Rapid design and development of life-changing medical technologies in 48 hours

I recently attended the world’s first dual-nation live broadcast hackathon event; MiSK’s ‘Medical Internet of Things’. A mixed team participation between hackers in London and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The talent of teams and the mentors (who supported with their expertise) was really inspirational.

Presentation

At midday on Friday 25th the hackathon began. Some teams arrived with pre-formed ideas ready to develop, others needed to kickoff with research and ideation that day. My team (made up of two developers and two UX/UI designers) were the latter.

From initial research and discussions, we decided to focus on a problem that affects many people having medical treatment; when going to a doctor’s appointment patients can feel overwhelmed (by information or emotions), which can lead to missing or forgotten information. This can cause difficulties in later health related decisions or communications. After interviewing Doctors we also discovered they all wished they had more time to communicate the diagnosis and treatments with patients.

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After defining the problem we hoped to solve, we laid out our mission for the product we were to develop. Our mission was to empower patients to record, manage and share consultations with medical professionals and loved ones. Reducing the risk of misinterpretation, forgetfulness and maximising the efficiency of a GP’s time with a patient.

Through user research, feature analysis, creating personas, user flows and task flows; we formed our solution to the problem.

The solution is a cloud based web application named My Med that has the ability to record an appointment (or summary), provide useful, Doctor-approved further reading, enable media and image uploading, details of patients prescriptions and next steps for treatments. The patient would then have the ability to share (and revoke) consultations with loved ones and other health professionals in order to keep them in the loop. Doctors use My Med through an online web-portal and synchronise necessary notes from their practices system to minimise additional work.

My Med was designed as a cloud based web application because it would be adaptable and accessible to more users in many formats. The web backbone (desktop focused) would be better suited to use by Doctors in appointments, as well as those who have accessibility problems or technology preferences. Those who are more mobile have the ability to sign in through tablets or smart phone. API’s would power the apps and other tangential services.

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At the end of the 48 hours a team-mate and I presented our work in a 2.5 minute pitch to a judging panel for a chance to win a share of the $185,000 investment available. It was fantastic to see what the other teams had done in both countries. Our team did not come in the top 3, however we have been given a $10,000 investment to take our product to market. We have also made connections with mentors that will help us progress further within the industry and create a strong business plan.

Our next steps are to review the features and add/adjust those that would be needed for an MVP that targets private healthcare companies (initially) as well as explore to white labelling the product for 3rd party companies. During this time we will continue usability testing with individuals and focus groups. We hope to have discussions with some of the key technology and data providers for medical systems (such as EMIS health) to allow the secure and legal transfer of specific data from their platform to our web-application.

This 48 hour hackathon (although exhausting) was an amazing experience. It showed how rapid design and front/backend development can produce something that has the potential to improve vulnerable individuals lives; empowering them to take their healthcare more into their own hands. Our team are very proud of our product and I hope to give you updates on its development in the months to come.

Start-up November 30th 2016

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Call to action (CTA)

A call to action is a marketing term that refers to a prompt that invokes a response leading to a sale. When referring to a call to action (CTA) in the digital design world we usually mean the interactive element that leads to the next step in the experience - something that needs to be clicked or tapped.

User testing

User testing refers to a technique used in the design process to evaluate a product, feature or prototype with real users. There are several reasons why you might want to undergo usability testing, the most common is that it allows the design team to identify friction in a user experience they are designing, so that it can be addressed before being built or deployed.

WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG (pronounced WIZ-ee-wig) is an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get". It helps identify an an interface that allows user input resulting in an output that is rendered in a similar way. For example; a word processor application interface might resemble a piece of paper,so when printed the user can see how the output will appear.

Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is an tool that allows a website editor/administrator to manage the content that is displayed. Websites are made of HTML and CSS to create pages. Pages can be hard-coded but would require technical development skills to make changes. A CMS usually allows a person without coding knowledge to amend existing and add new content to a website using a WYSIWYG interface.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design refers to a web page that dynamically adapts its layout to fit the size and orientation of the device on which it is viewed. A responsive design allows for a more optimised user experience across desktop and laptop computers as well as smartphones and tablets of varying sizes.

User Stories

User stories allow the functionality of a product or service to be expressed as written descriptions of an experience as seen from the users perspective. The writing of user stories creates a list of design and development tasks to complete in order to create any required functionality.

User Interface

A user interface (UI) is a conduit between human and computer interaction - the space where a user will interact with a computer or machine to complete tasks. The purpose of a UI is to enable a user to effectively control a computer or machine they are interacting with, and for feedback to be received in order to communicate effective completion of tasks.

Personas

A persona in UX Design is the characterisation of a user who represents a segment of your target audience. On a project you might create any number of personas to be representative of a range of user needs and desires. The solutions you design must answer these needs in order to deliver value to your target audience.

Card sorting

A great, reliable, inexpensive method for discovering patterns in how users would expect to find content or functionality. Card sorting is used to test the taxonomy of data with a group of subjects, usually to help inform the creation of the information architecture, user flow, or menu structure on a project.

Brainstorming

A technique used to generate ideas around a specific topic. Often done in groups, but can be done individuals. The process usually involves writing down all ideas around a topic onto paper, a whiteboard or stickies often implying some kind of association.

Minimum Viable Product

An MVP is a product that has the minimum set of features to prove the most essential hypothesis for a product. Businesses building a new product can create a Minimum Viable Product to prove that an idea is viable and warrants further investment. A further benefit being that the next stage of development can be informed by feedback obtained from testing that MVP.

Sitemap

A sitemap is a diagrammatic representation of a hierarchical system. It usually depicts the parent-sibling relationship between pages in a website, showing how sub pages might be arranged underneath their parent groupings. This arrangement forms a map of the site.

User journey

A user journey represents a sequence of events or experiences a user might encounter while using a product or service. A user journey can be mapped or designed to show the steps and choices presented as interactions, and the resulting actions.

Prototype

A prototype is draft representation built to test ideas for layout, behaviour and flow in a system. Prototypes are an indispensable tool for resolving a large number of potential issues in a concept or business before too many resources are deployed to put a design into production.

Wireframes

A Wireframe is a visual schematic that conveys a basic level of communication, structure and behaviour during the design of a system. Wireframes are low-fidelity designs that bypass including a detailed user interface or visual design, conveying just enough to get across the core idea.

Usability

To say something is usable is a qualitative statement about how easy that thing is to use. Usability is an assessment of how learnable a system is and how easy a user finds it to use. The usability of a system or product is a key factor in determining whether the user experience is a good one.

Information Architecture

Information architecture is the design and organisation of content, pages and data into a structure that aids users understanding of a system. A more organised system enables users to more easily find the information they require and complete the intended tasks.

UI Design

User Interface Design is the discipline of designing software interfaces for devices, ideally with a focus on maximising efficiency, responsiveness and aesthetics to foster a good user experience.

UX Design

The practice of User Experience (UX) Design is the coming together of many specific design related disciplines to improve the usability, responsiveness, uptake and aesthetics of a product or service.

User Experience

A general term that covers all aspects of a user's participation while engaging with something that has been designed. Usually when talking about User Experience in the digital design field it refers to the interactions, reactions, emotions and perceptions while using an app, service, website or product.