In an era where machine learning, connected devices and AI will make as much of an impact in medical research as clinical trials or lab tests, what does the patient experience look and feel like? And if personal data is fuel for medical progress, how can we encourage thousands of patients to contribute theirs? We were tasked by a group of visionary doctors at New York’s premier hospital to create an experience that was both medically effective and compelling enough to attract patients to participate in bringing this vision of the future to bear.
Over the course of a year, Cactus’ designers and engineers worked in close collaboration with Mount Sinai to design, develop and launch a new type of medical space from the ground up. The space, called Lab100, is a hybrid clinic and research lab leveraging data and technology to redesign the way health is measured and healthcare is delivered. Located at Mount Sinai in Manhattan, Lab100 empowers patients to track their health over time by providing the most comprehensive personal health assessment currently available. As a research center, Lab100 equips scientists with longitudinal multi-scale health data and a testbed environment to develop, validate and deploy new products and services. By closing the feedback loop between discovery science and care delivery, Lab100 creates a virtuous cycle of innovation that radically accelerates the pace at which promising ideas become clinical practice.
Before work on hardware, software, brand or design began, the team at cactus worked in close collaboration with the doctors at Mount Sinai to set a strong strategic foundation for the project. First a set of mission-critical objectives were established to direct all decisions to come. We agreed that: 1- We must dramatically increase patient agency through not just access to best-in-class data, but also the educational and interactive elements necessary to give a deep understanding of what that data really means. 2- Our system must continually adapt and improve. Fast and often. We must be able to show medical innovations actually happening at the speed of the tech industry. And finally, 3- We must quickly show that our system fuels both the medical and data science research fields, demonstrably pushing the industry towards a predictive, rather than merely reactive, model of healthcare. From here the brief was clear: Make it medically precise and effective. Make it eye-opening and educational. Make it fun.
The culmination of the design phase was a detailed user-journey map incorporating all technical, architectural and human factors.
A visit to Lab100 begins on the patient’s PC or phone. Launching from Lab100.org, the patient proceeds into a web-app that gathers relevant information, allows them to make an appointment and pay. Web and animated content explains and ushers the along the digital journey. The final steps in the digital journey are medical self-assessments adapted from industry standards into a beautiful and intuitive interface.
Upon entry into the space, the patient is greeted by the doctor, a quick headshot photo is snapped to create a visual token for the visit. The patient is then guided through a series of stations, each measuring, reporting and contextualizing one or more biomarkers, including cognition, balance, dexterity, anthropometrics, body composition, blood chemistry and strength. Through the examination process, Cactus-produced videos explain what the doctor and the technology is assessing and why it’s important to overall health. The culmination of the experience is a final consultation, where the patient and doctor discuss findings, ideas and recommendations. This conversation is greatly aided by a large-scale video wall with data gathered throughout the experience, presented in an interactive visualization. After the visit is complete, at any point, the patient can return to the Lab100 web-app to view a full results breakdown.
DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE
The entire Lab100 design language is based on precision. Each element of software, hardware and architecture is designed within the same 16x9 grid. This unifying graphical system allows for screens and walls to blend seamlessly together. It also allows for everything from the built-in furniture, to the data displayed on patient’s mobile devices, to appear in harmony.
Iterative improvement is core to the Lab100 mission. The floor, walls and dividers are all lightweight and inexpensive, making them easy to amend. Custom printed vinyl, PVC and glass were all chosen because they are easy to engrave, cut and replace with CNC machines. And the entire architectural structure is fabricated as individual modules that can be renovated individually or added to, as new tests and methodologies are brought into the clinical program.
Natural light plays a big role in the space. Software simulation was used to optimize window designs for a dynamic interplay of light throughout the space at different points in the day and over the course of the year.
Building with speed and limited resources within a working New York hospital posed unique executional challenges. Dozens of creative methods were used to pull off a successful two-week on-site build phase. Cactus acted as sole General Contractor, working with a multi-talented team of sub-contractors to choreograph the installation while observing a complex set of special rules and regulations.
At its heart, Lab100 is a software product. Standard-issue medical apparatus (that are not designed to share data) each connect into a singular database and user experience that provides real-time test results (something very rare in medicine). Results are presented within the context of live statistical data based on the patient’s specifics (demographics, gender, age, race, etc). Every aspect of the clinic, including tests such as vital signs, body composition, 3D scanning, blood analysis, strength, dexterity, and cognition tests, required customization and adaptation to allow for the real-time gathering and interpretation of the data collected.
New custom hardware and existing non-medical sensor technologies were both were both developed for use in Lab100 in order to augment existing standardized methods of measurement. For example, at the balance station we used a 3D camera to capture and measure subtle changes in movement and orientation using depth-sensing technology. At dexterity, we created an embedded system within the table that uses capacitive sensors to time the beginning and end of the test with extreme precision, a vast improvement in accuracy on the existing system that comprised of a human with a stopwatch. In addition to this, live video is streamed over the network, recorded, and made available for instant comparison of the user’s performance.
Each medical station also received a custom interactive environment. Virtual reality, touch screens, ‘gamified’ tests, live video, body/gesture tracking, and multiple other cutting-edge interfaces were custom-built for these stations.Perhaps most importantly, the data infrastructure and backend systems are all custom-built to achieve a high level of modularity and scalability across platforms and different technical needs. A custom API, local server, custom results database infrastructure, cloud-based storage and a dynamic “live” statistical database all work together in a highly automated system.
Last but not least, two custom apps were built for the two key user types. Doctors control everything about the clinic through a unified “control app” built native on an android tablet. Patients have their own platform-agnostic web-app where scheduling, payment, educational video and interactive results screens all appear seamlessly on demand.Despite the significant complexity of the tasks, tests and information exchanged, the user experiences Lab100 as a simple system with a few standard interactions that require no instructions beyond what the nurse would normally provide
Lab100 gathers thousands of data points about each patient visitor. That data is of primary importance to Mount Sinai but is worthless to the patient without context and the education necessary to understand its significance. To that end, a suite of educational video content was developed to help explain what is happening in each station, what data is being gathered, and why the patient should care. A combination of motion graphics, creative scripting and sound design make these videos fun and easy to digest.
At the balance station we used a 3D camera to capture and measure subtle changes in movement and orientation using depth-sending technology. At dexterity, we created an imbedded system within the table that uses capacitive sensors to time the beginning and end of the test with extreme precision, a vast improvement in accuracy on the existing system that comprises a human and a stopwatch. In addition to this, live video is streamed over the network, recorded, and made available for instant comparison of the user’s performance.
The name, mark, palette, typefaces, and styles for the Lab100 brand were all built to emphasize the future of medicine that our clients envision. A feeling of precision, lightness and ease are the thematic core. Multiple elements, including a custom color field, dot grid logo and an airy layout structure work in unison throughout the Lab100 physical, print, signage, mobile, virtual reality and web experiences