A patient-facing tool for cancer patients


Cancer patients need to take, process and carry a lot of information -both in their heads and on paper- to be able to manage their care.


An online digital tool for cancer patients that keeps all their appointment, lab data and resources in one place along with features for data entry to stay in charge of their care


Cancer Patients at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Self-care management tools

Web and iOS App

UX designer and researcher

Digital Health team at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance


Cancer patients, before getting cancer, have a life that is filled with its own challenges like everyone else and now they have an extra full-time task of “getting well” that needs focus for a good amount of time. Cancer is a complicated “situation”, it’s not exactly one disease and understanding what is happening to one’s body could become very complicated. Learning about the disease, delivering the news, managing the care imposes an emotional and cognitive burden that requires attention, order, planning and support

Caresi was born at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, first as an iOS app and then transformed into a web app. Cancer patients need easy access to their lab results, manuals, medication list, journal, symptom notes, questions for their doctors, survivorship documentation and more. They normally hauled everything in a heavy “chemo bag” from appointment to appointment, which could be frustrating. So why not put all the information in an interactive digital tool in the most accessible device people take with them everywhere: their mobile phones?

Main features of Caresi are: appointment schedules, lab results with trending graphs, symptom trackers (e.g. nausea, pain, etc.), medication list, notes and recordings, patients’ care team, educational resources and also Patient Reported Outcome surveys. These features were added gradually and transformed from iOS (which was mainly designed by a vendor before I join SCCA) to web app- to give access to a bigger group of patients.

The challenge for me as a designer was to implement a system that would actually help people find what they were looking for when they actually need it. What a cancer patient needs to know or track changes in different stages of diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. The prototyping process was extensive. We tested out real-time prototypes of every feature with at least 4% of users each time. Concepts had less text, which in theory would boost clarity, but users didn’t like how empty those designs felt. Also since most of our users are from the older generations one of the insights that we heard from some patients was that “when I was young and dealing with information, all the pictures normally meant ads and trivial information; so I tend to skip the picture and look for text.” So for other layouts that had too many photos–we realized that there needs to be a balance of image and text with an inclination to precise and to-the-point texts. Eventually, we settled on larger categories that break out into sections such as “Manage your care” “Schedule” “Care team” and “Resources” which contains almost anything that is not about their current care status but might become handy.

Design research is a living piece of our strategy. Along with studying different departments and services at the clinic and searching for areas for improvement I constantly examine my findings with patients through interviews and shadowing. Also, recurring surveys with patients help verify the dispersion of different problems and concepts. “The medication verification seems to be a problem for Medical Assistants (MAs) and patients on both sides.” Take this observation from shadowing MAs in the clinic. In order to find the roots we’d do interviews with patients and staff, then a survey with a larger group of users would help us decide whether it’s a feature worth for Caresi to invest time and money in.

Here’s a detailed story of one of our research projects.