OptimisPT is a physical therapy electronic medical record (EMR) software, built with ruby on rails. Many physicians using OptimisPT operated in multiple clinics and making the EMR accessible through the web allowed therapists to access patient information easily. The parent company, OptimisCorp, owns over 50 physical therapy clinics with headquarters in Murrieta. The technology team worked out of a beachfront house with a beautiful view of Pacific Palisades.


At OptimisPT, I worked as a business analyst and UX designer. I acted as the liason of the physical therapy staff and the technology team. It was a heavy research-based role considering most of the technology team had little to no prior knowledge of how physical therapy clinics operated.

I wrote user stories in Pivotal Tracker. The user stories provide narrative for my designs and helped developers understand the requirements with the end user in mind.

User Story

“As a physical therapist, I want to use the flowsheet to document patient visits quickly and efficiently.”


“As the patient’s visit history grows in the existing UI, the exercise labels slowly spread further from the form fields. It makes documentation using the system slow and many other PT’s have abandoned the flowsheet.”


• Implement flowsheet in new UI style

• Implement new visual hierarchy for the visit information

• Hide previous visit documentation

• Show previous visit upon selecting the “Previous” CTA

• Fix (freeze) the exercise column so it is aligned next to the visit being viewed (current or previous)

Pivotal Tracker allowed developers to check off each completed task. The team used the checked tasks as a way to estimate the project completion rate and reallocate resources as necessary.


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OptimisPT shares the struggle among the medical software community with its nomenclature, which is loosely defined across practices. The problem is that if documentation methods vary, it makes it difficult to send patient information to another practice while retaining the original meaning. Form field labels and content hierarchies also differ, making information portability with other EMR systems difficult.


“Patient feels moderate pain”

What is moderate in this case? Does it affect the patient’s physical performance or hinder their day-to-day activity? If the documentation was sent to another clinic, others would misinterpret the severity.


Field notes from ethnographyOptimisPT-owned clinics provided a resource for research. I worked with a product manager, who was also a senior physical therapist, to identify new product features. Regular discussions and workshops were held with PT staff to learn more about the target domain. Ethnographic research was performed in clinics to understand the workflow, patient visits, and documentation.

To help establish a common ground between practices, I interfaced with therapists from different clinics.


More Designs

Documents and Attachments

View Prototype

One of the means to help interface with other hospital systems is to provide therapists the ability to add documents and attachments, like PDF’s or Word documents. This way, we were able to acquire patient records that did not fit in with the site form fields and hierarchy. Were were also able to export documentation into PDF format.


View Prototype for HL7 External Identifiers

View Prototype for Identifier Types


HL7 is a standard protocol that allowed EMR systems to interface with each other. Each practice interfacing with OptimisPT has its own external identifier and code. The identifier type categorized the information being exchanged.