Team Ubuntu

Team Ubuntu

Problem Statement


We are looking to improve people’s experience of taking medications/supplements when their routine changes by helping them take their medication at the right time. We also want to help them monitor their symptoms and side effects.

We’ve heard from the people that we’ve talked to that they are pretty good at managing taking things when they have a routine to fall back on, but when the routine changes or with increased stressors, things become much harder to handle. We also want to help the user monitor symptoms and side effects because it can be challenging to monitor the changes over time when you are experiencing them yourself.

Design Brief


We are looking to improve people’s experience of taking medications/supplements when their routine changes by helping them take their medication at the right time. We also want to help them monitor their symptoms and side effects.

 

We’ve heard from the people that we’ve talked to that they are pretty good at managing taking things when they have a routine to fall back on, but when the routine changes or with increased stressors, things become much harder to handle.

 

We also want to help the user monitor symptoms and side effects because it can be challenging to monitor the changes over time when you are experiencing them yourself.

 

Important aspects of this problem include:

 

Our users

Our users are comfortable with technology and have a busy life. They are taking medicines/supplements and want reminders and help monitoring their health, but don’t want it to be too disruptive or difficult.

How do our users feel about this problem?

When speaking with our users, we learned that they all wanted to remember their medication/supplements and had trouble taking them as intended or prescribed when their routine changed.  They all used information about their side effects and symptoms to inform how they took their medicine/supplement and how they developed a routine.

We noticed several characterizing traits: level of organization, importance of medication to them, and the impact of stress on their daily life.

 

What our project will accomplish: managing change in routine

The goal of our project is for people to be able to take their medication as prescribed (and as usual) when faced with a change in routine and stress. They will also able to track their symptoms, side effects and feelings. This will help them make informed decisions about their medication and routine and make it easier to understand and communicate how they are doing. This will help them be healthier, less stressed, and minimize unwanted side effects.

 

Requirements for success - function analysis

The “functions” below must be present for us to consider the project a success.

 



Needs Analysis Narrative


We are looking to improve people’s experience of taking medications/supplements when their routine changes by helping them take their medication at the right time. We also want to help them monitor their symptoms and side effects. Our users, who use mobile and web-based technology regularly and have busy lives, take medications and supplements. Many of the solutions for medication reminders are not necessarily designed with their changing routines in mind, so we want to provide a solution for them that is easy for them to use and helps them remember and monitor things they care about.

 

When speaking with our users, we learned that they all wanted to remember their medication/supplements and had trouble taking them as intended or prescribed when their routine changed. They all dealt with that challenge differently, combining various existing solutions with their already established routines, and had various degrees of success with their approach. They also expressed different levels of concern about side effects and symptoms, but they all used information about their side effects and symptoms to inform how they took their medicine/supplement and how they developed a routine.

 

Solving this problem would mean making the currently painful process of adjusting to a new routine while taking a medication/supplement much easier.

 

In our effort to learn about our users, we were able to conduct three interviews with Olin students. In addition to general medication routine, we were interested in how they approached symptom tracking and travel. We noticed several characterizing traits: level of organization, importance of medication (a combination of the size of window they can take it before feeling side effects and how impactful those side effects are), and the impact of stress on their daily life. To capture those elements, we mapped every user along these axes to understand how they relate to each other. We noticed that stressed mostly impacted the user’s level of organization, where some people felt the need to be organized, while others lost the ability to keep track of everything they needed (including medication).

 

Our first approach to creating personas comes from correlating level of organization with how critical the medication is, with the assumption that someone who has a strict regimen needs to be organized. For the next iteration, we plan on taking a more nuanced look at this correlation. For now, we came up with Organized Olivia and Flexible Felicia.

 

Interview Map Organized Olivia Flexible Felicia

From these axes, we learned that our solution should fit for people with different organizational patterns with the understanding that Flexible Felicia will likely not stick to a stringent schedule. We’ve also learned that users whose medication is less critical don’t feel the need to seek out an application or learn to use one, so it is important that our solution requires relatively low activation energy. Functionally, our minimum viable product should remind the user to take their medicine, monitor their side effects, and overall simplify their life. A good metric for our success is whether a user would recommend using this app to a friend they noticed experiences similar difficulties.

