How We Created a Patient Centered Tool

See inside the user-centered research, design, and validation that connects patients to health data

Research and Definition

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Survey and Interviews

To identify the factors that limit patients and caregivers’ awareness, understanding, and use of health data, we distributed a survey to 700+ patients and caregivers, and interviewed 15 key opinion leaders.

sources of health data graphic


Create Definition of Health Data

From a review of existing resources, and from the survey, we established the need for a definition of health data. A survey of 25 thought leaders informed the formation of a Wikipedia page definition and accompanying graphics.

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Need Identification and Guidelines

We then structured learnings and defined design principles taking into account the different needs of patient groups. We explored existing resources on health data and analyzed the survey findings which revealed a need to build trust with individuals before engaging them.


three sketches of concepts


Brainstorm Ideas

Early renderings of over 20 concepts explored a full possibility of digital, physical, and exhibit based solutions. Concepts ranged from viral videos and patient trainings to interactive exhibits that explored an individual’s health data.

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Evaluate Concepts

Based on consultation with the advisory panel, consisting of experts in healthcare and patient engagement, we identified factors such as reach and educational impact on which to evaluate concepts. This data combined with a consideration of organizational strengths led to the pursuit of a combination of in-clinic posters and a digital plug-in.

poster of where health data goes


Craft the Story

We explored concepts in greater detail, outlining frameworks and honing in on the educational goals and messages each asset could tell through a series of poster concepts and an in-depth plugin.

illustration of health data


Create Visuals

We created a visual language for health data through experimentation with a range of styles and layouts for icons and illustrations. The goal was to create effective and accessible visuals.

Framework and Testing

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Align with Patient Needs

Further research for the plugin defined patient profiles and outlined how the design could align with the Health Belief Model and facilitate behavior change through behavioral psychology. In addition, we used NIH guidance on how to encourage behavior change at different phases through small, actionable steps.

flow diagram of plugin


Design for Behavior Change

A series of prototypes explored different ways of integrating research. One method included hearts that an individual could earn or lose as they progressed. In addition, we tiered information for individuals with short, medium, and long attention spans. Individuals have the opportunity to interact with what they’ve learned through quizzes such as guessing a health data sound, or growing a plant through correct quiz responses.

 test report


Validate Design

A test of 2 prototypes received strong marks from 30 patients in a test that measured trust, credibility, usability, and appearance. 29/30 patients correctly identified the 5 factors of health data, indicating a strong signal for educational effectiveness.

Test Report

Final Tools

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What Heath Data is

In this plugin, individuals engage with their health through surprising and tangible examples showing that there is so much more to health than medical care. This story ultimately shows individuals how health data permeates these interactions.

screenshot of plugin


Uncover the Truth Plugin

Individuals are led through a concise journey about the five main components of health data, where to find it, and their rights to access or request it. Quizzes at the end offer an opportunity to interact with the information learned.

Try it Now

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