Medilog is a health support app which uses wearable technology and consolidated health data to keep distant caregivers informed of their elderly relatives’ health status and wellbeing.
MOBILE AND SMARTWATCH
“Sixty-five percent of older adults with long-term care needs rely exclusively on family and friends to provide assistance.”
- INSTITUTE ON AGING
Due to employment, education, or emotional attachment to a place, family members often tend to live apart. Older adults living alone often hesitate to share health-related information and problems with their loved ones. They believe sharing constant updates on their health to be burdensome to their relatives or think their issues are too trivial to bring up in normal conversation. However, remote caregivers need assurance that their loved ones are safe and doing okay.
With Medilog, we facilitate communication between both parties by making this transfer of health-related information more seamless and engaging by offering a thorough overview of the care-receiver’s health while providing suggestions to improve it.
While Medilog can also be used to self-track and improve one’s own health, we decided to target our research and solution towards two specific audiences.
Remote relative who wishes to stay up-to-date with their elderly relative's health status while helping them take better care of themselves.
Remote senior whose health is being taken care of by one or more caregivers.
We conducted preliminary personal interviews and online user research to improve our understanding of the target audience and identify their goals, behaviours, pain points, and needs. These helped frame our caregiver and care-receiver personas, which shaped the project going forward.
CURRENT EXPERIENCE + FRICTIONS
We narrowed our focus into key problems that care-receivers and caregivers face
and came up with the four points below which needed to be addressed by our solution.
Communication of medical condition is dependent on the care-receiver’s perception of their own health
Care-receivers only share when prompted during phone calls
Care-receivers often forget or neglect to care for themselves unless reminded or motivated.
In case of an emergency, the caregiver is not aware of the care-receiver’s condition and location.
OPPORTUNITY WITH WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
We saw an opportunity by exploring emerging wearable technologies and their capabilities and looked into the use of various devices. The chosen device needed to be easy to use and efficient in tracking health data. While the smartphone is useful for retaining and relaying information, it was not the best choice for collecting health data from the care-receiver.
“Apple is democratizing healthcare, providing on-demand access to accurate sensors and software that can help consumers develop real healthcare literacy and inform how daily choices impact their health.”
- DR. LESLIE A. SAXON, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE
The Apple Watch was a unique candidate since it had both health-tracking and communication capabilities. Additionally, through the Health app and Apple Watch, Apple was looking to develop healthcare through its health-monitoring technology.
Specifically, the use of an Apple Watch allowed us to collect real-time data from the care-receiver, such as their heart rate and activity rate. The simple and intuitive interface, along with the device being wearable and small made it easy for the care-receiver to use.
Specifically, the use of an Apple Watch allowed us to collect real-time data from the
care-receiver, such as their heart rate and activity rate. The simple and intuitive interface, along with the device being wearable and small made it easy for the care-receiver to use.
Our solution is Medilog, an interconnected and intuitive app which would inform the caregiver of the care-receiver’s health status while providing support, care, and protection to the care-receiver at all times through helpful suggestions, daily reminders, and emergency alerts.
SUGGEST, DON'T DIAGNOSE
We offer care suggestions that range from anything like taking a yoga class to walking around the neighbourhood everyday to help the care-receivers lead a healthier lifestyle. We never wanted to offer a diagnosis through Medilog, but only make our users aware of the care-receiver’s health status. At most, Medilog would suggest the care-receiver visit their family doctor to get a proper and professional diagnosis in case of alarming data.
EXPLAIN, DON'T TELL
“Data by itself is not valuable. What data means is more important. Does a heart rate of 99 bpm mean normal?”
- MANAGER OF USER EXPERIENCE AT SAP
Data alone doesn’t communicate much. Graphs on their own don’t explain the state of a person’s health. We needed to explain what the collected data meant in a way that won’t overwhelm or confuse the user in a simplified yet informative manner.
POSITIVE AND UNDERSTANDING TONE
The nature of the information we were communicating might be sensitive and personal. We never wanted to appear clinical and impersonal when offering suggestions and providing reports. Since this app is meant to be used between family members and loved ones with the intention to care for one another, we wanted to maintain a friendly, positive, and understanding tone with empathy at its root.
