Foundation Medicine Institute
If this as useful as it appears to be, this could be an incredibly powerful tool for oncologists and improve the prognoses for countless patients. We will be interested to see how this performs in the wild and whether it can deliver all that it sets out to achieve. We sincerely hope it does.
Foundation One transforms paper reports of genomic test results into dynamic documents, helping practicing oncologists sort through large amounts of new findings and data to aggregate and pinpoint information that is relevant for each of their cancer patients. The interface was designed to specifically address oncologists’ demanding schedules as well as the need to filter through complex information sets.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Oncologists are inundated with multiple software applications in their daily practice, with each interface having vastly different features, functionality, and visual treatments. By helping to incorporate complex information from genomic testing into a busy oncology practice, Foundation Medicine faced a unique challenge: how to integrate a dynamic, precision medicine treatment resource into the workflow of oncologists? In addition, to drive adoption and engagement, the user experience needed to be as easy to use as paper while also demonstrating immediate benefits beyond the static paper report.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
To ensure adoption and successful integration into existing practices, interactions needed to be as efficient as possible, providing oncologists with streamlined paths to reports, scannable summaries of information, and robust but intuitive controls to dive deeper into information sets. The resulting interface embodies qualities such as clarity, confidence, precision, and professionalism. The “Report of Record” serves as an anchor point, while an “Updates” view (to be added in the future) will provide dynamically served information based on the test results, turning the patients static personalized report into a living document that reflects a growing body of research and available clinical trials.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The designers worked together with the client’s marketing and technology leads throughout the entire program. As this team shaped some of the early functional and emotional hypotheses, a major challenge was to achieve the proper level of domain expertise to design effectively in a 9-week timeframe. To ensure the team collectively achieved the appropriate knowledge threshold to confidently move forward with design, they relied on experts from the Foundation Oncology community, stakeholders within the business, and, later in the program, participatory design research with oncologists who would use the tool. Some early design hypotheses started with a redesign of the current paper report. This opened early discussions around balancing simplification with significance of information, as well as branding a new healthcare startup and learning what visual cues oncologists generally ignore as marketing noise. This crucial step shaped the platform’s first impression, one that captures attention without diluting the application nature of the tool. Design research helped the team establish an understanding of the domain and user needs and informed design development. Early in the design phase, the team created flow mockups and visual treatments of the report and used them as stimuli in interviews with key members of the client team, key partners, and subject matter experts to further understand the domain, their business model, and opportunities that would influence the Foundation Medicine solution. During the design phase, these findings evolved into a set of key workflows, feature sets, interactions, and page designs. The team created low-fidelity prototypes and visual artifacts for two participatory design sessions with oncologists, and emerged with a clearer understanding of the oncologists’ priorities. For instance, oncologists provided a clear sense of the information they needed immediately as well as the supportive information they would want to have to available through a “drill-down” functionality (e.g., detailed information about genomic alterations or therapies, peer-reviewed publication references, etc.). This approach benefited the UI and workflow design and helped maintain the project’s rapid schedule. The Foundation Oncology visual language is crafted to meet user needs with precise, clear communication specifically addressing oncologists’ demanding schedules and needs to filter through complex information sets.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Foundation One enables oncologists to practice based on the latest findings, bringing real-time access to a world of research and therapies that had been previously undiscovered. The design brings a clear and precise interface to help cut through the complexity. The project presented the opportunity to introduce design to a field in which it has not been historically embraced and the result represents a fundamental paradigm shift in oncology. In a larger sense, it helps realize the vision of personalized medicine to bring the latest technology and information to cancer patients, particularly in the community settings where most are treated.