Talking the walk: Applying data-driven patient profiles in the design of tailored services in orthopaedics

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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For patients that undergo a total hip replacement (Total Hip Arthroplasty, THA), tailored communication through printed or digital information channels may improve the patient experience. This PhD project explored how a segmentation of the Total Joint Arthroplasty (TJA, both knee and hip surgery) patient population can be used to design tailored information tools for THA patients. The segmentation was established in another PhD project, and consisted of three patient profiles: An ‘Optimistic’ profile, showing limited coping strategies, lower communication needs and good preoperative clinical status; A ‘Managing’ profile with a diverse set of coping strategies, strong communication needs, and poor preoperative clinical status; and a ‘Modest’ profile, consisting of older people with higher anxiety and lower self-efficacy in communicating about health.
First, the project explored individual preferences for information and communication among patients. It was concluded that in addition to the profiles, an individual patient’s mind-set (e.g. insecurity or anxiety regarding the surgery), and their social support needs, in combination with their physical condition and medical history, should guide the provision of tailored information and communication services. Subsequently, several prototypes were developed and evaluated with patients and care providers: Storyboards, paper-based prototypes, and a fully functional web application that informs THA patients about their activity levels after surgery. The final study explored the use and evaluation of the web application by different profiles. It was concluded that the profiles are an adequate segmentation that, combined with customized features, can be used to designing tailored information tools in THA. However, to increase the relevance of the tailored information, it should align with the course of recovery (e.g. post-surgery complications). Resolving generic technical and usability issues is also essential.
The profile-specific design guidelines that resulted from this thesis can be used by creative industry and healthcare providers to tailor products and services for THA patients. They are also available online, at
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Goossens, R.H.M., Supervisor
  • Melles, M., Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date11 May 2020
Print ISBNs978-94-028-2019-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • E-Health
  • Research through Design (RtD)
  • Tailoring
  • Patient experience
  • patient education
  • Personalisation
  • Personalised healthcare
  • Orthopaedic surgery


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