NYU Langone Maternity Care Companion
Maternity Care Companion is an application helps provide guidance to birthing parents navigating the pregnancy process and also gives them a space to better communicate their personal needs and preferences.
UI/UX Design
This project was created in collaboration between the SVA Interaction Design MFA program and the FuturePractice Team at NYU Langone Health.
Initial User Interviews
Determining overall user flow
UX: Onboarding, Your Plan, Chat
UI Style Guide
Sponsor Communication
The team
April Chien
SVA IXD Designer
Allison Chiu
SVA IXD Designer
Suri Namkoung
SVA IXD Designer
Kerilyn Tacconi
FuturePractice Innovation Manager
Verónica Alfaro Arias
FuturePractice Design Technologist
Improving health outcomes for Black birthing parents
Birthing parent: a more inclusive title describing any person who is currently undergoing or recently went through the pregnancy process.

NYU Langone Maternity Care Companion empowers Black birthing parents to take more control of their pregnancy process through providing them with ways to better prepare and educate themselves as well as more easily communicate their needs and preferences to healthcare providers.
Black birthing parents in the U.S. are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than women in any other racial group. Our challenge was to see how we could leverage digital health technology to achieve more equitable health outcomes and experiences for Black birthing parents at NYU Langone Health.
We began our research by looking into different areas of potential causes of fatality during pregnancy in Black women including individuals' insurance status, level of prenatal care, access to healthcare, biological differences, and income levels.
We found that while a lot of them do have an impact on birthing outcomes, they aren’t enough to account for the large gap between Black birthing parents and individuals of other races.

So after conducting thorough research we determined that the primary cause of the high mortality rate of Black birthing parents was healthcare provider bias and racism in doctor attitudes towards patients.

Our secondary research focused on the above areas.

We met with 12 birthing parents to further identify pain points, frustrations, needs, and desires within the current hospital experience.
The following quotes are a very small snapshot of what we both heard and saw from the users we interviewed and also read about online. Stories are often not unique to one person and we saw a lot of common ground and pain points in all the experiences of the Black birthing parents we heard.
Our key takeaways:
There is a strong fear of discrimination when Black birthing parents meet with white healthcare workers
Users place a large emphasis on verbal care and communication, and often feel insulted by healthcare workers
Users want their care to be transparent, responsive, and easily accessible
Users often feel like they are not educated enough to speak up about their own care
Mental health and support is very important during the pregnancy process
Many users felt that they could not speak out about their negative experiences.

I conducted 8 out of the 12 interviews and led an interview synthesis session to identify different areas we could further explore.

We noticed during affinity mapping that there were a lot of patient feelings centered around feeling confused and unsupported by hospital staff.

We compared our primary and secondary research to further look into potential opportunity areas for our solution.
What we heard
What we know

Doctors often overlook signs of leading causes of complications and ignore patient concerns...

Most of these leading causes are preventable. Timing and when symptoms are discovered also play a large role in successful health outcomes.

Patients don't feel educated enough to speak up, and often just go along with what the doctor is saying even if they have doubts...

Hospitals have comprehensive informational resources, yet they are often not well organized and can be hard to find.

Doctors have limited availability and often only have a few minutes of face time with patients...

Patients appreciate face time with their doctors but are also willing to learn on their own time.

Patients want their doctor to know who they are even if they are assigned a different doctor at each visit...

Hospital file transfers don’t have any user’s information or input other than diagnosis from their previous doctor.

Black birthing parents often have choices pushed onto them, like taking pain killers when they are against taking them or having a c-section when they want a natural birth...

Doulas exist to help explain different options so they are prepared to make informed decisions during their pregnancy and labor.
To kick-off the design process, we conducted a brainstorm to come up with initial ideas for our solution.
Community groups for hospital patients

Patients join community forums based on their hospital division or cultural backgrounds

Patients discuss and share their thoughts on the maternity process and hospital offerings

Patients make their voices heard through gathering stories and common issues

Patients empower each other by finding common ground and supporting each other
Digital information guide for users to refer to when they’re requesting services or have specific concerns

Take a survey to determine your demographics and specific patient needs

Weekly guides containing information on what to expect at a certain stage and health tips/recommendations

Connect to appointment schedules, medical records and doctors notes, making sure you’re well covered and on track.

Patient keep a journal and document their symptoms with quick tools to help professionals keep track before the next session
A hospital sponsored Q&A form

Reaching out to external hospital networks for additional support

Hire underutilized doctors and nurses that are trained in Obstetrics to help answer patient questions

Patients can chat with doctor/nurses to get their questions answered

Verified doctors and nurses respond to direct messages or answer forum questions/concerns
We talked through our initial ideas with both users and our project sponsors to determine what direction to go in.
We ended up taking elements that people resonated with them most from each of our ideas. These included a way to create doctor-patient connection, the collection of patient demographics to customize experiences, and a way for patients to easily access medical records and educational materials.
Using the feedback and insights gained from research, analysis and sketching, a low-fidelity prototype was created to begin user testing.
The following are screens from the Sign Up and My Plan flows that I put together.
We also conducted user testing with Black birthing parents and a healthcare provider at NYU Langone.
What people liked
Users liked how the platform not only gave them a place to express their preferences and make certain choices, but that it also educated them on how to make those decisions.
Our sponsors and the healthcare provider we met with liked the fact that this solution was geared towards patients and contained activities they could complete on their own, especially because doctors have such limited time.
Users liked how features like My Plan and Pre-Visit notes were consolidated into one application, along with their patient information and doctors notes.

It made them feel more secure knowing both they and their doctor had access to all of the information.

Final design
The final solution aims to help Black birthing parents take more control of their pregnancy process through providing them with ways to better prepare and educate themselves as well as more easily communicate their needs and preferences to healthcare providers.
By giving users access to personalized reading materials and ways to get their needs expressed or questions easily answered outside of hospital visits, Maternity Care Companion helps users be prepared during the course of their pregnancy process, and also creates opportunity for in-person appointments to be more about doctor-patient understanding.

The dashboard shows an overview of reminders, suggested actions, and recommended readings for users.

In onboarding, users are prompted for details that the app then uses to inform them in providing them with personalized resources guidance.

In Your Plan, users can set different preferences for various aspects of their hospital visits and labor process. This mimics something that a doula would offer, including going through a birth plan and providing information about certain choices a birthing parent might need to make.

The Your Plan page card view offers users more details into the different preferences available.

For previsit notes, patients have an opportunity to record any symptoms and questions for their doctors that can be reviewed at their next visit. With it sometimes being difficult to verbally express what they need, this also acts as an additional space for patients to communicate their needs to their provider.

Because doctors often can’t have that much face-time with their patients, both doctors and Black birthing parents we talked to responded well to the concept of having certain information being communicated outside of hospital visits so each visit could focus on more important questions or diagnoses.