Easing patient registration with ThoughtWorks

ThoughtWorksOne of the many perks of winning Seedcamp is the free consulting we get from its partners. The first such partner to help us out is ThoughtWorks who gave us a usability session with Marc McNeil. ThoughtWorks’ clients include thetrainline.com and their Chief Scientific Officer is Martin Fowler, one of the authors of the Agile Software Development Manifesto. The last ten words mean that: (1) they are very good at what they do and (2) I am a geek.

It was a real pleasure to work with Marc. Not only had he previously worked with Mother Teresa, dramatically reducing my degrees of separation from her, but he recently redesigned the workflow of registration for a bank, bringing the brainpower we needed for our patient registration process.

The problem I posed to him is a hard one. At some point in the registration process, the patient must show their clinical team some form of official identification with a photograph. This strong authentication provides the documentation for the patient granting legal consent to use our service, and means the clinical team can feel safe that the person they are communicating with online really is the patient. Our insistence on strong authentication is different from the approach of most other personal health records providers and we are proud of the improved security that this allows.

But it also adds several steps to the registration process. The easiest registration process I have ever seen is that of Posterous which has none:

Posterous registration process
Posterous registration process

Not even Marc could make things that easy. But he was relentless. He drew all our steps onto the whiteboard and then stood back. He arranged and rearranged, cut and recast, and in the end we had a process that is slim but secure. And the control panel that we came up with provides real value for the administrators in the health care institutions that pay to use our software.

I spoke to Louis Abel afterwards and confirmed that this is exactly the kind of thought work that ThoughtWorks takes pride in delivering. So on behalf of all our patients: thank you Marc, ThoughtWorks, and Seedcamp!

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