counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Healthcare'

26 April 2012

Design Council revealed new designs to help people live well with dementia

Dementia_Dog_02

The UK Design Council, in partnership with the UK Department of Health, ran a national competition to find teams of designers and experts who could develop new ideas to help improve the lives of those affected by dementia, reports Dexigner.

Guided by in-depth research and working with those affected by dementia, the five teams developed the innovative concepts for products and services.

A fragrance-release system designed to stimulate appetite, specially-trained “guide dogs for the mind,” and an intelligent wristband that supports people with dementia to stay active safely, are just some of the resulting prototypes.

They will now be further tested and developed with commercial partners with the aim of making some or all of them available on a large scale as soon as possible.

Read article

> “The capital of the forgetful” is a revealing BBC report by Louis Theroux on what living with dementia actually means.

17 April 2012

People-powered health

lambeth_living_well

People Powered Health is a programme from NESTA, the UK innovation charity, to support the design and delivery of innovative services for people that are living with long term health conditions.

The programme focuses on co-production – that people’s needs are better met when they are involved in an equal and reciprocal relationship with professionals – working together to get things done. It is a radical approach to public services that is built around six characteristics:
– Recognising people as assets
– Building on people’s capabilities
– Promoting mutuality and reciprocity
– Developing peer support networks
– Breaking down barriers between professionals and users
– Facilitating rather than delivering

3 April 2012

Mayo Clinic on empathy and design

1280-Empathize-Like-A-Doctor-Design-Like-An-Entrepreneur

James Oliver Senior and Adam Dole, resp. designer and business planner at Mayo Clinic, argue that health-related apps often fail to take into account any understanding of medicine.

“At Mayo Clinic, we work on inter-disciplinary product teams that include designers, strategists, health care professionals, technology partners, and most importantly patients. Yet even with designers embedded inside Mayo Clinic, we routinely encounter wicked problems (problems that are impossible to solve because of unclear or changing requirements) when it comes to implementing solutions into clinical operation. Driving product development towards better health care outcomes requires the coordination of many aspects of the health-delivery system.”

Read article

24 March 2012

mBCC Field Guide for Developing Mobile Behavior Change Communication Programs

mbcc

The “mBCC Field Guide: A Resource for Developing Mobile Behavior Change Communication Programs,” is a new tool that helps users guide the design of mobile applications for health and provides insights about what works in mobile behavior change communication is now available. Compiled by Abt Associates, examines what is known about the power of mobile communication tools to influence health behaviors for consumers and health care providers. The guide was developed under the auspices of the mHealth Working Group, a global health forum established in 2009 for members to provide and share guidance on mHealth implementation. It is supported by the United States Agency for International Development’s Knowledge for Health project.

Mobile behavior change communication (mBCC) is defined here as the use of mobile phones to promote behavior change. This definition encompasses health and clinical behaviors for clients and health providers (e.g., reminders to take a pill or quizzes to improve health workers’ counseling skills) rather than operational behaviors (e.g., shifting from a paper-based survey to a mobile survey).

The primary audience for the mBCC Field Guide is practitioners experienced in developing BCC strategies who are considering employing mobile solutions but need guidance on key issues and on questions to consider in the design process. Evidence-based examples and tools are highlighted wherever possible, although we recognize that few programs have published impact or outcome data.

The authors hope that this Field Guide will be a “living document.” We welcome your feedback and suggestions for improving the guide’s usefulness. We plan to issue updated versions as mobile platforms and the evidence base evolves. Contacts and references to relevant organizations and resources are noted wherever possible to facilitate communication and collaboration. Please use the evaluation form at the end of the guide to provide specific comments and recommendations.

10 March 2012

Striving and Surviving: exploring the lives of women at the Base of the Pyramid

6690892257_dc2b5d7f29

On International Women’s Day, the GSMA mWomen Programme released a study called “Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid,” reports MobileActive.org.

Drawn from 2,500 interviews with women (aged 16-64 in both rural and urban areas) living on less that $2 a day in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda, the report looks at how mobile technology influences the way women approach health, economic development, and family relationships, and what mobile operators can do to reach more low-income women.

The report is divided into three parts; part one looks at the social, cultural, and economic factors that women at the base of the economic pyramid face in their daily lives, part two looks at the role of mobile technology in their lives, and part three looks at how technology can be used to further reach low-income women.

