Bariatric Surgery Decision Aid

Decision aid to help patient make an informed decisions about surgery and treatment


4 UMSI Students


September - December 2018


UX Researcher & Designer


Literature review, Research, Competitive Analysis, Sketching, Prototyping, User Testing, Interaction Design


Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop

Overview πŸ“‘

Bariatric Surgery Decision Aid is a patient-centric application that informs patients about various bariatric surgery procedures and aids them in making an informed decision.

I and my team were participants of infoLab, a School of Information initiative. We worked as designers and consultants for an Ann Arbor based healthcare technology company called ArborMetrix. "Outcomes Calculator" is a website which belongs to Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (M.B.S.C.), and is maintained by ArborMetrix.

Process flow of the project
Design Problem πŸ’

The current Outcomes Calculator requires physician guidance and misses an opportunity to educate patients and help them select a β€œbest fit” surgical choice.

The layout of this project page is divided into
Design and Research segments

Key Features πŸ—„οΈ

1. Introduction screen

The purpose of Get Started screen is to allow users to understand what all can be expected from the decision aid. It also serves the purpose of gaining demographic information from the users, which can later be used in General Comparison.

2. Procedure information

The General Information screen guides the users through various types of Bariatric surgeries. Not only does it give information about each surgery is done, but also information about what all can be expected pre-surgery and post-surgery. This helps users develop a mindset.

After the patients go through procedures, "Check your understanding" is a quiz section that checks patient's knowledge.

3. Preferences

This section helps patients understand what the general demographics did in a similar situation, whereas personalized comparison helps understand results specific to your own input information.

4. Data visualization and Comparison

After education the patients about procedures, this section asks for data about illness and risks.

Based on the data the patient has inputed, results section compares and shows data related to choosing a specific surgery.

5. Summary of results and next steps

Summary section talks about patient's surgical options based on the data they provided. It also informs the patients about the next step they can take.
The email and download option allows patients to share this information with their doctors.

High Fidelity Prototype πŸŽ₯

Final Project presentation with a prototype

Figma Interactive Prototype

Reflection πŸ™‡πŸ»

This project mainly helped me understand how things work in health informatics sector. This project taught me the usage of literature reviews when contextual inquiry with the users was not possible. It helped me understand ways to acquire information through guerrilla usability testing on random users when the actual users were not available.
We have received a positive feedback about design solution from the adminitrative, medical as well as sales team at ArborMetrix. Right now, ArborMetrix plans to use the High Fidelity prototype during the Sales meetings of the company, in order to generate customers for the upcoming product. This project will be further developed by the ArborMetrix's development team.

We presented our poster in UMSI Fall Student Exposition '18

Current Experience πŸ‘οΈ

Outcomes Calculator is used to inform patients about various bariatric procedures and the risks related to each procedure taking into account their illnesses and demographics. This website is used by the physicians during an appointment with the patient.
Some major issues concerned with the previous website :


Not patient friendly


Unorganized content


Confusing interactions


Required a physician presence

Input information about demographics, illnesses and other risk factors.
The obtained result analyzes the weight loss per year and the effect of each surgery on curbing the illness.

Current Interactions

We mapped out the various interactions the physician/patient needed to make in order to get the results. The whole website has 4 main interactions-


which takes into account the surgeries a patient is interested in.


which takes into account the weight, age, and other factors.


which takes into account the illnesses the patient is suffering from.


Other risk factors:
which takes into account influential factors like smoking and mobility aid.

Process flow of the current Outcomes Calculator

Goals πŸ‘οΈ

In order to make the website more patient-friendly, we interviewed our stakeholders to determine the goals. We had to understand the objectives behind the previous Outcomes Calculator in order to make it more user-centered.


Key Research Questions ❓

Our study was designed so we could help answer the following key research questions that will help us further re-define our concepts to address the actual problems many dog owners face:

1. What kind of behavioral issues do dog owners typically deal with?

2. What typically triggers a behavioral issue with the dog?‍

3. Have dog owners conducted any training or coaching with their dog?

4. How do dog owners address behavioral issues?

5. Where do dogs normally feel safe?

Literature Review πŸ“

Academic and Medical Resarch

We dived into understanding our project by conducting literature review on academic and medical research. Here is a document that includes the research that we conducted.

The main points we derived from our research are as follows:


Decision aids are well received by patients and significantly increase patient knowledge.


Physicians reported decision aids facilitated communication with patients.


Informational tools need to describe the standard treatments, risks and benefits of each treatment, and lifestyle implications.


Pictorial information is an important component in a decision-making tool.

Blogs, Articles and Videos

We referred to blog, articles and videos of people who had undergone Bariatric surgery in order to get insights on pre and post surgery issues. Here is a document that includes the research that we conducted.

These are some of the insights we got -

"I was also deeply ashamed of it [my body].”
- Women's Health Magazine
β€œEven though I was a little scared, I saw the surgery as a rebirth of sorts, the solution to all my mental and physical pain.”
- Women's Health Magazine
β€œSome did not like the way they looked. It was not enough weight loss, or they were not aware β€” although it had been part of their pre-surgery education sessions β€” that they would end up with big flaps of loose skin that could be gotten rid of only with extensive and expensive plastic surgery.”
- The NewYork Times

Competitive Analysis 🀼

Competitive analysis helped us explore the current solutions that the medical field uses to tackle the issue of education and information. Along with medical tools, we also explored Microsoft Surface Help me choose system that basically helps the user by informing them and educating them.

Competitive Analysis

Persona Development πŸ§‘

Based on the research insights and the literature review we conducted, we built up a persona called "Martha". Martha is an amalgamation of real world goals and issues of people who want to undergo a bariatric procedure.
Martha's persona wanted a minimally invasive surgery since she had a child. Persona development helped us understand these kind of requirements. This meant that our solution had help patients understand different kinds of surgeries, and aid them in decision making.

Martha's Persona

Ideation πŸ’‘

We brainstormed components and ways we could implement the learnings from our research. We tried to figure out ways in which we could improve the user flow of the website.


We decided to add a few steps to the existing user flow of the Outcomes Calculator. After our literature review, we understood the need of implementing a "Decision Aid" as opposed to a calculator.


Using Decision Aid instead of a calculator was influenced by the goal of educating the patients and helping them pick a bariatric procedure. Decision aid would educate the users about procedures in a holistic way by taking into consideration pre and post surgery requirements as well.


The second major decision we made was to introduce a "General comparison" and "Personalised comparison". General comparison would provide users results, by taking into consideration similar demographics. Personalized comparison would provide users results based on the selected health issues, other risk factors and Β demographic information


We decided to add a Summary page at the end of the decision aid. The motive behind adding a Summary page was to help the users get all the information in one page which he would either print and take it with him during a physician visit or email it to his physician.

User flow ideation
Decision Aid flow

Assumptions & Constraints 🚨

As this project was a part of my Master's curriculum, a lot of decision making that we did will not fit in industry scenario. Our coursework needed us to use certain methodologies to conduct research.

In this section I address a few assumptions and constraints related to this project.


↳ Doctors will accept the solution in their everyday practice

↳ Every bariatric surgery doctor

↳ The mental health of patients will not get affected with the information they are exposed to using decision aid


↳ Smart device is needed to implement the solution

↳ The information provided by Decision Aid has to be updated regularly

↳ Decision aid needs to integrate with email and other sharing platforms.

↳ Decision aid has never been tested in a real situation, hence the exact behavior of the patients using this solution is unknown.

↳ This solution is not shown to a real bariatric surgery doctor, hence the exact opinion of health professionals are unknown