Carnegie Mellon University | 2013

Medication Adherence is a problem that creates frustration with doctors and deteriorates the health of patients. If patients and caregivers could understand the importance of their medications, would their adherence increase?

After delving deeply into the topic of medication adherence, I found the communication issue between healthcare providers and patients to be the most interesting reason for non adherence. In my research I learned that a number of studies have show that a physician's trust is more important than treatment satisfaction when it comes to treatment adherence. As stated by The American College of Preventative Care, "Physician trust correlates positively with acceptance of new medications, intention to follow physician instructions, perceived effectiveness of care, and improvements in self-reported health status." This issue coupled with my innate interest in design's role in education and communication created an area I wanted to explore further

I created a number of diagrams to visualize the medication adherence research.

After researching the problem space I came up with this project statement: How can comprehensive disease education of elderly patients with Type II Diabetes work to increase medication adherence by fostering a trusting relationship between patients and healthcare providers?

Beginning Prototypes

I tried the idea of crocheting molecules as the physical piece to go with the print piece. Crochet is something a lot of elderly women are familiar with so I debated it as a medium.

This is my first draft of the visuals and story for this project. I experimented with different content, ways to model and visual language to put the learning narrative together. This draft was most important in order to receive feedback from peers and professors who were unfamiliar with the project during a progress showing. The pharmacist working with us and a geriatric doctor also came to give their impressions. This prototype went through the narrative of what glucose and insulin are, how glucose is broken down and used, a metaphor for diabetes, and a modeling activity of what happens at a cellular level for someone with diabetes.

Some important points that were brought up were:

  • Developing a take home version for patients
  • The crocheting may appeal more to women than men. Will it deter men from wanting to learn?
  • How do patients remember where they left off?
  • It looks like it would be good for kids with thecolors and shapes

Later Stage Prototyping

In this second iteration I chose to deviate from the physical element. For one, it could be tough for elderly people to do fine motor activites, and for two I wanted to focus on the print content and design. The colors and forms were very bright and childlike. I chose to move in a more sophisticated direction.

Final Iteration

Metaphors are a powerful tool to help communcate an idea. Here I used a door and key metaphor to communicate the 2 reasons a patient could be diabetic.

The final piece to this project was the personal version of the flipchart.

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