Some of the statistics pulled from the report show that when asked what the key benefits of mobile would be: [quoted from report]

  • 80% reported being connected to friends and family
  • 58% said it would be useful in an emergency
  • 40% said it would cut down on travel time
  • 15% believed it would help them feel secure
  • 93% reported that mobile phones made them feel safer, while the same proportion particularly valued being connected to friends and family.
  • 41% reported that owning a mobile had helped them increase their income or their professional prospects
  • 85% of mobile owners reported a greater feeling of independence

The study found that despite general positive feelings toward mobile technology, there are many challenges to getting mobile technology into the hands of low-income women. Gender imbalances were a major issue, as although some women had access to mobile phones through friends or family, few owned their own mobile phone. Another major issue was technical ability, as “while 77% of BoP women have made a mobile phone call, only 37% have sent an SMS, regardless of literacy levels.” Among women who were surveyed, 22% who reported not wanting a mobile phone said their reason was because they would not know how to use it.

Other concerns women listed for using mobile phones were a lack of regular access to electricity to keep the phone charged, concerns about theft, and concerns about ownership and usage costs. Furthermore, family pressure was a large influence on women’s view of technology as the report states: “In addition to doubts about the cost/benefit analysis of mobile ownership, 64% of married women who do not wish to own handsets cited the disapproval of their husbands as a principle reason for not wanting to own a phone.”

“Striving and Surviving” also examines how mobile operators can increase their outreach to women at the base of the pyramid by addressing women’s concerns. By developing family plans and reaching out to male and female customers by highlighting security and family connectivity available through mobile technology, mobile operators can broaden their customer base while getting technology into the hands of women who need it.

An interesting aspect of the report is the Portraits series, a fictionalized account of eight women from the base of the pyramid who use mobile technology and explain how that technology fits into their everyday lives. The stories are interspersed throughout the final report, but are also collected in a separate paper called “Portraits: A Glimpse into the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid.”

Although the accounts are fictionalized, they are drawn from the research that went into creating “Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid.” The reports look at the lives of everyday women and how they use and view mobile technology.

Because the data for the report is drawn from only four countries, the GSMA mWomen Programme has made all of the research tools used to create this report publicly available at www.mwomen.org to inspire further research.

Executive summary
Report download
Portrait series
Research tools

10 March 2012

Health and ethnography: don’t just ask, watch

1015017_Oliver_Sweet

When it comes to health, consumers’ complex and contradictory behaviour makes observational research highly valuable, says Ipsos Mori director Oliver Sweet.

“Observation allows researchers to look at healthy behaviours that are often hard to articulate, such as the emotion attached to food, or when we are most likely to make changes to our lives. These emotional aspects of health have their roots in a mesh of social and cultural norms, influenced by friends, family and society. These can’t really be accessed by people telling you – you really need to see them. Through observation, for instance, we have understood how buying local produce in Australia is part of a healthy routine, how collagen cream in Brazil offers a pseudo-medical answer to the quest for beautiful skin, and how praying to ancestors in Japan sets people on a positive mental path for the day. None of these activities is inherently ‘healthy’, but they are certainly part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Read article

3 March 2012

Do m-health tools really work? Testing the impact of mobile technology on maternal and child healthcare

Mobile Pics 2-41

MobileActive has posted an in-depth new case study that focuses on evaluating mobile health interventions.

Written by Kate Otto, the case study looks at testing the efficacy of using mobile phones in health care in Ethiopia. A team of researchers from The World Bank and Addis Ababa University developed a mobile tool that enables rural community health workers to improve antenatal care and delivery services, improve vaccination coverage, and facilitate emergency referrals. The team is taking the evaluation process beyond the usual survey method and are instead rigorously testing the mobile phone effects through more rigorous research.

The researchers randomly selected three Ethiopian districts and applied the tool in three ways:

  • Treatment 1: All Health Extension Workers (HEW) received mobile phones equipped to perform the three use cases (improving antenal care/delivery, vaccination coverage, and emergency referrals).
  • Treatment 2: All HEWs and two Volunteer Community Health Workers (VCHW) within each district received mobile phones; HEW phones are software-equipped for the three use cases, while VCHWs received dumbphones intended to make missed calls only.
  • Control: No mobile phones distributed.

