Skip to main content
Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Diana Canghizer

On average, women and menstruating persons struggle to get the right diagnosis on time when it comes to their reproductive and hormonal health. 

vera is a personal AI virtual health assistant that guides women and menstruating persons throughout their gynaecological and hormonal health journey in a personalised way. Through a patient-centric approach, the aim is to improve patient-doctor communication and develop the ability to understand and communicate personal health data in preparation for consultations. platform is ensuring women agency, patient self-activation and psychological control over their body, as well as education and decision making by democratising women’s health data.

Degree Details

School of DesignInnovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Lower ground floor

Diana is ​​a human-centred innovation designer and researcher focusing on ethical implementation of tech & design solutions. She is particularly interested in human-tech systems co-creation, inclusive & accessible design, and behaviour change.

Research and design topics explored in the last years include: user psychological ownership of data and digital spaces, emerging tech and ethical implications, blockchain and IoT tools for smart supply chains, green energy transition in households, democratising women's health medical data, and rethinking patient-doctor relationship. Having unique work experiences and creative opportunities with different companies such as Microsoft and Richemont, enriched her research and analytical skills towards tech solutions and new user digital experiences.

Being a Finalist for the Mayor of London Entrepreneur Competition with a smart-supply chain system idea, and commended by Microsoft for Excellence in IoT Fashion Innovation, Diana is always curious to learn about new technologies and their role in society.

She is currently assisting the team from Wellbeing Technologies Lab at Imperial College London, with user research and conversational design.

A believer of tech for good, Diana’s drive is to help bring innovative solutions and systematic change to People and Planet.

I have identified the on-going structure of the problem that arises when it comes to women patients, medical general practitioners and specialists for women’s reproductive, sexual and gynaecological health.

This is what I call the 3m: miscommunication, misunderstanding, which can lead to misdiagnose or late diagnose.

Short film created based on patients' insights.

During my research, I noticed several patterns in the majority of my user interviews, such as the lack of psychological safety and psychological control experienced by women and menstruating persons when it comes to their gynaecological and hormonal health. 

I asked myself, how can we offer women control over their gynaecological and hormonal health before, during and after consultation?

With a patient-centric approach, this project is a result of numerous conversations, workshops, focus groups and careful analysis of both the patients' needs, and healthcare specialists' advice.

For a better understanding of the problem, user needs and behaviours, I have created a network of more than 50 members that helped me co-design a helpful inclusive solution. These members include women, non-binary and menstruating persons, medical staff such as GPs and gynaecologists, NHS staff, public health and policy officers. More interviews with advisors took place such as medical anthropologists, health design researchers and medical device experts.

This process offered me an incredible overview of the problem, but also highlighted important insights for the direction of the project.

Final III Experiments with Users

I identified that patient self-activation, ability to understand symptoms pre-consultation and ability to communicate problem can bring psychological safety and improve communication with the medical staff. What if we democratise personal health data and guide women what data they need to collect and provide prior consultations? 

vera guides women how to prepare for consultations in a personalised way. The impact is to create women agency and control over their body, by democratising health data.

The participants engaged in the design process preferred a solution that improves the overall patient journey, empowering them about their own body, and making them understand what was not explained before.

By providing women patients the ability to have a platform where they can understand their bodies and the changes that they are experiencing, I can contribute to their health decision-making process. This culminates in better patient-doctor interaction which will lead to higher levels of satisfaction and favourable treatment outcomes. This is the result of women understanding what to expect in consultation, knowing what questions to ask, and encouraging an active conversation when they are with their doctor.

The designed and programmed system flow of the AI conversational agent.

The conversation was carefully designed in terms of medical accuracy, with public data shared by NHS. Patients were asked to give feedback at every step of the interaction they had with vera.

Dean's Fund Award, Imperial College London

Special thanks to: Audrey Gaulard, Dr Elena Dieckmann, Professor Gareth Loudon, Dr Stephen Green, Savina Torrisi, Dr Celine Mougenot, Dr Talya Porat, Professor Rafael Calvo, Dr Imran Qureshi, Dr Karim Sandid & all my 50 participants that guided and informed my research and practice. © Diana Canghizer, 2022