Option Grid

An interactive tool to help patients understand and choose their own treatment options.

Project:  Web-based application
Role:  Project lead, product designer

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The Option Grid interactive tool, optimised for iPad for use in a clinical setting

Doctor's orders?

Choosing a treatment option following a diagnosis can often be worrisome and confusing. Patients might feel they haven't got the full picture, or even that they are being pushed to move forwards with a treatment they aren't comfortable with.

The Option Grid project aims to empower patients with the knowledge they need to make an informed choice.

Designing a new digital experience

Originally conceived by The Dartmouth Centre for Healthcare Delivery Science, Pumkin – the studio I founded – had won a tender to create an interactive tool to be used by patients and healthcare professionals in the selection of treatments.

Our task was to take the basic concept of the Option Grids – which then existed only as printable PDFs – and re-imagine the delivery of this information as digital experience. It needed to be usable by teenagers through to pensioners, by people of all social backgrounds and levels of education.

At the same time, staff at Dartmouth would be using data gathered by the project to inform studies into healthcare delivery and the factors that influence treatment options.

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A paper version of an Option Grid, sometimes used by doctors to guide patients

Build, test, iterate

Over a period of several months the application was developed and tested from paper sketches through to fully functional prototypes for both the public-facing and back-office sides of the website. 

Our team was small and agile, often building iterations directly in code, allowing us to quickly test new functional prototypes with users, gather input from the Dartmouth team and move to the next iteration.

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User stories helped to engage stakeholders

Developing user flows with engineers

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Translating the vision to a digital experience

Remote user testing sessions of functional prototypes

Helping patients in the real world

Since launching in 2015, Option Grid has been used by some 100,000 patients, doctors and carers to help people choose treatments for conditions ranging from indigestion to Parkinson's disease.

At Pumkin our team continued to manage and make improvements to the website, revising the interface extensively in 2016 to provide more contextual information to patients and to gather more data for the researchers at Dartmouth.

In 2017, the project was acquired by EBSCO Health, the leading provider of evidence-based clinical resource tools in the US.

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Patients first select a condition, and then choose how they want to consume the information provided

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The experience guides the patient through the questions they are most likely to ask, and the person chooses an option based on the answer for each type of treatment

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Additional widgets like the Data Viewer help people understand the probability of an outcome

This helps further inform the choice that they make

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At the end of the experience, the patient can see all of their responses against the possible treatment options for their condition

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Option Grid doesn't directly recommend a treatment, but instead provides clarity through a visual indication as to which treatment option the patient has tended towards

This screen also provides reference to the answer selected for each question, and allows responses to be adjusted