Case Study: OncoTracker Design and Development

Cancer patients should be focused on their treatment, not their treatment records.

OncoTracker approached me with their idea for a service to allow oncology patients to store their treatment records online. Cancer patients, already burdened with their illness, carry the stress of transporting extensive medical records from physician to physician over the course of lengthy treatment cycles. If they could store their records online, any doctor or family member with the appropriate credentials could login and view the patient's medical history, relieving them of this additional burden. OncoTracker wanted a web site that would walk users through the process of entering their medical records and allow them to export those records when necessary. With this set of fairly open requirements and a very aggressive timeline, I got to work.

The first step was coming up with a logical, friendly architecture that would guide users through the process of inputting lengthy treatment records that potentially span multiple treatment cycles from a series of physicians. Working with OncoTracker to understand the many stages of cancer treatment, I put together a site map and HTML wireframes to demonstrate how I planned to get the user from one step to the next. I broke the process down into 3 primary stages based on chronological progression: diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Each stage would have multiple steps for entering specific details about that stage. Within each step, the user would be presented with a detailed description of that step's information and a form to capture their data. Each form field also would have its own accompanying help text to assist the user in translating cryptic medical data from their paper forms into the OncoTracker interface.

A thumbnail of the OncoTracker sitemap

OncoTracker sitemap (OmniGraffle)

Because entering such large amounts of data can be a time-consuming process, the user would be able to stop at any time, save their progress, and pick up where they left off later. Users also would be free to jump from step to step, skipping any step along the way that didn't apply to their treatment records. Each step in a particular treatment cycle would present the number of records stored for that step and allow the user to edit those records or create additional records.

I'm not a visual designer, but I needed to tackle the graphic design myself due to budgetary and time constraints. Preferring to avoid an overly clinical look, I stayed away from the usual blues and grays and went with warmer tones. I put together a simple design that was personable, but still professional.

The final product was an easy to use interface that allowed oncology patients with a lot on their minds to spend less time worrying about their medical records and more time focusing on their health.


Skills Summary

  • Information architecture
  • User experience design
  • Graphic design
  • Database design and development
  • ColdFusion, SQL, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript programming

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