Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0142-5471
  • E-ISSN: 1569-979X



Medical personnel usually write and design documents that inform physicians or patients about procedures or therapies. Document design, however, requires skills that are not normally applied, resulting in information that is often not used properly. This article describes a project developed by the Alberta Colorectal Cancer Screening Program. The goal was to help patients better prepare for their colonoscopies. The process started with an analysis of the existing documents, and the development of performance specifications based on the literature on legibility, reading comprehension, memorization and use of information, plain language, visual perception, page layout, and image use. The project included an iterative process of prototyping and testing that resulted in 23 design criteria. Each iteration was tested with users to ensure ease of use, completeness of information, and accuracy and clarity to facilitate adoption. The project helped reduce practice variation regarding bowel preparation in the province of Alberta, Canada. This project illustrates how information design can help healthcare organizations provide patient-centred care. Information design helps patients engage in their own caring process, by providing information that people can use, understand and apply. After 15 months of use, the document has been downloaded more than 48,000 times, suggesting a good physician reception.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): design; evidence; human-centered; iterating; testing
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