Selected Projects / BC Children’s Hospital & Simon Fraser University: Sleep/Wake Behaviours App

The Health Design Lab, with funding from Kids Brain Health Network, collaborated with Investigators from the Sleep/Wake Behaviour Clinic and Research Lab at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology on a “Sleep/ Wake Application (SWAPP)” to better understand, diagnose and treat sleep disorders.

The quality of life for children with neurodevelopmental conditions and/or mental health comorbidities is often significantly impacted by sleep problems, which can have detrimental consequences on daytime behaviours. Currently, the aggravating role of sleep disorders is poorly recognized during routine clinical visits due to knowledge gaps and missing continuity in chronic care management.

The main objective of this project was to create an intuitive, user-friendly application that allows parents/caregivers to better capture, monitor and share their children’s’ sleep/wake-behaviours through qualitative narratives with their care providers.

The Health Design Lab was responsible for the user experience design of the sleep/wake behaviours app. We focused on gaining an understanding of parent needs and desires in order to develop an app which will make it easier for parents to share information and data about their child’s sleep/wake behaviours with their healthcare team. At stage I, this app will provide parents/caregivers with a tool to unify and orchestrate their child’s care journey and enable bi-directional communication.

A version of the app was also designed for clinicians to record information gathered through patient assessments with the child and parents/caregivers over time. The purpose was to capture the main sleep/wake problems and concerns of the child and their family, to inform clinical decision-making and further investigations.

Through the use of participatory human-centred design methods, the three research teams worked together with caregivers of children with autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, Down syndrome and rare diseases to develop collaboratively this parent-‘owned’ application.

The ultimate goal of the project is to have a validated and commercially available app for participatory data collection on poorly understood challenging-disruptive sleep/wake-behaviours and medication effects. This app will enable home-based monitoring of therapeutic interventions, support optimization of medication dosages and monitor adverse drug reactions; thus, individualize therapies, increase efficiency and reduce health care expenses.

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