Stitch is an interactive web platform designed to create a new, shared view of medical recoveries.
Stitch helps repair the broken relationships between patients and doctors to make healing easier. Its humane and structured guide gives patients practical help in recovering after medical events. Patients share experiences and engage actively in recovery. They gain some of the best medicine out there – a sense of authority over their own health.
My team and I walked the streets with homeless Austinites; underpasses and bus stops were our interview rooms. People welcomed us into their homes and shared stories of their personal medical struggles. We embedded in a large hospital’s medical records department to understand where organizations have their own struggles. The combination of all of of this was essential to the ultimate design of Stitch.
The themes that resonated most with us were those that affected patients on a profoundly human level: fear evoked by interactions with the healthcare system; helplessness at not being heard by your own doctors; uncertainty during the healing process. These emotional themes drove our insights and ideas:
Healthcare’s singular focus on the life and death causes them to overlook the factors that shape our engagement. Flexible systems that reach out to us will encourage our participation in care.
Healthcare doesn’t give us the tools to understand recovery. We need clearly defined structures to help us make sense of the recovery journey.
The one-sided way knowledge is governed in healthcare robs us of the authority over our own care. By valuing our experiences alongside clinical learnings we’ll create a more equitable knowledge base.
Stitch evolved rapidly from a simple text messaging tool into a robust, collaborative platform. We iterated through many different design directions quickly. Our conscious decision to fail early and often allowed our idea to naturally develop into something that benefits both patients and doctors.
We undertook a second phase of research where we put our ideas in front of patients, nurses and doctors – the people who would ultimately use Stitch. Our validation methods expanded as our idea grew, ranging from scenario testing to wireframe walkthroughs and limited trials.
Testing also meant crafting a business model and collaborating with hospital administrators to evaluate Stitch's viability in the marketplace.
This project was conducted while I was attending the Austin Center For Design in collaboration with Scott Gerlach and Bhavini Patel along with the support of my fellow students and the faculty at AC4D. I'd specifically like to thank Natalie Conners and Bethany Bauman for their guidance and grace.