Keeping physical therapists and patients connected
Physical therapy patient outcomes are often limited to the adherence to the exercise programs. Through the following case study, we found gaps for improvement and conceptual methods to remedy them.
Interfaces for both augmented reality and web portal.
- Competitive analysis
- User surveys
- Remote interviews
- Site map
- User Interface
- Low-fidelity wireframes
- Low, mid, high-fidelity mockups
- High-fidelity prototype
Duration: 5 months
- After Effects
P.A.R.T. is an augmented reality assistive application for physical therapists and patients. Through its data driven desirability design we aim to drive patient follow-through and engagement throughout treatment plans. Through the utilization of P.A.R.T.'s design, we can provide patient guidance as well as the medical provider with useful data visualization and contrasting patient exercise videos.
I developed and lead:
- Survey questionnaires and pattern finding
- Subject matter expert questions and interviews
The Problems and Proposed Solutions
We knew from the start that this problem needed to be approached from both the physical therapist and the patient sides. For the therapist it had to make sense to include it as part of their treatment plan and it had to provide real world data to show patient follow-through and improvement. For the patient it needed to be easy to use and incorporated into their home exercise program.
While researching these problems of physical therapy and learning about the diverse issues patients and physical therapists were having, it was important to keep our project focus in perspective. We were developing a solution to something that had real people with real-life impact. These two personas were developed as reference points to refer back on, making sure we kept real people in the scope of our design.
We researched and analyzed the current companies and technologies operating in this realm of physical therapy and remote aid. Some used virtual reality, augmented reality or strictly mobile methods. Success data gathered from these systems were primarily time-based measurements to complete a task in a game, which had little to do with accuracy of the movement itself, but rather general movements from point a to point b. What we saw were proprietary systems with high costs as well as little to no focus on patient movement accuracy and no 3d models to guide patients in their exercises.
Where It Will Live
We learned through the competitive analysis and interviews with physical therapists, was their current workflow was a process they developed through the years and interrupting that could be an issue. This wasn't simply because their workflow was optimized, but because they had to pick and choose different systems. These systems generally consisted of EMR (electronic medical record), billing software, scheduling software, and HEP (home exercise program) libraries. Some, but not all of these, of these were built into proprietary systems, and data visualization was also lacking.
Diving further into the realm of past and present research we saw emerging technologies attempting to increase patient adherence. Although these showed promise, they required inpatient operation, complex setup of more than one device, and didn't require movement accuracy.
We needed to simulate the therapist-patient experience at home. To map this, we created a list of must-have elements and interactions.
- User flow and ideation.
- WebXR plugin and a projected animated 3d model for patient instruction and interaction.
- Patient interaction with animated 3d model. Live positive feedback for correctly intersecting with the 3d model.
- Both recorded video footage as well as hand tracking data is uploaded to our Web Portal where data visualization is displayed, and video clips are automatically flagged and catalogued.
- A Web Portal with built-in video player, editor, and video catalogue where physical therapist can compare exercise video clips across time to measure improvement or video markup for electronic medical records or patient checkups.
- A Web Portal with data visualization for quantitative success metrics.
The Ideation - Patient Side
We learned that our target userbase was more elderly and/or acute stroke patients. It needed to have a simplified interface and intuitive to use.
Below I show the different iterations for the patient-side interface.
- Low, mid and high-fidelity user interfaces.
The Ideation - Physical Therapist Side
Physical therapists have busy schedules and we needed to streamline our conceptual idea to be an asset to their existing workflow and not hinder it. Below are my mockup iterations for the patient exercise video clips filing system. The high-fidelity version shows an accordion filing system including a filtering system utilizing color identifying circles to the right of the video clip. All wireframes and mockups were completed in Figma.
Mockup of physical therapist perspective for P.A.R.T. video player at full screen.
What I Learned
Throughout this project, from start-to-finish, I learned things every day. The ability to collaborate with a team for an extended period of time was paramount to our success. Keeping communication pathways open and flowing was key. I was able to further develop my hard skills through primary and secondary research methods which included, medical research, user research, stakeholder interviews, as well as methods of pattern finding, user flows, wireframing, prototyping, illustration, animation, style guide creation, and branding.