Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation

Patient - Provider Communication

Collaborating on care outside of the traditional office visit.


A lot can happen between office visits. So how do we stay informed of what is going on with our patients? Did they get those labs? Are they taking their medications? How are they doing? Often we find out the answers to these questions and more when the patient is in front of us again, deceasing timely care management and increasing the time needed for the office visit.


We wanted to gain insight about how the communication and presentation of patient reported outcomes can help to inform and track the patients’ treatment plan. How can getting information from a patient prior to the actual visit increase efficiency? How might providing information between visits help patients manage their care?

In collaboration with the ambulatory GI team we tried to answer these questions, focusing on patients with IBD, inflammatory bowl disease. In a number of experiments with patients and providers, we tested simple paper prototypes that allowed patients to present information to their provider before the visit.

In one experiment, patients used the time, which is otherwise unproductive, in the waiting room to sort cards with different statements about potential symptoms or health related issues they have been experiencing. Any cards that applied to the patient were presented to the provider before the patient entered the exam room, allowing the provider to better structure the visit.


Both patients and providers were interested in the preparation and presentation of this information. However this experiment did not create any noticeable or measurable change in the clinic visit. It did however highlight another underlying need. After iterating several prototypes we discovered that a larger area of value for patients and providers is in the communication of information after the visit, rather than before. Meaning the ability to capture and re-enforce the tasks involved in the care plan. This insight informed a direction that would allow such information to be pushed to patients and have them to provide feedback on tasks complete.


James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE
Associate Director,Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program,
Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania

Nidhi Jalwal
Experience Designer
Masters of Industrial Design Candidate, The University of the Arts, Masters of Industrial Design Program

Sanjiv Mehta
Medical student
Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania

Department of General Gastroenterology
Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania

Project Presentation:
> Patient - Provider Comm

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