Designing a supporting patients’ experience digital tool: the case of Total Hip Replacement process.

Student’s work

Camilo Charria
Course: Graduation project
Involvement: Principal Investigator and Chair supervisor
Partner: Valle del Lili Foundation – Cali, Colombia
Period: January 2019 – December 2019.

Interinstitutional research project.

Key words: elderly, total hip replacement, recovery, experience sampling method, patients’ experiences, tangible user interfaces.


The Orthopaedic Department at Valle del Lili Foundation, the main healthcare center at Southwestern Colombia, wanted to explore the possibilities of implementing digital technologies to support Total Hip Replacement patients’ recovery at home. The value of technologies to support patients becomes important when user experience is considered the prime focus for research exploration. Therefore, the project focused on considering patients’ personal experiences and social context, collected in-situ, as crucial aspects when providing care support, which makes the research process more representative on real users’ daily life needs and desires. Two design concepts were developed as mean of exploring the implementation of user-centric and context-situaded solutions.

“People aren’t talking about the other type of patient-generated data, what we call active patient generated data — the patient voice.

Kristina Sheridan, The MITRE corporation.

EMMA: Emotional Assistant monitoring device. Towards a better understanding of patients’ daily life experiences during recovery.

A proposed translation of user experience in this context relates to how awareness and reflection could become an important step in designing appropriate mechanisms that fit patients’ needs. The lack of adequate methods to follow patients during their recovery and to predict outcomes for individual cases, opens the challenge for the design of a digital tool that effectively addresses patients’ situations and optimises care delivery. The final concept “EMMA” was developed based on Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to capture an acute view of the influences of issues related to patients’ emotional transition and needs over time.

EMMA device and its diary

EMMA, a tangible user interface, prompted patients to interact with the device to self-report their emotions and reasons behind their current experience by two input mechanisms: emotion carrousel selector and audio recording correspondingly. This information was recorded and assessed by EMMA, providing a positive reinforcement feedback according to the current patient’s emotional state by means of a printed message sticker . This “physical output” was later kept in a diary in which both patients and doctors were able to have a “big picture” of their progress over time triggering awareness and self-reflection. EMMA aimed to be reflective, enabling meaningful information to activate patients’ awareness about the course of their recovery and to help them to cope with the dynamic changes of the recovery.

EMMA auditory prompting. First prompt in the morning.
EMMA’s emotion carrousel selector.
Patients report the reasons behind the emotion by voice recording input.
Patient received feedback with a printed sticker.
Based on the patient’s input, EMMA assessed the emotion and provided a positive message.
EMMA’s diary
EMMA transferred information to the doctor’s computer. During the following-up appointment, both specialist and patients were able to discuss their progress, supporting a richer discussion based on the patient’s past experiences.