The test is on-going, but the results will be applicable to organizations that are considering deploying mobile tools into their work. The research is not looking at developing a scalable mobile tool, but is rather examining how mobile tools are used and how they compare to existing methods

Read case study

15 December 2011

Highway to health

Carseat

Incorporating wireless technology into its newest cars, Ford prepared to roll out vehicles capable of monitoring everything from pollen counts to glucose levels.

“[Ford] started concentrating on the aging population in 1999, and a focus on health and wellness within the car is at the center of their new approach. Unobtrusive ergonomic changes like lowered door frames—much kinder on stiff joints—have already been making a quiet appearance throughout the fleet. Within the next five years Ford will be rolling out more-dramatic medical apps for its voice-controlled Sync platform, a communications and entertainment system developed with Microsoft, which was first introduced in 2007.

Read article

3 November 2011

Jawbone releases UP, a wristband for tracking your wellness

UP
Priced at $100, the device is a leap for Jawbone. And its aimed at nothing less than making its wearers happier and healthier. Fastco Design reports.

“The UP wristband is meant to be worn 24 hours a day. When you’re awake, its accelerometer monitors your movement–whether you’re running, walking, or climbing stairs–and then sends that data to the app, which shows how many calories you’ve burned. When you’re asleep, the UP monitors your sleep stage, by tracking subtle fluttering wrist movements (a natural occurrence during REM sleep, which is similar to eyelid flutter). When its time to wake up, the wristband vibrates slightly, and times its alarm to the best phase of your sleep cycle. And finally, the UP smartphone app allows you to take pictures of your food and log your meals.

The cleverest features, however, are a bit more subtle. The UP isn’t meant to be a passive health-monitoring device–if so, it would be hard to see how people would keep using it, given how often, for example, diets fail. Instead, it’s meant to constantly nudge you into better behavior. For example, you can set the wristband to vibrate when you’ve been sedentary for too long–a reminder to keep moving around. There are also challenges you can take on, such as running or walking a certain distance each day, or biking to work three times a week. Users can track their progress as they go along, and they can choose challenges created by others (including professional trainers and public-health experts).”

Read article

(see also this Wired article)

20 September 2011

Transform Conference at Mayo Clinic (videos)

Transform 2011
A week ago Mayo Clinic — the world’s largest and first integrated nonprofit medical practice — hosted the Transform symposium in Rochester, Minn., USA.

The event focused on innovations and designing solutions to transform the experience and delivery of health care.

Videos of most of presentations are now online. Speakers are listed here in the order of the presentation schedule.

 
SESSION: DESIGNING SOLUTIONS

Opening [18:26] by John Hockenberry
Journalist and Commentator
Four-time Peabody Award winner and four-time Emmy Award winner John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than three decades. Currently, Hockenberry is host of the live public radio morning news program “The Takeaway,” produced by Public Radio International and WNYC New York. He is a former anchor for MSNBC and correspondent for NBC News, ABC News, and National Public Radio. He has been a regular commentator for “The Infinite Mind” radio program on mental health issues and host of the four-part Public Broadcasting Service documentary “Remaking American Medicine.”

Design for social impact [11:26] by William Drenttel
Director, Winterhouse Institute, and Publisher, Design Observer
William Drenttel is a partner at Winterhouse, a design practice in northwest Connecticut that focuses on online publishing, health care and education, and design programs of social impact. He is the publisher and editorial director of Design Observer, the leading international website about design, urbanism, social innovation and visual culture.

“Prove it” kills innovation [19:57] by Roger Martin
Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Martin writes extensively for newspapers and magazines, including Financial Times, BusinessWeek, Washington Post, Fast Company and The Globe & Mail. For Harvard Business Review, he has written 11 articles and authors a regular blog. His books include The Responsibility Virus (2002), The Opposable Mind (2007), The Design of Business (2009), and the forthcoming Fixing the Game (May 2011), plus two books co-authored with Mihnea Moldoveanu, The Future of the MBA (2008) and Diaminds (2009). In 2010, he was named by BusinessWeek as one of the 27 most influential designers in the world. The previous year, The Times (of London) and Forbes.com included him as one of the 50 top management thinkers in the world (#32).

