Stroke Rehabilitation

The Problem Space 

Our project was geared towards enhancing the experience for patients and families during stroke rehabilitation. Our primary users were recovering stroke patients who had been treated at the UCSD hospital system. We began by conducting primary and secondary research on the process of stroke rehabilitation, hoping to discover pain points that would be within the scope of our year long project.  From secondary research, we learned that the lack of continuity of care after being released from medical facilities was the primary deterrent to recovery. This insight gave us a narrowed focus to continue gaining insights from our primary stakeholders. 

User Interviews

We created stakeholder maps to determine who would be most valuable to interview given our constraints on time and resources. We decided to interview former stroke patients, cardiac doctors, cardiac nurses, and care takers for former stroke patients. One of the largest challenges we faced in this project was finding stakeholders that were willing to talk with us. It took almost 3 months to complete this part of the project because of the lack of response. We managed to interview one doctor, two nurses, two former stroke patients, and one care taker. These interviews shaped how we moved forward with our ideas for the project.  


Due to the time it took to complete the interviews, we began ideating solutions based solely on our secondary research, then re-evaluated our designs and re-iterated based on the new information we received. We clustered our insights from our interviews and first hand research, and  narrowed our focus further to maintaining the day to day activities of recovering stroke patients, and keeping an open line of connection between the patients, doctors, and caretakers. 

We looked at similar problem spaces to our first pain point of maintaining day to day activities, trying to see what solutions already exist when motivating people to complete tasks. We found that to-do lists do not retain attention, and that the most successful tools gamify the task completion process. This creates an emotional link to the experience, giving the users a reason to continue using it every day. 

Our next pain point of faulty communication between the medical team and the patient team was more daunting to overcome. We saw a need for systemic change in the lines of communication, and the resources available to stroke patients and their caretakers. We decided that we needed some sort of secure system of communication, that would present local support and informational events that our interviewees had mentioned missing. 

First Iteration of Prototyping 

Given our two primary pain points, and our research into similar problem spaces, we began sketching an initial prototype that we believed would address both the lack of communication, and the completion of day to day tasks. This lead us to an app that contains daily check ins linked to a to-do list. The completion of items on the list would result in a reward that would allow the patients to care for and develop a living thing, creating a visual way to track their progress while motivating the patients to regularly continue their activities. We also wanted to include a messaging system within the app so that patients or their caretakers that monitor the app and set tasks would be able to communicate directly with their doctor. 

I was tasked with wireframing the task completion function of the app. 

I began with an quick sketch of the app as pictured below.

First Round of Testing

The sketch was critiqued by my team, and then presented to our community partner, Doctor Agrawal. He looked at our ideas an assumptions, and gave us ways to make our app more usable for recovering patients, and HIPAA compliant. He suggested including a sign in to ensure security, and to have doctor communication be one way. The doctor should be able to log in through their own portal, assign tasks, track progress, and give feedback to their patients. He recommended not having this be the primary means of patients contacting their doctors, because systems are already in place to do this efficiently and securely. We were also able to discuss adding a feature that had interested us into the app that would function as a calendar for the local community. Support group meetings and relevant events would be posted, along with a public forum allowing users to feel a sense of community through this shared experience. 

Second Iteration of Prototyping