Service Design Blueprint, G. Surgical, 2017


UX Research Case Study: Trayscan

Discovery research for a mobile app that provides a more efficient way to track surgical equipment loans.


To gain visibility into the end-to-end equipment loan process from the perspective of every touchpoint.

My Role

UX research


Ethnography, 1:1 Interviews, ride-alongs 


Field sales reps, office managers, delivery staff, orthopedic surgeons, nurses, operating room technicians, and sterilization staff


Understand the problem

A medical device sales organization maintains equipment for loans to surgical facilities. Support teams track and transport the equipment, often with very short notice, to clients (surgeons) operating in different facilities throughout the territory.

The current method of tracking is not scalable and the exact location of hundreds of thousands of dollars of surgical equipment is unknown. Transport personnel make trips through congested urban areas only to discover the equipment they need is not there. Efficiency, morale and profits suffer. It’s time for a better tracking method.

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Step 1. Service Design Research

In order to improve the tracking process, I needed to understand the end to end process of loaning equipment from the perspective of everyone involved. To learn this, I traveled everywhere with different types of equipment and interviewed everyone who played a role, within and without the company.

Methodology: 1:1 interviews

I interviewed everyone (agency employees, sales reps, support staff, hospital staff, operating room staff, sterilization staff, and surgeons) to learn about the current process, user experience, and understand pain points.

Methodology: Ethnography

I spent time in operating rooms observing how and by whom the equipment was used.


Step 2. Persona: Sales Representative

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Primary Needs

  • To read and decipher visual information about tray location quickly

  • To record tray movement and location quickly and clearly

  • Fast, accessible, searchable, non-intrusive communication platform for all those who deliver and retrieve the trays, sales reps and office admin team

  • Collaboration and participation of all parties involved in tray movement process

Secondary Needs

  • To be able to quickly check tray for missing parts upon its return

  • To be able to quickly replace missing parts

  • To be able to quickly place orders for parts not in stock

Use Case: Sales Representative

While he’s driving, Chris receives a text request from a very prestigious surgeon for a Latarjet tray for a surgery tomorrow at Hospital ABC. He calls the office to see whether there is a spare L. tray there, but suspects he will have to hunt one down at another hospital. If it’s at another rep’s account, he knows it will take more time to locate. He calls the office and requests that the office manager check the cabinet. She is dealing with a massive delivery right now, but says she will get back to him ASAP. He’s anxious because he knows that the tray must be sterilized, wrapped, and left to dry for 24 hours before it’s ok to use in surgery. If he doesn't get that tray to the account by 3pm, when the morning shift (A Team) leaves for the day, he knows it will never get done. The surgeon is an important client and he chooses Chris’s equipment first, but there are reps from the competition ready and waiting to deliver their tray and could become the favorite in the surgeon’s eyes.

Office manager calls back and there isn’t a tray in the cabinet, so one must be located. OM checks the spreadsheet where equipment movement is recorded, and contacts the rep for Hospital DEF, current location of tray. Sales Rep for that account says it hasn't been there for weeks, that he returned it to the office three weeks ago. Now she must call the delivery personnel to see whether he remembers picking up or delivering the L tray from that account. Maybe he will recall where it is.

3 pm arrives and Chris must call the surgeon and tell him he isn’t able to deliver the tray for tomorrow’s surgery after all. The surgeon is angry and goes with the equipment of Chris’s competitor.


Use Case 1: Driver

Arthroplasty. Is total joint replacement surgery, which often requires as many as three surgical trays and 3 plastic storage tubs packed with implants of all different sizes. The surgeon won’t know which size he will need until she enters the joint, so every size must be available. The driver’s van is nearly full with the supplies for one arthroplasty surgery and other equipment is packed inside the van for delivery to other hospitals too.

Group texting begins at 6:30AM, with office admin instructing driver which deliveries adding last minute deliveries that have come in overnight.

Drive picks up and delivers trays to various accounts all day. He texts a pic of the items as they are dropped to a group for documentation purposes. He updates his progress using a paper list he made that morning. His day often ends after 8-9PM when he must drive to his home in New Jersey.

Use Case 2: Office Manager

Sandy arrives at the office at 7:30AM and finds several tubs have been dropped in the last few hours. She isn’t sure who dropped them or where they came from. She checks the metal tray for identification and find the identification numbers on the stickers have been rubbed off. She will have to send an email asking the sales reps who dropped the equipment so she can enter it in the shared spreadsheet that is used to track equipment loans around the territory.

She prints the correct checklist and opens the tray to see whether all the instruments have been returned, but she gets interrupted by someone who needs to find something. She then gets asked to make an emergency product delivery to a surgery center a few blocks away and doesn’t return to the prior task until late in the afternoon. Checking a tray takes time and she must often leave the task to be continued the next morning.

Use Case 3: Office Manager

Sandy gets a call at 10:30AM from Andrew, a sales rep calling from his car, requesting an AC Joint Repair tray for a surgery the next morning at a hospital nearby. If they can deliver it to the hospital by noon, the surgeon can use their loaner equipment. If he likes it, he may request the hospital purchase a tray for him to use. Sandy checks the spreadsheet to see whether where the closest AC Joint Repair tray is located. The spreadsheet indicates that the tray is at Hospital ABC, which is 10 blocks away from Andrew’s account. Since Hospital ABC is in Will’s territory, she calls him. He calls her back an hour later and tells her that tray isn’t here. He’s not sure why it was listed as being there because he hasn’t needed that type of tray in months. Sandy wonders who forgot to update the equipment spreadsheet all those weeks ago, but doesn't have time to be angry, as she has lost an hour of time. She consults the spreadsheet to look for other ACJ trays and texts a few other reps, but doesn't find one in time for it to be delivered to the hospital and has to tell Andrew that we won’t be able to provide a loaner. Andrew loses the opportunity to sell a $25,000 tray.


Step 3. A few sketches for a mobile solution…

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More sketches…

User Flow: Delivery Personnel

Delivery personnel picks up equipment from Hospital ABC:

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