Usability and Wearables


Hi UX buddies,

Has anyone come across good articles/information on Health Wearables and the User. I’ve been speaking to a contact, who is working for a startup building a device to help track movements of patients who have had injuries. And monitor the recovery and progress.

He needs some input into how the UI might look for both the health professional and the device wearer.

Any thoughts input, will be much appreciated.

All the best,


I know @cyndi_naumann has some experience in the medical device field, though not necessarily in wearables. She still may be able to provide you with some insight.

Most of the articles I’ve read on wearables have been on fitness trackers or smart watches, but I’m not sure if they would be helpful.


Hi Paddy,

Health wearables are definitely the latest passion for tech, whether it be for healthcare or fitness. I’ve worked as the end user (software QA testing) on a lot of medical devices and know a bit about wearables that monitor all kinds of patient data but they vary a lot.

I don’t know how your contact’s device is collecting data but when you’re talking design, usability, motion tracking, data recording and sharing, some design similar to fitness trackers may not be far off the mark. The patient’s activity might be less intense but the concept would be similar. The interface on the mobile app Map my Walk (my favorite) or for the FitBit app on a mobile device (not just the bracelet) are decent examples of design. You may want to add a place for the patient’s physical therapy exercises and tracking when they do them, a Pain Scale to log pain and monitor progress, comments to the medical provider, a calendar for next appointment, etc.

I imagine the patient would be either using this on-the-move doing exercises or might even have motion impairment. Either way, if they’re on a mobile device good usability would dictate large, easy to press buttons or icons, at least on the main screen when they log data such as starting your exercise, pause, complete, save as final or draft, save to the cloud or even an option to send the activity data and/or patient feedback directly to the doctor or physical therapist from the app. Fitness mobile apps already track the mainstream healthcare data a physician or physical therapist might want (and way more data than they likely need) and it sounds like your contact’s device adds to that in some unique way.

On the health provider’s end, the data could be accessed from the cloud and integrated to the provider’s Electronic Health Record or in its own app. Do a search on physical therapist software and there are some good designs that can be used on either desktop or mobile device, which I think is key. Profile pics of the patient, treatment notes, the place to integrate and display the patient data they gathered, progress charts or graphs, date of next appointment or so on could be possibilities.

One thought about security and design. I believe that medical data that comes from a user’s own device is not HIPAA privacy controlled. But - If this qualifies as a medical device (or it is provided by the medical practice) any data might/would have to be secure for HIPAA.

Ugh. That gives me a headache but they probably have that covered.

Here are some interesting links.


Hi @dougcollins and @cyndi_naumann really appreciate the help and the time you’ve taken to reply.

It’s a very interesting area, looking at the different information requirements from the recovering patent and the medical teams. This device is specific to patents post knee replacements. With the aim of helping monitor their recover more efficiently.

All the best, Paddy


I had a very interesting conversation with Dr. Raj Khandwalla, who’s with the Cedars-Sinia Medical Group in Los Angeles, about healthcare and wearables this weekend. He might be good to hit up for some thoughts on the subject, as he is very well-versed on the subject. He’s not here on the UX Mastery forums, but you can find him on Twitter. His twitter handle is @rajkmd.


Hi @dougcollins

Cheers for that will check him out.