AAP: A People-Focused Digital Transformation

Jordan Grimmer 8/31/2017


If you have heard anything about digital transformation initiatives, or DTIs, you’ve probably heard over and over again that they’re not about the technology—they’re about the people. But what does that really mean? How do you focus your DTI around the people?

Recently, we here at Adage began work on a digital transformation initiative with the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is part of an ongoing project that started with the redesign of ShopAAP, the AAP’s ecommerce website, back in 2013. Over the last four years, the AAP has discovered great value in aligning its technology to its business objectives, and wanted to expand its digital capabilities beyond its ecommerce site.

Since the digital transformation initiative was announced on August 8, 2017, the response has been very positive:

So, what’s all the buzz about? Why are people so thrilled with this digital transformation initiative?

Let’s start with the end: our goal with this DTI was three-fold: connect AAP members and the public with the mission, people, and resources they need to provide optimal health to children; simplify the digital experience; and personalize digital interactions so that users could have their specific needs met.

To answer the question, we focused on helping AAP’s people do their jobs better, and that focus was manifested differently at each stage of the project. As you prepare for a digital transformation initiative for your organization, you’ll want to keep some important things in mind:

Focus Your Project Mission Statement around People

pediatrician and her patient

Before we even touched their technology stack, we worked with the AAP to develop a mission statement that focused on the people:

“Our goal is to retool and revamp the AAP’s digital landscape to be more efficient, member-centric, and collaborative so they can focus on what really matters: the health of all children.”

Obviously, digital efficiency is a huge goal for the AAP. Creating a unified ecommerce platform, an integrated CMS, and other technological solutions have played, and will continue to play a key role in that objective. But digital efficiency is not the end goal! “The health of all children” is what really matters to AAP stakeholders, so consequently, every function, process, and technological solution should likewise serve that end goal.

As you consider the role a DTI can play in your organization, pause and make sure that it’s serving your intended audience first. Sure, DTIs can be an effective way to drive conversions or grow revenue, but if those are your end goals—if you treat people like data instead of people—then you will lose sight of what really matters (and your customers and members will know it).

Conduct Interviews to Understand User Pain Points

 doctor using a computer

You could look at data that shows low conversions, poor engagement, and slowing sales, but the data alone doesn’t tell you the whole story; data does a great job at telling you the what behind your organization’s problems, but you need actual people to tell you the why.

Part of the process included gathering pain points from AAP stakeholders. These include administrators, members, customers, and health care professionals. 

Conducting successful user interviews means changing what questions you ask, and what answers you’re looking for. Questions like, “how to we improve conversions on this landing page?” become “how can we help User A find exactly what she’s looking for.”

Develop User Stories and Ideal Experiences

doctor working on a tablet

Once you’ve figured out specific pain points, you can correctly approach your user story development. This will allow you to uncover technical solutions for each point in the user story. User stories reflect the current experience of the users, who they are, and what objectives they want to accomplish.

For the AAP, the user stories were fairly straightforward: users did not feel a personal or even a professional connection to the AAP, they got easily lost while pursuing their objectives, and they could not find what they were looking for.

These user stories provided an excellent launchpad in creating ideal experiences for them. A quick onboarding process for new members gives them more time to help their patients. Easy access to board certification materials allows physicians to stay up-to-date, saves hospitals time and money, and gives patients greater peace of mind. And the list goes on and on. 

While efforts on the AAP’s digital transformation initiative are ongoing (and are expected to continue through March 2019), “the health of all children” remains at the forefront of everything the AAP does. And we know connecting users to the necessary resources, simplifying digital processes, and personalizing the digital experience will allow the AAP and its members to more efficiently deliver on that goal. For more information on some other projects we've done with the AAP, click here.