This project is a result of my recent 10 week summer (2019) internship at a healthcare company based out of Boston. The company uses biomedical information to match cancer patients with clinical trial.
The goal of the project was to create a platform for cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials to be more informed and engaged during their treatment process.
Patients are often not aware of their treatment options or struggle to be empowered to engage in clinical decision making and communication with care team, despite being the most motivated member of the care team.
Meanwhile on the clinician side, nurses, central screeners, and physicians are overwhelmed by the task of screening their huge caseload of patients for large, constantly changing trial menus.
Patients also tend to lack insight on their treatment progress and how their data is used and what impact it has on research. Patients do not have accessible medical support to ask questions about the trial. There is no standard way for patients to track their treatment journey.
Role: UX Researcher/Designer
Research methods: Literature review, remote user interviews, surveys, expert interviews, competitor analysis
Design methods: user personas, user journey mapping, business model canvas, design workshop, concept generation, wireframing, prototyping
Collaboration: Product Manager, Design Team Members
Tools: Sketch, Invision, Usertesting.com, Miro
Duration: May - July 2019 (10 weeks)
For the first 6 weeks, I spent my time trying to understand the user needs and pain points. The literature and remote interviews/surveys on usertesting.com was very helpful in comprehending the user needs and pain-points. Some of the limitations for the research was not having access to users in person and not being able to do a contextual inquiry and get more information about the problems. Literature and internet research (blogs, etc) was very helpful.
" How might we help cancer patients track their symptoms, plan better, have visibility and control over the treatment information, and make them more aware of different treatment options "
After understanding the user journey and pain points, I conducted a design workshop with the design team and a product manager to come up with a range of ideas for the problems we were trying to solve. I introduced the participants to the user persona, stakeholder map and key pain points from the journey map, and conducted a crazy-8 ideation workshop. For the first half we voted and discussed which area to focus on and for the second half we came up with different ideas for the problem. Some of the main ideas are listed below:
1. Treatment options discovery and comparison
2. Enabling patient - doctor discussions through dashboard visualizing patient data
3. Digital symptom tracker with treatment plan and insights
4. Enabling better planning via digitized treatment regimen
5. Having all the information on your fingertips and the ability to retrieve the right information at the right time
Refined Concept Map and Use cases
After collecting feedback on my initial concepts from the design team, I combined different features from each concept which addressed education, medical adherence and communication. I decided to create minimal dependency on the medical team. I decided to move quickly and create more detailed concept map along with a low-fi prototype so that I could deploy user testing sessions and get feedback on the concepts.
I collected feedback on the concepts by testing it with 20 cancer patients and 20 caregivers using a think aloud protocol. This helped me figure out the user's understanding of the features, feature prioritisation. This helped me understand if the product is solving their problems and if it is adding any value. The feedback was overall very positive as there are currently no applications with all these features, making it a one-stop place for everything related to the treatment.
Content suggestions: labelling of tabs (eg. my health instead of profile).
Discussed about tabs vs toggle for bookmarks.
Advised labelling the pill time to: morning, lunch, dinner vs exact time.
Discussed different visualisation ideas.
Calendar integration is feasible.
Discussed how can we link medical data to EMR
User study feedback (talk aloud protocol)
“Having one place for everything is very helpful”
Some users were confused about the symptoms feature, they were not sure if those are the symptoms they should expect or they have faced.
A few participants were confused about the overview section on home page and it's purpose.
A few participants wanted to know if they can sync their personal calendar with the app. They really liked the feature of having their calendar with the treatment regimen.
One person asked what is the benefit of this app over google sheets. This was a very interesting question which made me go back and really think about the feature prioritisation.
Setting an expectation of when the care team will responds is important.
Personalised cancer management
at your fingertips
at your fingertips
Service blueprint & Business Model Canvas
The current prototype is a concept created based on initial research and a few iterations. The MVP was approved by the parent company and the project moved into development phase after my internship. The future vision of the app is to make it more ubiquitous and accessible for easier data capture. Exploring extending the core features to wearable and home assistant could be a possible direction to go into.
My internship experience was focused on applying my new knowledge from grad school and to design solutions in healthcare. Some of the challenging things about the project was to start with an extremely broad problem statement and narrowing it down while creating value for both end users and the product owners. It was a short time period to conduct both extensive research and design. I successfully designed the concept horizontally and presented my work to the company with an approval on the MVP. Apart from work, I used the summer to reflect on my growth, strengths and weaknesses. Overall it was a great experience and I was fortunate to have a wonderful work environment.