Human-centred design of medical selfies and patient generated health data

Study level


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Bernd Ploderer
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Smartphones and wearable technologies provide exciting opportunities for patients and health professionals to transform healthcare.

Patients can take photos on their smartphone (“medical selfies”) to record a condition that they want to discuss with a health professional. Wearable devices allow patients to semi-automatically collect data about such as their physical activity, mood and diet. This data can help patients to better understand a health concern, its underlying causes and the impact of treatments.

Clinicians can also benefit from medical selfies and patient-generated health data to learn about the impact of their interventions and their patients’ lived experience. In fact, some clinicians have begun to prescribe patient-reported outcomes as a way of engaging their patients and monitoring outcomes.

The aim of this project is to develop a better understanding of the experiences of patients and health professionals and to design and evaluate new technology prototypes.

The proposed research will benefit from established partnerships with patients and health professionals as well as innovative technology prototypes in the following domains:

  • diabetes self-management
  • sleep and lifestyle tracking
  • post-stroke rehabilitation

Research activities

During this research project you may involved the following activities:

  • qualitative research through interviews, observations and cultural probes to understand the technologies used and the experiences of patients, caregivers and health professionals
  • participatory design workshops to create technologies with patients, health professionals and stakeholders
  • prototyping of interactive technologies, such as mobile and wearable technology
  • field studies with patients and clinicians trialing prototypes.


As part of the project we expect the following outcomes:

  • novel interactive technologies and visualisations designed with and for patients and healthcare professionals
  • new human-computer interaction theories describing how personal data and technologies influence health management and interactions between patients and health professionals
  • participatory design methods to engage patients and health professionals.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project you should have a strong background in human-computer interaction, ideally with an interest in qualitative research, participatory design and/or prototyping.

If you have a strong technical background, such as machine learning or information visualisation, and you are interested in promoting health we also encourage you to apply.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.