DESIGN IN HEALTHCARE
HOW NOT TO REPLACE DOCTORS WITH COMPUTERS
Otherwise known as: "Health App, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference... and then stay out of my way while I make up my own damned mind."
UPMC Pocket Pathologist
One of my first projects for UPMC Enterprises was to design the application flow, create wireframes, and develop visual design specifications for an iOS application that allows remotely located Pathologists and others to take microscope images using an iPhone camera, and send them to UPMC for consultation. For me it was an introduction to the technological intricacies of healthcare, the agile software development process, designing for mobile, and a chance to observe pathologists in their working environment. I was involved from the initial interaction design, through the final stages of visual design and launching to the Apple App Store.
STARTING WITH A SKETCHES. Early walk-throughs of the app raised interesting questions about whether the user should be confined to pre-defined workflows, or given access to other commonly used phone features and storage.
SPEC-TACULAR. I incorporated aspects of the UPMC branding guidelines to create a visual design spec for the app, including the logo, icon, and splash screen.
"PATH" TO PRODUCT. UPMC Pocket Pathologist is available on the Apple App Store.
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LVAD Implant Clinical Decision Support Tool
A wide range of factors can influence the necessity, timing, and ultimately the success of major implant or transplant surgery. Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are often considered for heart disease patients, but these patients frequently have a number of different co-morbidities, and the surgery may ultimately decrease the quality of life for these patients, particularly if they don't have support from family or friends.
Currently, doctors considering LVADs for their patients must look in disparate systems to extract information relevant to their decision. And even if they successfully locate that information, it usually isn't visualized in ways that aid in identifying trends, correlation, or cause & effect.
As part of a research project in graduate school, I synthesized prior literature reviews and interviews conducted by clinical and HCI students, and developed concepts for how an LVAD decision support system might work. In the process I learned a lot about the mindset and values of clinicians, as well as how the nuances of data visualization can be the difference between informing a decision and confining that decision.
should I INTERVENE? Research suggested that the most effective way to support decisions without restricting or overriding the expertise of physicians was to expose the complete picture. Incorporating the full spectrum of possibilities in an interactive visualization connects the dots while still allowing users to draw their own conclusions.
WHEN should I INTERVENE? Statistical data from populations of similar patients provide a wealth of knowledge that could help clinicians interpret the past and predict future outcomes months or years in advance.
TRANSPARENCY IS TRUST. People are inherently skeptical of decision support because it is often unclear how data visualizations are constructed, where the data came from, and whether or not it is complete. Physicians are no different. These concepts explored ways to make system calculations accessible and variables customizable.
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