Designing Personal Health Technologies

Ravi Karkar, University of Washington
Host: Chien-Ming Huang

The ongoing boom in personal health technologies offers new potential to support people in collecting and interpreting data about their own health and well-being. However, there is a mismatch between what technology currently delivers (e.g., step counts, sleep scores) versus what people expect from it (i.e., personal health insights and recommendations). Current technologies fall short of their potential due to complex and interrelated challenges (e.g., in meeting personal needs, in data quality, in their integration into clinical practice). A holistic approach is therefore necessary, focusing on end-to-end design that understands the individual, their environments, and their contexts. My research focuses on human-centered approaches to collecting, interacting with, and using novel health data toward improving human well-being through personalized insights and recommendations. I explore this in two major thrusts of research: (1) I build specialized tools to enable people living with chronic conditions to better leverage their personal health data in understanding and managing their health; and (2) Through the process of creating and studying such tools, I systematize frameworks and design recommendations to assist future developers in designing personal health tools.

Speaker Biography

Ravi Karkar is a PhD Candidate at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. His research has been published in leading human-computer interaction and medical venues, including CHI, UbiComp, DIS, JAMIA, and JHIR, receiving two Best Paper Honorable Mention awards (CHI 2017, DIS 2018). The research has also garnered strong interest from clinicians, researchers, and startups seeking to incorporate it in their work and has contributed to a patent application and several successful grants (a UW Innovation Award, an NIH R01, an NIH R21). He has served on the program committees for Pervasive Health and Graphics Interface, and as a student coordinator for DUB (the University of Washington’s cross-campus initiative in human-computer interaction and design research and education).