A patient-facing tool to motivate behavior change

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), one of the largest healthcare providers in western Pennsylvania, tasked my group of five with researching and designing a patient-facing tool to motivate hypertension patients adopt healthier lifestyles in partnership with their clinicians. Due to the NDA agreement with our client, I cannnot post online screenshots of the design work but I can share in-person the detailed printed report.

My Role:
Project Lead

I was responsible for:
• Project management
• Client & faculty liaison
• Structuring the competitive analysis


Phase 1: Research

Before we set out to create the product or service, we had to understand the larger context that would inform its design. The following is a summary of our process.

Domain research

Literature Review
The trans-theoretical model of change provided the framework for how we looked at behavior change. Through existing research papers, we also found themes regarding conflicting interests within the healthcare system, and best-practices for framing behavior-change messaging.

Competitive Analysis
We examined long-term behavior change programs and personal health records. Based on our analysis, we made recommendations on best-in-class features UPMC should consider adopting and identified areas where they could win.

Field research

The team actively recruited participants for the following:
• Guerrilla interviews
• Guided storytelling
• Decision science experts
• Diary studies
• Home visits

Data synthesis

We structured our data using the following models:
• Affinity diagrams
• Cultural models
• Personas
• Experience maps

Key findings

Business validation of our key findings through card-sorting exercise. We asked our client to priortize our findings in the order of greatest impact for UPMC’s future. This allowed us to focus on the most valuable insights.


• We generated more than 50+ design ideas.

• Inspiration card. We found this method helpful in generating new concepts. This activity uses two types of cards technology and domain cards. Technology cards describe a specific technology like machine learning or 3d-printing. Domain cards have a key finding from our research. You pick one domain card and several technology cards then sketch out how those technologies can be used to address the key finding.