Journey in Product as a QA Leader

Learnings building and launching a product to make health tech more accessible





Social Health Blueprint Social Health Blueprint is a web app that guides Community Health Workers to easily record, visualize, and address gaps in members’ social support. You can check out the product here - https://socialnetworkmap.bubbleapps.io/





About me


I'm an Engineer and an MBA with a successful career in Software Quality Assurance and Account Management for almost 20 years. My work experience spans from Startups to Conglomerates, Healthcare to Financial Services and Product to Consulting companies; helping clients build impactful real-world solutions.

While working within Quality Assurance domain, I always have a holistic view of the products that are built. I have always been intrigued to know and learn about the product journey from ideation to successfully launching and selling the product and everything in between after working with Product Managers (as stakeholders). Every product has a story about "why" it was born and the meaningful impact it had on its users.


I was drawn to PMDojo after a casual conversation with a friend/mentor about transitioning from Engineering to a Product role. The Industry Track program sounded like an all-in-one power pack of opportunities to learn and gain hands-on experience by working and solving a real-world problem in 10 weeks.


I worked with an incredible team of 4 fellows from diverse backgrounds and each of us played to our strengths.

  • Angela: Shared her sound knowledge about the healthcare domain and contributed big time to secondary research and competitive analysis.

  • Jennifer: Designed the survey and conducted user interviews that led to greater insights into the problem space

  • Melody: Brought her magical design wand and converted the sketches into Hi-Fi wireframes and gave the finishing touches to all our presentations.

  • Purnima: Always ready to take challenges head-on, she was instrumental in developing our No-code solution with some support. Data analysis was her key strength.

  • Mridu: Glue that kept the team together and managed communication with the stakeholders. Ensured our product was always aligned with our north star metric Wrote use cases and user stories, tested, and identified bugs participated in Beta testing, and planned for a successful launch.

Throughout this journey, we were supported by amazing mentors- Rashmi and Bosky and Doug Fair from Gaja Health, the company I was matched up with in PMDojo to solve their business problem and launch a product.




Background of the problem


Social disconnectedness undermines overall health. Social isolation and loneliness are forms of social disconnectedness that increase the risk for dementia, cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even premature death. Latest statistics show that 72% of Medicaid members are experiencing social isolation that is not only related to a lack of human connection but also a lack of a social safety net for the low-income and minority individuals. Absence or lack of social support significantly leads to worse health outcomes and puts strains on the health care system.



Below are some data sources from our primary and secondary research:


https://www.cigna.com/static/www-cigna-com/docs/about-us/newsroom/studies-and-reports/combatting-loneliness/cigna-2020-loneliness-report.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557974/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/hsc.13301



Problem Statement


Community Health Workers (CHWs) lack the tools to identify and assess their members’ risk level for social disconnectedness.


Why does this matter?


The target customer is the Community Health Workers (CHWs). Our product aims to help CHWs address the social needs of Medicaid members. Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, when the basic needs such as food, shelter, safety and security are fulfilled, only then individuals can focus on achieving the next level- social needs. Based on our research, we found that even if basic needs are met, the members falter if they lack a strong social support network. Research has proven that social disconnectedness at any level results in a decline in overall health.


Gaja Health’s goal is to connect Medicaid members to CHWs who can assist them with navigating the healthcare system and social support services to reduce member health risks. While CHWs working with Gaja have the necessary tools to address the basic needs of members, our product aims to assist the CHWs with visualizing and addressing the gaps in social needs.


The three main pain points of CHWs addressed by our product are:

  1. Identify, organize, and evaluate a member’s social support network support

  2. Visualize and identify gaps in support at a glance

  3. Ability to retrieve additional information such as member’s support contacts that can be leveraged in certain situations



Business Goal


The goal of Gaja Health is to connect Medicaid members to CHWs that can assist with navigating the healthcare system and social support services, with the ultimate goal of reducing member health risks.


Validated Wireframes


We validated our prototype with 4 CHWs and made a few changes based on feedback received. A few important updates were adding a Notes text box on every interactive screen to record miscellaneous member information and displaying a summary of members’ support contacts that could be leveraged and general information along with the social needs map.



North Start Metrics


Based on feedback from user testing, we defined key success metrics as:

  • Increased efficiency for CHWs to organize information systematically and analyze the gaps quickly

  • Adoption of the tool to solve the social support needs of the members

  • Increased confidence in supporting members to strengthen their social support network

We identified our North Star metric as “Efficiency count” to help CHWs succeed in capturing and analyzing the social support needs of members.



Use Cases:


Once we defined our north star metric, it became clear that the CHWs needed help with the organization of information (gathered from the members) in an easily readable format since most of these calls happen over the phone. Note taking is not always the best solution!


