Diabetes Management for the Modern World
When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1993, it meant a chronic, lifelong condition that included 10+ fingerpricks a day, constant recording of blood glucose levels, and hourly insulin injections via needle.
Today, I have Type 1 Diabetes; a chronic lifelong condition that means 10+ fingerpricks a day, constant recording of blood glucose levels, and constant insulin injections via a mechanical pump attached to my body.
In other words, not much has changed, and for good reason. Medical devices generally take 5 to 7 years to gain full regulatory approval from the FDA, meaning any technology used in diabetic care is about 5 to 7 years behind the latest smartphones.
This is the MEDTRONIC MINIMED 530G PUMP with ENLITE SENSOR, the latest and greatest from one of the biggest names in diabetes care. Catchy, right?
A few years ago, I had had enough. My insulin pump's battery decided to throw a tantrum on a cross-country flight, & wailed away like a 56k dialup modem until I could turn the entire thing off.
After I made sure I wasn't going to have a serious problem before landing, I pulled out my sketchbook and began to imagine what diabetes care would look like if it was designed for a world where smartphones, wearables, touchscreens & the internet existed. I called it Kho.
In lieu of the generic "happy-person-looking-towards-a-blue-sky" branding of other medical companies, I chose 6 vibrant colors that scaled from dark hues on the cold side of the color wheel, to light and warm shades on the other.
I explored photographic directions for times when product imagery wouldn't be available, or would be inappropriate. All would start as high-contrast black and white images, which would then be overlaid with the bright brand colors.
Just like the branding, I imagined the company's relationship with it's patients to diverge from traditional medical companies.
Having experienced the call center wait times and "please have your doctor fax that form to us" runaround, I imagined a concierge experience similar to a Tesla dealership or Genius bar. Diabetes care is a low-volume, high-margin business, so each patient should be treated with respect.
Beyond the branding, the majority of my work centered around a set of apps that would bring together the hardware, and enable users to manage their diabetes from one simple, contextual locale.
Intended as a cross-platform, responsive experience, the phone app would allow for by-the-minute updates and short term views of the users history.
Use of the phones other sensors would allow for integration with fitness apps, sharing of data with loved ones in real time, and safety features such as an alert that could call paramedics automatically if the user did not silence the alarm.
The tablet apps feature a familiar interface, but showcase wider swathes of the user's history on their larger screens. The app's sidebar provides an overview of all of the devices connected together, and detailed trend reports can be generated on either tablet or desktop and shared with doctors or other medical professionals.
The web portal interface would mirror that of the tablet, with additional features such as holding real time chats with support staff along side the users trends.
I also built a public facing landing page, designed to showcase the features of the Kho ecosystem. From this site, users could contact the company, ask questions, arrange consultations and schedule appointments to receive their new diabetes care pack.