Thoughts on Customer-Driven Design

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Innovation Starts with You  

              When TheraOffice was founded in 2001, we were based on the idea of one PT that there just had to be a better way. Since then, the program you know has been through many iterations and evolutions as the industry and technology has changed. But the most impactful changes have almost all begun with you, the users.  

              There is a general philosophy in software that the most important thing is not how you design the software, but how your users actually experience it and integrate it into day-to-day processes. If there is one thing we have learned in nearly 20 years of designing TheraOffice, it’s that there is indeed a better way—and physical therapists already know exactly how to get there.  

From Your Lips to Development’s Ears

              Our design and development teams frequently take your ideas and feedback into consideration when creating each of our four annual updates.  

              Your account manager is your liaison. On each call, our team makes a note of feedback and general sentiments about TheraOffice as well as opinions about the updates. This feedback gets compiled into a daily email among our staff and popular or high impact requests are reviewed again each week. 

              In addition to this word-of-mouth assessment, we also host a user voice forum where you can write a request directly to our team, as well as vote on other users’ ideas. We monitor this program frequently and are always trolling among your suggestions looking for the tools that will make the biggest difference to you. 

The Birth of a New Feature  

              For each of these ideas, no matter how they reach the team, we evaluate a few key points: 

  1. How does this help and what problems would it solve? We tease out not just the feature suggestion, but the why behind it to ensure we can really touch upon the heart of the suggestion.  
  2. Who would this help? Ideas which are popular with users or would solve a problem for many people are automatically considered a higher priority in the development roadmap.  
  3. How does this affect existing workflows? Whether we are introducing a new feature or improving on an existing one, we always take into consideration the ways which the change will impact the processes you are already accustomed to. A truly innovative change will expand your power–improving processes and making them easier—not upset a delicate balance of clinic procedure.   

              Once these three points have been assessed, the design process begins, and a new feature is born.  

Your TheraOffice  

              Did you know the Intake Validator, the widget which allows you to audit patient accounts for missing information which could potentially result in denials, started as a custom report request? Vitals, the area which enables you to gather patient information with a quick glance, began with an off-handed remark on a support call. Picture-in-picture, the upcoming feature which allows you to fill out documentation and conduct a telehealth session simultaneously, was a feature request.  

              We are all relentlessly building a better experience for physical therapy together, one new idea at a time. So, what’s your better way?

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