Optimizing Time-Consuming Processes
The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), based in Heidelberg, Germany, delivers patient care, cancer research, and cancer prevention. Accessing and analyzing patient data was a complex and time-consuming process for NCT employees. Medical staff needed to search multiple databases, compile patient lists, print patient files, and manually check if patients matched criteria for clinical trials by reviewing each file individually.
The NCT approached SAP to develop a tool to make it easier and more efficient for its users to do their work. These users are made up of doctors, researchers, study planners, and other medical staff. It was important to eliminate manual processes and reduce the back and forth required between medical staff and the IT department to get access to the data. We at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP were tasked with designing and developing a simplified and easy-to-navigate digital experience.
The result of this collaboration is SAP Medical Research Insights – a web application based on SAP HANA that allows fast, easy, and secure access to patient data and comparison of patient profiles from various sources.
Focusing on Users and Filtering Data
The Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP conducted user research with physicians, researchers, and study nurses to understand their needs. We developed an understanding of patient data and associated terminology, and prioritized the must-have requirements of the tool, which were fast access to patient data, easy comparison of patient profiles, and better searching capabilities. We then iterated on a simple and fit-for-purpose design, which would provide a single entry point to the data and fewer clicks to get to the information you need.
To search for patients, medical staff need to define multiple filters. During workshop sessions, we brainstormed on the filters and considered different behavioral models in our designs to cater for the different levels of users – from the physician, who searches for patients as part of their daily work, to the research staff, who are focused on patient statistics. The goal was to easily guide the user to the most critical information while eliminating manual processes. While we iterated and defined the detailed designs, the development team implemented the core functions in parallel. We conducted regular user feedback sessions to observe how medical staff would interact with the tool and to ensure the design made sense from a user perspective.
Multi-Disciplinary Team Provides Well-Rounded Solution
Medical Research Insights allows medical staff to visualize and analyze patient data in real time, benefitting from the speed of SAP HANA and the usable design. Staff can search and filter multiple data sources through a single interface. This provides them a holistic view of a patient’s medical history in a graphical timeline. For expert users, data is accessed using a context-based intelligent search bar. For casual users, there is menu-based access to data. The innovative solution allows physicians more time to care for patients instead of going through paperwork. It also reduces the turnaround time for studies, with patient “collections” or customizable lists used to identify clinical study participants.
By working closely with the SAP Innovation Center and the team from the NCT, conducting observations, incorporating feedback, and iterating in short cycles, the multi-disciplinary team provided a well-rounded solution.
SAP's motivation, the close collaboration and iterative approach lead to great results.– Alexander Knurr, NCT
Along with other SAP healthcare activities, the project has received a special recognition from the by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as “inspiring collaborations”, for its own contribution with the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg to help accelerating the Human Genome Project’s therapeutic promise of personalized medicine. Furthermore, it received a Strategy & Research Professional Notable for the Core77 Design Awards 2014, was presented as the SAP HANA Innovation Award 2014 in the category “Social Hero Innovator”. SAP Medical Research Insights won the German Design Award 2015 in the category “Excellent Communications Design – Interactive User Experience”, was a finalist at the Interaction Awards 2015, was recognized with the iF Design Award 2015 and has been awarded with the “Germany – Land of Ideas 2015” initiative. Most recently, it won the Red Dot Award “Communication Design 2015” against 7.451 submissions.