Using human-centered design to improve customer experience: an AFCEA discussion

On January 18, 2023, leaders and executives within the public healthcare ecosystem convened at the annual AFCEA Bethesda Health IT Summit.

As part of this event, the Bethesda Chapter of AFCEA hosted a workshop during which more than 500 participants discussed the critical role human-centered design (HCD) plays in improving customer experience (CX) for those relying on the government’s products and services. Ad Hoc is honored to have sponsored the workshop and to have been a part of this important discussion.

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Those present were given time in small groups to discuss specific questions about applying HCD practices to improve the CX of federal health programs. They were asked to consider:

  1. Government CX challenges that could benefit from HCD
  2. Instances where HCD has helped address these CX challenges
  3. How we can continue to prioritize HCD in the government’s CX efforts

While HCD isn’t a new concept for government agencies that are looking to improve their service delivery, implementing it has proven to be more challenging than in the private sector. Laws, policy, and internal processes are constant constraints, and systems must be user-friendly and accessible for all people. Further, agencies don’t have the luxury of limitless resources to support HCD implementation. And with so many priorities, it can be difficult to effectively apply HCD principles in ways that produce the results that agencies want.

After lengthy discussions during the event, participants submitted their input, and facilitators aggregated all the data. From the white paper:

Almost half of respondents emphasized the importance of making mission-critical tools easier to navigate and understand.

More than half of leaders pointed to their agency’s medical data systems, collection, and documentation as particularly important to improve from an HCD lens. Cybersecurity and ensuring that data can be securely shared between agencies were themes, as many attendees were concerned about how to balance these constraints with human-centered usability.

—AFCEA white paper

Improving CX in federal health programs is about more than simply measuring satisfaction; it is an opportunity to reimagine services in a way that serves all people who rely on them. While a human-centered approach to solving agency CX problems may not be simple in practice, the rewards can be significant, and leaders and executives can learn a great deal from others’ experiences.

To learn about additional insights participants gained during the workshop and how they envision continuing an HCD focus as part of their future CX efforts, download this white paper Ad Hoc produced in partnership with AFCEA Bethesda.