Every year, medical non-adherence accounts for about half of failed treatments, thousands of deaths, and billions of dollars in avoidable healthcare costs in the United States.
Design an app that encourages medication adherence and streamlines medical management
Research, UX, UI
Self-started project in collaboration with a local physician
In order to determine how to best help medically non-adherent patients, I had to take time to explore the context.
This project will target unintentional non-adherence, which accounts for roughly 30% of non-adherent cases.
Unintentional non-adherence occurs when a patient wants to take their medication as instructed, but encounters barriers that prevent them from doing so.
69% of non-adherence is due to behavioral issues, such as forgetfulness, not knowing how to take a medication, or confusion around complex dosing schedules.
16% of non-adherence is due to high prescription costs.
15% of non-adherence is due to side effects.
"Interventions addressing this type of non-adherence may need to focus on simplifying the regimen, reminding patients to take their medication, and supporting patients in making the intake of medication part of their daily routine.”
A key limitation of the market is that adherence apps put a huge burden on the patients to enter and manage their prescription data, and most require manual data entry by patients.
Interviewing a primary care physician allowed me to gain a more intimate understanding of the experiences of non-adherent patients and consequences of non-adherence.
The majority of his patients, many of which are non-adherent, are Black/African-American, low-income senior citizens. This aligns with research indicating that predictors of non-adherence include minority groups and socioeconomic factors.
Healthcare is disjointed.
There is a need for streamlined communication between physicians, pharmacists, insurance companies, and patients - all of whom share the goal of medication adherence. Fragmented and uncoordinated care is a driver of non-adherence.
People who are non-adherent lack the time/energy to use adherence apps.
People who are non-adherent are typically deterred by the length it takes to manually input and update medications into an app. The majority of people who use adherence apps are already compliant to begin with.
Missed prescription refills lead to lost money and extra resources.
Physicians hire extra staff to keep track of patient refill statuses. Insurance companies also send physicians reminders to contact patients with missed refills. Additionally, missed refills cause physicians lose thousands of dollars annually in quality bonus payments.
After completing my subject matter expert interview, I realized that it was important for this app to be accessible to elderly individuals who may not necessarily be "tech-savvy."
After studying UX for seniors, I found the following are important to optimize the technology for seniors:
To get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the current market, I downloaded and analyzed medication reminder and management apps. I also explored color palettes of apps in the market so that I could determine appropriate colors for my app.
Using insights from both my subject matter expert interview and topic research, I created a persona that reflected my target user base.
I created a journey map to visualize the current patient experience, and then figure out how to best fix it.
I identified the three major paths users could take to achieve the path described in the task flow above.
Sketching allowed me to gain a rough understanding of key screens as well as map out necessary features.
In order to make this app as easy and frictionless for the user as possible, I had to make sure that the onboarding remained simple.
Here, you can see two important features:
The following are the primary screens that can be accessed from the bottom navigation bar.
After testing the product on 3 participants, I found that users had difficulties locating refills and coupons.
To address this, I began by renaming "My Medicines" to "My Refills." I then centralized all the key information to one screen by creating an"all-in-one" medicine details page that the user could access from both "My Refills" and "Today."
Users will receive push notification medication reminders to help integrate the app into their daily routine.
A daily medication schedule with dosages and instructions will be displayed upon opening the app.
Clicking on a medicine will show specific medication details, with options to un-take a medicine, request a refill, view coupons, or see additional medication information.
Users will be able to keep track of and request refills directly from the app.
Discounted price comparisons from various pharmacies are integrated into the refill form.
A messaging feature is available to facilitate physician-patient communication and provide the patient with additional support.
Users will be able to track their medication adherence in weekly, monthly, and yearly views. The red dots represent missed doses, while yellow ones represent late or incomplete doses.
This project challenged me to empathize with a group of people that I was entirely unfamiliar with. Since I did not have access to my target group, I delved deeply into other forms of research that enabled me to piece together the mindset of my end user. Working within these limitations allowed me to expand my empathy and make the most of the resources I had.
Since medication adherence is such a widespread issue, I would like to expand this project to a larger target audience through increasing user testing and designing more features. The next steps are: