The field of medicine is mired with old software and systems that process and deliver patient information. This is also true for lab results – the way they are currently delivered is difficult for many patients to read or understand, making it a challenge to own and better understand their health. My Labs is an app concept for how we might redesign the way that lab results are delivered for blood work, and possibly other medical information.
Lab Results Are Hard to Understand
If you’ve ever received a complete report of your blood work, the samples here might look familiar. These long, detailed and esoteric documents are difficult to scan visually and make it challenging for patients to have a synthesized view of their health. Even within medical systems designed for a better patient experience, like OneMedical, the ordering doctor or a supporting nurse will always write a summary of findings along with the lab. This is aside from the ensuing follow-up with the physician, if one is needed. The intent of this exploration was to begin to surface a better way of presenting this information, to hopefully empower patients to better understand and own their health records, and to in turn enable better conversations with their providers in pursuit of their wellbeing.
A mobile app makes for a portable tool that can be readily accessible for patients at a moment’s notice. Tablet and web formats could be supported in the future, but I began tackling the challenge in its most simplified and reduced form through an iOS app prototype. There were a few key areas I considered in the process:
1. Account creation and how a patient accesses their labs
For this exploration, and hoping a concept like this could grow into a universally-accessible health wallet, I assumed this app would be unattached to other services. For this reason, it would need unique and universal information to setup an account and connect to results. These would be social security number, name and birth date, etc.
2. Viewing results
The patient would able to see any available lab reports. When selecting a lab, the header would show a summary of the lab outcomes, along with a recommendation to speak with a doctor if any values seemed out of range. Contact information for the ordering doctor along with a photo supports trust through familiarity with their physician, and enables communication as needed for any concern the patient might have.
3. Contacting doctors through messaging
Taking advantage of the portability and immediacy of the phone, a messaging service would enable patients to communicate with their doctors asynchronously while directly being able to reference the lab results they observed. An option to call was also added for more immediate concerns or questions.
UI & Layout
The structure and tone of the app is approachable rather than formal, to evoke familiarity and support understanding. Navigation is simple and exposes all key parts of the app. While removing the bottom nav would accommodate more real estate for the results, the use case is likely to occur infrequently enough that the app should be self-explanatory without hidden menus. The bottom nav could be tucked away as a user scrolls down on results.
Interaction & Motion
Transitions support navigation and correlations between elements. Soft, eased motion curves help evoke calm and a friendly, refined tone. See the prototype videos below for some examples.
The color palette has blue as a main color, which is traditionally associated with trust and safety. A light and saturated hue supports a modern and lighthearted tone. Warm greys are welcoming, while the use of white emphasizes simplicity and clarity. Soft green and orange are used for communicating status of results, while avoiding the use of more alarming red hues. A sans-serif logo with uppercase, heavyset typography highlights establishment and trust. The preceding mark evokes the tiles viewed in the results while anchoring with the wordmark.