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The aim of this project is to design an interactive patient-centered tool for cancer survivors with chronic pain to assess and monitor pain from multiple aspects. This tool would build patients’ confidence in their ability of pain self-management, and also overcome the communication gaps between patients and their care-takers using design thinking and co-design methods.

Chronic pain is one of the most common struggles of cancer survivors till the end of their lives. Research shows that in addition to the physical pain, psycho-social and behavioral factors play a significant role in the experience, maintenance, and exacerbation of pain. This interactive tool will allow patients use effective visual images and graphs to record their pain experience from multiple dimensions: physical, psychological, and external factors. The result of inputs will show patterns and correlations between multiple aspects, which will significantly improve the patient-caregiver communication as well as the overall quality of pain management.


Various prototypes like 3D Virtual reality visualization of pain and 2D app prototypes were made to experiment with different possibilities and later use the prototypes in the user-testing process.


However, due to the accessibility reasons and based on the secondary research, the 2D app were chosen for the user-testing and co-design session.


Here you can see a bigger picture of the project, some of the research questions and possible exploration areas

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Having a holistic view of a problem can broaden the perspective and provide the opportunity to see the hidden layers and connections. This clear vision of the problem area can enhance the design thinking process.Also, this map shows the most important areas that should be covered during the design process. This broad view necessarily does not look for all answers in one app, but an indication of awareness about possible networks and connections. This can also be considered as a brainstorming map for possible pathways of the future problem-solving.


Personas were used to build empathy and understand the possible needs of different users. The goal was to have a look on users who are friendly with new technologies and on the other hand users that are not necessarily comfortable with technology.
Also, the overall needs of a breast cancer survivor were studied to find a better motivational path for engaging them in self-care process.

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While designing the prototypes, I asked my focus group members to go over a workbook.


The first goal of the workbook was to prepare the participants for the group meeting session. this would let them think about questions that would be discussed in the group session and be prepared for the workshop.

Second, it would give me an overall understanding of their experiences, challenges and needs so that I can design the workshop material based on their journey and provided answers.

Third, I could refine and modify the workbook based on the feedback.

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A broad range of pictures related to emotions, daily activities, health, and wellbeing was presented to users while trying to not make it overwhelming. Meanwhile, they have presented a range of pictures related to digital and physical tools that might motivate them during the brainstorming process.

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The co-design session provided very interesting perspective about most important needs of users.

Also, testing the prototype with users enabled efficient extracting of user experience and modification of the app. 

© 2019 by Sana Behnam