Small x Many [18.10] by David Webster
Partner at IDEO, Global Health & Wellness Practice Lead
David Webster knows from experience that design thinking can massively improve the health care ecosystem for patients, professionals and organizations. He is inspired by the rapid escalation of technologies and a new generation of colleagues who are looking to create meaningful impact in the field. He sees a broad range of opportunities for innovation, from advancing surgical tools to developing consumer brands that make healthful eating irresistible.

Designing Solutions: Through the Patient’s Eyes [22:53] by Chris Hacker
Chief Design Officer, Global Strategic Design Office, Johnson & Johnson Group of Consumer Companies
Hacker’s passion is bringing awareness to designers of their power in the business world to make sustainable design a key paradigm of design process and, therefore, make the products and materials produced more ecologically friendly to the planet.

Hanky Pancreas [07:06] by Jessica Floeh
Designer
Jessica Floeh, a human-centered designer and 2010 graduate of Parsons The New School For Design, began Hanky Pancreas™ during her master’s thesis, addressing a theme of design, technology, and the human condition. For her research, she focused on the socio-psychological impact of wearable diabetes technologies and worked with a group of women with diabetes in New York. Through them, she was inspired to create designs that would ignite conversation and support in everyday environments.

 
SESSION: CORPORATE CREATIVITY

Changing The Way People Eat [17:29] by Dondeena Bradley, Ph.D.
Vice President, Global Design and Development, Nutrition Ventures PepsiCo
Designing and developing holistic solutions that target the special nutritional needs of consumers who have diverse health issues, such as obesity and diabetes.

Mastering Work [18:53] by James Hackett
President and Chief Executive Officer, Steelcase Inc.
James Hackett is president and chief executive officer and director of Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. Steelcase delivers a better work experience to its customers by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. Its portfolio includes architecture, furniture and technology products.

Who was the Shooter’s Doctor? Away from Episodes of Care [21:11] by Paul Grundy, M.D., M.P.H., FACOEM, FACPM
Director, IBM Healthcare Transformation
An active social entrepreneur and speaker on global health care transformation, Dr. Grundy is focused on comprehensive, linked, and integrated health care and the concept of the Patient Centered Medical Home.

Discussion about the role of design in a tech-driven healthcare company [32:25] with Beth Comstock and Bob Schwartz
Respectively Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager of Global Design, GE
Beth Comstock leads the company’s organic growth and commercial innovation initiatives, and the sales, marketing and communications functions. She is responsible for the GE-wide business platforms ecomagination, devoted to reducing environmental impact with new technology, and healthymagination, focused on achieving sustainable health through innovation by lowering costs, improving quality and reaching more people.
Bob Schwartz is responsible for overseeing the Global Design function encompassing human factors, industrial design, ergonomics, and user interface and design research. As a strategic driver of business growth, his team focuses on the look, feel, usability and end-to-end experience of GE Healthcare (GEHC) products and services.

 
SESSION: RABBLE ROUSERS

Connective Tissue: What’s a designer to do? [33:24] by Allan Chochinov
Partner and Editor in Chief, Core77; Chair, MFA Products of Design, SVA
Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts, and Chair of the new MFA in Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Integrative Innovation [15:21] by Halle Tecco
Founder and Managing Director, RockHealth
RockHealth is the first seed-accelerator devoted exclusively to health apps. Tecco recognized the need and potential for startups in the interactive health space while working at Apple’s App Store covering the health and medical vertical.

Hello Health [28:47] by Jay Parkinson
Physician and Co-founder of Hello Health
Instead of pills and scalpels, Jay Parkinson, M.D., M.P.H., uses creative design to improve health. He is a pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist with a master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Parkinson appreciates aesthetics, our rapidly changing culture, and our health. And he straddles lines: Both pop culture and traditional health care have embraced his ideas. He is a partner in The Future Well, which creates engaging experiences that inspire health and happiness.

Health Leads [21:51] by Rebecca Onie
Co-founder of Health Leads
Last year, Health Leads trained and mobilized a corps of 660 college volunteers serving nearly 6,000 low-income patients and their families in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Providence, R.I. and Washington, D.C.

Design at the Mayo Center for Innovation [23:43] by Lorna Ross
Creative Lead and Manager, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation Design Team
Lorna Ross has 16 years’ experience working in design and design research, with the past nine years focused on health and health care. She is a graduate of The Royal College of Art, London.

