by  Rich Herrington

Increasing Response Rates Through Intuitive Surveys

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The first step for potential donor obtainment often begins with questionnaires. This tedious—and often taxing—process is regularly a requirement for acceptance into research studies or medical programs. Emotions are frequently high for participants, and if the task proves cumbersome, abandonment rates for form and questionnaire submissions will be high. To create more user-friendly workflows, providers and researchers should employ experience design (XD) principles.

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In this post, we’ll share a participant questionnaire use case and experience design application that delivered higher submission and approval ratings for the healthcare company.

A very delicate case

Research shows that premature babies fed human milk avoid serious medical complications, such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), sepsis, bacterial meningitis, and ear infections. One in eight babies is born prematurely, but only half of their mothers may be able to provide their babies with breast milk. This need for human milk is an ongoing health concern for premature babies across the world.

For a mother with an overabundance of milk, the decision to make donations to a milk bank can be very a personal and complex choice. Often contributions come from mothers who recently lost or given up her baby or are under the physical duress accompanying motherhood.

The first step in the milk donation process begins with patient workflows that require completing highly personal, in-depth forms and surveys to meet the donation center’s very specific criteria. Typically, this is a cumbersome process that discourages—rather than ensures—form completion, and ultimately drives up drop-out rates.

Applying advanced experience design (XD) methodology to the process can significantly increase the likelihood of fully completing program requirements.


Starting the process

For the mother interested in donating her milk, the first step is to find a local milk bank. She may feel apprehensive and unsure, often compounded by the grief of losing her child or sheer exhaustion that comes with raising a newborn. Perhaps she’s heard negative stories about milk donations and is hesitant to move forward. Accurate advice and information may also be limited.

The mother logs onto the milk bank website, reads the requirements, and starts the application process. This procedure leads the mother to a workflow containing an in-depth survey, often with a series of nested questions—one answer directing to the next.

To stay, or to leave

A patient acceptance workflow, such as the milk bank application form, blood testing, and personal questionnaires, could potentially contain hundreds of questions. For each question answered, a new one is presented using complicated definitions and algorithms, with no clear end in sight. For an exhausted or bereaved mother, it is often easier to decide milk donation is not for her and close the survey, withdrawing from the acceptance workflow.

Sadly, because of a poorly designed questionnaire, a baby in need may miss out on life-saving nutrients that the mother may have provided. Regardless of how flawlessly created the workflow is, it is useless if the survey has a high abandonment or drop-out rate.

From a mother’s point of view

Empathy is at the heart of experience design (XD)— the mother’s emotional, mental, and physical state during the submission process is combined with an understanding of her behavioral characteristics, preferences for technology, and environment.

By stepping into the mother’s shoes and viewing every touchpoint in the milk submission process from this viewpoint, experience design architects work with healthcare professionals to create the optimal experience to increase completed—and accurate—applications.

Form-optimizing tools such as SoftServe’s Human 360 application, can be used in conjunction with or without experience design to create customized, patient-led forms.

Streamlining the qualification process allows for more qualified donors, literally saving lives.


With over 2,000 successful projects completed, SoftServe is the trusted product development and design partner to many of the most future-forward and respected healthcare companies. To learn how our team of innovators empower clients to transform healthcare through the Human 360 platforms and experience design (XD), contact SoftServe today.