many others who would be delighted to go digital.

                                                                                                                            Original form

                                                                                                                            Original form



Understanding the Current Form

To determine what information should be included in the form, I asked a colleague to complete a quick card sort so that I could get a sense for how information should be categorized. It was interesting to hear privacy concerns around feeling some of the information being too personal to share (e.g. social history and women's health history). This told me some of these fields could either be eliminated or at least made optional.



The Digital Patient Form

I always get annoyed when the front desk personnel at the doctor's office says I should arrive 15 minutes early to complete all the forms. 15 minutes may not seem like much time, but I would rather have the option to complete the forms on my own time and actually see my doctor at the scheduled time. My hope is that a digital form could help get us closer to that vision.



Grids are my Friends

The key to setting up a great form and feeling a sense of organization is to base it off of a grid. I used a 12-column grid as my foundation. Sketch shortcuts make it super easy to toggle this grid on and off. I also leveraged a lot of white space to give a sense of balance and clarity to the form. 



Making "Medical" More Human

My key consideration was setting up the form with content that was written in laymen's terms. Usually I felt like I was guessing at completing the paper form because I wasn't sure what the medical terms meant. I started by documenting all of the areas where I could predict people would be confused. Then, I brainstormed ways to clarify and simplify the format in which the question was asked. Here are two good examples:

Example 1: Health Rating

I am not exactly sure why there are specific questions for some topics, and generic ones for others, but I noted at the top of the form, that ALL fields are optional to complete. Taking this literally, I removed the specificity of some questions and assumed those could be asked by the doctor during the visit. I believe that the patient only needs to fill in enough to give the doctor a signal as to what should be further discussed.

Example 2: Current Symptoms

The current form lists a number of medical terms that I assume most people don't know the definitions of. I incorporated an icon of a human figure, since that would be more recognizable, and referenced conditions to those areas. 



High Fidelity Prototypes



Spatial Awareness

In coming up with the digital design for this paper form, I reviewed many other form designs and saw both the good, bad, and ugly. One key characteristic I saw common across the good ones was a good use of white space. There was enough room for people to digest each field and interact with it before going to the next one. Filling out a form can be a drab experience, but creating a balanced and clean space immediately lightens up the experience.

*This is a design exercise. I am not affiliated with Sutter Health in any way and this is not a reflection of Sutter Health's plans or views.