 
SESSION: COMMUNITY INTERVENTIONS

Cultural Co-Morbidities [23:12] by John Thackara
Writer, educator and design producer
At Transform 2011, John will share with us the story of two projects he commissioned in the UK: Alzheimer 100 which is about the collaborative design of services to support caregivers; and DaSH [Design and Sexual Health] whose focus is on distributed Peer-to-Peer health information exchange. He will describe what happened as these two live prototypes impacted on the larger health and policy ecology.

The ECHO Project [17:07] by Sanjeev Arora, M.D., FACP, FACG
Director of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)
Dr. Arora developed the Project ECHO model as a platform for service delivery, education and evaluation. Using video-conferencing technology and case-based learning, primary care providers from rural and underserved areas and prisons are trained and mentored by ECHO’s medical specialists to deliver best-practice management of complex health conditions in their communities or correctional institutions. A key component of the ECHO model is an innovation known as Knowledge Networks, in which the expertise of a single specialist is shared with numerous primary providers through telehealth clinics, thereby increasing access to care in rural areas without having to recruit, retain and fund additional providers.

Overshooting the moon [32:06] by Joseph Kolars, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives University of Michigan Medical School
Joseph Kolars obtained his M.D. degree in 1982 from the University of Minnesota Medical School, pursued internal medicine training in Minneapolis, and completed postgraduate training in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan in 1989. At the University of Michigan he oversees the associate deans responsible for the education programs, as well as global health initiatives for the medical school. Over the past four years, much of his work has focused on innovations that strengthen education systems to improve care in Africa and China.

Empowering Architecture [24:34] by Michael Murphy
Executive Director, MASS Design Group
Michael Murphy co-founded the MASS Design Group in 2008. Murphy’s firm led the design and construction of the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, which opened in January 2011.

Food Oasis [05:17] by John Crowley
Director, Engineering Group, MAYA
Crowley led the MAYA team that created FoodOasis, an end-to-end platform for closing the gap on healthy, affordable food. The FoodOasis solution focused on a critical consumer need and developed a complete solution to benefit consumers, providers and communities. MAYA believes that the challenges in health care today can only be addressed with a similar, systems-level approach that focuses on the deep, real-world challenges of consumers to drive toward business and public-sector innovation.

 
SESSION: INSPIRING HEALTH

Creating Consumers in Healthcare [19:13] by Dawn M. Owens
Chief Executive Officer, OptumHealth
Dawn Owens is chief executive officer of OptumHealth, a UnitedHealth Group business and one of the nation’s largest health and wellness companies. She leads nearly 11,000 employees in delivering information, tools and solutions that people use to navigate the health care system, finance health care needs and achieve their wellness goals.

Meet the Patient [19:34] by Gianna Marzilli Ericson and Augusta Meill
Respectively Senior Strategist Service Design and Vice President, Continuum
Gianna Marzilli Ericson combines expertise in research and design to understand people’s needs, desires and behaviors and to create compelling experiences based on that understanding. She is passionate about improving health sector services and believes wholeheartedly in the power of social science and design to inform each other.
Augusta Meill believes in the power of design to change lives. As a vice president at Continuum, a global design and innovation consultancy, she works with clients to drive business impact by creating experiences that make a real difference for people.

Paths to Resilience [25:49] by Andrew Zolli
Futures Researcher
Andrew Zolli is a futures researcher who studies the complex forces at the intersection of technology, sustainability and global society that are shaping our future. He is the Curator of PopTech, the thought leadership and social innovation network, which has pioneered new programs to train social innovators and scientists; and spurred significant advances in mobile healthcare, education, sustainability, and a number of related fields.

Anatomy of a Tweet [14:25] by Maggie Breslin
Senior Designer/Researcher, Center for Innovation, Mayo Clinic
Maggie Breslin believes strongly that good conversation is a critically important, but largely ignored, component of our health care system and champions this idea whenever she can.

I Like Doctors” [27:11] by Dave deBronkart
Patient Advocate, e-Patient Dave
Dave deBronkart, better known on the Internet as “e-Patient Dave,” may be the leading spokesperson for the e-Patient movement. e-Patients are described as empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled.

