People into Practice: Design of a Medical Decision Aid with Repetitive Stakeholders' Input

By Carolina Leyva, Mike Zender, Katherine Staun, Anna Heeman, William Brinkman, Jessica A. Kahn and Lea Widdice.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many professional designers in small- and medium-sized firms work against the clock and under a tight budget to deliver quality solutions, which often limit the design process to information gathered from literature reviews, demographic information, input from the client, passive observation, and personal experiences. In a collaborative process with medical researchers to develop a decision aid for a new vaccine, we modified this common design process. We formed a collaborative team with the client and deployed several prototypes that evolved through input from structured interactions with patients, parents, and doctors, including focus groups, clinic observations, and interviews. The design concept evolved from an initial approach based on communicating information about the user’s needs that was followed by observations from focus groups about a variety of simulated interactions between the users and the content and by direct observation of clinical encounters between doctors, patients, and parents. Employing techniques from service design, such as customer journeys and service blueprints, we incorporated these findings into a decision aid that reflected clinician, patient, and parent concerns. The design product was revised with a rapid, iterative process using feedback from observation of the product in use and structured interviews of parents and patients. The result is a vaccine decision aid that, based on empiric testing, is acceptable to all and significantly increases patients’ and parents’ vaccine knowledge and decreases decisional conflict about vaccine choices. The success of this process leads to reflection on how designers can invest limited resources of time and budget on human-centered design with clients and stakeholders. The collaborative dynamic along with the methods used have been shown to generate a meaningful solution by allowing people’s participation to impact design decisions.

Keywords: Design in Society, Health, Communication Design, Interdisciplinary Collaborative Process

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.51-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 876.486KB).

Carolina Leyva

Graduate Assistant, Master of Design, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Carolina is an Industrial Designer from Colombia. She is a Fulbright scholar (2011) and is currently enrolled in the Master of Design program at the University of Cincinnati as a second-year student and working as a graduate assistant in interdisciplinary projects, such as the HPV decision aid design with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Her research interests mainly focus on understanding the importance of emotion and empathy in the design process, as well as its impact on product quality and the stakeholders’ experience. She is the co-founder and project manager of Accenta, a studio dedicated to develop graphic and communication design solutions for public and private sectors. She is a faculty member at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, in the Industrial Design program.

Mike Zender

Professor, Director Graduate Program in Design, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Katherine Staun

Graduate Assistant, Master of Design, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Anna Heeman

Clinical Research Coordinator III, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Research Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Dr. William Brinkman

Associate Professor, General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Dr. Jessica A. Kahn

Professor, Adolescent Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinati, Ohio, USA

Dr. Lea Widdice

Assistant Professor, Adolescent Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinati, Ohio, USA