Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DEGREE PROJECT | Further Conceptual Development

As mentioned in previously, my Degree Project is taking the form of interactive tool and knowledge that will inform, educate, and enrich the young adult demographic in efforts to improve cancer prevention and early diagnosis rates. The only real controversy at this point in time was not only how to give this system appeal towards young adults, but also how to give them control and ultimately motive; asking 'why would I want to use this?'. Perhaps, at this point in time, I am giving too much emphasis on the motive and that simply through the technology and how it is utilized (interaction) will create the appeal I am striving to understand.

What I find most interesting, is that I am attempting to address the issue of cancer within this given demographic without directly referencing cancer, it is simply the vision of the entire system; working positively towards cancer prevention and early diagnosis. 

The entire idea of this system revolves around empowerment and giving the user complete control over their health and lifestyle, having the ability to set personal benchmarks, goals, plans, and challenges. An overall relative scale could be used to gauge each of these as well as comparisons and information that might lend itself towards empowering the user to make a difference for themselves. This idea of control is to help better establish what is 'normal' for a person's health and overall wellness, from here benchmarks are established on a personal level and can be accessed at chosen duration of time.

The foundation of this system revolves around an yearly physical exam. This epiphany was sparked by my own recent physical exam.  One of the biggest obstacles I had hoped to tackle early one was how can I get young adults to commit to yearly exams when time, money, and overall motivation are an issue? The largest of these issues lies in the fact that no one wants to visit their doctor when they feel they are in perfectly good health; not to mention there is no immediate gratification after your appointment, the doctor says 'everything checks out fine', you pay, you leave. And the majority of us are not handed a report or assessment of our visit, there is no instant feedback provided other than verbally from your doctor; this is where part of my motive lies. The other portion lies in how we, as individuals, understand the sometimes rather intimidating medical information and then determining how we can act upon specific issues.

So, from these questions and ideas developed what I know hold to be the more refined, developed, and focused concept for this system targeting young adults, cancer prevention, and early diagnosis. As mentioned before, the foundation of this system is the yearly physical exam; this is the personal benchmark that will begin to drive the system and each individuals experience.  

The individual would begin this experience by visiting their doctor for their first 'documented' physical exam, from here statistical and medical information will be gathered and transformed into they interactive system where the information can then greet the individual at less intimidating, more comfortable level. During the 365 days from their first yearly physical exam to the next the user will have access to their 'vital' medical information, more in-depth analysis of health risks and overall lifestyle choices. As well as additional tools, knowledge, goals, and challenges based upon their health profile.  The motive also lies in not only seeing your improvement throughout the year, but also through seeing that improvement based upon your next physical exam. This comparison will be driven by universal benchmarks in an effort for individuals to see where they mark-up compared to the rest of the population. Here I also hope to tie in family medical history as well to emphasis the role it takes in each individuals health and lifestyle choices.

SOCIAL INTERACTION Consideration is also beginning to take place with how this can become a social act while still keeping pertinent health information private; whether it be through challenges, goals, or event alerts and activities. Also indicators and trackers could help individuals see where they reside in their population; also taking consideration as to how to not breach privacy. 

In this stage I have also begun to brainstorm elements that might be present in the system, and later seeing how they might invite interaction.

– Action plans
– Personal + group challenges
– Events + activities (social interaction)
– Progress trackers
– Vitals (height, weight, blood pressure, blood type, heartrate, BMI, etc.)
– Weight tracker
– BMI calculator
– Exercise
– Caloric intake
– Lifestyle chices (tobacco use, alcohol use, etc.)
– Family history
– Risk calculator
– Daily alerts, inspiration, news, advice (tailored to each individual)
– Daily tasks & goals
–Exam bookmark (document curiosities to bring up at next exam)

– The individual is in control; empowerment and the freedom to customize the experience
– Each action is driven by the individual, all in efforts to improve their health and well-being
– Evaluate and track progress
– Friendly competition with peers, activities and events within immediate population
– Documentation; know what's normal, benchmarks
– Informative; bookmark and take your curiosities with you to the doctor

Taking into consideration of this day-and-age is important in consideration to the demographic I am targeting, and at this point the most viable options to house the interaction and appeal seem to be either the stand alone or integration of the iPhone and iPad. I don't exactly envision this system expanding to the web as the social interaction is somewhat limited and each individual's medical information will be kept private; the interaction I envision is in challenges, goals, and events, not necessarily taking a social networking stance.

QR CODES I have been exploring ways in which the medical information is transferred from the doctor's office to the interactive digital media, and QR codes seem to be a viable option. The information from the individual's physical exam can be accessed by scanning their personal QR code. In regards to accessing the information this appears to be the most intuitive, forward, and easiest option especially considering each individual's information can be drastically different.

OTHER METHODS There are also current applications that scan your heart-rate, GPS, as well as, photographic approaches – I plan to research these and other areas to see where other potential might arise in terms of documentation and interaction. I am also going to consider speculative technologies that may lend themselves as beneficial as I don't want to limit myself if something viable hasn't been created just yet.


Below are several system/community based platforms that allow for the similar documentation of information and it's visual output. Each also speaks to the interactive aspect, giving the user control and the ability to set their own goals, tasks, etc.



This particular site I came across in talking to my mom asking her if she had any documentation of my recent physical exam. Turns out she recently took part in this program and it has many of the same elements I have been considering to implement. This system is solely web-based; however, the information from doctor visits and lab results are added directly to your profile and serves a similar purpose. This could definitely be something I reference throughout the process as a benchmark of elements to include.

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