Innlandet Health Trust

Innlandet Hospital Trust is one of 15 health trusts in Helse Sør-Øst and covers the counties of Hedmark and Oppland of Norway. The health trust consists of 10 divisions with services over 41 sites in Hedmark and Oppland.

Challenge

Innlandet Hospital Trust was looking to develop an innovative mobile health solution to help patients and doctors make better treatment decisions, and better use available information (e.g., medical records) – either from research or as hard-earned experience.

The tool called DECIDE Treatment (formerly DEMOS) had to meet the following key goals:

  • Summarize treatment research data and present it in a user-friendly format for patients to have a clear understanding of treatment options available and make final decisions on the best option based on their preferences, lifestyles, work schedules, etc
  • Allow patients to monitor their conditions over time
  • Facilitate medical research on feasibility of innovative treatment methods for bipolar disorders, lung disease, stroke and a number of other disorders affecting a large number of people.

Solution

Innlandet Hospital Trust outsourced development and UX design of their innovative patient decision aid app to Intersog.

Our task behind the visual appearance of the system was to create a user interface (UI) to be easily used by people with mental disorders and with no or little experience with mobile app development solutions. Our UI/UX team had to make it simple and easy to navigate yet feature-rich and robust enough for everyday use.

We started off with the search for an appropriate look, feel and the color palette: based on the target users – people with mental disorders – we chose the palette that is calm and relaxing: mostly shades of light blue and white. Research of best practices for medical systems helped us better understand how modern healthcare systems should look like to attract users. In a low-tech style, we printed out collections of photo references, made collages out of them, and marked up the ideas right on the paper printouts.

Design iterations made the team more flexible and agile, and this was exactly what the project required.

The Product Owner spent a lot of time with our Design and Development Teams defining technical issues, generating ideas and clarifying specifications. Eventually, this approach generated a too-much-in-your-face type interface, which we toned down with a flat design. Once the concept for the home screen was finalized, we added details and presented the deliverable to the client. The first draft was approved right away, and the app’s design concept creation stage was over.

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Prototype and UI Design

Our design team cooperated closely with the client, our system architect and a technical writer to make a logical and flexible foundation for the system. It took us two months to create a fully interactive prototype and prepare all functional design documentation needed. The prototype was updated on a weekly basis to ensure rich functionality and improved usability.

We collaborated for approximately two months on creating a fully interactive prototype, cooperating with the system architect and a technical writer on functional design documentation. Skype conference calls with Øystein Eiring (Product Owner) twice a week ensured the updated delivery weekly, resulting in a prototype with rich functionality and improved usability.

We didn’t stop until our client said, “It’s almost as perfect as I had imagined!” and approved the final UI design. After this, our design team stepped away and let the system architect finalize the technical documentation.

From UX/UI design perspective we delivered:

  • 50+ supporting screens
  • A style sheet to ease the coding process
  • Design review of the intermediate builds of the tool
  • Bugs elimination in the whole visually related part of the code

App Development Phase

To build an application, we implemented cross-platform app development with PhoneGap as well as .Net technologies.

App's functionality and features:

  • This web and mobile shared decision making and monitoring system is designed for individual use and addresses either one-off, irreversible decision dilemmas, or ongoing decisions permitting regular re-evaluation
  • The app facilitates self-help and improved communication between patients and healthcare professionals
  • It can be used before, after and during consultations with health professionals
  • It calculates a personalized ranking of best treatment options based on a transparent algorithm called the simple weighted sum equation
  • Long-term treatments can be monitored over time, enabling users to re-assess their decisions
  • The app enables doctors to enter relevant knowledge
  • It offers easy, web-based access to shared information for everyone involved
  • The app keep patient’s valuable records accessible in accordance with strict privacy and information security policies

App user benefits:

  • Patient gets a clear description of the treatment decision, its implications on his/her lifestyle, and has buy-in for it
  • Equips patients with condensed, readable knowledge designed to facilitate shared decision-making
  • Provides a timeline allowing patients to develop and adjust their treatment preferences over time
  • Allows patients and clinicians to personalize the options based on individual patient characteristics
  • Generally improves communication between doctors and patients

DECIDE Treatment project was presented to the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services and authorities, including Prime-Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Minister of Health. The app was highly appraised and received a positive feedback from Norwegian authorities.

Check out mybetterdecisions.org for more information about the DECIDE Treatment project, its current status and the concept of shared decision-making in healthcare.

Read our interview with Dr. Eiring Øystein, Head of Department of Knowledge Support at Innlandet Health Trust.

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