Highway to Health

In June 2010 I was asked to join a committee tasked with developing a new tool to help link patients to services and resources in the hospital and the community.  We heard feedback from patients that they were overwhelmed by the volume of resources available and didn’t know where to start or couldn’t find the ones that were most important to them.  So the purpose was to create a simple, one-size-fits-all tool that directed patients to a few key hubs that would then connect them to other resources or services based on their specific needs.

A year ago this month, my colleague Sue and I presented the first comps to our program after two months of working closely together to conceptualize the project.  What we showed our team was a subway map with 4 important stops (as determined by our larger working committee) and space for patients to add in their own stops.  Though crudely designed in Publisher, the map was well received because of the simplicity of the concept and the outstanding amount of research we had – thanks entirely to Sue – to back up every little detail right down to our colour palate.

Over the next 6 months, I transferred the concept into InDesign and incorporated feedback and suggestions from the committee, our team, and other stakeholders.   I was relatively inexperienced with the program, having just installed it a few months earlier, but was excited to use this project as an opportunity to learn.  Though developing and fine-tuning the design took more time than I’d like to admit, I became comfortable using InDesign and expanded my design expertise by playing around with this map.

My Survivorship Program Map

The finished product has received a lot of buzz since the design was finalized in May 2011.  What started out as a rather small project to develop an easy-to -use guide for patients has grown into an in-depth research project that was presented at an academic conference last September.

It’s funny to look back and reflect on how far this project has come and how my skills have grown over the past year and a half.  Creating this little map paved the way for all the projects I have worked on since, many of which you will hear about it blog posts to come.

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