Automating Insulin Delivery for people with diabetes
Company: Tidepool partnered with Eagle* (2021) | Role: Product Designer, UX Researcher
*As the nature of this work is confidential, the actual name of the partner company has been redacted and changed to Eagle for this case study.
Insulin pump users want to reduce their day-to-day burden of diabetes management
A mobile app capable of automating and adjusting insulin delivery in the background
Generated $1M in revenue for for Tidepool before market release
Increase adoption of insulin pump technology
Provide a convenient way to access insulin pump technology via a mobile app and thereby increase user adoption
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
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?
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.
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.
Patients struggle with distress over daily management of diabetes and find it extremely time-consuming
Patients feel like a burden on their caregivers and want to be self-reliant
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
Include all core functionality needed to manage a connected insulin pump and compatible CGM device
Provide a simplified user experience for patients to be self reliant and indepedent while managing their disease
Minimize interruptions and decisions per day to reduce cognitive and emotional burden of the disease
Measure and communicate health outcomes to the user demonstrate improvements and product value
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.
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
Reducing risk associated with critical tasks by surfacing the right level of risk in the app
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.
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
Ability to set up and manage the CGM device and handle errors
Ability to manage app settings, view insulin history and customize alerts
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