13 July 2011

A wearable wristband to track health, fight obesity

Jawbone's Up
Jawbone announces Up, a wearable wristband to track health, fight obesity. A combination of a sensor-infused wristband and a smartphone app will provide nudges for healthier living, based on your behavior.

“Just an hour ago on stage at TED Global, Jawbone announced the grand project they’ve been quietly working on for years: A wearable band called Up, which is infused with sensors and connected to computer-based software, allowing you to track your eating, sleeping, and activity patterns. [...]

The Up is intended to monitor your movement 24 hours a day. The connected, smartphone-based software will then be able to tell how much you’ve been sleeping and how much you’ve moved. Up will then combine that data with information about your meals, which you enter simply by taking pictures of using your smartphone camera. Then, the smartphone program will supply you with “nudges” that are meant to help you live healthier, day by day. For example, if you haven’t slept much, when you wake up the app might suggest a high-protein breakfast and an extra glass of water.”

Read article

26 June 2011

IBM reveals untapped mobile users of the future

IBM Health
Consumers have a growing appetite for health and wellness gadgets and this represents a burgeoning market opportunity for device manufacturers that has barely been tapped, according to a study from IBM.

“There’s a huge group of mobile users that you may be overlooking as you develop your hospital’s mobile strategy. They’re “information seekers,” and they will be the largest cohort of mobile healthcare consumers in the future, according to a new report by IBM, “The Future of Connected Health Devices.”

Traditional mHealth users are a small percentage of highly motivated individuals with significant fitness goals or debilitating chronic conditions. Both groups are willing to put in the time to learn and use smartphone apps, remote monitoring devices and other mobile health products, IBM’s researchers found in their study of more than 1,300 mobile health device users.

A far larger, but trickier-to-engage, group consists of “information seekers,” according to the study. These users may have one chronic condition, such as obesity or smoking, that doesn’t immediately threaten their health, but that they want help managing.”

Read article
Read press release
Download report

8 June 2011

WHO report on mHealth

mHealth
The World Health Organisation has just issued a major (free) report on mHealth, entitled “mHealth: New horizons for health through mobile technologies“.

Abstract
Only five years ago who would have imagined that today a woman in sub-Saharan Africa could use a mobile phone to access health information essential to bringing her pregnancy safely to term? Mobile phones are now the most widely used communication technology in the world. They continue to spread at an exponential rate – particularly in developing countries. This expansion provides unprecedented opportunities to apply mobile technology for health. How are mobile devices being used for health around the world? What diverse scenarios can mHealth be applied in and how effective are these approaches? What are the most important obstacles that countries face in implementing mHealth solutions? This publication includes a series of detailed case studies highlighting best practices in mHealth in different settings. The publication will be of particular interest to policymakers in health and information technology, as well as those in the mobile telecommunications and software development industries.

According to the Guardian, the reports “finds that 83% out of 122 countries surveyed use mobile phone technology for services that include free emergency calls, text messaging with pill reminders and health information and transmission of tests and lab results. Mobile health is already firmly established enough for the WHO to have set up a special unit five years ago, the Global Observatory for eHealth, staffed by four people in Geneva.”

4 June 2011

Patients want more user-friendly medical devices

Medical devices
Cambridge Consultants released the findings of a study which examines how device usability impacts patient acceptance, dosage compliance and ultimately health outcomes. Looking at the role lifestyle factors and device features play in patient compliance for drug and device combination products, the research supports the idea that pharmaceutical companies could improve the market share of their drugs if the emphasis was shifted to the broader patient user experience.

Participants in the survey included healthcare providers, which play critical roles in determining a drug’s market success, and over 240 diabetes patients who used combination products daily, such as injection pens, auto-injectors or insulin pumps.

Responses indicated that patient compliance directly influences patient health and drug efficacy, suggesting that delivery device design should be focussed on supporting compliance on multiple levels.

Read article

26 May 2011

Ford Motor Co moving into mobile healthcare

Health well
With the help of medical technology companies WellDoc, Medtronic and SDI, the motor giant last Wednesday set out to prove that it’s concerned not only with the number of drivers it boasts, but with the health of those drivers, as well (announcement).

In a follow-up phone interview with FierceMobileHealthcare, WellDoc President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Anand Iyer, whose company showed off its DiabetesManager service–which would work in correlation with the automaker’s voice-activated in-care connectivity system SYNC via the cloud–said he believes that the demonstration is the beginning of a new trend.

