Video Prototype: Das Elektronische Rezept, Presto

Group 07, Videoprototype, WS1314

Presto is a digital prescription service, aimed to make prescriptions easier, more efficient and more secure. It allows prescriptions to be issued on-the-go and reduces red tape.

In essence, presto is similar to the physical prescription, only made digital. Prescriptions are issued in an online database, and can be accesssed by presenting proper identification to pharmacies. It also allows physicians to notify pharmacies of their customers arrival, making preparation easier.

Through Presto, patients don’t need to visit physicians offices anymore to get prescriptions re-issued. The doctor can issue a prescription while on the phone. This will reduce bureaucratic efforts by pharmacies, who have to keep tedious records of prescription medicine sales. Making those records digital will drastically improve workflow.

This approach will provide a more secure prescription system, making fradulent prescriptions a thing of the past. The approach is also highly automatable since many pharmacies are in the process of installing automatic sorting systems for their inventory as we speak. Coupled with the inventory database, this would allow the physician to reserve a specific treatment, setting it aside for quick pick up, all with no work required by the pharmacist.


Concept, Group 07, WS1314

A cash mashine in a pharmacy.

During our user research, we were amazed by the complexity of the technologies available to our users. The pharmacy we interviewed for example used a cashing machine that displayed inventory and was able to place orders at suppliers when necessary. It could display information about application and side-effects of the medicine being sold and could even display interactions between multiple prescriptions. The pharmacy was also in the process of installing a complex sorting machine which would sort their inventory automatically, a process which previously required hours of work by hand.

An electronic patient record at the ambulant treatment center for adolescent addicts.

The treatment center for adolescent addicts had similar advanced data processing technology. Every patient had an electronic patient record in which every session with a therapist was quantifiably recorded. Users were also able to create complex statistics with simple clicks, making it possible to identify new trends in adolescents easily. We were also told that doctors have access to similar patient records utilities.

Group 07 using post-its to create affinity diagrams and visualize their thought processes

So we were put to the difficult task of developing a concept for these arguably very efficient workplaces. Their use of sophisticated data management utilities made it a difficult task to identify a footing on which to base our concept on. How do you find the missing link when there is none?

And the missing link was exactly the answer we were looking for. See, both the pharmacy and the treatment center had access to vast quantities of data, yet there was little to no information exchange between pharmacies, doctors and the treatment center for addicts. This lack of exchange is what we based our concept on.

We propose The Electronic Prescription: Presto, or “Das Elektronische Rezept: Presto”, DERP.

Group 07 developing storyboards of their concept, DERP.

This concept proposes replacing the physical prescription with an electronic one instead. Doctors will only need to register prescriptions to their patients’ record instead of issuing a physical prescription. The patients can then get their prescriptions at pharmacies electronically (since medical insurance is mandatory in Germany, we propose using the insurance card for identification, eliminating the need to carry an additional form of identification).

From the get go, this approach already poses valuable benefits. Issuing prescriptions electronically rather than physically makes forgery much more difficult. It also significantly improves workflow for every instance involved, since record keeping will work automatically, in contrast with the current approach, where the physical prescriptions need to be saved for records.

But the system could benefit more from even further information exchange. Imagine for example, if a doctor could check if an unusual treatment is available at your local pharmacy, by checking their inventory, all within the same system they’d use to issue said treatment? He could also put reservations on prescriptions, so the sorting machine could have your shopping ready, before you even left the doctor’s office. And if you regularly need to take medicine, there’s no need to visit the doctor’s office to refresh your prescription – the doctor could issue the prescription over a phone call.

A storyboard, showing how Bob can call his physician to refresh his prescription and have it reserved at his local pharmacy.

All these ideas were intriguing enough for us to pursue them further and in detail. The next week will be spent identifying and working out the touch points and making a video prototype ready for the final presentation.

See you there!

User Research: Treatment for adolescent addicts.

Group 07, User Research, WS1314

Picture taken during the interview.

How did we get here?

After some qualms with finding a willing “user” we could research, we found ourselves at an ambulant treatment center for adolescent addicts. We had visited a pharmacy the day before. Some of our team (ok, it was just me) were a little anxious about the interviews, but our contact partner proved very forthcoming and we were set up very quickly.

Since we had two people who were up for interviews, we split into two groups of three; one led the interview, one took notes and the third took pictures. After the introduction, the interview proceeded effortlessly, we had agreed on a semi-structured interview form, and even though I put away my interview questions after a while, our interviewee answered everything we had planned on asking him.

We’re currently in the process of finishing up our protocol and sorting out the good pictures from the bad. Looking back, I’m pretty glad we used multiple recorders – mine turned out to have sub-optimal playback quality.

See you next time!