Doubling Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates
The leading cause of death in Travis County is cancer. The Design Institute for Health collaborated with the department of Internal Medicine to redesign an existing colon cancer screening kit sent to CommUnity Care Patients. Without changing how the kit functioned, our redesign alone brought response rates in Travis County from 18.4% to 37% in one year in that patient population.
The redesign was so successful, that the UT Health Austin clinics have begun to send kits out to their own patients. I rebranded our kit to follow UTHA’s brand identity guidelines.
Project Background: “In 2018, as part of a three-year $2.3 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), Dell Med led a coalition to address low screening rates by starting a mailed test kit program and by boosting clinic-based screenings. More than 15,700 fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) were mailed to CommUnityCare patients age 50 to 75 with average risk of colorectal cancer. More than 2,860 patients completed the tests, resulting in 77 subsequent colonoscopies.” (credit: Dell Med Press Release)
Design: Packaging, visual identity, product design & photography
Role: Design Lead & photographer.
3 person team.
Project lead & Service Designer: Charu Juneja
Design Fellow: Lauren Smedley
The cost of each package needed to remain low, and the kit itself needed to still look credible and legitimate, but not too clinical and intimidating to the patient. By addressing behavioral economics and the stigma surrounding human waste, we were able to have more people use the kit to determine if they needed a colonoscopy.
Our observation was that the kit had too many sets of directions, leading it to be overwhelming and confusing for the user. That, along with the uncomfortable experience of patients needing to take a sample of their own waste, made the experience not something to look forward to.
We researched analogous industries, products, and campaigns surrounding stigma to help inform how we could redesign the kit. We were unfortunately unable to research patients because of the timeline restrictions. We did receive insight from individuals that would contact patients about the kit to gain some insight.