Simplifying NCT Patient Data to Save Lives

The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) conducts enhanced cancer research with the support of project “Medical Research Insights,” previously called SAP Patient Data Explorer.

SAP-UX_NCT-resultsOpportunity: Optimizing Time-Consuming Processes

The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), based in Heidelberg, Germany, delivers patient care, cancer research, and cancer prevention. Accessing and analyzing patient data was a complex and time-consuming process for NCT employees. Medical staff needed to search multiple databases, compile patient lists, print patient files, and manually check if patients matched criteria for clinical trials by reviewing each file individually.

The NCT approached SAP to develop a tool to make it easier and more efficient for its users to do their work. These users are made up of doctors, researchers, study planners, and other medical staff. It was important to eliminate manual processes and reduce the back and forth required between medical staff and the IT department to get access to the data. The Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP were tasked with designing and developing a simplified and easy-to-navigate digital experience.

The result of this collaboration is project “Medical Research Insights,” a web application based on SAP HANA that allows fast, easy, and secure access to patient data and comparison of patient profiles from various sources.

Watch a video: project "Medical Research Insights" for the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg
Watch a video: project “Medical Research Insights” for the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg

Approach: Focusing on Users and Filtering Data

We conducted user research with physicians, researchers, and study nurses to understand their needs. We developed an understanding of patient data and associated terminology, and prioritized the must-have requirements of the tool, which were fast access to patient data, easy comparison of patient profiles, and better searching capabilities. We then iterated on a simple and fit-for-purpose design, which would provide a single entry point to the data and fewer clicks to get to the information you need.

To search for patients, medical staff need to define multiple filters. During workshop sessions, we brainstormed on the filters and considered different behavioral models in our designs to cater for the different levels of users – from the physician, who searches for patients as part of their daily work, to the research staff, who are focused on patient statistics. The goal was to easily guide the user to the most critical information while eliminating manual processes. While we iterated and defined the detailed designs, the development team implemented the core functions in parallel. We conducted regular user feedback sessions to observe how medical staff would interact with the tool and to ensure the design made sense from a user perspective.

Experience: Multi-Disciplinary Team Provides Well-Rounded Solution

Project “Medical Research Insights” allows medical staff to visualize and analyze patient data in real time, benefitting from the speed of SAP HANA and the usable design. Staff can search and filter multiple data sources through a single interface. This provides them a holistic view of a patient’s medical history in a graphical timeline. For expert users, data is accessed using a context-based intelligent search bar. For casual users, there is menu-based access to data. The innovative solution allows physicians more time to care for patients instead of going through paperwork. It also reduces the turnaround time for studies, with patient “collections” or customizable lists used to identify clinical study participants.

By working closely with the team from the NCT, conducting observations, incorporating feedback, and iterating in short cycles, the multi-disciplinary team provided a well-rounded solution. Project “Medical Research Insights” was one of two SAP projects recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as“inspiring collaborations”. There are plans to develop further iterations of project “Medical Research Insights” with the NCT and also to make it available as a product for other cancer centers and hospitals. Other than that, project “Medical Research Insights” received a Strategy & Research Professional Notable for the Core77 Design Awards. It was also presented the SAP HANA Innovation Award in the category “Social Hero Innovator.”


National Center for Tumor Diseases


Customer Facts

  • Leading Oncology Center in Germany
  • Founded in 2004
  • Provides comprehensive care for approximately 4,000 new patients each year

SAP UX Design Services Benefits

  • Develop Custom UI – Innovation Package
  • Enhanced filtering concept
  • Faster searching of patients
  • Tailored views for casual and expert users

This story originally appeared on the SAP User Experience Community site.