UHS Southern California Medical Education Consortium

Project Background

As a large healthcare company, UHS owns 27 hospitals throughout the United States. Several of those hospitals are teaching facilities, so they host residents, who have graduated from medical school but need the hands-on training of a residency program in their particular field to complete their training. A group of hospitals in southern California formed a consortium (or group) to provide training to residents in a new program. In the spring of 2019 this program got approved and accredited by the ACGME (the governing body that manages matching medical students with residency programs). This consortium needed a new website to try to attract new resident applicants to fill their available slots as quickly as possible.

Objective

Create a website for the Southern California Medical Education Residency to make the residency programs look as attractive as possible, and set them apart from competitors.

Deliverables

  • Competitive Analysis
  • Architecture
  • Wireframes
  • Punch list for content (to help the writer know what to research)
  • Information/User Flow
  • Tool/Database implementation (Phase 2)
  • Page/System Build

Team Members

Project Manager: Jenny Cathers

UX/Visual Designer: Shayne Eisenhauer

Design Manager: Caren Lipkin 

Copywriter: Randy Schulz

Sr. UX & Digital Designer: Georgia Guthrie (me)

My Role

I was tasked with a large part of the first phase of this project, which involved doing the research to determine what types of content to include in this website. This research included a number of interviews with program administrators, as well as current residents at a different UHS hospital. Once that phase was complete, I handed it off to my colleagues, one of whom created the IA and high fidelity wireframes, and another who did further research and wrote the content.  I then used these elements to build the entire site in WordPress. The website has gone through some changes since it launched but is mostly the same: https://socalresidency.com/

SoCal Residency Home Page
SoCal Residency Home Page

Key Project Milestones

For my part of the project, a key milestone was the interviews with current residents, as they gave us clear insight into the complex decision-making process prospective residents go through. This kind of research was not standard practice for UHS web projects.

Through these interviews we learned that when researching residency programs to apply to, the age and usability of residency websites does factor in the decision to apply there. The more up-to-date and user-friendly a residency program’s web presence is, the more attractive it seems to prospective applicants. This may sound obvious, but it was useful to hear that for some other prestigious-sounding residency programs, their lackluster web presence left a poor impression on applicants. We knew we could make an intuitive and visually pleasing website for sure, but this confirmed how much that could make it stand out from others. 

From these interviews we also learned that cost of living information and crime statistics are crucial for helping applicants determine if they can afford to live safely in different geographic areas near residency programs, which they may have no familiarity with. To meet this need, we decided to research and add this content to the website, in the Cost of Living and Housing page, and the Public Safety pages. In later feedback from residents that were accepted, we heard that this information was very helpful for applicants, and did indeed set the SoCal residency website apart from other competitors.

Public Safety stats page

My Take-Aways

This project was a great example of how focusing on user needs can yield a fresh and innovative outcome, without lots of additional effort or technical solutions. In addition, as one of my first projects at UHS, it was a great opportunity to introduce my team there to new research methods, and ways of organizing information to facilitate our collaboration throughout the process (things such as managing google docs, sharing links, and interview notes). Later on when our team was reflecting back on the year, this was a project that multiple team members said they were proud of for a variety of reasons, so overall it was a great collaboration.

Since the site launched, the SoCal medical consortium has been able to fill all of its available slots for residents.