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Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation

Improving the Check-In Experience

When we looked deeper into the waiting room experience we found patients cared less about the wait than knowing what to expect.


We have all been there. You are showing up to a long anticipated appointment. It is a new office in an unfamiliar building. We say to our selves, “I hope this goes smooth”.

We wanted to dig deeper into this experience and look for ways that we can address some of the underlying anxieties and frustrations that occur during that period of time when you walk through the office doors to where you are receiving the care you are there for.


We worked with patients and staff from one of our orthopeadics practices to discover the deeper needs during this experience. Our key assumption was that wait times were a key driver of patient dissatisfaction. What we found however was that patients expected a wait and in fact they were ok with it.

Frustrations, anxiety, and confusion stemmed from simply not knowing what to expect, not only in the length of time they will be waiting but also the processes involved in receiving care.

In this particular practice patients are usually required to get x-rays the day of their appointment. For this reason additional touch points are required for the patient to move through the “check-in” process. Issues of preparation and navigation can confuse and frustrate patients.

We developed a simple prototype to provide patients with information understand this process and tools to make the time before seeing the physician more productive. The prototype included an expectation map outlining all of the steps needed, a physical map of the environment for navigation, a space to document questions you have for your provider, and a place to provide feedback on your experience.


Implementation of the prototype increased the practice’s overall satisfaction
score 3%.


Fabian Marechal
Director of Service Line Operations
Department of Penn Orthopaedic Institute Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

Benjamin Hillson
Experience Designer
Masters of Industrial Design Graduate, The University of the Arts, Masters of Industrial Design Program

Megan Conley
Experience Designer
Masters of Industrial Design Graduate, The University of the Arts, Masters of Industrial Design Program

Full Case Study:
> Experience Guide Prototype

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