Powering up mHealth through user-engagement

One of the things I love most about the mPOWEr is our approach to user-engagement! We employ techniques from human-centered design to ensure that our mobile platform is not only handy for patient-centered monitoring of surgical site infection (SSI), but that it is usable by patients and providers and meets their needs.  Our human-centered design is a systematic and mixed-methods approach that combines qualitative needs assessment with iterative prototyping and user testing.

Some of the significant insights from our user-engagement thus far include:

  • Interviews with patients uncovered care gaps in current follow up processes that mPOWEr can address.
  • Surveys with health care providers indicate lack of standard SSI surveillance methods where SSI is often detected through patient-initiated contact.
  • Some patients already send sensitive wound symptoms and photos to providers – mPOWEr can support this more securely!
  • Patients and providers show substantial interest in an mHealth solution for SSI surveillance.

In our ongoing work, we are prospectively following patients as they are discharged from surgery to better understand their experience. We are also the testing usability of mPOWEr with patients and providers and conducting validation testing. In the future we will be engaging providers to better understand how to deploy mPOWEr in diverse clinical settings.

Given the primary role of patients in the post-surgical discharge process, it’s important that patients are actively involved with providers in the design of patient-centered systems for SSI surveillance – and through human-centered design we are doing just that!