 

When we talked to our users, we heard that consciously developing a routine while managing side effects and symptoms was sometimes stressful. Additionally, developing a routine took considerable time and effort. Our product would allow the user to offload the cognitive weight associated with medicine to the product, helping them be healthier, less stressed, and minimize unwanted side effects.

Consent Narrative


Hello!

We are students from Olin College of Engineering taking a class in User Experience Design.

Our goal is to provide a product that can improve your experience with remembering to take pills, supplements, or medication

We hope to gain insights from your experience and get feedback to improve our design. We would very much appreciate your participation as it helps us design with users in mind. We expect to have a prototype to display the concept for educational purposes by the end of the project in December, but it will not be commercially available.

We will be sharing what we learn from you with our class, but we won’t be using your real name. We won’t share any information that you don’t want us to. We are dedicated to compliance with FERPA and HIPAA and as such, we won’t ask about specific medication and will omit any details that you provide. Our contact information can be found below.

Inspirational Design


Pill Drill MedimiSmart
Pill Pack Medisafe
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Pill Drill


Wired refers to Pill Drill as “Fit Bit for taking medication”. It is an integrated system for managing medication, meaning it influences every step involved in taking medication. The pillbox features a modular design to fit different types of schedules. The alarm (or hub) is the heart of the product and serves a few purposes: giving time, ringing when it is time to take medication, and confirming that the meds are taken with RFID a scanner. There are RFID tags built into the pillbox, stickers (to be stuck to another item such as the box the pills came in, inhaler, etc.) and the mood cube. The Mood cube provides a tangible way to record how the user is feeling to later be correlated with medication intake. A phone app is used to set the medication schedule, but also notifies relatives whether the user took their meds on time and what mood they scanned.

The product has two main facets, reminding and tracking. It is clearly aimed at the elderly who are not interested in dealing with a phone app, meaning it faces a fundamental problem: a technically illiterate person could not set this up themselves. It’s possible that the hub has a great interface to set a medication schedule, but I haven’t seen it. You can tell from the app that the industrial designer was better paid than the UX/UI designer; it’s neither intuitive nor streamlined. Unlike many phone apps in this space, it does not auto-complete (or complete in any way) the medication the user adds to their schedule. It also doesn’t track dosage, which seems like a serious design oversight for a product that advertises tracking as much as reminding. The user’s dependence on a more technologically literate is excusable given that one of the main advertised features is that family members get notifications (i.e.: peace of mind) and can access stats, which assumes that a younger, technically literate person is related to the main user. However, the hub’s design also promotes a sedentary lifestyle; assuming that the main user doesn’t want to touch a smartphone, they have no way of either being reminded or recording their med intake when they are out of the house, or even in a different room. There are other smaller issues, such as the assumption that every box in the pillbox is filled out correctly (which the hub could help with) and that it doesn’t seem to show any concern if the user logs many doses in a short period of time (which could be an issue for users with short term memory deficiency).

The pill drill is an interesting take on an integrated system for med reminding and tracking. While overall the user experience through the hub is simple and effective, it very flexible beyond scenarios out of a kickstarter video. The RFID scanning is a particularly effective way to track medication since I can definitely see a user building a habit of scanning and taking their medication in one motion. The mood cube is an interesting way to allow technically illiterate people to track their mood. It might be interesting to explore the space of ensuring that users take the right medication (if that’s even a significant issue). At the end of the day, Pill Drill is just another med reminder app with an additional tangible interface.

MedimiSmart


MedimiSmart is a stationary pill dispenser. When it is the time to take certain medication, the light underneath (shown in green on the photo) flashes green and the pills are dispensed to a cup attached to the side. The cup is placed inside the hole on the right side of the dispenser, and can be taken out for bulk intake of the medication if there are many. If the person did not take the pills, then the light flashes in yellow.

