Living with Breast Cancer

  • Design For America National Leadership Studio in Chicago.
    Design For America National Leadership Studio in Chicago.
  • Synthesizing our user interviews with Cancer suvivors, Caregivers and Clinicians, as well as, secondary research data.
    Synthesizing our user interviews with Cancer suvivors, Caregivers and Clinicians, as well as, secondary research data.
  • Our prototype mockups that helped bring together caregivers and patients during their treatments process.
    Our prototype mockups that helped bring together caregivers and patients during their treatments process.
  • Slider_DFA_L_Feedback
    Receiving valuable feedback from experts and users to allow us to iterate and improve our prototypes.
  • Slider_DFA_L_Mockup-of-Bond---Our-chosen-prototype-that-would-let-family-and-friends-send-sublte-messages-to-let-patients-know-that-they-are-there-for-them
    Bond - a wearable device that lets family & friends send subtle messages to let patients know that 'they are there for them' in spirit.

 

Breast Cancer is the most fatal cancer for women in the US, and the 2nd most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in the US. 1 in 8 women in the US will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Last year there was an estimated 232,340 new cases of Breast Cancer diagnosed and 39,620 women died from Breast Cancer.

At the Design for America (DFA) National Leadership Studio workshop in Chicago, we took on this large scale social issue and came up with a solution to an aspect of it where we could make a difference.

Identify

Caregivers usually face emotional and financial problems that vary according to the amount and kind of care the patient needs. We were surprised to learn about the physical problems caregivers develop from the stress and neglect of their own well-being, which can lead to aches, pains, sleeping difficulties and appetite changes. Additionally, caregivers often don’t have the time to exercise or prepare nourishing meals for themselves.

Immerse

In order to become experts in the problem, we spoke to a variety of individuals – caregivers, as well as, cancer survivors and hospital practitioners to gain insight and better understand the situation. A key insight that we took to heart was that the role of a caregiver is often not just one individual, but rather, fulfilled by family, friends and sometimes an entire community. They serve as the support team for a patient, working together to help in different capacities.

Reframe

Still concentrating on developing a solution for caregivers and the treatment process, we narrowed our original focus a little to help us launch into brainstorming.

How can we bring together family & friends for breast cancer patients and maintain positive support throughout the treatment process?

Ideate

Using the challenge statement, we brainstormed ideas individually and collectively as a group. Based on these ideas were voted on which ones were most feasible, the most revolutionary, and the ones that might have the most impact, we converged on a handful of ideas which we wanted to build into prototypes.

Build

The ideas that we constructed into prototypes were:

(1) A redesign of rooms where patients received their chemotherapy so that patients were not alone during the process and could see and interact with friends and family.
(2) “Share Package” – gifts would be pre-selected by both the patient and caregiver and would be delivered to each other when leaving from a session at the hospital. This way, both the patients and caregiver would have something special from the other to show their appreciation for one another.
(3) A wearable device, “Bond”, that would allow friends or family to communicate with patients even when they are not able to be physically present for an appointment. Changing of colors on the wearable band would communicate to patients that their loved one is there with them in spirit and providing support from afar.

Test

After quickly building the mockups, we pitched them back to our primary users. This helped us really understand if the solution actually meet the need that they had previously addressed to us. Based on the feedback, we discovered that improved patient rooms and the “Share Package” were either not feasible or unique enough solutions to really meet the need of caregivers.

The feedback on the “Bond” was extremely positive. We decided to run with it as our main idea and were able to flush out the idea even further further. Below is the pitch of the ‘Bond’ that we created and presented to everyone attending the DFA Leadership Studio:

1 in 8 women in the US are affected by breast cancer. Only half of them have a support network physically present during the treatment process. Caretakers have busy schedules, friends sometimes don’t know what to say… this leaves many patients flying solo. How can we bring this outer circle in and maintain positive support throughout the treatment process? Introducing Bond: an interactive wristband to help cancer patients and supporters build a closer network. It lets supporters tell patients they’re with them from a distance, like a brother in New York sending love to a sister in California. A simple color change lets supporters know when a patient is going through a treatment. A subtle response from supporters shows patients that they are there with them. It’s like somebody holding your hand, every step of the way. With Bond, there can exist a world where nobody has to walk through their breast cancer journey alone.

 

Design for America
National Leadership Studio 
Credit: Jeric Bautista, Zonghe Chua, Akhil Chugh, Meziah Cristobal, Allison Wong
Date: August 7 – 11, 2014

 

• September 11, 2014

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