Introduction: After discharge from a structured rehabilitation setting, mild-moderate stroke patients report feeling unprepared to manage their home recovery plan. Through Design for America, we worked with undergraduate students to develop prototypes to empower patients in their post-stroke home-based recovery.
Methods: “User centered design”, a six step process, was applied over a 6-week summer program, with design and process experts’ mentorship. We obtained qualitative data from patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals through focus groups, interviews and web-based surveys (N=60). The insights gained from users were utilized to design solutions.
Results: Insights gained include: 1) 96% of patients reported they were unable to follow home rehabilitation schedules; 2) 66.7% reported being “comfortable” with technology and 10% having previously used Apps for exercise; 3) often insurance does not cover rehabilitation in mild strokes cases; and 4) patients like to hear from others and often develop their own exercises. Solutions designed included:1) a wearable device (Figure 1A) for stroke survivors to alert them of exercise schedule, track activity, appointments, and medication reminders, 2) a website (Figure 1B) that provides patients an online community to find user-submitted therapeutic exercises, share stories, and motivate others.
Conclusion: In partnership with Design for America, we created unique solutions that fill a gap in the continuity of stroke recovery: community-based, patient-centered, and self-empowering tools. In the coming months, we plan to build and pilot test these products in a clinical setting.