Mayo Clinic Decision Aid
In spring 2016, Mayo Clinic partnered with Georgia Tech to redesign printed depression medication decision aids. The goal was to prototype a digital decision aiding tool to help doctors facilitate conversations that are positive and constructive when treating patients with depression.
The iPad was selected as our target device for its accessibility — doctors can easily hand it over to patients for view; additionally, there is the ease of potentially user-testing prototypes by deploying iPads in existing Mayo Clinic patient rooms. My project team delivered a Keynote prototype to demonstrate key features, and documented each steps of the process for discussion and iteration purposes. To understand user requirements, Mayo Clinic shared 3 private videos to show us the scenarios of use for the existing paper decision-making aids.
Mayo Clinic shared 13 medications to treat Depression, each with their own pros and cons.
The Decision Aid
The existing decision aids (DA) provide evidence-based information about depression medication options and their characteristics to help patients take part in the decision making process during their visit at Mayo Clinic.
However, clinicians decides how and when to use, and may not elect to use the DA; typically 3-4 cards are used.
The team made brief conference calls with the designers at Mayo Clinic's Research Unit, and reviewed 3 private videos that showed how the existing paper version of the decision-aid (DA) is used.
To understand the experience more deeply, I mapped out the associated emotions in each step of the decision-making process during a clinical visit.
A patient may start out depressed, and frown at the need to understand medicinal context. But out of a need for better mental health, he or she will persevere by thinking through the clinician's statements. At the end, the patient may feel relieved yet frustrated by the professional terminologies.
HMW detach the patient from the work of absorbing medical information, so that the patient can attend to a conversation where the doctor can provide the right advice and guidance?
In total the team hosted 7 rounds of design critiques/reviews. I share specific and final design details here.
A conversation belongs between the patient and the doctor, the screen is merely an aid.
The decision-aid was not supposed to aid a singular decision by either the patient or the doctor. It is to aid a mutual, collective, and joint one. In my early iterations, I believed my users would want to use the tool to select the medicine of their choice as fast as possible (complete the task given). I was wrong.
As a result, the protoype evolved throughout critiques to recede into the background by providing only browsing interactions — minimum input/output. This is so the attention of the doctor and patient may be given to each other; the most important task to actually complete is for the the patient to begin to converse with the doctor and vice versa.
By restraining on-screen interactions, I intentionally reserve space for that to happen. The simple accordion interaction and short app experience distributes attention to what’s not in the app — the patient’s conversation with the doctor; what my team set out to do.
But does it actually work? If given more time and opportunity, I would like to see this in the hands of actual users — have them walk through the experience from end-end, or conduct a focus group of users that have already used the paper version, and listen. Due to privacy and physical distance, actual user testing was not possible.
Dr. Ian Hargraves, Designer at Mayo Clinic made this remark during our final critique: "The accordion menu is symbolic of space-making for the most important issue, as it expands and contracts."