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dmi:Design Value Award Winner - Live Well Collaborative
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dmi:Design Value Award Winner




Improving the Cancer Patient Experience

Live Well Collaborative - Graphic Design, UI/UX Design, Motion Design, Biomedical Engineering, UC Health, UC Cancer Center, Base Campus Clinical Team


The University of Cincinnati Cancer Center (UCCC) provides treatment for cancer patients throughout the U.S. The UCCC team recently sought opportunities to improve their patient experience. They began this process with prostate cancer—arguably one of the most complex patient journeys.

One of the core problems that patients face is sorting through the vast amount of information they receive in order to make informed decisions. Dr. William Barrett, Director of the UC Cancer Institute, initially proposed exploring digital technologies to provide patients with the right information at the right time throughout their care journey. UCCC partnered with the Live Well Collaborative to further explore this idea. Live Well is a non-profit (501 C (6)) co-founded by the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Procter & Gamble (P&G). It specializes in research and development of products and services for living well across the life span, with particular expertise in the 50+ marketplace. It is a unique academic/industry-driven innovation center where interdisciplinary teams of UC faculty and students use design thinking to translate consumer research into products and services.

The Live Well team felt that spending time researching the underlying needs of UC’s patient population was a vital first step. A key insight from this phase was that in order to reduce anxiety and improve outcomes, patients needed better education and awareness about treatment options and possibilities. The pivotal point was creating personas that could highlight the complexity of decision-making imposed at various branch points in patient journeys. By pairing various learning styles with typical profiles, the Live Well team was able to identify different information mediums best suited for communicating on a more personal level. Thus, the Live Well team established a variety of decision-making preferences related to prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment information. Advocating for the patient became the priority and inspired the subsequent ideation and refinement phases.

After conducting interviews, it was agreed that patients prefer human guidance above all, but would benefit from a variety of educational tools adapted to their learning style and personality. In the refinement phase, the team focused on three different methods to deliver educational resources to patients—an information hub website, an educational video suite, and an interactive patient journey map. Key benefits across these concepts include:

  • patient education that better informs decision making,
  • a new personalized care journey, and
  • scalable opportunities for future collaboration.

Building trust between care providers and designers was a very important part of this project. By allowing the Live Well team to teach them design processes, the UCCC team was provided with a design-thinking framework that they could then implement across their organization.

Targeting prostate cancer patients’ educational needs and supporting their decision-making will result in a more cost-effective utilization of resources. Additionally, by streamlining the process of matching patients to a more effective and personalized treatment plan, appropriate care can be delivered in a more cost-efficient manner. This process also improves outcomes and patient satisfaction.

By having a better understanding of what their clinicians, patients, and caregivers experience, UCCC will be better able to deliver care that addresses the medical and human concerns of their patients. As Live Well’s vision statement says, “Our vision at the Live Well is to create positive change in the lives of those we work with.” Working with the UCCC team exemplifies this mission and demonstrates the act of designing for social good.

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