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Healthcare platform


Personal Healthcare Device

Designing personalized healthcare IoT platform using in-mouth sensing technology



The Basics




Palo Alto Research Center


Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company


6 Months


Design Lead




I collaborated closely with a UX researcher and an industrial designer and the technical research team to explore and develop an initial vision of this service product for a new type of sensor PARC is developing. We

  1. Explored and defined the value proposition of a in-mouth health sensing device

  2. Designed the user experience to collect the health data via physical device

  3. Designed the user experience to consume the health data via digital platform

  4. Explored and outlined what does it take to flip the role of reactive healthcare to people taking charge of their health




Task #1 Explore value proposition of a health sensing device

Behavior economics experiment from user interviews uncovered the most valued health topics beyond societal expectations

When asked about what health information the participant cares the most, the initial answers are around what the physician’s or dentist’s office would track due to the routine check expectations. By associating monetary value with how much someone is willing to distribute their investment, we saw clearer signals in how people value and prioritize mental health and immune health. We got strong signals that people find more value in learning about health topics that they would otherwise have low to no visibility beyond the checkboxes from routine checks.


User, technical, and business constraints defined the criteria we used to assess valuable use cases

We created sets of health topics and worked with our client, interviewees, and development team to down-select ones that are meaningful, interesting, feasible, and relevant to meeting client’s business goals. We developed personas based on different health engagements after learning more about people’s attitudes toward managing their health and outlined use cases with the health topics and form factors appropriate for these personas for our clients to select what ideas to pursue. Brian persona is the happy medium whom we think this product-service could provide the most value with lower barriers of entry.



People’s existing routines and lifestyle points to healthcare professional as an entry point

By learning about people’s current oral routine, we uncovered some insights regarding how some specific items were introduced to people’s routine and opportunity of entry point for the device.

We presented categories of form factors with different usage patterns (something that is common in people’s current routine/new oral device like tool/outside of mouth/mouthguard for longer period of use) to get an understanding of the interest and adaptation of the form factors and the tolerance threshold of device and routine needed based on technical limitations.


Ranked and prioritized forms that are value add to existing oral care devices

We ranked the technical difficulties and requirements of the form factors, user preferences, and narrowed down to three variations of forms that we recommended to the client regarding different types of use cases.

One variation of the proposed form factor

One variation of the proposed form factor

We created three final variations of non-functional physical prototype of how the device may look like for different use cases to help the clients imagine the uses.


Conversation needs to be flexible to various levels of engagement

We learned from people that the dialogue between the device platform and the user should allow flexible engagement at different times of access to the information based on their lifestyle. By providing health information in different layers, the user initiates the conversation to learn more at the times they are ready for it. This empowers users to feel in charge of taking care of their health, also prevents user being confronted with overwhelming amount of information about their health.

Information taxonomy outlines the decisions making in the dialogue

Information taxonomy outlines the decisions making in the dialogue

Insight around perception led us to the feature of health score

We learned that digital device readings have an effect on how people feel about themselves, and by providing a health index as the initial level of engagement as a reference point of the user’s health, users can easily understand their health condition and make decisions to explore what they can do about their health. This came up as an essential feature from interviews and our probe outcomes.

Explored various way to communicate health status and effects via SMS in week long experiment.

Explored various way to communicate health status and effects via SMS in week long experiment.

After experiencing simulated technology, some opinions were changed regarding what motivated them and what didn’t.

We used existing toothbrush for people to imagine the use of smart device, and designed a short series of different types of questions to ask participants via sms to simulate communication of AI and understand the valuable types of information. One participant changed her mind of data sharing after realizing it can become a motivation tool for her and validated our hypotheses around co-veillance and suggested a buddy system type motivator is an important feature to stay motivated and accountable.


We created sets of wireframes of key features defined by user insights to demonstrate how a user would access the health information.

TASK #4: EXPLORE what does it take to flip THE ROLE OF REACTIVE HEALTHCARE TO people tAKING charge of their health

We believe over time as technology matures to provide not only health data but also diagnosis and people have more control and visibility of their health data, the role of the HCP would shift to backend support where people would be more proactive in improving their health. But it takes time for change, for technology infrastructure to be in place and shifting human mental model. For most people, there is an appeal to authority where the healthcare professionals (HCP) are their source of truth as they don’t have visibility into their health currently unless they visit a HCP. So we proposed the horizon 2 phase (transitional phase from near future to ideal future) to involve HCP as a front end advisory role with the device.

A development roadmap sketch to demonstrate the necessary steps to reaching the ideal future.

A development roadmap sketch to demonstrate the necessary steps to reaching the ideal future.

Outlines the ecosystem map including the components we see are essential to the platform at various stages of the user journey.

Outlines the ecosystem map including the components we see are essential to the platform at various stages of the user journey.

Project as an educational opportunity to get the client and partnering teams to think beyond just building a thing.

The roadmap and ecosystem diagrams were some collaterals we used to communicate the services and interactions around the device that are necessary for the device to be valuable to users and successful. Often the clients come in wanting one thing that would make them millions of dollars, but we were able to paint a vision of the platform to develop that covers multiple touch points in a user’s journey.



AT the end

We delivered a final presentation and report to the clients capturing the process, insights, user requirements, and mockups. The client decided on the recommended form factor with a combination of health symptoms of their interest. Discussions on future collaborations is ongoing.

If we move forward to build out the platform, I will want to think more about the user context (what situation would the person be in when they use the device or app, if that changes with cultural influences and acceptance) and make the design more flexible for various personas.




  1. I will improve on delegating with clearer expectation and deadlines, and take authority to become a better leader.

  2. I will fight for the right resources or step up to those roles. I took on the project management and client engagement roles to move the project forward on top of the design work, but for efficiency I would try to align the correct resources from the start.

  3. I will set clarity with project brief, who are the most important stakeholders and their goals as early as possible. It was a learning process to get clarifications on this project, so next time I want to take more control to reassess and suggest to pause until details are clarified before work.