ReqCheck is a lightweight web app that interprets vaccine records. I completed this project while a Design Fellow at Code for America, a national nonprofit that makes government services simple, effective, and easy to use. The fellowship is a selective program that pairs teams experienced technologists with cities on a year long project. I worked with the Kansas City, MO Health Department, where my team’s mission was to improve access to childhood immunization.

Research

Making a journey map with the nurses Leading a participatory design exercise with front-line Health Department staff.

I started with research. We identified three major stakeholders: parents, health department employees, and the broader Kansas City health community.

KCMO Health Department Childhood Immunization Process chart showing painpoints and bottlenecks.

I used a variety of techniques to learn about these groups: stakeholder interviews, shadowing, intercept interviews, and participatory design exercises. I wrote scripts, recruited participants, and conducted interviews. I then synthesized this research to present key insights to team members, funders, and other stakeholders.

During this process, we identified pain points and bottlenecks. We decided to focus on two issues where we knew we could have a significant impact. First, that there was no way to triage families at intake, and second that vaccine records were difficult to read.

Watch my Code for America teammate Jessica Cole talk about this project on stage at the 2016 Code for America Summit!

Design

Early wireframes of the UI.

Our solution was ReqCheck: a web app running an algorithm built on top of vaccine requirements from the Centers for Disease Control. The app pulls data from the Health Department’s electronic health records, and determines if a patient is up to date on their vaccines. With our app, registration staff can triage without consulting a nurse, and nurses can make decisions faster and more accurately. This significantly streamlines the clinic’s work.

“I think it’s clean and organized. It’s not confusing, because everything’s right where it needs to be. It looks user friendly.” - Immunization Clinic nurse

ReqCheck’s patient record screen.

Records

The original vaccine record design The vaccine records the Health Department was using required the nurses to do unnecessary math.

The app includes vaccines records for each patient. Previously, they were presented in a hard to read format and didn’t include all relevant data. The redesigned vaccine records are quicker and easier to interpret. Nurses can work more efficiently, with fewer errors. Grouping entries logically allows the reader to quickly scan the chart and determine if a patient is up to date. Nurses previously had to count on their fingers to check date and time frames. Now those calculations are displayed right on the record. The less time nurses spend doing math, the more time they have to counsel patients and provide care.

ReqCheck's edesigned digital records.

Immunizations don’t just keep kids healthy. They’re also a requirement for enrolling in school. A printed version can also be shared with parents, schools, and other medical providers. Vaccine records are complex documents, but non-specialists often need to interpret them. The new designs let everyone make sense of the data they need to help keep kids healthy and in school.

ReqCheck's redesigned printed records.