May 11, 2022
What Matters: An app to support patient-centred care
Written by Emily Carr
Since Summer 2021, the Health Design Lab has been collaborating with academic researchers and students in Computer Science, Engineering, and Nursing at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and University of Waterloo, healthcare professionals working at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and Villa Cathay (a long-term care home), people with lived experience of dementia and families, and Raccoopack Media (a mobile app development studio) on the WhatMatters project. WhatMatters is a mobile app designed to support patient-centered care delivery in long-term care homes and hospitals for people living with dementia. The WhatMatters Mobile App will allow people with dementia and their family members to curate videos, music, and photos to provide entertainment, social connection and comfort. Accessible via the app, staff can then support people with dementia by providing them with curated person-specific, personalized content and resources. The app will have the potential to prevent behavioral events (physical and verbal aggression) and provide the staff with the means to help the patient/resident feel safe, confident, and comforted — a crucial way to honor personhood.
The project began with conducting workshops with family partners, healthcare staff and residents in long term care. Through these workshops we were able to better understand our user group by listening to first hand user experiences, stories and having conversations with those who are experts in the field. This led to the development of user personas and preliminary prototypes.
From January to May 2022 the design team worked closely with the developers Raccoopack, conducting 3 iterative rounds of protype development and user testing with staff and residents from Villa Cathay long term care home and Vancouver General Hospital. Although the user tests were conducted remotely, we were able to mimic the experience of being in person with the help of the Double 3 Robot, a remote-controlled driving robot with a video-call. This helped us interact with both residents and staff in real-time, where we could observe them perform assigned user-testing tasks and interview them about the experience afterwards.
The WhatMatters team is currently seeking funding to further develop the app and prepare for a clinical trial for user testing with a large audience.