a mobile-first site that simplifies access to clinical trials at UCSF.
this project is currently *~in progress~*
product design | service design + strategy | ux/ui
Demystifying clinical trials for all patients.
increasing minority recruitment for prostate cancer trials
research | ux/ui | content strategy
We are creating a web-app that simplifies clinical trial education + matching for everyone, alongside the wisdom and support of our client—a UCSF MD from Hematology/Oncology. I am the primary designer on the team, and own all experience aspects of the site.
When it comes to uncovering new treatment methods, equal representation of all ethnicities/races is important. Recruiting minorities, however, has always been difficult, and is one of the largest barriers for medical advancement. Clinical trials are ways for clinicians to test new drugs, procedures, etc., and many health systems depend on them for advancing medicine—but without humans, nothing can drive forward.
At the moment, we are solely focusing on prostate cancer trials + patients (scroll to "Design process" for more info).
This project is in development, view prototype
About the product.
Trial Library is a mobile-first website built to be both an educational resource on clinical trials + a simplified access to existing trials (matching tool).
The educational resources provide vital information on what clinical trials are, as well as how they are different from normal treatment and may benefit patients. We use this as an opportunity to answer vital questions patients have about trials, and to put them at ease by breaking down the stigma + concerns they initially had. We are currently undergoing user testing to ensure that content is being presented in a comprehensible, relevant manner.
The matching tool, on the other hand, provides an easy way for patients to find clinical trials they may be eligible for. After answering a series of questions regarding their condition, they are shown a custom list of trials available to them, along with additional info on what each trial involves, why it exists, and what costs are covered by whom. Should they be interested in enrolling, patients can either save/print the list to review with their providers, or call the research coordinator directly to book an appointment.
First pilot: Prostate cancer trials.
Our current audience is prostate cancer patients, as prostate cancer is one of the conditions that our client finds could benefit the most from having more minorities enroll (Despite being one of the deadliest cancers for African American men, only 4% of the prostate cancer trial participants are of that population).
To get a better grasp of our audience, I decided to hold a workshop with a prostate cancer focus group. Despite there being a plethora of research papers on the subject, I found that none of them truly got at the personal stories, experiences, and character of the patients and communities they were dealing with. I developed a protocol, prepared the necessary materials (cards, map templates, etc.), and trained my team to be facilitators during the session.
We were able to come out of the workshop with knowledge on how patients/caregivers access treatment info, what motivates them (or doesn't) to be active in their healthcare, what kinds of information resonate with them, and several user profiles to ground our main principles and prototype design:
- The design needs to be flexible & accessibie.
Every patient comes in with unique backgrounds and experiences, thus their knowledge, perception of their condition/treatment, and desires vary
- Be transparent and honest.
Lacking a proper treatment plan or medical support to lean on is stressful and fear-inducing to patients, and they want providers to have a set treatment plan/protocol ready soon as they “step up to curb of the clinic” (curb theory)
- Having a “trustworthy” voice is better than a “legitimate” one.
Patients are more willing to learn when the information is shared by someone of their community, over a clinician or other resource (even if it's acknowledged as legitimate)
- The site should feel like a "safe space."
An open, welcoming environment such as the focus group allows patients to speak openly about their conditions, navigate through their treatment process, and support each other—even when the subject matter is very sensitive