Also, CHW's efficiency would increase multi-fold if they were provided with tools to analyze this information in a timely manner and have a summarized list of member’s support networks that can be leveraged in certain situations. As a result, the following use cases were established:


For MVP Release:

  • Create a new member profile

  • Record member’s social support network for practical and emotional needs

  • Record member viewpoint/perspective on available support (general questions)

  • Visualize a member's support network map to identify gaps and know which contacts to leverage in a situation

  • Display the basic and social needs (e.g., Food, Housing, Financial, Employment, Education and Transportation) being met by the member’s support network on one screen


For Future Consideration:

  • Edit and Print functionality of support network map

  • Tagging the needs into bigger buckets such as Food, Housing, Employment etc.

  • Ability to generate support network map over time


User Stories


User Story 1- As a CHW, I want to create a new member profile


Acceptance Criteria:


1. When the user selects the "Create New Member Profile", the following input fields are required to be filled-

  • Name

  • Date of Birth

  • Gender

  • Email

  • Contact number

2. Clicking on "Create New Member Profile" creates a new profile.


User Story 2- As a CHW, I want to record answers to general questions to get member’s perspectives/viewpoint


Pre-condition- CHW has created the member profile successfully and landed on the General Questions screen


Acceptance Criteria:


1. CHW can easily enter the answers from the Members as the questions flow

2. CHW can take NOTES if there is a Notes textbox


User Story 3- As a CHW, I want to record practical and emotional needs

Pre-condition- CHW has created the member profile successfully and answered General Questions


Acceptance Criteria:

1. CHW can easily enter the answers from the Members as the questions flow

2. CHW can take NOTES if there is a Notes textbox

3. “Next” button takes the user to the “Emotional Needs” screen

4. “Submit” button on the “Emotional Needs” screen takes the user to the Results screen


User Story 4- As a CHW, I want visually see the practical and emotional needs on the Social network map

Pre-condition- CHW has recorded the answers to General Support and Practical and Emotional needs questions


Acceptance Criteria:

  1. Convert the answers for Frequency, closeness and stress into numbers/indexes at the backend.

  2. Plot Frequency on the X-axis, Closeness on Y axis, and stress as the size of the bubble.

  3. The tooltip should reflect the Name and relationship of the data point being hovered over.


Product Roadmap


Next:

In the near term, we would add:

  1. Ability to edit the support network person over time. Relationships can change and evolve, so the CHWs are able to record these changes and see the evolution of the support network map over time to evaluate if the member situation has changed for better or worse. This can then be shared with members and insurance providers.

  2. Ability to integrate tags for specific needs (basic and social) being met by the individual supporting the Medicaid member.

Later:

After completing the Next phase, we would build a database with resource recommendations, send out automated recommendations based on identified gaps over SMS and integrate the current product with a transcription tool that would give the CHWs peace of mind that they didn’t miss capturing any valuable information from the member



MVP release plan


Here’s a snapshot of our Release plan. On a high level, after completing the beta testing with our users and incorporating some feedback, we released our product to Gaja Health CHW’s on the scheduled launch date. We couldn’t do a public launch since Gaja Health is still in stealth mode.



Key Outcomes


Our solution/MVP was well received by Gaja Health CHWs during beta testing and private launch. Visualization of the support network mapping tool generated a spark in almost every CHW we met. They all loved the ease to record and organize answers and take notes along with the questions asked. Some other feedback received was to have the ability to Edit and Print the social needs map and support contacts summary, the ability to see the evolution of the support network over time and to integrate tags for specific needs (basic and social) being met by the individual working with the member.


Following are the quantitative results for our north star metrics:

  • Efficiency count- 100% of CHWs reported that the tool helps to organize information more systematically.

  • Adoption- About 75% of CHWs are interested in adopting the tool.

  • Effectiveness- 100% of CHWs reported increased confidence in convincing members to strengthen their social support network.

  • Potential for other roles in healthcare to use tool for more comprehensive assessments of members/patients.

Initial feedback suggests the potential for use in primary care as well as fitness and coaching.



Key Learnings

  1. The power of Why. Asking “why”, helps uncover the real reasons for which we are solving the problem.

  2. Double Diamond approach- Start wide and consider 1-3 pain points related to the problem space before landing on one problem statement.

  3. Remain flexible and open to receiving feedback and not getting attached to a proposed solution

  4. Empathy toward the user and two-sided communication with the team and the stakeholders is key to a timely and successful product launch

  5. Work on addressing the issues/concerns right away and prioritize deadlines while considering trade-offs.

  6. Imposter syndrome is real


Conclusion


My experience at PMDojo has been amazing and something that I’ll always cherish. I got great insights into the life of a Product Manager- working with multiple stakeholders, and learnt important lessons from the struggles faced by other teams during weekly presentations that surpassed any bookish learnings. A big community of mentors provided great feedback from their own experiences, conducted workshops and pushed me to think beyond “normal”. I feel I’m ready to launch myself in the product world and use the knowledge and experience gained in these past 10 weeks along with my technical core competencies.


For someone looking to transition into product like me, I truly believe you’ll be well equipped to face the competition in the market after completing this program. Believe in yourself and take the next leap!






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