How Vinehealth is Patient-centric
At Vinehealth, we pride ourselves in our philosophy to put patients first. To do so, we have created an App to support you as much as we can whilst you are undergoing treatment. Our incredible team is always listening to your feedback so we can help you adjust to your new normal.
Anastasiia is the UX designer and researcher for Vinehealth and has been working to create an experience that is both helpful and comfortable for cancer patients to self-manage and track their treatment. Her role consists of talking to various specialists to explore user pain points, direct and validate designs, as well as exploring new ideas to design an optimal cancer care tool. She also works with others in the team to explore new features to motivate patients to stay on track with their treatment plans and conducts a range of activities to collect insights and identify patterns/ struggles of cancer patients throughout their treatment.
Throughout our research, we have interviewed a variety of cancer patients who reported difficulty in recording their symptoms in notebooks and expressed the difficulty it caused them when they had appointments. Some expressed that they would benefit from an experience that supported them in self-management as this would enable them to feel more in control. For others, ‘chemo brain’ contributed to increased levels of stress and anxiety, as well as to them forgetting to take medications as directed.
We have used various techniques in our user research process:
Focus groups allowed us to facilitate discussions with groups of patients and see what issues they talk about as a group.
121 interviews gave us an understanding of patients' responses outside of a group setting allowing us to observe how the patient would respond outside of a group setting.
Interviews with patients, carers, and care teams gave us a holistic perception of every patient.
Observations allowed us to understand and visualise the struggles a patient may have.
Video interviews have allowed us to understand people’s struggles in isolation.
Regular input from clinical professionals has given us confidence in the accuracy, effectiveness, and safety of the app’s features for both patients and clinicians. Clinical professionals review content in the app for clinical safety with every release (generally on a weekly or monthly basis). With further patient feedback and analytics, we were able to validate that the app contributed to making patient-clinician communication more efficient:
“...the other day it was the first time I used the app to communicate my progress to my doctor… they commented on how better and faster the meeting went - as we focused on what to do with symptoms rather than what the symptoms were”
Throughout this journey, we also have been working on adapting the app to be more accessible to everyone. Our design closely follows the UI usability practices and accessibility guidelines, and are validated with the usability testing study conducted on 12 users:
The size of essential text like body copy and tappable text is 16px.
Tappable components (buttons, navigation icons, etc.) with the touch target for the primary components no less than 44x44px.
Ensured sufficient contrast between essential text, icons, buttons and background elements (16.71:1 & 17.76:1 for body copy, which passes WCAG AAA & WCAG AA for small texts, large texts, and graphical elements)
Ensured colour contrast is sufficient for different types of color blindness.
Ensured we designed additional visual elements to support various states for colourblind people and people with various cognitive disorders. (eg. an error message and an error icon that accompany red underline if an input field is in an error state)
Ensured it is easy to navigate in the app, having navigation easily accessible and labeled at any point of interaction.
Ensured it is easy to recover from making mistakes by offering to reverse actions (deleting, going back, etc.).
Ensured that irreversible actions are confirmed.
Ensured there’s enough guidance for the first-time user to be able to learn the app.
As a result of usability testing, we also optimised the amount of taps needed to complete daily goals and reduced the amount of cognitive load on pages.
Running evaluative studies allowed us to validate the usability of the app, as well as the usefulness of features and ease of flows:
“[the app] enables me to plan activities for days when I feel better, and my family know when I am more likely to need extra help on days when I am most likely to have side effects. It's like I have a friend who I can talk to at any time, and it even greets me in a friendly way. I love the speech bubble that I can use to ask worrying questions and the articles have been informative.”
“I had many things floating around, …lots of details I had to keep in my head, and with the app I could just log it all in, and it feels quite nice, cause it was all contained. Your app is great, it's a way of taking all these things floating around, and keeping it one place, and it made me feel more in control.”
“I find the user interface is so quick and simple that to ‘log’ for the day only takes a minute. I’ve given up with similar health apps before because the daily logging feels like a faff and takes too long.”
Our user research journey always keeps going, as we continuously iterate our product, and implement new features to help as many people going through cancer as possible.
Please, do get in touch if you have any feedback or comments regarding the app’s usability, functionality or features – firstname.lastname@example.org