Revolutionizing treatment for eating disorders
Coming in from day one the brief was broad. What should a remote eating disorder clinic even be? How should it communicate with the wider world? How should it look? And what features and platforms would be needed to create a therapeutic environment to deliver world-class care to its intake.
Beginning with a series of workshops with the clinical team, we began to deepen our understanding of the needs of both the treatment team and their patients. Through fast iteration, prototyping, design and development we uncovered exactly how technology and connectivity could build a "virtual therapeutic milieu" that backed the community care-led goals the Within team had. All helping to democratize eating disorder treatment.
Working closely with the clinical and business teams we delved deep into the requirements of eating disorder treatment, what a virtual application of it would require, and how to build a product and design team that could service a fast iterative approach to uncover the answers.
Within needed a voice and look to explain itself to the wider world and a clear and human way to talk to anyone who joined the program. We built and designed a base set of guidelines that enabled product build to begin, and created a platform to touch all future aspects of the business moving forward.
With a requirement to induct the first patients in a short timeframe, we iterated quickly on a product strategy based around third party services that could be replaced or iterated upon as we needed to grow. Building POCs, and deepening the UX to match the solutions we found we helped Within take its first patients after just a few months work.
Working in one week sprints, we built fast, failed faster, and re-built better. The building never ended of course. As the platform and the company scaled, we improved design practices, development speed and complexity of build. Less reliance on third parties, meant less compromises, and enabled us to continually push the Within Health app forward, as it became a truly bespoke offering suited to the patient's unique requirements, with empowering outcome measures for those in the program.
Community led care (where patients have multiple touch-points in the care team and interact in groups activities as well as one-to-one) was always a big ask in a remote environment. This is why we moved quickly to test third party services that could help us get the range and depth of connectivity we needed quickly (both inside and outside of the app), and allow the Care Team to start with their first patient journeys, so we could all learn together.
Within needed to work for many different people and many different age ranges - patients, patient's parents and families, the clinical community.
It needed to work across physical assets sent to the patient's home, digital platforms - web and mobile - and social. It needed most importantly to feel human and accessible. Not clinical and unapproachable.
Many treatment providers had to scramble to adjust their patient care to the pandemic. They adopted off-the-shelf software to shoehorn remote treatment into their service offerings.
Within is different. Within is intentionally virtual - its entire program was designed around making remote care more accessible to more people in more places.
How did we create an environment that made the care team accessible and available? How did we use that environment and those tools to deliver the right care? We created a product strategy that mixed the benefits of real world care with the immediacy and pro-activity of the digital world.
Within's clinical team was clear on one thing. This needs to be a therapeutic milieu, not a way to text a therapist and zoom once a week. Intensive, community-led treatment. We facilitated working sessions to test, prototype and design a user experience that delivered across session types from psychotherapy to nursing check-ins, nutrition-led education and meal groups, and physical activities like yoga and movement.
Within's reach wasn't constrained to the app. Part of our work in product strategy developed a roadmap to work with third party suppliers of off-platform devices that would integrate into the main service. From identifying the tools that patients would need to tying them into the ecosystem, we increased the range and quality of touch-points in a patient's care.