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Onboarding redesign

End-to-end redesign of our growth product to onboard new patients.


Clearing is a healthcare platform offering comprehensive opioid-free care for America’s 50M+ chronic pain sufferers. Our mission is to provide alternatives for care for pain patients who don’t want to depend on opioids to manage their symptoms. 


When I joined the company in 2021, our business model was focused on a product-forward D2C model where patients would fill out a medical intake and receive a custom compound cream in the mail, personalized exercises, and optional product add-ons to manage their pain.


Although this was effective for some patients, there were a few fundamental issues and limitations including the fact that this would only help manage patients’ pain to an extent. We also found that our patient base was frustrated with the medical system and craved a different approach to their care.


Senior end-to-end product designer working alongside another senior designer.


Re-imagining the way pain patients receive care by uncovering their true needs and wants.


Re-launched our business to be care-forward instead of product-forward, setting us up for future success

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“Treatments are table-stakes — patients are looking for a partner & quarterback for care.”


To truly understand our patient-based, we launched a month-long ethnographic study where we interviewed 12 chronic pain patients of different ages, backgrounds, conditions, and pain duration. We asked patients to keep a diary of their pain for one week, as well as engage in different exercises such as telling us their pain story and drawing what their pain world feels like. 


We then ran multiple hour-long sessions where we asked patients to walk us through what their daily life looks like, as well as co-create solutions to what an ideal pain system would look like for them. Through this research, we defined patient profiles in the market and where we could fit in people's lives.

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Through this process, we learned that pain patients are looking for a true support network — often times when patients have been in pain for many years, they are less interested in treatments and are instead looking for a team of experts that listens.

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“I want something that will help me overcome my haphazard schedule, increase my self-awareness about my pain, and my responsibility for making it better.”

— Pain patient, 58

We held a full-day in-person off-site to synthesize our findings, empathize with our patients, and determine the next steps in the product delivery and re-design process.



We knew that we had all of the tools to create a service that truly serves pain patients — but we needed to figure out how to transform and reposition our business model from being product & treatment-forward to being care-forward. 


We started gathering inspiration from within and outside the healthcare industry and established key guiding principles to help shape the direction of our patient onboarding experience. Through our research, we established that our onboarding should aim to be:


  • Conversational: instead of asking patients for an endless stream of information — what we affectionately called our ‘pain DMV’ — we aimed for our onboarding to be more of a back and forth conversation.


  • Empathetic: patients are sharing deep and often traumatic parts of themselves with us. We aimed to be as empathetic as possible throughout the process, without being condescending or presumptuous.


  • Educational: we aimed to share resources and information about people’s pain as they shared their experiences with us so that they could hopefully gain value from the experience even if they did not end up converting.


  • Personalized: our original onboarding process was static — the only personalized part of the experience was their actual treatment. We strived to personalize our onboarding process to respond to what patients were sharing with us.

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With these principles in mind, we underwent a rapid design and prototyping process where we developed over 15 different versions of our onboarding, launching 20 different user tests with 170 participants over the course of a month. We watched over 28 hours of user testing videos and analyzed different approaches to building a care-forward experience.

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One interesting aspect of our process is that for the most part, we were testing the experience with static Figma prototypes. Once we had established the overarching design approach for onboarding, our engineering team built a coded prototype for us to test the onboarding experience using real patient inputs. Through that, we learned that the experience was not personalized enough to patients’ responses and that our messaging was not resonating with our audience.


To address this, we developed a branched approach based on patients’ pain relief goals at the start of onboarding. Depending on what patients told us about what they were looking for, they could experience either a treatment-focused, medical-focused, relief coach-focused or more generalized messaging. 

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We launched our onboarding experience at the start of January 2022, transitioning our business model from being product-forward to care-forward.


Our new onboarding experience was personalized, conversational, empathetic, and provided educational resources about people’s pain throughout. With it, we also rebranded the company, launching a new styleguide that we created as a part of our design process. 

We also introduced an innovative model and logic for personalizing the experience to patient responses.

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Through this launch, we knew that we weren’t going to immediately nail a home run that helped us reach all of our target metrics as a business. Instead, we saw this launch as the foundation to build a new innovative approach to pain care, and to continue improving our service.


After launching, we immediately started measuring results, drop-off & pain points and began designing & launching a series of A/B tests that have allowed our business to grow to what it is today. 

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