Automating Insulin Delivery for people with diabetes
Company: Tidepool partnered with Eagle*  |  Role: Product Designer, UX Researcher  |  Current Status: Under Development

*As the nature of this work is confidential, the actual name of the partnering company has been redacted and changed to Eagle for this case study.

Problem

Insulin pump users want to reduce their day-to-day burden of diabetes management

Solution

A mobile app capable of  automating and adjusting insulin delivery in the background

Outcome

Generated $1M in revenue for  for Tidepool before market release

Objective

Increase adoption of insulin pump technology 

Provide a convenient way to access insulin pump technology via a mobile app and thereby increase user adoption

Team

1 Product Manager, 2 Product Designers

Our small team worked with external stakeholders and the Eagle team to build this app from scratch over 12 weeks

My Role

Product Design and UX Research

The other designer and I collaborated closely to build a high-fidelity prototype of the entire application and conducted a usability study with 10 participants

What is insulin pump technology?

Background

People living with Type 2 Diabetes use different kinds of devices to keep their glucose levels in range throughout their day. Some patients use wearable devices like Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to monitor their blood glucose along with an Insulin Pump to inject insulin into the body.

Tidepool and Eagle partnered to develop a native iOS mobile application capable of automating insulin delivery when connected to Eagle's insulin pump and a compatible CGM. This partnership aimed to increase user adoption of insulin pump technology for Type 2 Diabetes.

Project Scope

 

The project scope was limited to building an iOS-only mobile application for the niche population that uses a CGM device in tandem with an insulin pump.

Problem Discovery

1

Patients struggle with distress over daily management of diabetes and find it extremely time-consuming

2

Patients feel like a burden on their caregivers and want to be self-reliant

3

Patients desire more control over their disease with the goal of better overall quality of life

"Having diabetes sucks! It's overwhelming to keep checking your blood sugar after every little meal. I feel like I'm in a constant state of worry and panic."

— A quote from user research sessions by a patient who is newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

Product Goals

1

Include all core functionality needed to manage a connected insulin pump and compatible CGM device 

2

Provide a simplified user experience for patients to be self reliant and indepedent while managing their disease

3

Minimize interruptions and decisions per day to reduce cognitive and emotional burden of the disease

4

Measure and communicate health outcomes to the user demonstrate improvements and product value

Design Principles

Intended Users

This app is intended to be used by people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes who have prior experience with insulin pumps, CGMs, and iOS devices. All users would be willing to use an app to help manage their diabetes. 

Design Rationale

This app aims to provide a simplified user experience that reduces time spent in managing their diabetes everyday.

 

Key goals that influenced the design decisions are:

Ease of use

Focusing on simple and intuitive designs which reduce user confusion for a complex system

Effective error handling

Ensuring errors are handled gracefully so that users are less overwhelmed

Risk mitigation

Reducing risk associated with critical tasks by surfacing the right level of risk in the app

Solution

A mobile application that monitors the patient's symptoms and automates insulin delivery when connected to an insulin pump and a CGM.

How does the app work?

The app receives glucose and insulin data from the connected CGM and insulin pump via Bluetooth. It makes a prediction about future glucose levels by monitoring the data every 5 minutes. It sends back commands to the pump to adjust the insulin delivery to reach the target glucose and reduce highs and lows. 

Onboarding and Training

Instructional screens for rigorous in-app training to mitigate health risks for patients while using the app.

Since this app is part of a complex system that includes two hardware devices, a user has to go through solid training before they can use the app.

Insulin Delivery 

Ability to view recommended insulin value and deliver a bolus* based on the type of the meal eaten

*Bolus is a dose of insulin taken to handle a rise in blood glucose that happens during eating.

Adding the prescription

Ability to enter your prescription and modify therapy settings based on personalized targets

Insulin Pump Manager

Ability to set up and manage the insulin pump and handle errors

insulin pump.jpg

CGM Manager

Ability to set up and manage the CGM device and handle errors

Settings

Ability to manage app settings, view insulin history and customize alerts

User Feedback

The prototype was evauluated in a Usability Testing session cnducted with 10 participants representive the product’s intended users.

Participants performed the majority of tasks successfully, including making carb entries, bolusing, and adjusting settings. While some participants initially experienced difficulty locating various features in the app, most were able to locate the appropriate screens and complete all tasks. 

Participants provided extensive praise and positive feedback regarding the product. Many considered the app innovative and simple to use for managing their diabetes.

"I really love the colors that change on the home screen. As soon as you open the app, you see the color and you know your glucose reading"

— A participant's comment on the home screen design

"I like it, its well designed. It has everything that I could possibly want at a glance, with minimal scrolling"

— A participant's comment on the overall app experience

"It's a lot easier to follow, everything is clickable. Done in an easy way "

— A participant's comment on the overall app experience