by emily on February 4th, 2014 - Comments (0)
How did a workshop with Involution take the Personal Genome Project from “a bunch of ideas” to the creation of the award-winning Open Humans Network?
The Knight News Challenge: Health asked innovators to present solutions that harness the power of data for the health of communities, with a strong focus on civic participation and solution building. Among the seven projects that will share more than $2 million is the Open Humans Network.
The Open Humans Network proposes an online system that helps match people willing to share their health data with researchers who would benefit from access to more information, all with a focus on exploring new standards for open health data.
According to Madeleine Ball PhD, of the Harvard Personal Genome Project (PGP), the Open Humans portal will comprise three components: a personal page that will allow participants to set up their data profile, a public data explorer enabling people to explore and use data compiled from participant profiles, and a set of design guidelines for researchers looking to use a collaborative data sharing model.
Jason Bobe, PGP Executive Director, envisions “health discovery as a collaborative effort through the creation of a portal populated with research studies pre-screened for data-sharing practices, participants willing to share their data, and public data results.” Since its inception in 2005, the PGP has promoted a research and discovery model that selects participants who are comfortable with public sharing and the potential for re-identifiability—a practice called “open consent.”
The Open Humans Network project will involve collaboration of several studies including:
- Harvard Personal Genome Project (George Church, Harvard Medical School)
- American Gut (Rob Knight, University of Colorado, Boulder / HHMI)
- Flu Near You Research Participants (Rumi Chunara, Boston Children’s Hospital / HMS)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study, (Eric Schadt, Mount Sinai School of Medicine)
Mapping the PGP Ecosystem
To reach a goal like the Open Humans Network, the PGP first had to have a clear view of its own organizational functioning. To gain a better focus, they called upon Involution Studios’ expertise and objectivity.
In a daylong exploratory workshop, Invo designers helped the PGP staff to map their organization, roles, and objectives. They were able to completely re-conceive their organizational model to separate their member recruitment efforts from the data collection and sequencing, and keeping the focus on their member relationships.
From this work came the idea for OpenHumans.org, a service and website that facilitates third-party researchers and others who can access the PGP database of genomes and medical histories. Members will be able to see how their data is being used to contribute to the advancement of science and medicine. By providing the PGP with the tools and expertise, Involution was able to serve as the catalyst for a new, organizational model that has now garnered the Knight Foundation’s recognition.
Learn more about the winners of the Knight News Challenge: Health awards.
About Involution’s Health Design Practice
For almost 10 years, Involution has been building software for health companies of every shape and size, from household names like AstraZeneca and Walgreens, to research leaders like the Personal Genome Project and Partners HealthCare. We also work with the most exciting and progressive health startups. We’ve made digital healthcare our top focus.
by Jen on September 30th, 2013 - Comments (0)
A truly powerful electronic healthcare record (EHR) encompasses more than just passing information between the physician and the patient: It should be a tool that benefits the physician’s efficiency and, most importantly, the patient’s health.
Involution Studios is working with the University of Missouri, with Jeff Belden, MD as project lead, to design and write an eBook that offers insights into design and usability for these complex software systems. We have physicians, designers, and developers all contributing their wisdom — approaches that work, some that don’t, coupled with examples that you can see, touch, and play with. We’re not writing a how-to-guide, nor are we designing one EHR to rule them all. The EHR Style Guide is a reference to bridge the gap between software and the medical domain. The guide is for us software junkies, designers, and developers committed to the future of healthcare.
High Stakes Software
After blasting our way through policy and wrangling support for a more digital practice, it is often far too easy to get something, anything out there that remotely resembles an EHR, and then filling it with data is an arduous tedious task that no one wants to do. Somewhere in there, there’s room for design and development. Details fall between the cracks, get lost in translation, are swept under the rug, pushed down the pipeline, or worse, rerouted. But it’s just software, right? When a patient’s health is at the very end of that pipeline, the stakes are higher.