This design is great in that it reduces the effort of having to pull out the right amount of tablets for each medication, especially if the user is taking multiple variety of medication.

However, we think this being fixed to a place might limit its potential as a solution to the problem of forgetting to take medications. While it is easy to remember and develop a routine to take medication at home, we think that a lot more people forget to take medicine because they cannot be home for reasons like work and travel. This dispenser is not designed to be portable, so it might be designed for elderlies who do not travel that often.

Pill Pack


Pill Pack with the logo "Your medicine made easy" is a service to improve the experience of handling several medicines. The pill pack contains small plastic bags with the daily medicine, marked with the day, date, the time you are supposed to take it and what the bag contains. The pack contains medicine sufficient for one month and is sent to the users home. The service also includes other health care items such as inhalers and creams. You can also monitor your prescriptions through a mobile app.

From the information on the website, the target user for this service are those who take several medicines a day. This service will help the users to keep track of their medicine and take away the inconvenience of renewing prescriptions and eliminates the trip to the pharmacy.

Some good software design elements are that the website is easy to maneuver and has just the right amount of information. The information is both in text, pictures and videos and is easy accessible for the reader. The hardware design is good in many ways since the pack is discrete, the information on the bags is sufficient and is easy to read. A really good feature is that you can order a travel-pack if you are leaving your home for vacation.

The design elements that could be improved is that you actually do not get a reminder for when you are going to take your medicine. The fact that the plastic bag says that the user are supposed to take the medicine at a special time does not mean that the user will, and there is no way of checking when the medicine was taken.

Pill pack is focusing on making it more comfortable for the user with eliminating the trip to the pharmacy and taking care of renewing prescriptions. This is their main focus and overall, I think they do this in a really good way. I am not sure if there are more features in the app making you take your medicine on time, but it certainly makes the user get control on what to take and when.

Depending on the target group we decide to work with and what will be our main problem, we can find many interesting things to get inspiration from pill pack. I particularly like the discrete design on the box and the information listed and the website that is very easy to use.

An interesting fact I did not know before is that 50 percent of Americans don’t take their medicine as prescribed.

Medisafe


What is Medisafe?

Medisafe is an app to manage medications- it is firmly in the space of the area we are trying to explore, but it is very focused on the app experience. Part of the system also includes optional interaction with a wearable device or a wireless communicator that sits on top of a pill bottle or sorter that indicates when it has been opened. It also provides a hub to input other health data related to medication use or general health concerns.

Interesting features of Medisafe

Medisafe lets you input your medications, indicating the appearance and type of the medication, as well as autofilling common medications. It gives suggestions for common dosage regimens if you choose a known medication.

It also lets you have Medifriends, who are people alerted (at your discretion) if you don’t take your medicine. It will suggest Medifriends based on your contacts. It lets you input other health information and important information (such as contact information) of your doctor.

It gives you an alert with the name of your medication at the top of your phone, similar to a phone alarm.

Lessons we can learn from Medisafe

Playing with Medisafe for a week has led to a few key insights.

The display of the medication name in the alert is not discreet, nor is the buzzing when I got an alert. People around me were aware that my phone was buzzing a lot more, particularly if I chose to snooze the alarm. It’s not intuitive that you need to actually misrepresent the name of your medication if you want a more discreet reminder- implementing something like an alias for your medication would be helpful.

The medication input and configuration was clumsy and the pillbox visualization is a bit confusing. The key things (being able to say what the dosage is also means saying if it’s a pill or an ampoule or a puff, for example) we will probably also use, but the way in which is organized could probably be simplified.

The Medifriend idea is interesting- having an actual person remind you is probably more effective than most other methods (and we will likely use some version of this idea), but we still need to know who this helps and if there are people for whom this would not work (and how best to help them).

Medisafe prioritizes security of the data and the privacy of their users, which is something we have to consider when designing the app. They also put some of the research they do on their website, which may help guide us.

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