Rethinking the Medical Student’s Experience



The medical student journey has always been arduous, and an association was determined to improve it. They partnered with Peer Insight to transform the association’s approach to defining a new, end-to-end experience for students and trainees.


A human-centered customer experience strategy, including key values to serve and a set of tools that reflected an understanding of the end user: the student.


The Problem

Representing almost 170 accredited medical schools, nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, and more than 80 academic societies, the association serves a diverse range of complex stakeholders.

As a result, the typical end-user experience was not well defined. So the association partnered with Peer Insight to explore how we might create a more unified customer experience for students and trainees based on their unmet needs and pain-points.

The association also wanted to leverage existing offerings and focus its IT and operations investments to provide both a more unified experience and enhance their reputation.


The Approach

Peer Insight set out to understand the student’s experience along his or her multi-year medical education path. Using a blend of interviewing tactics and hands-on exercises, our team dove into the challenges and hurdles of becoming a doctor, from pre-med coursework to medical school, board examinations, and transitioning to residency. Insights into their day-to-day journey, as well as how they leveraged the association’s resources, allowed us to identify common areas of pain and realize gaps in how the association communicates its offerings to students.

We supplemented our learnings with research into analogous service contexts, defining critical experience elements that consumers have come to expect in any interaction.  

In addition to research with end users, we assessed the association’s own assets and barriers, and included stakeholders outside the core team early in our project to foster change management.


The Impact

The result was a human-centered customer experience strategy, including key values to serve, and a set of tools that reflected an understanding of the end users the association had never focused on before: the student.

Our research enabled the business strategy and IT/operations teams to define opportunities for improvement across the entire experience for their end user, the learner. This allowed them to focus their IT and operations investments on the areas that matter—the current gaps in the learner’s journey to become a doctor—and transform their organization’s services to build a more cohesive, end-to-end experience.