Bridging the Gap Between Software and Domain
Too often it feels natural to scoff at the oft-heard marketing cliche, “the customer is always right”. We’ve been bombarded with one too many buzzwords, answered one too many questions, and responded to one too many complaints. While we may be experts at design and software, our users may not be — but they are experts in their fields. For the users, software should be straight forward to learn and use. For us, the designers, developers, and architects, it never is; but the truly powerful tools are the ones tailored to those using it day in and day out, to do their tasks with ease. It’s not impossible to bridge the gap between software and domain.
Beautiful design and code go a long way in usability. But what good is all of that, if a physician can’t prescribe a medication in the time it takes them to write it out? It’s imperative to build the EHR to help perform tasks and perform them well. Use real data, real scenarios, real workflows, and give it to the people who will be using it the most. Talk to the physicians, talk to the nurses and work with them, and bridge the gap. Who wants to spend all their time producing something that doesn’t actually work in the real world?
Taking time to learn the human factors and domain factors may take time away from the design and development process, that’s not readily available when it’s an all-out race to get functionality out to hospitals. Attention to detail here, however, makes a world of difference to the physicians and nurses who use the product day in and day out, and to the patient whose health is paramount.
The EHR Style Guide is written with all this in mind, so that designers and developers can use it to build an EHR that doesn’t just serve the functional requirements, but rather, the people who use it.
Contributors on the EHR Style Guide: Jeff Belden, MD, Richelle Koopman, MD, MS, Joi Moore, PhD, Catherine Plaisant, PhD, Nathan Lowrance, Juhan Sonin, and Jennifer Patel
by Jon on September 12th, 2013
Involution Principal, Jon Follett, editor of the upcoming book “Designing for Emerging Technologies” recently spoke with Jenn Webb, O’Reilly Radar’s online managing editor and Mary Treseler, editorial strategist, on the O’Reilly Radar Podcast. In the podcast, the group discussed the challenges of understanding the disruptive power of emerging technologies — such as genomics, robotics, synthetic biology, and connected environments. […]
by Danielle on May 29th, 2013
“Have you ever been punched in the face?” That’s what Scott Sullivan, User Experience Designer at Involution, wants to know. In his Fast Co. feature article, Designers: Learn To Code! Here’s How to Start, Scott assures young designers learning to code isn’t that bad. “The fear of getting punched in the face holds you back from […]
by Jon on March 19th, 2013
Under a provision in Governor Deval Patrick’s fiscal 2014 plan for the state, a “modern products” Massachusetts sales tax of 4.5% will be levied on the design and engineering services that create the digital world. Massachusetts is filled with software development companies — with verticals from mobile to healthcare to enterprise. It’s a key innovation sector that drives the growth […]
by Jon on February 25th, 2013
Involution’s hGraph, an open source health metrics visualization, was recently featured in Wired Magazine online, highlighted in the article, “How Restyling the Mundane Medical Record Could Improve Health Care.” The Wired spot discusses hGraph’s strong social component: By tracking the data for entire families hGraph illustrates how some conditions, like obesity and heart disease, can be affected by collective […]
by Jon on January 18th, 2013
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), challenged designers across the United States to re-imagine the presentation of the medical record in order to create a better patient experience. The objective of the Health Design Challenge was to create a usable, beautiful medical record enabling patients to more easily […]
by Jon on December 3rd, 2012
The Health Design Challenge, sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is encouraging the UX design community to rethink the presentation of the medical record in order to create a better patient experience. The objectives are to design a usable, beautiful medical record that […]
by Dirk on September 30th, 2012
Each day, more and more people go thru their lives with their head tilted downward and their thumb manipulating a handheld computer. This is not class-based behaviour: these expensive machines and/or the data plans that govern them are being accessed as readily by the cashier at Burger King as the corporate CEO or suburban soccer mom. The prevalence of these […]
by Jon on September 5th, 2012
We’re excited to announce the debut of our Design Axioms card deck, which encapsulates essential software design wisdom from industry luminaries including Andrei Herasimchuk, Luke Wroblewski, Dirk Knemeyer, and Juhan Sonin.
