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Transformative Healthcare Outcomes

Minimizing socio-economic entry barriers to modern healthcare


Project Overview

Northwell is the largest integrated healthcare system in New York State committed towards caring for millions of individuals and their families. 

Parsons SDM partnered with Northwell to look into how they could personalize and digitally transform patient and caregiver experiences.


Soumil Panwar, Meshwa K, Maria Alejandra, Charlotte Yu


4 Months

Problems with the Healthcare System

Problem 1: Access to healthcare is complex and ambiguous

High costs and delays deter people from seeking care, making the healthcare system confusing and hard to navigate.

Problem 2: Healthcare is lost in language translation

Immigrants and non-English speakers struggle to access healthcare due to language differences, leading to reduced understanding and utilization.

User Insights

Insight 1: Ambiguity Breads Avoidance

People have a preconceived notion that the healthcare system is complex and inaccessible, which creates fear and leads to avoidance.

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"So I had a strong migraine and went to the hospital, I  made an appointment with a  primary doctor, who later directed me to a neurologist and by the time I got my results back my headache was already gone and so were my dollars. Next time I am simply going to CVS."




Insight 2: Familiarity Brings Comfort

The needs of patients with limited English proficiency are often multi-faceted, ranging from functional translation supports to emotional support, advocacy, and cultural bridging.

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"I was about to deliver Emilio. I didn’t take the translator service because I was worried about the cost and I didn’t want another stranger in the room. As my contractions worsened, I struggled to understand what they were saying. I wished there was someone who could support me in Spanish, but it was too late."




Insight 2: Trust is Foundational

Reaching patients most impacted by Socio-Economic factors requires health systems to build trust in communities that have been historically marginalized and offer resources in a respectful, dignified way.

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"We think about people trusting us and we’re trusted messengers, but we don’t think about how they view trust. This is chronic behavior in health systems, community-based organizations. Everybody’s busy, but we forget to prioritize the people that matter."



Healthcare Provider

How might we create a more holistic, accessible, and inclusive patient experience with a focus on socio-economic exclusion in communities through the use of digital tools?

Ideation Workshop

Along with stakeholders at Northwell, we conducted a co-creation session to transition into ideation. Starting off sacrificial concepts, we collectively brainstormed in 3 rounds and voted to identify systemic constraints, bring priority in initial ideas and get early buy-in from stakeholders to stay on track.

Theme 1: Making healthcare approachable, less intimidating, and humane?

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Theme 2: Bridging cultural gaps due to lack of English language competence?

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Based on discussions on feasibility and impact with the stakeholders, we worked to derive UX Patterns for each conceptual direction and defined design principles to follow.

Design Principles

Leveraging the engagement during the co-creation workshop with stakeholders at Northwell, we Identified 'north stars' for Northwell to follow and scale in all product offerings. These principles would impart value and stand to promote user advocacy in multi-disciplinary communication and decisionmaking. 


Empathetic Communication

Cultivate Belonging

Cohesive Experience


I delved into design patterns, seeking out those that instill trust and streamline interactions with empathy-driven chatbots, selection wizards, and user advocacy in mind. After thorough research, I explored the market landscape for design inspiration. 

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User Testing

We went into the field with storyboards of our solutions and probed users to share with us their thoughts, motivations and mindsets. This helped us refine our solutions and find confidence in our concepts.

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We came up with multiple solutions, represented as individual user flows that impart value to all three phases of the existing user journey. These solutions were collectively pitched to Northwell and had individual potential to develop as projects within itself.

1. Enabling Fast Care Delivery with Specialist Connector Tool
An AI-based pain location and categorization tool that directly connects a patient to a specialist based on historic data with Northwell. Users simply need to describe their discomfort and locate the affected area. The system would use historic data, identify symptoms and connect patients with a specialist directly.

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2. Finding assistance and guidance from health advisors
A specialized chatbot to provide logistical assistance to parents using an AI-based chat function enriched with a human layer of support agents to provide detailed support. 

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3. Finding cultural guidance and support from cultural advocates
A service to match patients with cultural advocates trained to navigate complex healthcare systems. This tool helps patients connect with advocates in their neighborhood, add them as a temporary care providers and receive in-person support and guidance from real people.

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Outcome and Impact

If all three of these solutions are implemented, Northwell will move closer to the immigrant population in NYC.

  1. They will provide additional access to 1.93 Million New Yorkers every year

  2. Northwell will have access to 17 additional touchpoints for data collection and personalization of care

  3. Cost saving of $30 Million by reducing no-shows of patient-physician appointments by making effective connections

  4. 7-% faster turnaround for specialized care from 24 days to about 7 days

Key Learnings

I discovered the power within co-creation with stakeholders. When used at the onset of ideation and stages involving decisionmaking, co-creation workshops help bring allignment of user needs with business goals, potentially breaking status quo, guaging development related constraints and get early buy in.

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