The Manage My Surgery patient mobile app was originally launched as an MVP and followed a lean development methodology. As our startup grew and we had market validation, we began to receive feedback from some users and stakeholders that our user experience could use some more empathy.



Manage My Surgery is a HIPAA-compliant app designed to help prep & educate patients who are about to undergo a surgical procedure. That being said, we had to work with a number of legal/liability constraints when it came to our copy and content while trying to increase our product’s empathy.

There were also multiple methods of being invited to the app by the patient’s clinic. Patients can receive an ‘invite code’ which after entering allows them to create their account. Alternatively, patients can be added by their doctor’s office, in which case they will receive an email with a temporary password to use when they log in for the first time.

The strongest tool available to us to elicit more empathy was to make our app more intuitive and user-friendly––each patient should feel like this app was made for them and we should anticipate our users’ needs & feelings.



– More human tone to our content
– Use images of people, when appropriate
– Address patients by their name
– Don’t overwhelm (especially at the beginning of the user’s experience)

– Offer recommendations on dashboard based on patient’s journey
– Offer recommendations on dashboard based on the patient’s app use
– Send push notifications based on the patient’s app use

– Offer more information on the app before sign up
– Present important settings on the surface
– Offer contextual help along the way
– Provide links for certain tasks to help aid in completion

– A more friendly tone to our copy
– Recognize patient’s feelings (i.e. we know when they’ve just had surgery!)

– Include question sections on ‘surface’
– Enhance our notifications screen
– Combine all chronological help into a single Planner


LOW-FI Wireframes —

Using the guidelines of being more human, intelligent, helpful, and kind, we began to see how all of these enhancements would build a more empathetic product. Since patients are being invited to the app by their clinician’s office, we thought it best to display a Welcome Benefits Carousel upon the first time opening the app–– hopefully giving the unfamiliar patient a better idea of the value provided by MMS.

Instead of relying on patients who were invited via email with a temporary password to know to “Log In,” we changed the CTAs on our main landing page to “New Patients Start Here” and “Returning Patients Log In Here.” Regardless of the way a new patient is invited to MMS, they all follow the same path. We significantly streamlined the rest of the log in/sign up flow and offered links to our Help Center at the bottom of all screens, in case patients were still experiencing issues.


more appealing imagery —

For our product to take a more Human approach, I also recommended that when appropriate we use imagery containing…. humans! Science says people are more likely to remember something (in this case, our app) when an image is present and I think it would also add a sense of refinement to our product.

Appropriate implementation would be using this type of imagery on ‘special’ screens outside of our main flow, such as splash screens and help screens.


Content categorization case Studies

A major suggestion was to improve our navigation and content organization. However, our team was a bit concerned that our user demographic may not be familiar with horizontal scrolling tabs and may miss some vital information.

I studied a number of mobile apps which are known for having a high quantity of content following an organizational structure (news apps, medical help apps, app store) to see how they organized their content categories and their navigation UX.

Ultimately, we decided to use a horizontal scroll because patients can view the content & categories on the same screen, it requires fewer taps, and less real estate. Also, horizontal scroll is utilized on many apps that senior patients may use and therefore, it may not be a foreign pattern to them. Examples include BBC News, the Google Play Store, and Lumosity.



Our new-and-improved log in experience is already live on iOS & Android and we have future releases in the works to include our other design enhancements. We are hopeful that our enhancements to the patients’ experience leads to a more trustworthy product and increased engagement!