Case Study: Designing a scheduling and tracking app for diabetic patients
An extensive documentation of the UX design process, reasoning and learning during designing an app for easing up the lives of diabetic patients through an effective tracking system.
It all started when we had to think of a problem which we can solve by designing an app or any other system for our classroom project. While I was thinking, it just clicked to me why not design an user centric app for solving a mainstream health problem. Since my teenage, I’ve seen my mother struggling with diabetes and how taking care of her health is so hectic. Since I’m very well aware of the life of diabetes patients, I decided to design an app that caters to the diabetic patients to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. So that’s when I started to design a solution to this problem by creating a system where patients can seamlessly book appointments for both online and in-clinic consultations, and track everything they want in order to stay fit.
Role: UX Designer
Project type: Classroom Project
Duration: 3 weeks
Telehealth (or telemedicine) is the flavor of the season because of the massive push that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has given to health-tech companies. Basically, telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, including exams and consultations, over the telecommunications infrastructure. Telemedicine technology is frequently used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultation. My primary research being based on telehealth services in general helped me identify personas to understand the exact needs of the user(patients). But I specially focused on the management of chronic diseases like diabetes since it requires frequent visits. Sixty percent of the patients are willing to have regular video visits to manage chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, says an online survey.
People with diabetes represent a vulnerable population who need to be protected from avoidable outpatient clinic visits, specifically those with poor glycemic control, as they are identified as a risk cohort who needs to be particularly protected from infectious diseases such as seasonal flu and COVID19.
So, in my opinion, remote or in-person doctor consultations, when paired with consistent vital tracking seems to be a great help for patients taking charge of their health. From accessing their electronic medical record and viewing lab results to scheduling appointments, tracking their food log, glucose readings, physical activity and locating clinical trials, today’s tech-savvy patients can use their smartphones and tablets in new and exciting ways.
Understanding the users
According to the statistics,
- 66% of consumers are willing to use telehealth, and 8% have tried it.
- Millennials want telehealth to address growing mental healthcare issues.
- Older populations want telehealth for prescription renewals, chronic care management.
- Middle-aged consumers are most willing to use telehealth for urgent care.
- Two-thirds of consumers use personal health monitoring devices.
In fact, only 16% of seniors were concerned about technology — the same percentage as millennials — which suggests seniors are becoming as tech-savvy as the younger generations. Consumers aged 45–54 are the age demographic that is most concerned about technology.
15 years to 70 years of age becomes the major target group for such an app, supported by the facts that some research statistics indicate. Diabetes prevalence numbers are largely determined by people with type 2 diabetes, prevalent in people aged 35- 70, comprising about 90% of the total population. Children under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes(approximately 0.25% of the population), the majority being Type 1 in this age group.
“A shift in patients’ perception of telehealth has perhaps been the most important in increasing adoption, with attitudes moving from, This provider must not think my problem is important since they are seeing me via telehealth, to This provider cares about me and therefore is seeing me via telehealth.”
User persona and customer journey mapping : Understanding the pain points
User flow proves to be instrumental to understand the needs and figure out how the app can deliver the service in the most suitable manner. User flows helped me examine every part of the task and how to make it easier for every demographic age.
Case1: Representing middle aged patients
Case2: Representing young aged patients(below 20 years)
Case3: Representing office going people busy in their hectic schedules
Case4: Representing old aged patients
Incidence of diabetes mellitus is prevalent and increasing and although there is evidence that complications of diabetes can be prevented, patients lack the knowledge, tools and skills to manage, control and monitor their condition to stay fit in the long run.
As analyzed from the personas, users (patients) think that glucose monitoring is a hectic everyday task and seem to feel satisfied if somebody will be responsible to take care of their health on a regular basis.
Users say, expressing their concern about privacy regarding personal details, care reliability/ cost effectiveness. On the other hand, they think this system has some pros like it saves time for sure and it is definitely safer than waiting in a crowded room.
What the user does is monitor glucose levels and enter readings in a log book, track physical activity, and spend a lot of time on the app since diabetes care is very hectic.
Users feel that they can save a lot of time with a well structured system, although sometimes they might feel the lack of technological knowledge. They’ll be satisfied if they can get instant feedback on their health updates.
Stakeholders and competitors
So who are the vested interests in this telemedicine system? To understand my user base better, I studied a few existing platforms that cater to diabetes patients and identified what worked for them and what are the gaps in the system. System’s stakeholders include doctors(diabetologists), patients, other health technicians, general practitioners, health care policy makers, nurses, dieticians, diabetes educators, psychologists, 3rd party promotion, 3rd party production, investors and hospitals.
I studied a few of the existing platforms for diabetic patients and found the gaps in the existing systems. A few I studied are Phable, Glucose Buddy and One Touch Reveal as the direct competitors and HealthifyMe, Practo, and 1mg as indirect competitors. I analyzed these apps in terms of their features, target audience, unique value proposition and their UX and UI. According to my personal opinion and app reviews, I found a few gaps like-
Tracking system is not efficient, payment transaction navigation flow should be really smooth, unstructured delivery system, problems in online appointments as there is no status update provided if the doctor is busy, pathetic customer care, improper tracking of food, activity log system.
Based on the gathered insights, patients need a seamless and friction less system where they schedule their consultations online, track their health including food logs, glucose monitoring, etc. I focused on the main activities and tried to create a system for the same.
The process includes the information hierarchy where all the features of the app are listed followed by the navigation flow.
Buffer time before appointment-Patients should encounter a telemedicine “rooming” process (where they wait for their clinician to virtually arrive). With fewer real-world sources of patient stress to contend with (traffic, parking, and crowded waiting rooms), I tried to create a seamless, virtual patient care experience.
Reminders before scheduled appointment time-Proper reminders and updates would be given to the customers, so as to create a friction less system. Even if the previous patient is taking more time or the doctor isn’t available, the customer will be notified.
Doctor’s booking appointment system-Doctor’s dashboard presents a google calendar where they can easily update their slots of availability(online and in-clinic)which will automatically be updated on the app for the patients.
Emergency-There’s a feature of the hotline emergency number where the patients can consult or take guidance in emergency situations.
Automated feedback on patient’s glucose levels-As the patient enters the readings in the log book, an automated feedback will be sent to make sure that your glucose level is perfect at the moment. And if there’s any disturbance, automated suggestions will be sent instantly.
Expanding the app by catering to more patients dealing with different chronic diseases.
I learnt a lot of things during the process of designing the UX of this app-
- Proper research should always be the base of designing anything. Solid research always backs up in every design.
- How to see things from different perspectives and create solutions that help all.