Mayo Clinic Medication Decision Aid


When Jan to April 2016

My Role  Research, Ideation, Visual Design, Prototyping

The Goal: a desktop/ipad application to support patient-doctor conversations


Designers at Mayo Clinic have developed a set of cards that aid the discussion between doctors and their patients regarding depression medication options. We were tasked with developing a digital tool that could support this shared decision making process. 

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Background About the existing paper cards


Currently, a set of paper cards developed by the Mayo Clinic, known as decision cards, are given to patients by their doctors. When the doctor and the patient are in conversation, they talk about drugs that will work for the patient. These conversations revolve around issues.

These paper cards serve as a  support measure for shared decision making. They can be held and read by both parties involved.

Each card is color coded and represents a different issue such as weight change, sexual issues, sleep, cost or stopping approach. Each issue has a list of drugs and their effects for that issue.


The Process Followed


Designing begins: From paper to the whiteboard

Testing initial sketches through role-played conversations


To develop context of the problem space, we viewed a series of videos that highlighted what some of the patient-doctor conversations looked like.  

We created scenarios based on these videos and participated in role-playing exercises to test our designs. Thus, we employed a scenario-based approach to understand where our design could break in the context of a patient-doctor conversation. 


Initial horizontal prototype


We developed a horizontal prototype in Balsamiq to communicate the workflow. The main design strategy to promote conversation was to keep all the decision making to a single page so there would be minimal transitions.

We began with a drug focused design where each drug had its own card.

Advantage: The paper cards were issue-based so it was difficult to see the performance of a drug across issues. This design would allow the patients to get a summary for each drug across all their chosen issues.


Initial Vertical Prototype

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Feedback received


The main motivation for the drug based approach was the ability to compare drugs across issues. However, through critique and feedback we realized that this drug-focussed approach wouldn’t work in the sensitive space of a patient-doctor conversation about depression. Our design needed to drive discussion around the patient’s issues and not the drugs.

What worked:  keeping the process confined to ‘one page’ of the app. This increased understanding of the options available and reduced the need for clicks, thus enhancing the conversation.

Lesson learnt: Move away from a focus on drugs to facilitating conversation around the issues.


Revised Prototype


With this prototype we revised our design to create a more issue focused experience. This design draws from the paper decision cards and adapts it for the digital medium.


This simple accordion motion between summary and detailed view allows the conversation to flow freely.


Further Iteration

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Final Design


The final design involved font selection, Mayo logo integration, designing summary and expanded view for each issue and refining the movement between tasks. We also worked on the interaction design aspects to depict the transitions and animations. This final prototype was demonstrated through a fully interactive Keynote prototype in the context of a patient-doctor conversation.

Here is a slideshow of the prototype, click or use the arrow controls to browse.