EMIS define product direction and make business case to the Board

Stephen Armstrong, Head of Business to Consumer products at UK healthcare technology provider EMIS, talks to Paul Blunden about a recent project. In the interview Stephen describes how the research helped to shape the direction of two products and contributed to the business case made to the EMIS Board.

Transcript of interview between Paul Blunden and Stephen Armstrong

Paul Blunden: Right, so Steven, thanks so much for joining me, and obviously got to know quite well on the project we delivered for you last year. But for the benefit of people watching, could you introduce yourself, explain what you do and what EMIS does?

Stephen Armstrong: Sure. So I am Steven Armstrong, and my official title is head of business to consumer products for patient. And what that means is that I look after 2 products,  ‘Patient Access’, which is one of the UK’s biggest GP companion applications where you can do things like check a medical record, order a repeat prescription, access some private services to. And the other product I look after is ‘Patient Info’, and that is one of the UK’s largest healthcare consumer publications.

And yeah, those are the 2 products that I look after, and we are part of EMIS Group, and EMIS group is an organization that sells clinical systems into predominantly the NHS, but we also have community pharmacy, a prescription management software systems that we sell, we design and build and then sell into pharmacies. And we also have a license and data division too.


Paul Blunden: It’s a pretty big business. I know we’ve worked with a few different areas and I find it fascinating. And for the project we worked on. Could you talk a bit about what the problem was you were trying to solve.

Stephen Armstrong: So the problem we were trying to solve really was to provide insight that would inform the future product vision for both patient info and patient access. The 2 products had for some time been doing okay. But we really wanted to turbo, charge the growth and to do that, we needed a much more compelling product, vision and consumer value proposition.

And the research we did with UX24/7 really helped us understand the types of things that UK consumers really felt important when they were thinking about their health. We got a lot of insight into how they use digital health applications. We got some insight into what they felt about private services and products.  And we also validated a number of product propositions that were actually developed as part of some much more smaller qualitative research exercises that we that we did prior to the quant that we did with UX24/7. And that was really important. And what the project that we did with you really helped validate some of the things that we found in the more in depth interviews that we’d run in house.

Paul Blunden: It’s great to hear that. What drove you to select us? I mean, other than probably we were kicking around EMIS doing other things, but particularly for your project.

Stephen Armstrong: So I think well, you said it. You were kicking around doing lots of other things for AMIS. We were working to really tight deadlines. I think because you guys had already built up a decent reputation within the business, you were part of our supplier roster, anyway. And you had exactly the right kind of experience and skill sets to do what we need to do.

We couldn’t have done it inhouse. We didn’t have the time or the resource, so it was invaluable to kind of lean on you guys to help generate, well two things really. To help guide our own in-house team in terms of the objectives of the research how any survey should have been  structured and written. Obviously, you did the implementation, too. But then, obviously, reviewing all the all the insights and analyzing those when they came back.

Paul Blunden: Good stuff! And from your perspective. How was it working with us? How did the project run?

Stephen Armstrong: Good. Yeah, really good. Like I said, we were working to some really tight deadlines actually. So you guys were super flexible in that, I think.

What I really valued actually was the input at the beginning, where you made us kind of stop and think and consider what we really were trying to achieve. We had an idea in our minds as to what we wanted to do in the type of research that we wanted to do. Actually, you guys challenged that a little bit for us and made us change direction. So I think that was really helpful.

Obviously, you know all that you did in producing the questionnaire was invaluable. But I also think what was very helpful is because of the timelines we are working to you guys. The way in which he managed the analysis after the questionnaire had completed was really helpful because we got some initial insights that helped us make our case to the EMIS Board and then we had more detailed analytics that really were invaluable, like I say, in helping us shape the future product vision. And also evidence that as well as part of the business case that was made to the Board and also feed into some of the market sizing activities that we had to do too.

Paul Blunden: brilliant thanks so much Stephen. And is it too early to share sort of what the results of the product development has delivered? Or is it still work in progress?

Stephen Armstrong: Well, it’s still work in progress. We are still a way off going live. But the research has really helped influence exactly how, not just the product vision but the types of services and products that we want to sell, the relationship between our content and our services, which drives engagement, and how then ecommerce will sit on top of that.

And so yeah, it’s been very influential in terms of shaping what I think will be a really great product at the end of it.

Paul Blunden: Brilliant Stephen, thanks so much for sharing the project story. It was great working with you, and I hope we have the opportunity to do so again in the future.

Stephen Armstrong: That’s great. No problem. Thank you very much.


Paul Blunden: I hope you enjoyed listening to Steven reflecting on the project we ran with him last year. And if you’ve got a business problem, it could be that design research will help you solve it.

So why not get in touch for a no obligation conversation? You can do that via our website. That’s www.ux247.com, and we have a contact us section there. Or email me or my colleagues at hello@ux247.com, or find me on Linkedin and you can message me there.

Thanks for watching.