TTC Labs - Building trust in digital health diagnostics

Building trust in digital health diagnostics

12th Dec 2019

Digital healthcare technologies have become so sophisticated that in the near-future it may become possible to make diagnoses based on images taken using a phone. However, inferences and conclusions about health could be experienced as surprising and unexpected if not carefully managed. How do services like HealthyTeeth design for trust and care towards the people using the service when offering health diagnosis and analysis?

Healthy teeth
Product Context

The HealthyTeeth App allows people to upload a picture of their teeth to receive oral healthcare diagnoses and tailored advice. While the app is mainly focused on providing oral health care advice, the algorithms can accurately determine if a person is suffering or is likely to suffer from other diseases. By designing a tailored onboarding flow the app builds trust to offer a wide range of additional health information and people can choose the level to which they want to receive information.

Healthy teeth

Problem & Opportunity

When people think about their teeth, they don’t typically think about what their dental health can say about their health in more general terms. HealthyTeeth has the problem of persuading people to sign up for new health diagnosis functionality beyond the initial scope of the app. It is not directly evident to people how the analysis and inferences about their teeth could lead to conclusions about their health. Furthermore, the analysis may provide new, sensitive, and potentially unpleasant news about their health. The HealthyTeeth team focused on the sign-up experience and the ways in which they could build trust in the app right from the outset.

How might we...

... explain complex analysis leading to inferences about personal health

Design Features
Gaining trust through medical endorsement

During sign up, the app takes the time to explain that there is more to learn about health based on the analysis of your teeth. The message is supported with a logo from a trusted endorser - Ministry of Health. By collaborating and gaining approval from a health authority, like the fictional Ministry of Health, the app can communicate its trustworthiness to an audience that is not pro-actively looking for broad health information from their HealthyTeeth app.

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Design Features
Building trust by explaining how inferences work

Continuing during sign-up, HealthyTeeth takes the time to create a simple interactive explainer to show how the analysis of their teeth can be used to make inferences about health in general. If the person using the app is not interested, the message can be skipped.

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Design Features
Building trust by putting people in control

Continuing during sign-up, HealthyTeeth puts people in control of which topics they want to receive health information. By selecting the topics the person remains in control and will be less likely to be surprised by unwanted information about their health - especially if they already suspect a problem.

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Design Features
Choose how the data is shared

Continuing during sign-up, HealthyTeeth, again takes time to explain that after an analysis takes place, a person can choose whether they want to share their data with their doctor. This way the HealthyTeeth app is embedded in the health ecosystem and results can be followed up with a doctor or health professional.

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Next steps

In this exploration of the HealthyTeeth app it moved beyond just dental towards wider health areas. A consideration would be to ask for data initially and then clearly ask for permission to change the use of the same data at a later point in time. Additionally the explanation of the analysis could be further explored. How might we build on this concept to...

  • Provide health information and support people seeking professional medical help where needed?
  • Create engaging tools for people to experiment with the inferences that can be made about their health based on their dental information?
  • Create tools to help people manage how their sensitive data is used within a health ecosystem?
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