Breast Cancer Decision App

How might we empower breast cancer patients to make treatment decisions that are right for them?

Prototype created by Breast Cancer clinical team during a design bootcamp weekend

Prototype created by Breast Cancer clinical team during a design bootcamp weekend

Mayo Clinic - Center for Innovation

January - December 2014

Lead Service Designer / Design researcher
UX/UI Designer
Product Owner / Vendor relations
Managed Design Intern


Patient / Family / Care Team interviews
Patient / Provider observations
Workshop facilitation
Site mapping
Synthesis presentation
Secondary research / literature review

iPad application was created and iPads were given to 1000 breast cancer patients and is still in use today.


  1. Create information stage gates. When a patient gets a diagnosis of cancer everything starts to blur together. They don't have capacity to retain information given to them, especially when it's delivered all at once at the height of their anxiety.

  2. Outline clear decision points: Patients were not sure when they actually had a choice on their treatment and usually just went along with whatever the doctor said.

  3. Tailor education information to patients: In their first appointment, where a patient was told of their diagnosis, they were given information about every type of breast cancer. This was overwhelming and confused them on what facts to remember.

  4. Provide realistic timelines based on averages: Providers gave broad statements around recovery timing because they didn’t want it to backfire on them. However, these left patients creating their own unrealistic timelines in their head. Many did not realize the surgeries and recovery for breast reconstruction could take a full a year.

“I didn’t know I could wait on my reconstruction options until later.”

- Patient



Over 1,000 Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer patients have used the app, with the tool still currently in use. The goal is to have the app become a part of the Patient Portal. The provider dashboard is no longer in use because there was no support to integrate it into the EHR, which makes it difficult for providers to incorporate into their workflow.

Final designs done by Take the Wind

Final designs done by Take the Wind



Based on my interviews, observations and research I created an initial sitemap, wireframes and clickable prototype to gain feedback from cancer survivors and clinical team. I designed framework the patient facing app, provider dashboard and clinical service flow. I mentored my design intern in creating multiple UI designs. We conducted a heuristic usability test of our prototype, user tested with breast cancer survivors and conducted online usability testing. I identified a vendor to develop our app. I managed the requirements, tested releases and helped navigate how to get the app into iTunes. The app was synced to a provider dashboard website that allowed all the doctors to see what a patient valued and the decisions they were considering. 

UI mock up with function call outs influenced by research

Research phase and patient quotes

Breast Cancer survivor map of her experience

Breast Cancer survivor map of her experience

Video of app pilot