Design Engineering
Showcase 2021

T2 Online, Empowering People with Type 2 Diabetes to Self-Manage their Condition

Human-centred design
User Experience Design
Behavioural Science

Project Details

Puja Soneji
Design Engineering MEng
Talya Porat
Masters Project
Puja Soneji Website
Puja Soneji Email

Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a common long-term condition affecting 3.9 million people in the UK. Despite serious health implications if left untreated, patients struggle to self-manage their T2DM.

As mentioned in the NHS Long-Term Plan, these patients require collaborative support from healthcare professionals to set and deliver on health targets.

T2 Online is a digital intervention tool in the form of a phone and web app designed to empower people with T2DM in self-managing their condition.

Unlike other work within this domain, the project focused on online GP consultations as a means for extracting maximum value from interactions with healthcare professionals to enhance ownership in patients, which is a novel approach.

Research and Insights

A collection of value-oriented semi-structured interviews were carried out with healthcare professionals and people with T2DM.

The aim was to gain a contextual understanding of the problem space from the perspective of different stakeholders. Core needs were identified based on emerging themes regarding participants’ experiences, motivators, inhibitors and facilitators.

Psychological Ownership theory, which has not yet been explored within health and self-care, was applied to the thematic analysis to reveal novel insights and identify clear opportunities for inciting behaviour change in people with T2DM.

These insights were used to create a design specification, which drove the design of the proposed solution.

The research phase of this project was carried out in parallel to the design of T2 Online, allowing interview participants to review my low-fidelity ideas and inform the design of the next iteration. This method was essential in ensuring the design features were successfully meeting user needs.

Research_And_Insights: The design specification in relation to identified needs and final design features.

Journey Mapping

A journey map was designed based on stakeholder interviews to visualise all the experiences of a patient in detail. This provided a clear indication of areas where I could add value.

For example, there’s a pain point after a patients diagnosis where they are likely to reach a point of stagnation. It’s easy for them to lose that initial sense of motivation when GP appointments are spaced out by 3 to 6 months. There is no sense of accountability in these gaps. When they do have questions or doubts between appointments, they often forget to address them at their next check-up so they go unanswered, stunting progress in these patients.

A full-scale journey map can be found here:

Journey_Mapping: A journey map detailing the experience of a person with T2 Diabetes.

T2 Online- a Proposed Solution

T2 Online is an app and platform used by patients and healthcare professionals to promote more valuable interactions. There are four key features, refined through an iterative design process, that promote more valuable interactions.

1. Personalised self-monitoring using a log feature in the app.
2. An agenda feature encouraging patients to prepare for
3. GP preparation, where they can view a patient’s agenda
and gain a contextual understanding prior to a check-up
4. Interactive video consultations to democratise conversation

T2_Online: The 4 key features of T2 Online and the user journey.

Evaluation and Next Steps

100 people in the UK living with T2DM were shown a demonstration video of T2 Online. The intervention scored above average in terms of acceptability and usability. Respondents could clearly see the benefits to using this tool, having never found suitable solutions in the past. However, the responses also highlighted the need to better consider patients with low self-efficacy. Encouraging their regular use of T2 Online is essential for creating positive long-term behaviour change. I am currently looking into refining my concept and creating a works-like prototype to further validate my proof-of-concept, and will use my time this summer seeking expert advice and support.