Glad to share my interview for Design x Us ! We chatted with Tasnim Merlin about my journey in design, what brought me to Google Health, what it means to be a healthcare designer and of course about visual thinking and storytelling and how it can empower designers!
Can you tell us about your current role as a product designer at Google Health?
We are exploring the use of AI to assist doctors in diagnosing eye disease, identifying cardiovascular risk factors and signs of anemia from the eye, and improving breast cancer screening.
In one of my recent projects, I was designing a tool that uses AI to provide a real-time assessment of diabetic retinopathy, so the patient wouldn’t have to wait months for an ophthalmologist to review their retinal images.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that can cause permanent blindness. Blindness can be prevented if disease is detected early, but it is often undetected because of limited access to eye care specialists. It is a huge problem for countries like India or Thailand, where there are only about 14 eye doctors for approximately 50,000 diabetics. This is about half the ratio in the United States. It’s fascinating to work in the space where technology improves the people’s health at scale.
At the core, my role is figuring out what product we need to create to solve a problem and how to make that product a standard part of patient care, then designing it and bringing it to life. All of this is a tight collaboration with product managers, scientists, clinicians, and researchers.
A big component of design work in healthcare is making sure the product is safe for patients and aligns with regulatory requirements, which are quite strict for anything that can influence health.