EASY TO USE
All elements of the app, both on the smartphone and especially the smartwatch, had to be easy to use. Opening and using an account needed to be hassle-free and we had to provide guidance whenever novel experiences were involved.
This included having a large font size on the smartwatch interface to make it easy for the care-receiver to read their reminders and suggestions. Since we did not want to burden the care-receiver, we also had to create a way for the caregiver to set up the care-receiver’s account and health-related information.
Using colourful and informative illustrations that present day-to-day scenarios of how using Medilog might be like, we introduce our key features and their use to the caregiver and care-receiver.
REAL-TIME DATA ANALYSIS
Our Home page contains real-time data such as heart rate, exercise and activity, and sleep patterns collected from the care-receiver. From our user testing, we found that graphs and data itself weren’t important to caregivers. They wanted to understand what the data meant. This is why we offer a quick analysis of the real-time data when the cards are tapped on.
Users can select which data they wish to keep or remove under settings. Upcoming and past tasks and appointments are also shown below. Using personable greetings and offering friendly suggestions transforms Medilog to feel almost like an additional family member.
REPORTS + CARE SUGGESTIONS
Weekly and monthly reports are generated using the amalgam of data in order to keep the caregiver informed, aid them in spotting potential health problems accurately and easily, and allow them to take actionable steps to improve the care-receiver’s health via related suggestions.
Initial user tests informed us that people did not want to read a lengthy and clinical report on what health data meant. They wanted a quick overview of the most important facts along with whether this data was good or bad. Pairing suggestions with the related sections was also useful in understanding what actions would cause what changes.
Medilog's Schedule feature lets you create three types of reminders for your care receiver.
01. Care Suggestion
Reports offer care suggestions derived from the collected data which can be added to the schedule.
02. Care Task
Necessary actions a care receiver must complete, such as taking their pills on time.
03. Medical Appointment
By searching for nearby clinics or connecting with their family doctor, caregiver's can set up routine check-ups.
This helps the care-receiver in maintaining or improving their health while feeling cared for and gives the caregiver a sense of relief and connectedness by making them involved in their loved one’s life.
Care-receivers can view their own real-time data, upcoming daily tasks, completed tasks, and tasks for tomorrow in the main screen of their Apple Watch. When it is time for them to complete a task, they receive a reminder that can be snoozed or marked as complete. Care suggestions are voluntary and only completed if the care-receiver wishes, but provide the caregiver with an opportunity to be involved in the care-receiver’s life.
EMERGENCY ALERT + LOCATION TRACKING
In case an emergency occurs, many websites on distant caregiving suggest you create a plan with your family on what to do, who to contact, and how to alert each other. Keeping this in mind, we created the emergency alert feature for the care-receiver to trigger when they are in need of help.
Caregiver chooses what classifies as an emergency under account settings and is notified when this range is crossed or if the care-receiver manually initiates an emergency. We understand that in stressful situations, people need to know the core details of the situation and how to proceed, so we present them with the cause of alarm, along with a quick analysis of what this means, the real-time location of their care-receiver, and links to call their care-receiver or 911 if needed.
INITIATING AN EMERGENCY
Tapping on the red bell icon triggers the emergency alert. The care-receiver chooses whether to contact just John or both John and the paramedics. This alert can be auto-triggered by the system or manually triggered by the care-receiver because we understand there can be certain emergency situations which are not health-related or trackable by the Apple Watch, such as falling down a flight of stairs.
Medilog is able to provide information, motivation, and relief to both the caregiver and care-receiver, taking remote healthcare to the next level. No longer is distance a barrier between caring for a loved one and being aware of their health status. Using recent advancements in health-based technology, such as Apple’s Health app and Apple Watch allows us to stay ahead and stay aware. We utilize the accuracy and convenience of technology to help foster care. Self-care is promoted and made easier through Medilog and the caregiver’s support. We’re creating a way of living which offers care-receivers the comfort of their home along with the comfort of knowing they are healthy, safe, and cared for by their loved ones.