Designing a healthcare platform that’s trustworthy, friendly & informative



Weill Cornell Medicine






During 2017, I was able to work with Weill Cornell Medicine on a project: the PALS (Patient Activated Learning System). Developed by Dr. Monika Safford and Dr. Jeff Curtis, the PALS is a website that answers questions about patient health, disease and/or medicines. Users are able to search for and submit very specific questions (e.g. “Can I drink Alcohol while taking Chlorthalidone?”) for experts (doctors and medical students) to provide scientifically supported answers.

My main objective was to find ways to improve content presentation. To do so, it was crucial to understand the audience. Since the intended user pool was extremely broad, I did not create personas for this project. Instead, I conducted formative research and extracted key characteristics of the PALS audience, using them criteria to check against when iterating the design process.

Who is going to use the PALS website? 

  • Patients in the United States whom lie within a huge spectrum of literacy ability, age and cultural values

  • Patients who may be skeptical of Internet reliability

  • Relatives/friends of patients

  • Patients who may be emotionally fragile and fearful of their health conditions

  • Patients in need of encouragement (Hibbard, Mahoney, Stockard & Tusler M., 2005)

  • Patients seeking simple answers/may be overwhelmed by too much information
    (Hibbard, Mahoney, Stockard & Tusler M., 2005)


How I tackled the design problem:



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