Read interview

20 May 2011

To solve our healthcare crisis, home treatment needs a makeover

Vitality glow caps
Instead of resembling outmoded PCs, home healthcare technology should look and feel like the other devices that surround us, argues Smart Design’s Dave Cronin in Fast Company.

“Nurses, doctors, and other professionals are hugely important to any real improvements to chronic care, but they aren’t always around. Technology can help fill the gaps, possibly in a way that may even help an individual feel more like an empowered person, less like a helpless patient. There’s growing momentum around the idea that the consumer electronics of the future must not only entertain us when we’re on the couch but also help us get off the couch, and not only keep us connected with each other but also with ourselves and our bodies.

There’s a world of opportunity for the connected home to better support people who are managing chronic disease. While there’s a lot of diversity in the conditions that fall under the heading of “chronic,” from cancer to depression, and there are clearly no one-size-fits-all solutions, there are some common things a home-care ecosystem should provide.”

Read article

17 May 2011

Tapping into smart health

Healthrageous
Growing numbers of mobile applications are aimed at keeping patients engaged in their treatment. The Boston Globe reports.

“Patient engagement, doctors say, is a crucial factor in health outcomes. Office visits are brief; once you step out into the real world, it’s up to you to take your medicine, exercise, diet, and monitor your symptoms.

It can be hard, tedious work, and many doctors’ orders go unheeded, even in such basic matters as patients filling prescriptions. A recent study of more than 75,000 patients by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mass. General found that 22 percent of prescriptions were never filled over the period of a year. Noncompliance rose to 28 percent on orders for first-time prescriptions, according to the study, published last year in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Use of mobile applications, many medical professionals believe, could make an important difference. Multiple small-scale studies have looked at apps and their impact on patient education, engagement, and compliance, with mostly positive, though not conclusive, findings.”

Read article

7 March 2011

Understanding society

Understanding Society
Understanding Society is a major £15.5 million research study designed to provide valuable new evidence about the people of the UK, their lives, experiences, behaviours and beliefs.

Understanding Society follows 100,000 people in 40,000 households year by year and asks them questions about a wide spectrum of areas relating to their working and personal lives. The study focuses on:
* Peoples’ state of health
* Our experiences of crime
* Personal finances
* Bringing up children
* How involved we are in our local community
* Our working lives
* Our views and outlook, including about the political system

The focus is on the household, looking at how different members of a family relate to each other.

The power of the survey lies in the links that can be made about different aspects of peoples lives. These links will allow the researchers to understand the life journey that people take, whether it be why some people get to university whilst others ended up in poverty in old age. The study will catch major trends and have an understanding of why major changes in the way that we all live and work take place.

An earlier study – the British Household Panel Survey – helped decision makers to evaluate the impact of key policies designed to help the low paid and encourage mothers return to employment. Understanding Society has continuing potential to influence decisions that affect all our lives, whether we are parents, savers or users of public services.

The scale of the survey will allow the researchers to focus in on key sections of the community, such as older people, parents, people from ethnic minorities or people with low incomes.

With an initial budget of £15.5 million, Understanding Society is the largest single investment in academic social research resources ever launched in the UK. The study is based at, and led by, the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex, together with colleagues from the University of Warwick and the Institute of Education. The survey work will be delivered by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). Understanding Society both replaces and incorporates the successful, but much smaller, British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), which has been running since 1991.

Download early findings

21 December 2010

A rich trove of articles in UX Magazine

UX Magazine
A rich trove of articles in UX Magazine:

The importance of designing an experience culture
By Cynthia Thomas / December 20th 2010
The outward focus on developing good experiences for customers often overshadows the need to live that philosophy inside a company’s own walls. A culture that does not internally live a focus on experience will find it impossible to externally execute the same.

Getting more from analysis
By Jared Lewandowski & John Dilworth / December 16th 2010
Analysis is a key part of the design process that assures the right problems are accurately resolved. When integrated tightly into design processes and teams, analysis can improve understanding of the problems that project teams are challenged to solve. It can also bring clarity to the detailed and often complex requirements that solutions must meet.

