Designing a healthcare system
The Problem: Seniors with poor health due to multiple chronic conditions
- One third of all seniors have 4 or more chronic diseases, and their biggest risk is developing complications that result in hospitalizations or worse.
- Primary healthcare practices needed an easy way to capture daily data (and to receive automated alerts for out of norm readings) from their patients to reduce hospitalizations and show meaningful use, resulting in better health for their patients, and higher medicare reimbursement rates.
- Specialists needed to have access to all the data to make informed health decisions, and to also receive alerts.
- Senior patients needed an easy to use system to log their data at the level of technology that they felt comfortable with.
- Caregivers, including home health aides, needed an easy way to log for their patients, and to see what other caregivers had also logged.
- Family members needed to be included so that they could be informed and help keep their loved ones healthier.
- It had to be intuitive and easy to use for all the roles, despite it's backend complexity.
- It required a solution that could be incorporated in existing EHRs.
- It had to make it easier for doctors to manage their medicare patients – and to receive medicare reimbursement for these services. And for home health aides to track all their patients easily.
- The product design had to have a cohesive look and feel, while meeting the needs of all the user roles.
The Solution: Creating a platform that is easy for patients and providers to be proactive
We, the core team of founder-product owner, 3 developers, and the designer (me), created an entire patient success system platform with 5 main roles: patient, caregivers, family, primary care and specialists, and office manager and backend admin roles. We listened and learned from many seniors, their family members, and the medical community. We needed to what it would take to be useful enough for doctors to incorporate into their busy practice, and how they wanted to see the data. We didn’t want to inundate the medical providers with too much daily data, but needed to provide them with the right data that would be useful. And we needed to experiment and iterate to find solutions for each role. What would get seniors to log? What value would the medical providers get from using the product?
We decided that 4 apps (working across all platforms for iPhone/iPads and and web-based) were needed so each user role would have easy access, yet function as one unit, with the patient owning the data that they submit, so we designed and developed:
All apps were planned to be available as both web (mobile friendly) and iPhone/iPad apps, so that data could be logged or reviewed from anywhere. The data would reside on secure HIPAA-compliant servers, and then be incorporated into the healthcare provider(s) EHR.
We also designed an automated personalized phone logging system for seniors who didn't have access to a smart phone, tablet or computer, allowing for all of the quantitative data to be logged via touch tone phone, with the schedule of the calls being set up by medical practices. And recorded all the queries for a more personalized call.
Many seniors showed an interest in logging via an iPad if we could provide the tablet and data plan, but most did not have the existing technology, or access to the internet. Logging via touch tone phones proved to be the most popular way to log. They really liked that all of their doctors could see the same information, and that it made tracking their medications much easier.
There was a strong interest for family members to keep track of their loved ones logging, especially for those living farther away from their parents. It gave them a peace of mind to be able to see what was being logged, and to be able to then follow up if they noticed changes. They also liked that they could see which medications and dosages their parents were taking. It gave them an easy, at your finger tips, way to stay in the loop in case of a medical event.
Medical providers, many times in unconnected practices, could now stay on the same page with their patients medications and health data. They could now spend more time in their patient appointments discussing action plans based upon the data that could be visually seen at a glance on the HelpMEwell Patient Success System dashboard.
The designs went through many iterations as we tested with all user roles, gained more insight, and iterated on the designs and development.