An app that assists parents through their child’s asthma care journey by providing proactive personalized care, in-the-moment decision support and integrating of health records.
Interaction design, Visual design,
Premera Blue Cross
Oliver Engel, Jennifer Wang
How might we help parents find and manage long-term asthma care for their child?
Asthma is the most common chronic conditions among children in the United states. In Washington state, 11% of the children were diagnosed with Asthma and for 50% of them the asthma was ‘weakly controlled’.
Osler reduces asthma-related emergency care visits among children by helping parents better manage their child’s asthma care journey.
Personalized actionable information
Powered by electronic health records, Osler provides accurate, actionable and relevant information when the parents need it the most.
Seamlessly schedule and manage all asthma related appointments through the app.
Triggers in the area
Location-based trigger monitoring keeps parents ready to deal with flare ups providing information on how they can be prevented.
Research and Synthesis
"Most of the time, when I got an attack I had to go to the ER because I didn’t carry my nebulizer.” - Participant 5
We interviewed a mix of adults and parents of children with asthma to understand their longterm care journey. Interviews focused on the diagnosis, treatment plan as well as behaviors around medications and flare-ups. This helped us identify key pain points in the care journey and understand how parents manage chronic conditions.
We started with an assumption that parent-child communication is integral for finding the right care for the child. We deployed a cultural probe to validate this as it was a requirement for the class.
An Asthma action plan is recommended by all US medical associations to prevent flare-ups and emergency visits. But through our interviews, we realized that it is difficult to parse and under-utilized by all our participants. When we looked at existing solutions to address this issue we hit another set of obstacles. Apps for asthma management are difficult to navigate, require extensive user input and provide generic advice.
Synthesis - The Asthma Care Journey
Based on the key issues that emerged through formative research, we mapped out the asthma care journey to help identify the challenges parents face. Realizing that asthma and allergies are correlated, I added the external triggers journey to the journey map. The overall journey map set up the ideation direction.
01. Consistent long-term care prevents severe asthma flare-ups and the need for emergency care but is difficult to provide due to the frequently changing prescriptions.
02. Poorly designed Asthma action plan which is used to manage treatment plan, prevent flare-ups and ER visits affects the long-term care process.
03. Scheduling specialized care requires advanced planning and missing it affects the child’s heath.
04. Asthma patients suffer from allergies but don’t have easy access to information on allergy-related triggers.
Motivated to address the different challenges faced by parents during their child’s care journey, we developed 90 ideas through a series of timed ideation exercises like 2x2, braiding, and crazy 8’s. For down-selecting, we started with six thinking hats exercise which assisted in evaluating the ideas from multiple perspectives. We then used Pugh’s decision matrix method to rank our ideas.
Downselecting to the final idea
Our decision matrix for downselection included criteria such as access to relevant information, longterm care assistance, personalization. We chose to go ahead with 3 ideas that would address the challenges across asthma care journey and build a care management platform that would help in
Developing a better care plan
Easy scheduling of appointments
Notify of ambient asthma triggers
The long-term care management platform would empower parents to take control of their child’s condition by showing pertinent information at the right time in the care process.
Care plan: Notify parents of the daily medicines the child should be taking. It will also provide actionable information to parents in case of flare-ups.
Appointment scheduler: Allow parents to easily schedule upcoming appointments with primary care, specialists and keep a record of a previous appointments and prescriptions.
Asthma trigger notification: Notify parents of the ambient conditions in the surrounding area and suggest precautions as necessary.
01. Designing a response that addresses the complete asthma care journey would allow parents to use a single product and provide holistic care for their child.
02. A mobile app allows for on-the-go access to asthma information supporting in-the-moment decision-making for parents.
The three features of the asthma care manager - a better care plan, appointment scheduling, and asthma trigger notification become the three keypaths of our prototype. I focused on prototyping the care plan and triggers keypath. The goal of the prototype was to evaluate our design idea and ensure that it addresses key pain points identified through research.
We started with low-fidelity paper prototypes to quickly iterate on our user flow, assess feature desirability and understand what information to prioritize. We tested this prototype and got feedback from our classmates.
Low-fi prototype takeaways
01. Information overload was causing confusion. The information shown to the users needs to be concise, relevant, glanceable and actionable.
02. Users preferred the proactive nature of the app but found the process of inputting information too tedious.
System map and user flows
To reduce the information overload, I created the overall map of the app followed by the user flows to structure and organize the content. This helped us understand what content is important for the user to complete their task and information would be anticipated.
To reduce the information clutter and simplify user inputs, I made following changes
Integration with electronic health records (EHR) to personalize content and minimize input.
Provide actionable information on each screen to assist the user in completing their goal.
Mid-fi prototype takeaways
01. Ambient trigger information on the home screen was difficult to understand and went unnoticed.
02. The numbers on the care plan screens didn’t make sense to the users and needed additional context.
For the high fidelity prototype, changes were made to
Home screen prioritized routine medicines with an easy option to get info on reducing flareups.
Ambient asthma triggers were moved to alerts section on home screen.
Care plan page showcased peak flow rate as well symptoms to provide context.
Emergency actions were also added to seek further help.
Osler’s high fidelity prototype is clean, supportive and organic without being playful. The app uses a combination of tabs, cards and lists to clearly distinguish between tasks, actions, and instructions.
We chose to reduce information overload early on the prototyping stage which led to minimizing user inputs. Looking back at the project, I see this as restricted customization of options for the parents. In the future, I wish to expand upon and test more user control to enhance the user experience.
Scaling the care framework
Narrowing the scope to focus on Asthma helped us identify a strong problem space and come up with a framework that can be extended to other chronic conditions like diabetes. Osler has the potential to scale and adapt to other chronic conditions and help caregivers better manage the care process.