by Dirk on September 3rd, 2012
Remember when Spam was just meat in a can? I’m not quite sure when “spam” became a daily and often painful reality of my life – sometime after 1994 but before 2000 – but if it wasn’t for spam filters I suspect email as an online tool would already be obsolete. If you create something good, that people pay attention […]
by Jon on August 22nd, 2012
The age of information is upon us, and much has been made of the great improvements to communication, collaboration, and business process efficiency as we transform from an industrial- to a knowledge-based economy. However, despite all the rapid technological changes of the past 20 years, we are still at the very beginnings of the knowledge work era. At the dawn […]
by Jon on August 15th, 2012
One of the great challenges of knowledge work is in understanding how to integrate virtual tools into the oftentimes tricky realm of human communication and relationships. We take for granted that the constantly evolving toolset available to us is ultimately helpful to our productivity and ability to complete our day-to-day tasks. How did work ever get done without mobile phones […]
by Jon on August 1st, 2012
The university system is critical to the Innovation Economy in Boston. Not only do schools supply the region with well-trained creative class workers in fields like engineering, science, design, and architecture; they also serve as R&D labs, generating new technology research; and as catalysts for the marketplace of ideas that fuels entrepreneurialism and a growing ecosystem of start-up companies. In […]
by Jon on July 23rd, 2012
Energy is the industry that IT forgot — or at least until recently. While sectors as varied as finance and healthcare, entertainment and communications have roared ahead with digitization, automation, and analytics, the energy industry has not evolved as rapidly. Despite this fact, it’s clear that the future of energy lies in software. In both conservation and sustainability, software offers […]
by Jon on June 18th, 2012
Today, Microsoft fired a significant salvo in the war for a Unified User Experience, with the debut of its Surface tablet. Taking a page from the Apple playbook, Microsoft is creating both the hardware and software for the Surface, a strategy it once executed successfully, with the Xbox 360 gaming console; and twice not so successfully, with the Zune […]
by Jon on June 6th, 2012
Last year, Internet luminary and entrepreneur Marc Andreessen wrote a significant essay in the Wall Street Journal, outlining the many ways in which software has become absolutely vital to our world. Software allows us to extend our reach even further than we did before, automating processes, accelerating the rate of change, and providing the sinews between people and data. […]
by Jon on May 21st, 2012
We’re at the very beginnings of a significant evolution in the way we work — not just in from a technical perspective, although that’s a significant driver — but in the culture and nature of work and organizational relationships. The way we work today is markedly different from the way our parents worked, and even more distant from the way […]
by Jon on April 8th, 2012
At the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center last Wednesday evening, software innovators came together for a series of presentations and conversation about the opportunity for technology and design to effect positive change in healthcare.
The program, “Linking Healthcare, Technology and Design”, explored aspects of the changing face of the industry, and how digital solutions could provide the […]
by Jon on March 28th, 2012
At Involution, as a part of our commitment to learning and growing as a company, we conduct semi-regular studio critiques. This kind of critique is important to our ongoing evolution as an organization and helps everyone, from leadership to staff, understand the broad vision and values of the studio. As a part of that ongoing discussion, we’re drafting a set […]
by Jon on March 25th, 2012
On Thursday, the US Senate passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act (73-26), which allows start-up companies for the first time to solicit early stage investments from the general public. The Senate version added some protections and requirements to the original bill previously passed by the House on March 8. For instance, in the Senate version, the Securities […]
by Jon on March 22nd, 2012
One of my all time favorite books on innovation and the ecosystems that support it is Richard Florida’s “The Rise of the Creative Class”. Using census and economic data, Florida examines the factors that make Creative Class jobs — in science, engineering, technology, architecture, and the arts — primary drivers for economic growth. He also identifies a number of Creative […]
by Jon on March 16th, 2012
Earlier this week, we released our Predicting Major League Baseball 2012 interactive information visualization with our picks for the playoffs this year. The visualization made its debut in the inaugural post on our recently launched channel on BostInno.
