Educating Surgical Patients Through Prep and Recovery
Technology Transfer, Product Development, Mobile and Web Application Development, Inception, Business Design
The pace and degree of change in the healthcare environment is unprecedented. Surgical care is increasing in complexity and pre-, peri- and post-operative patient follow up has been identified as problematic and costly for both patients and providers. With the current state of healthcare, patients have found themselves with little to no direct communication with their provider, and the information they are given is often found to be ambiguous.
I loved the process of working with Andculture. Their Experience Design process aligned with the performance improvement process in medicine—Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA). It was very much like the iteration process for how we design, and I thought it lined up really well.
During our research phase, we conducted market analysis and site visits to validate the SyncedCare product concept with Orthopedic specialists at Catholic Health Initiatives St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas. These site visits served as contextual observations to determine the hospital environment implications and understand how the product would be used by both patients and providers. Through this crucial product Inception, we were able to gain a more substantial understanding of the user groups that would engage and interact together, and what content and visual components were critical for inclusion.
We learned a great deal about the populations who would be using our product, their degree of understanding and use of technology. We determined that if we could successfully engage patients with the lowest technology adoption rates in their care journey first, in a subsequent phase we would be able to customize the product to include other surgical procedures outside of joint replacement, more tech-savvy populations.
As product developers, Andculture is committed to providing the highest levels of HIPAA compliant services to protect and maintain a patient’s Protected Health Information (PHI) according to HIPAA and HITECH standards. During our research phase, we validated managed hosting services to ensure the SyncedCare product was delivering the appropriate safeguards to protect a patient’s information. Our final solution included complaint hosting for both applications within the SyncedCare product — web solutions and mobile applications.
I was most impressed with the time and effort the Andculture team invested in trying to understand the whole process from both the patient perspective as well as the caregiver and provider's perspective.
As we began to validate and synthesize our concepts and theories from the research phase, our team began the framework of product development in parallel. We were able to take what we learned through both our qualitative and quantitative research methods and include our recommendations for additional feature benefits and functionality. Then, we mapped final product features together to pinpoint areas of overlap and outliers, which became a catalyst for MVP planning.
Design & Development
The SyncedCare product is multi-faceted and contains two applications within the product: a care team application and patient platform. After synthesizing our research, we were able to complete visual design that appealed to both patients and providers and their overall engagement throughout the surgical process.
Individual Care Plans prescribe daily activities for each patient to complete.
Care Team Chat
Even when communication is "email" speed, research shows that users are most comfortable with a chat interface.
The Charts section allows patients to visualize their progress in their journey.
Ongoing feedback on their progress promotes active participation in their successful outcome.
We built the platform on the Xamarin mobile development platform (C# and .net technologies), employing agile development methodologies. We selected a HIPAA compliant API that required a NoSQL database format. Paired with Amazon Web services for hosting and security, costs proved to be far less annually, a much more budget-friendly alternative for a healthcare start-up.
To further provide validity of our product, we conducted a second site visit at Catholic Health Initiatives St. Joseph Health in College Station, TX, our pilot health system selected to deploy the product, where we performed both user testing and admin workflow analysis. We then deployed the app to TestFlight and began a cycle of testing and feedback.
The MVP product was completed and deployed at its pilot health system in November 2016.