ROOM PLANNING, REDESIGNED
Have you ever attempted to build something, only to realize too late, that things aren’t going to fit together perfectly, and you need to start over? Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation (TMSC), a leader in medical diagnostic imaging equipment, can’t afford mistakes like this when placing their huge, million-dollar capital equipment in hospitals. With limited area and other constraints, fitting the machinery (and all the necessary components) into the space can be like placing a final piece into a jigsaw puzzle. It needs to fit, often like a glove, with no room for error.
This is my story of designing EnVision 360—a web and tablet app that empowers TMSC field agents to make confident decisions about what equipment will—or won’t—work for any given hospital, with perfect accuracy.
I led the UX strategy and design of EnVision 360 across iOS and Desktop platforms, for Kaleidoscope, since the project began in February 2015 through rollout in November of the same year. My responsibilities included user research, information architecture, prototyping, user testing, visual design, and assisting with deployment.
RETHINKING THE STANDARD
When TMSC approached Kaleidoscope, the industry standard for hospital-based equipment room planning was for sales staff to collect room dimensions and details manually (pen and paper) and delivers those details to their company’s CAD developers. The CAD developers then mock-up a room layout, based on the provided dimensions, and make sure all the equipment can fit. In some cases, if still in the construction phase, the hospital will partner with the equipment provider to ensure that rooms are built to exact specifications for the devices they will contain. Both processes were tedious for the salesperson to collect all relevant data, prone to errors (handwritten notes), oftentimes additional data would need to be collected or re-collected, and high-risk (as miscalculations could cause the equipment to not function properly). In addition, to alleviate these expensive risks, TMSC was also looking for a way to “show off” their equipment in the hospital's space, as a sales tool and decision-making aid.
CHANGING THE GAME
Over the course of the 9-month project, I led the design, testing, and delivery of the Envision 360 tool. We created an application that could be used on PC or iPad, meant to be used in the field, at point-of-sale, for constructing a 3D room that exactly matches that of the hospital. After the room is created it can be populated with all requisite equipment (which are high-poly models that can move and articulate as they actually do).
With Envision, rooms can be built quickly, on the spot, from a “planning”, 2D view, populated with equipment, hospital furnishings, etc., then viewed/navigated in 3D from a first-person perspective. During the course of the project we interviewed and tested prototypes with TMSC sales staff and CAD developers (the two key user groups of Envision) to help direct and evolve the software to best fit their needs. The tool needed to be quick enough for the salesperson to build and demo the room in a short amount of time, while with the hospital personnel, and easy enough for a non-tech-savvy salesperson to use. The output files also needed to interface with industry CAD software, to be useful for the developers.
Upon its debut, Envision 360 was the industry's first interactive and real-time-customizable 3D planning tool. It has succeeded in its goal to maximize efficiency in the planning process, reducing the time it takes to design a room from weeks to as little as a few hours.
From the Press Release
Envision 360 delivers photorealistic and interactive 3D renderings of both equipment and room layouts, instead of the current standard of static drawings. Users can virtually fly through the space and view the room from any angle, seeing exactly how the system moves and functions in the room to allow for maximum efficiency of space and less time spent in the planning process. This means that customers planning hybrid or multi-modality offerings can ensure that interventional and OR equipment work together with enough room for clinicians to conduct procedures. The tool can reduce design costs and help hospitals budget more accurately for system installation.
“We strive to make partnering with Toshiba easy, and tools like Envision 360 help customers more efficiently achieve their goals.” —Roy Sakai, Senior Director, Billings Services, TMSC