A Seamless and Intuitive IVR Automation Interface for Patient Engagement

Enhancing productivity in IVR automation systems by designing an intuitive interface to minimize errors, and facilitate customization without development assistance.


Practice Management

Workflow Optimization

Sample UI of the redesigned healthcare IVR automation


Why is automation software always that complex? 

Hospital admins deploy interactive voice response (IVR) systems at multiple points to optimize patient communication. These may include answering patient queries and grievances, providing information about provider availability, billing discrepancies, and more through FAQs, routing calls, and bolstering patient service efficacy.

Existing IVR systems used in hospital post-discharge workflows often present a significant challenge for administrators. Their complex user interfaces hinder efficient management and customization.

The end users – in this case, the front desk admins – get a raw deal with little to no control over the process and struggle with operating within the configurations set by the development team.

Our client is a leading provider of healthcare IVR systems, empowering hospitals and clinics to boost post-discharge patient engagement through intelligent automation.


The minutest actions required tremendous effort & resources

The dated and complicated UI made it difficult for users to make changes and deploy the IVR in the right situation. The multitude of customization options added tremendous complexity.

Resource-Intensive Deployment: Even basic changes require specialized training and considerable effort due to outdated and cumbersome UI design. Any customization necessitated developer support, leading to increased costs and a strain on IT resources.

Limited Administrative Control: Hospital staff possessed minimal control over the IVR system, hindering their ability to adapt it to specific needs and optimize patient communication.

Friction for Patients: Patients often encountered complex IVR menus, leading to frustration and potentially delaying critical care due to navigation difficulties.

These usability issues were causing an unprecedented increase in support requests, placing a huge strain on our client’s customer care team.

UI explorations for building the new IVR automation system, customized for healthcare


Making simplicity the norm, rather than the exception

Design a user interface that:

Empowers hospital administrators, giving them a sense of control and transparency to help them easily navigate the system, reducing reliance on developers and streamlining workflows.

Resilient to errors: The system anticipates and gracefully handles errors, providing clear and actionable guidance to users when issues arise.

Offers effortless customization: Intuitive workflows empower users to tailor the IVR to their specific needs without requiring additional development resources


Getting a bird’s eye view of the product

We started by conducting user interviews with hospital admins, patients, and caregivers from broad levels of expertise, from beginners and intermediate to experts to collect information.

User Interviews

We conducted in-depth interviews with hospital front desk administrators to understand their pain points and existing workflows when setting up the IVR for a particular workflow to identify their frustrations with the current interface and explore their needs and expectations for an ideal solution.

Task Analysis

We observed administrators performing common tasks such as creating IVR menus, making changes to existing options, and troubleshooting issues. This helped identify specific areas for improvement and opportunities to streamline processes.

Affinity Mapping

We extracted data points from user interviews, task analysis observations, and usability testing results. Key data points such as quotes, behaviors, and pain points were then classified into themes.

The final groupings were analyzed to identify key insights about user frustrations, desired functionalities, and workflow preferences, which would inform the design direction.

Process map detailing steps and challenges for deploying the IVR automation

Research Findings

Patient quote: “This IVR system is a maze! I just wanted to schedule a follow-up appointment, but I keep getting looped back to the main menu. By the time I get a person, I’ll be too frustrated to even explain why I called.”

Admin quote: “We keep wanting to test different IVR greetings and workflows or even add new departments or services to improve patient experience, but making tweaks is a slow process.”

  • The dated and obscure UI of the existing system had no classification for frequent and advanced actions.
  • Configuring a simple automation workflow took a lot of work, especially for inexperienced users.
  • The system lacked guidance to help users make sense of the multiple options available.
UI of existing IVR automation system shows complex flowcharts

The challenge was to design an intuitive information architecture for the interface, organizing functionalities and menus in a way that is logical and easy to navigate for administrators with varying levels of experience without adding cognitive load.

UX Strategy

IVR automation systems, while generally similar across industries, have some key differences when deployed in healthcare settings:

A table showing key differences in IVR automation systems when deployed in healthcare settings

We therefore had to design a system that anticipates and gracefully handles user errors and ensures human intervention at the right time considering the fragile state of mind that the patients (disturbed/aged/anxious) and admins (distracted, busy) user groups may be in.

It was critical to design a system that would provide clear and actionable feedback to users when issues arise, guiding them toward a solution that wouldn’t require developer intervention.

Goals and pain points of typical user persona deploying the IVR automation


Our solution was focused on building a UI that would guide the users to take the right action intuitively, rather than having them explore and wonder what they must do.

It would display only the essential options required to deploy the IVR workflow which makes it easy to operate with minimal training & instruction. We had to ensure that the color palette was soothing and did not hamper the focus of the users. All buttons and pills would have to be labeled to be self-explanatory, removing all traces of speculation and wrong, unintended clicks.

  • It highlights the primary icons on the right side for easy access and offers
  • The left sidebar has every intent clearly lined up
  • The ‘Deploy’ option is presented as a clear starting point to begin the workflow

UI Design

Winner of the iF Design Award 2024

User Experience category

The new IVR automation system enabled smoother interactions, promoting better healthcare outcomes


  • 34% reduced support requests resulted in significant time and cost savings for hospitals.

  • 68% responded that the system’s form and functionality enabled ease of deploying IVRs.

1500+ healthcare UX projects completed for startups to industry leaders

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