The Challenge

Help Ubie scale its AI assistance service to reduce the burden on overworked medical staff


A 2-minute animation and three guidebooks enabling medical staff to effortlessly adopt the service

D4V is a Tokyo-based early stage Venture Capital in partnership with IDEO. Two years ago, D4V invested in healthcare startup Ubie, which develops a service called AI Monshin Ubie. The digital service was created with the goal of reducing the burden on healthcare professionals working long hours, under harsh conditions. Al Monshin Ubie automates a number of patient registration and documentation processes through digital tools, enabling doctors to spend less of their time on manual paperwork, and to dedicate their valuable skills and attention to the patients themselves. Currently, the service is installed in 200 medical institutions in 41 prefectures across Japan.

With Al Monshin Ubie, patients fill out preliminary forms on a tablet, rather than paper, entering information about their health history and current symptoms directly into their digital medical record.As patients fill out the questionnaire, the Ubie AI generates questions in real-time according to patients’ responses, which results in more appropriate and accurate data. The patient’s responses are automatically formatted for the doctor to review prior to and during the consultation. As a result, doctor consultation times and facility operation times are drastically reduced.

AI Monshin Ubie has been implemented to more than 200 hospitals across the nation. They have started providing a service for individual patients in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

With the Coronavirus raising fears of a possible health system breakdown, Ubie has made improvements to anticipate and possibly prevent in-hospital infections. Until recently, Ubie’s services have been primarily used by large hospitals; but in light of the global health crisis, Ubie approached D4V—who partners with IDEO—to help rethink the onboarding experience and quickly facilitate the introduction of AI Monshin Ubie in regional clinics across Japan. D4V and IDEO have been working with Ubie for many years to collaborate in various areas, including UX, rebranding, international research, and more. Therefore, they had a foundation of knowledge from which to build these new features.

Typically, AI Monshin Ubie has been introduced to new hospital clients through direct, in-depth instructional visits from Ubie sales staff. This approach has worked well for rolling out the product to Japan’s 8000 large hospitals; but for the 100,000 smaller clinics, Ubie needed a more efficient onboarding method to enable staff to get set up smoothly and independently.

During research, D4V and IDEO team members engaged with many different clinic staff members, including full-time doctors, part-time doctors, nurses and receptionists. The researchers found that staff tend to react skeptically to new tools and services, with a common preconception that they will add to their workload. One clinic director’s first impression of AI Monshin Ubie was, “It looks complicated.” But once he actually used the service, he realized that it was very user-friendly.

The team quickly understood that it was important to remove preconceptions by clearly communicating Ubie’s benefits and ease of use. They created a two-minute animation and designed three separate guidebooks. The animation adopted a friendly tone and expressed empathy for doctors, staff members and patients, highlighting how Ubie can bring benefits to each of them. The animation showed how Ubie fits into the existing workflow and explained complex systems in a straightforward and accessible way.

A short video clip explains the benefit of their product and service to avoid the users’ concerns in advance.

The guidebook for doctors and directors explains how Ubie’s AI smooths the patient consultation experience and greatly improves the quality of medical care. It also introduces concrete how-tos around set-up, implementation, and ideal workflow. FAQs were also included, addressing concerns about whether or not elderly people would be able to use it.

Ubie business development leader Kenji Yamada says, “D4V and IDEO have a deep understanding not only of design, but of our entire business. They provide inspiration by bringing experience and knowledge that comes from working with other industries and clients outside of healthcare. We appreciate that they can share the knowledge that they’ve obtained with our business.”

IDEO leverages our business by placing in-situ user experience at the center. It brings us a fresh new perspective to what would be considered if approached from a business priority perspective.

Mr. Kubo, Ubie CEO

Read the Japanese-language version of the Ubie case study here.
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Learn more about Ubie: Global Company Website