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Secure File Sharing: Empowering collaborative communication among healthcare centers and patients

iClinic is a company that provides electronic Medical Records (EMR) software and related healthcare technology solutions. Secure file sharing was recently added to iClinic modules, enabling healthcare centers to transmit files and forms more securely and efficiently among other centers and patients. 

Project Overview:

We identified challenges clinics encounter when transferring files among each other and with patients, hindering efficient and secure communication in the healthcare section.

Project Details:

  • Timeline: Feb 2023 through May 2023

  • My Role: UX Designer

  • Team: Project Manager, Developers, UX Designer, Product Specialists

  • Platform: Web app (Desktop & Mobile)

  • Estimated Reading Time: 10-12 minutes

Project Background

iClinic is a SaaS used in the healthcare industry for managing electronic medical records. It assists healthcare professionals in organizing patient information and files, appointments, billing, waitlists, and other administrative tasks. Transferring medical files, diagnostic reports, referrals, and forms, is essential in the healthcare domain for seamless information exchange among healthcare providers and patients.

Problem Statement

In the past, healthcare centers had to rely on costly, time-consuming e-fax integrated with the iClinic system, which required additional maintenance and technology build-out. Moreover, these tools were not fully integrated with the rest of the iClinic system, creating friction in the user experience. Also, a recent request from a key client urged us to seek an improved solution for our file transfer process.

By introducing secure file sharing, we aimed to eliminate the need for third-party tools and enable healthcare centers to send files to other centers and patients easily. By doing so, we address users’ needs while keeping everything fully integrated within the iClinic system, streamlining both the user experience and overall efficiency.

I was responsible for launching this project. So, I began user research to identify, understand, and prioritize essential use cases.

User Research

Feedback collected by our product specialists in the past year provided a valuable starting point for our investigation. Subsequently, we conducted a series of interviews with some of our users to gain deeper insights into their needs and the challenges they've faced within the system.

Some of the Users' Pain Points

I want to be able to send forms to new patients so that I can save time by avoiding data entry manually

I want to be able to send lab reports to patients so that I don’t need to print them out for them

I want to be able to return a fax that I sent so that I can rectify any mistake I made

I need to be able to send info

After analyzing our interview outcomes we found some shared pain points among users. All the identified pain points were categorized into two distinct groups:


Transferring Files Between Patients and Clinics

  • Inconsistent methods: They didn’t have any consistent method to send files to patients. Some clinics used emails, while others printed files out and handed them to patients resulting in confusion and delays in patient communication and document handling within the healthcare system.

  • Challenges with Form Submission: In some clinics, new patients were required to arrive early to manually fill out paper forms, resulting in a time-consuming and error-prone process when submitting information into the system.

  • Different Kinds of Documents:

Transferring Files Between Clinics

  • Delays to Send the Files: Some users experienced delays due to congested queues in fax transmission, and dependency of the method on phone lines, affecting the efficiency of healthcare data transfer.

  • Inability to Edit or Recall Sent Faxes: Once the fax has been sent, there is no way to edit or return it. This limitation makes correcting mistakes challenging.

  • Inability to Track the File: Users couldn’t check the status of the file, whether it has been delivered or viewed, hindering follow-ups and file management.

  • Inconsistency in the System: The reliance on third-party e-faxing required users to check another app for fax statuses, leading to an unpleasant user experience and workflow disruptions.

Meeting with the Development Team

Upon summarizing the interview results and defining the emerging themes, a meeting was convened involving the development team, the project manager, and the CEO to address potential solutions.

It became clear that deploying a two-factor authentication method was essential for secure patient file transmission in compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Additionally, to increase security, files should have limited access duration and automatically expire after a designated period.

Ideation and Solutions

We conducted multiple brainstorming sessions with the team, involving the Project Manager and senior developer, to create the workflows and identify essential features. Our objective was to define the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of our product and establish our initial version based on the most crucial needs of our users.


We were already aware that the types of files healthcare centers wished to share with patients fell into two categories: Forms (for initial patient visits) and other files (lab reports, referrals, and other reports)

Consequently, I began designing the following workflows, aiming to describe what each step includes.

  • Sending Files to Other Healthcare Centers and Patients

  • Sending Forms to Patients

  • Patient Receiving Documents

  • Healthcare Centers Receiving Documents

  • Managing Sent Files

High Fidelity & Prototype

After a feedback session with the team on the task flows, I began developing the high-fidelity components and refining the page layout, using the iClinic design system.

After a feedback session with the team on the task flows, I began developing the high-fidelity components and refining the page layout, using the iClinic design system.

User Testing

During the prototype testing phase with a range of our clients, we observed that most users could complete the tasks. However, we recognized a challenge: while users had the option to send multiple files at the same time, they found the flow confusing.

To address this issue, I devised a solution. We decided to retain the old design but introduced a new feature that allows users to effortlessly drag and drop multiple files, simplifying the sharing process with recipients.

Engineer Hand Off

I conducted a final review of the designs to ensure our engineers had all the necessary resources, confirming that we were in a good position to initiate the hand-off process.

The handoff of design files encompassed:

  • Three responsive patient-related screens (Desktop, Mobile, Tablet)

  • Inclusive flows encompassing various scenarios

  • Comprehensive coverage of loading, empty, and error states across the pages and individual components

  • Annotations for screen reader guidelines and any additional accessibility requirements

User Difficulties

After a month of development, we received feedback from a healthcare center highlighting a challenge faced by patients.

While waiting for the code to be sent via email, some patients using mobile to access their files anticipated the code to automatically populate into the assigned number slots. Disappointed when this didn't happen, they continuously clicked the 'resend' button.

As a result, they encountered difficulty accessing their files and eventually abandoned the process. To address this issue, I sought an alternative approach and simply changed the 'resent' button to 'resend email,' effectively resolving the problem. Subsequently, there were no further reports about this issue.


The implementation of the new file-sharing feature within the iClinic system resulted in a noticeable enhancement in user experience and accessibility for both healthcare centers and patients.

According to our product specialists' report, the feature led to a reduced demand for inquiries regarding how to send a fax, while improving patient access to their files. Additionally, the feature contributed to increased user satisfaction and a reduction in the time spent sending files, thereby streamlining the workflow and enhancing the ease of access. (indicate a concrete number!)

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