DM Connect

/ Self-Initiated Project, 2019

/ Concept Ideation

/ Mobile App Design

DM Connect

DM Connect is a fictional mobile app I created for the purpose of enhancing Diabetes Mellitus (DM) management at home. The intention of this app was to create a sense of continuity of care from the physician's office to the individual's home.  

While there are more than tens of thousands of apps geared towards nutrition and health, DM management still remains difficult because of how scattered the information is and because of the lack of follow up from health professionals.

DM Connect is a mobile toolkit that incorporates nutrition, exercise, medication, and blood sugar management in one platform. Most importantly, it aims to break down the barrier of communication between provider and patient by opening channels of communication and monitoring on both ends. 

How It Works: As a Patient

As a patient, you will first log in and create your profile. This profile will then be verified by your doctor, who from then on will be able to view your profile and monitor your blood glucose management remotely.

 

This app will allow both activity and blood glucose information to be imported automatically by syncing to Apple Health and wireless glucose meters such as the Accu-check connect. By graphing out your blood sugars, giving you an estimate of your Hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1C) level, and by sending alerts to your doctor, you will be able to closely monitor yourself and allow your physician to monitor you.

Functionalities: As a Patient

  1. Track blood sugars synced from glucose meters

  2. Estimate HgbA1C level

  3. Interpret blood sugar trends in relation to carbohydrate intake and exercise level

  4. Obtain nutrition information

  5. Contact physician directly

  6. Check past and future appointments

  7. Manage insulin and diabetes-related medication prescriptions

How It Works: As a Doctor

As a doctor, you will be able to sign up under the umbrella of your healthcare organization. You will be prompted to create profiles for your patients and form your personal patient list. Once profiles are set up from the patient's end as well, you will be able to view their blood glucose trends, carbohydrate intake, and exercise level.

 

Every day, your list will update with alerts from blood glucose levels that are out of range, estimated levels of HgbA1C with severity represented by color, and any direct messages from patients. Depending on the patient's level of activity on the app, you will be able to send them a reminder or congratulate them on their progress. 

Functionalities: As a Doctor

  1. Track patient's blood sugars on a daily basis

  2. Determine highest-risk patients who need closer monitoring

  3. Interpret blood sugar trends in relation to carbohydrate intake and exercise level

  4. Motivate patients to use the app more frequently for consistent blood sugar checks and management

  5. Contact patient directly and send attachments

  6. Check past and future appointments

  7. Titrate insulin and diabetes-related medications based on blood sugar trends

Concept Ideation

The inspiration behind this mobile app was my day-to-day experience at the hospital I work at, and particularly one conversation I had with a male patient.

 

I visited the patient for diabetes education, and the patient expressed to me that regardless of how well he understood the education then and there at the hospital, he was afraid of how things would unfold at home. He explained that the hardest part of being a patient is actually not being in the hospital but rather being at home, where one has to manage everything the doctor was managing, on their own. When the healthcare team is not at one push of your fingertips, he said, the questions multiply, answers get delayed, and health management takes a toll.  

After this conversation, I started asking other patients what they believed to be the most difficult part of following the recommendations. An overwhelming majority agreed that it would be the lack of having someone to keep them accountable or someone to go to for questions. 

In the light of helping empower patients to take better care of themselves at home, I decided to create a fictional mobile app that would surpass the current barriers of limited communication with providers and limited guidance after discharge. 

Objectives

My objectives with this project were to:

  1. Create a platform that facilitates patient care through improved communication between patient and provider.

  2. Cater to the needs of patients with diabetes in all three aspects of blood glucose management, nutrition, and exercise in one centralized app.

  3. Enhance patient care for providers by facilitating blood glucose monitoring and encouraging compliance.

1/10

This project was completed within 5 days, from the concept ideation to user research to building the prototype. Because of the limited time and resources available at hand to conduct proper user research and testing, I drew from my past experiences talking to patients and my own experiences with the hospital system as both a provider and a patient. My hope was to keep both parties' interests in mind, while prioritizing good patient outcome as the primary goal. To view the process, please scroll through the images.

The Process

Final Takeaways

Several limitations come to mind with this project, mostly because I was unable to thoroughly go through each step of the UX designing process. I would like to revisit this project again to conduct better user research, which would likely involve patient consent to avoid any HIPAA violations. I would like to conduct more thorough user interviews regarding their experiences, and allow them to test out the prototype and hear their feedback. I would also like to look into the perspectives of outpatient clinic providers to understand what would add or detract from their workflows with a mobile application like DM Connect.

 © Sofia Moon 2020 

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