Social seen: analyzing and visualizing data from social networks
By Hunter Whitney / December 15th 2010
Emerging social network analysis and visualization techniques can fundamentally change the way we see our relationships with others. These perspectives offer new ways for companies to operate more effectively, for marketers to delve deeper into consumers’ minds, for law enforcement to tracking criminal enterprises, and for individuals to help manage their online reputations.

Making user and customer experience a business competency (video + transcript)
By Harley Manning & Forrester Research / December 14th 2010
UX Magazine sat down with Harley Manning, Vice President, Research Director for Customer Experience at Forrester Research at the Forrester Customer Experience Forum. He discusses how companies are embracing CX and UX strategies, and the value of connecting UX to business economic outcomes.

Is multiscreen enough? Why ‘write once’ shouldn’t be the goal
By Kevin Suttle / December 13th 2010
Though the idea of “write once, deploy everywhere” is enticing to developers and project managers alike, should that be the goal? Granted, productivity is paramount and time is money, but simply resizing the same application to fit on multiple devices doesn’t necessarily ensure the best experience for users.

10 surefire ways to screw up your iPhone app
By Jeremy Olson / December 9th 2010
Ten common iPhone app design and usability mistakes that can shatter hopes of success on the App Store.

The coming zombie apocalypse: Small, cheap devices will disrupt our old-school UX assumptions
By Scott Jenson / December 8th 2010
Designers think of new technologies in terms of yesterday’s tasks, failing to clearly see the real potential of the new technologies.

Portable and powerful: Transforming the patient-provider relationship
By Amy Cueva / December 7th 2010
The author explores the ways mobile technologies are currently being used to enhance patient–provider communication, streamline coordination of care, and improve record-keeping. She also discusses what stands in the way of wider adoption of these potentially life-saving technologies.

17 November 2010

Michele Visciola on online healthcare information

Michele Visciola
Michele Visciola, Experientia partner, gave a talk this week on online healthcare information at the 16th IFHRO (International Federation of Health Records Organizations) Congress in Milan, Italy.

The International Federation of Health Records Organizations (IFHRO) serves as a forum for the exchange of information relating to health records, education of medical record personnel, and information technology.

The talk, entitled “Online healthcare information: where is the divide between a trustable and an untrustable information and communication system?”, highlighted how a user-centred approach can be used to provide healthcare information that meets user needs.

Here is the executive summary of his talk:

How and what kind of information is provided by online healthcare services is critical to designing a user-centred system that meets user needs, and does not put individuals’ health at risk. The move of healthcare information to the online world has raised some serious concerns in terms of content and the ways in which the information is used. The paradigm shift from personal consultation with a trusted family doctor to inquiries made to an anonymous or general online source has created a context of self-diagnosis from online information, leading to potential health disasters. The open access to information that was previously the privilege of medical practitioners has created a situation in which the patient’s desire for immediate information conflicts with the need for professional advice.

This research project benchmarked 41 websites, within Italy and internationally, to understand how a user-centred approach can be used to provide healthcare information that meets user needs. The project focused in particular on the needs of patients, and their family and friends.

The healthcare information needs of patients can be grouped into Knowledge, Action and Sharing. “Knowledge” is the inherent information the patient needs about her/his health, such as details on the illness, prevention, care, the health structure, ethics and rights, and well-being. This can be either “cold” information (top-down) or “warm” (bottom-up or horizontal). “Action” includes the reactive and proactive behaviors that the patient can take, while “Sharing” is the exchange of information, experience and emotions with people in similar situations.

The 41 websites explored were selected as best practice in the field, and the ways in which they supported the above classification of user needs was considered. For each of the three areas described above, we identified the ways in which patients’ information requirements were met (or not) by the sites.

When comparing Italian sites to the international sites, we found that the international sites were more developed in terms of interactive and personalization solutions. Within Italy, the least developed areas are Action and Sharing, which are the most complex categories and play a fundamental role in the patient’s world. The “cold” top-down information was the most complete and organized, while there was little space dedicated to horizontal communication. The Italian sites tended to present one-way, pre-packaged communication that focused on “useful” information, but ignored “emotional” aspects. Regardless of the local cultural dimensions that are not considered in this study, we recommend that online healthcare information should focus on improving the following at the 3 identified levels: “Knowledge”: provide real possibilities for knowledge through presentations and memos. “Action”: Give people the chance to participate in assessing what they need to do. “Sharing”: Provide instruments for sharing and discussion.