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Converting a Paper-based Activity into an Education and Project Management Platform

Implementation Science experts at SickKids were looking to convert their paper-based Implementation Game into a web app that would guide teams through the implementation process, even if they weren't all located in the same place.

Challenge

Implementation Science is the study of how best to introduce an evidence-based practice into an organization. For example, a researcher may have successfully developed and trialed a new treatment for a health condition, but now needs to actually implement that treatment in a hospital. How do they go about that? Who do they need to involve? How do they train the frontline healthcare workers who will actually be delivering the intervention?

Our client was an Implementation Science researcher who had created a paper-based activity called The Implementation Game (TIG) with the goal of guiding teams through the implementation process in a way that reflects current best practices. The game also provided a handy list of resources where the teams could go to get additional information. While an effective tool, The Implementation Game required team members to sit around a table together. During the pandemic this became increasingly difficult, especially in the healthcare organizations where TIG would be the most useful. Even as things have begun to return to normal, it's more common for team members to be working from different locations than it was previously.

Process

Collaborating with SickKids implementation experts, we began by identifying the key roles in an implementing organization. Team Lead, Team Member, and Leadership. These roles encompassed a range of responsibilities, from liaising with leadership to managing day-to-day tasks. Each faced distinct challenges, such as assessing implementation progress, balancing workloads, and reporting to the executive board. The implementation experts noted that there would be some difference in what the people in these roles did (or even the existence of the role at all) depending on the size and nature of the organization. We created persona documents to represent each of these three roles and identified how their responsibilities and involvement might differ across the four four phases of an implementation. These personas focused on how someone in each role might use the tool differently and what functionality needs they might have that other personas didn’t.

These documents informed our information architecture and wireframes, which we structured into Activities, Tasks, Considerations, and Team.

  • Activities guided users through phases, explaining their importance and potential risks. Within each activity, users can assign tasks, manage timelines, and collaborate with team members.
  • Tasks provided an overview of all responsibilities, allowing users to track assignments and deadlines, for both themselves and their team members.
  • Considerations addressed factors impacting implementation success, offering strategies to navigate challenges.
  • Team provided a place for implementers to manage the user accounts on their project and control editor/viewer permissions

From here we developed moodboards that would guide the direction of the visual design. Because this project was being funded by SickKids, the visual design needed to use the SickKids brand palette. That said, we still wanted the tool to feel as distinct from other SickKids projects as possible. We also wanted the visuals to fit with the existing design done for the Implementation Game. We presented two options and based on client feedback combined elements of both to define our final visual direction. The Implementation Playbook logo was provided by SickKids and was designed to fit within an existing family of implementation products. We then applied our visual style to the wireframes to create our final mockups

We used the mockups as a starting point to create a clickable prototype. We then ran usability testing sessions with eight participants of varying implementation experience and from organizations of different sizes. While feedback was positive, participants expressed a desire for us to define for them what implementation science was before they went through the process of creating an account and logging in. In response, we developed a short explainer video that gave an overview of Implementation Science as well as the tool's value proposition. 

We compiled a list of all of the usability feedback for the SickKids team, highlighting what feedback was important to update now, and what could be added to the roadmap for the future.

From there we built the platform, which included a CMS so that the team could update content as research in Implementation evolved. It also included an integration with Mailchimp so that the team could edit the content of email notifications that were generated by the platform.

Solution

We designed a digital platform that provides both a guide to the implementation process as well as some basic project management capabilities. It takes users through a step by step process to implement an innovation in their organization and provides up-to-date resources on best practices. It also allows users to create and assign tasks, keep track of the implementation outcomes they have successfully achieved, and reminds them to consider equity in their implementations.

Impact

The MVP of The Implementation Playbook was launched with the six pilot organizations in November of 2023. The study of the efficacy of TIP is ongoing.