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Dialog Designing a Wearable for Chronic Conditions

At Artefact, we believe that design can play an important role in helping achieve better health outcomes. By aligning contexts to experiences, building deeper connections between patients and their caregivers, and surfacing clear paths to better decisions, we can improve the life and care of the more than 130 million Americans who live with a chronic condition.

Dialog is a concept designed to help people with epilepsy gain a deeper understanding of their condition and make better decisions about their care. It gives them an easier way to manage triggers and thresholds while it empowers them to use assistance from family caregivers, first responders, and clinicians as needed.

Dialog consists of a wearable module that collects a range of meaningful data about the patient and her environment while a smartphone app provides the patient with insights into the factors that trigger events or lower thresholds.

The platform can connect to the person’s family and caregivers or even educate bystanders in cases of emergency. The easy, lightweight data input lets the patient log key information about her condition and subtle notifications help the patient respond better.

Dialog aims to help people with the condition live their lives to the fullest.

“I like the idea a lot of a smaller, simple device which is connected to you... This is about your health, that should not be lost in everyday social life on a phone.”

Jody R., Person with epilepsy

“Designers often talk about doing good, but Artefact actually backs it up.”

Kyle Vanhemert, WIRED, March 13, 2014

“Parents of kids with epilepsy take notes about their child and then bring in the notes and ask me ‘Is this the trigger that caused the seizure?’ With this concept we can help answer that question.”

Dr. Edward Novotny, Epilepsy Program Director at Seattle Children’s Hospital

“An iWatch for epileptics, with a brilliant UI...Even Jony Ive would approve."

John Brownlee, Fast Company's Co.Design, March 11, 2014

Highlights

Detailed reporting that delivers insights from multi-dimensional data

The Dialog patient and family caregiver apps provide an easy way to interpret logs of observable symptoms and overlay that with data about relevant events and activities, providing rich insights over time of factors that may change thresholds or trigger events.

Better insights, better treatment

By making logging of self-reported data effortless and discreet and integrating it with biometric and environmental data, Dialog allows the patient to collect data that can help him understand his condition better and have deeper, more productive discussions with his physician about medications and threshold management. “Being able to see the constellation of changes in a big data set would be a huge advantage,” one clinician told us.

Early warnings

Dialog communicates to the patient or family caregivers the potential onset of a seizure so that the patient can proactively get to a safe setting or take any preventative action possible to prepare for the seizure.

Flexible wearing styles

Different wearing styles, as a patch on the body or a bracelet on the wrist, allow the patient to determine where to place the device, depending on how discrete they want to be. This flexibility takes into account the person's emotional needs and how she manages her condition.

Support when needed the most

Dialog communicates to the patient or family caregivers the potential onset of a seizure so that the patient can proactively get to a safe setting or take any preventative action possible to prepare for the seizure. In cases of emergency, a bystander app provides first responders with instructions on how to help the patient.

A glimpse of a possible reality

The components that can make a concept like Dialog possible are already being developed and tested. Creating innovative experiences that help people understand and manage their conditions better will empower them to live better lives and that is creating a preferable health outcome by design.

Process

Understanding the condition

Our first step was to build empathy with the people that live with epilepsy and their caregivers, so we could identify the priorities for which we needed to design.

Innovation workshop

In the process of ideation, we kept the solution as form-independent as long as possible, so we could hone in on the right user needs without being restrained by a form factor.

Design within constraints

We explored different form factors aiming to come up with the perfect balance among physical fit and comfort, data quality, and the emotional needs of the patient.

Concept validation

We went back to our target audiences–patient, family caregivers, and clinicians—to validate our decisions and obtain feedback that allowed us to fine tune Dialog.