After the heartbreak of the Red Sox collapse last year, at Involution Studios we felt that, in order […]
by Jon on March 7th, 2012
Today Apple revealed the third generation iPad with its Retina screen, bringing the most powerful mobile visual display to market with a whopping 326 ppi in its 9.7 inch space. Print resolutions typically range from 300 – 1800 dpi, which means that Apple has effectively brought mobile computing into that same realm, a significant step to say the least. […]
by Jon on March 2nd, 2012
I don’t think there’s any question that the creative class jobs that drive our innovation economy — designers, engineers, scientists, architects, entrepreneurs, writers, etc. — are all positions that require constant learning and evolution. In a larger sense, our economy, the companies that survive and thrive, the types of jobs in demand, and the skill sets required to successfully compete […]
by Jon on February 22nd, 2012
Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.
The Internet of Things Will Rise in Boston
With the advent of the mobile revolution, we’re now living connected lives, where our day-to-day activities are closely tied to the digital products and services that we carry with us everywhere […]
by Jon on February 16th, 2012
The Mass Technology Leadership Council held its annual Big Data Summit yesterday at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA. The sold out event was attended by a broad cross-section of the Boston tech community with engineers, designers, venture capitalists and business managers all coming together to discuss the future of Big Data in […]
by Jon on February 6th, 2012
Last week, the IxDA’s Interaction12 conference in Dublin, Ireland brought together the professional interaction design community from around the globe for four days of inspiring talks and workshops.
Involution Studios was well represented with two of our leadership team speaking. Involution Founder, Dirk Knemeyer examined the complex, cross-disciplinary question of how people understand themselves and each other, in his […]
by Jon on January 26th, 2012
Is the age of ubiquitous computing is upon us? We may not be living yet in William Gibson’s plugged-in future, but there’s no doubt that we’re absolutely dependent on the digital realm. From tablets to smart phones to laptops to car navigation systems, we always seem to be connected. The digital life is everywhere we go, and software is […]
by Jon on November 4th, 2011
I’m a big Boston sports nut. And, as cliched as the sports metaphor may be for discussions on teamwork, there are lessons to be learned from the collapse of the Red Sox, which was the worst in baseball history and has ongoing and transformative consequences for the organization. There were, of course, many reasons for the losing streak that took […]
by Dirk on September 2nd, 2011
The “It’s (so-and-so’s) birthday” feature on Facebook is simultaneously one of the best and worst examples of how social networks can impact our digital lives. Best, in that it lets us know when something important and personal is happening to people we are connected to, and makes it easy for us to connect with them in that context. Worst, in […]
by Jon on August 28th, 2011
In this blog feature, we highlight articles from the past, written by our Invo colleagues that have stood the harsh test of Internet time and still have something to say to us today.
Four years ago, I wrote two pieces on the advantages and disadvantages, the ups and downs, the quirks and peccadilloes, of working on virtual teams for online […]
by Jon on August 20th, 2011
The space in which we work defines us, both as individuals and as teams. Sometimes we’re unaware of how important our office environment is, but the fact remains that it’s key to our every day mental health and our ability to perform. Our work space effects whether we’re able to get our work done and whether we enjoy doing it. […]
by Jon on July 14th, 2011
At Involution, when we design software, we draw upon a process akin to industrial design, where—after we engage in an initial product architecture to understand the feature grouping, flow, and functionality—the next step is often sketching.
If you haven’t done it before, sketching concepts for a software user experience may seem like a daunting task located in foreign territory: […]
by Dirk on March 8th, 2011
This series on technology in Africa is written by Involution friends and emerging markets experts Niti Bhan and Muchiri Nyaggah.
Early last week, rolling blackouts across most of Nairobi interrupted daily life for the better part of two days. Intrepid Data Systems, a local systems integrator who had just moved into brand new office space, found out the hard way […]
by Dirk on November 10th, 2010
This week’s much-ballyhoed launch of RockMelt is again getting the tech intelligentsia in a lather about a potential new browser. What they seem to be ignoring is that the battle has already been won and lost: the best case scenario for RockMelt is, romantically, they become a plucky cult favourite like Flock before running out of steam and sinking […]
by Dirk on March 17th, 2010
For the week ending March 13, 2010, and for the first time in its spectacular ascendancy, Facebook became the most visited site on the Internet. Already, analysts and experts are hailing this as a momentous event, one that validates the power of social networking in the rapidly evolving universe of the World Wide Web.