Designing for Patients with Disabilities

This collaborative project with the FDA Human Performance Lab aims to evaluate hand-held design features and functions (button and screen size and shape, text size, hardware form and size) for patients with vision (diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, etc.) and mobility (arthritic, diabetic neuropathy, etc.) impairment. These diseases, although prevalent among chronic care patients and the elderly, are not taken into consideration during the design process, which leaves a significant portion of users unable to utilize patient self-management technologies to their full potential.

The study evaluates subject interaction with several combinations of form and function on existing glucometers using arthritis simulator gloves and diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma simulator glasses. We will use the findings of this study to inform FDA hand-held device design guidelines for users with disabilities with potential incorporation into regulatory approval mechanisms.

Glucometer Usability

The main goal of this project is to develop a new methodological design paradigm for patient self-management technologies to move beyond use as simple chronic disease care diagnostic tools to support life activities. As an initial step towards this goal, we are focusing on assessing existing patient self-management devices, starting with the glucometer.

In the initial phase of this project, we conducted an expert analysis on thirteen glucometers. For each glucometer, we identified features and functions influencing their usability. To determine these influential factors, three methods were used: Task Analysis, Time Study, and Usability Heuristics. The next phase of this study involves identifying factors influencing usability from a diabetes patient perspective with the information being applied to the design of a new glucometer.

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