Service design consultancy, Fjord, collaborating with informatics researchers from the SMART (Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technologies) Project and medical software developer, MedAppTech, have scooped a Red Dot in the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2013 for the SMART Pediatric Growth Chart.
SMART is based at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, both in Boston, MA. SMART’s goal is to create a platform across different Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) systems that would allow them to run applications created by third parties. The SMART team chose the pediatric growth chart as a powerful use case, because it is essential for monitoring and communicating about the health of all children and existing EMR growth charts were difficult for clinicians and parents to use and interpret.
With this challenge in mind, SMART’s researchers engaged Fjord to design a pediatric growth chart that makes vital health information clear and engaging for both clinicians and parents.
Service design lead, Charlie Gower, and visual design lead, Brian McLaughlin, of Fjord, worked with SMART, MedAppTech, clinicians, informaticians, and medical sociologists to create an interactive dashboard that would quickly highlight the most important aspects of a patient’s overall health.
Charlie said: “Data visualizations should tell human stories. With our re-design of the pediatric growth chart each story is communicated for both the expert and the family. There is a huge opportunity for user-centered design to revolutionize patient care.”
SMART engaged MedAppTech to convert Fjord’s design into a fully functional web app. Released in May 2013, the open source SMART Pediatric Growth Chart app was spotted by Think!Med Clinical, a hospital information systems company, which integrated it into their EMR for use at the Children’s Hospital at Ljubljana University Medical Centre, Slovenia’s largest healthcare institution. Physicians at the Children’s Hospital have praised the easy to use interface and ability to compare different population data sources.
SMART’s Translation Advisor, David Kreda, the product manager for the app, said: “Teaming medical and technical professionals with designers made this effort a win not only in terms of the prestigious Red Dot Award but also for clinicians and their patients. The SMART Pediatric Growth Chart app is a beautiful design for addressing vital clinical objectives.
“The app improves a clinician’s ability to grasp growth trends at a glance and aids detecting deviations from what is expected, the essential purpose of growth charts. Furthermore, it presents body-mass results intelligibly for parents, showing how communications design can be enlisted to help with a major public health challenge.”
Dr. David Brick, a pediatric cardiologist, co-author of A Human Factors Guide to Enhance EHR Usability of Critical User Interactions when Supporting Pediatric Patient Care, and an adviser to this project, said: “The everyday familiarity of pencil and paper mask the challenges put to designers and practitioners in exceeding the utility of those ancient instruments, especially in high-stakes environments like medicine.
“In many EMRs, growth charts are compromised by technical limitations and poor design. Fjord’s design leverages technology and human factors to deliver a top quality Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) World Health Organization (WHO) chart that is clear and direct, with little chance of confusion or mistake by an end user.”
Fjord and SMART’s work will be exhibited to an international audience at the Red Dot Awards in Konzerthaus, Berlin on October 18, 2013.
Initiator and CEO, at Red Dot, Prof. Dr Peter Zec said: “Every year, the days when design experts from all over the world come together for the Red Dot judging process are full of surprises and inspiration.”
He continued: “Many of the numerous entries in the Red Dot Design Award: Communication Design 2013 coming from 43 countries have impressed the jury. But only the best works will win an award. Only those who manage to stand out from the crowd in a competition show high market potential and economic visibility. Winning a Red Dot is the best way to do so.”