Understanding the treatment journey and empathising with breast cancer patients
How to collect patients feelings and guide the conversation around treatment and post-treatment pathways
Journey maps allow us to see an end-to-end experience as a holistic journey. This tool can help designers make sense of complex systems and processes, as well as visualising the more human elements of a journey, e.g. what they are feeling at each moment.
For one of our health clients, we decided to use this tool in an unconventional way. Typically, it’s used within the sense-making phase, after all the research has been conducted. In this case we wanted to use it as a research method itself, getting patients to fill out their own individual emotional journeys to gain a personal insight into their experiences with Cancer and to help guide the conversation around their treatment and post-treatment path.
As we had a tight timeline, we needed to think of a research plan that was effective and quick, yet sensitive to our participants’ experiences and diagnoses. We decided to use these emotion maps as individual exercises within a group workshop with eight patients. It allowed us as researchers and designers to understand each individuals experience of cancer in 1-on-1 chats, but then bring the discussion together as a group to find commonalities/differences within the groups collective experience.
what is interesting
Through this engagement, we found several pain-points, such as a general need for less medical and more layman’s terminology and patients wanting full transparency and control of their medicine and potential side effects. Spotless found that there was a need for communication beyond clinical treatments and not only targeting the patients but also to the carers and the support group surrounding them.
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