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Digital health solution to help stroke rehabilitation

Challenge

Our digital health experts conceptualized a patient-facing digital rehabilitation solution to help maximize recovery after a stroke.

Approach

We analyzed the care pathways of stroke survivors and found significant unmet needs in the area of post-acute care. The COM-B model was used in defining several behavioral interventions to aid stroke recovery, which were combined over many iterations into a single digital health solution via an app. This prototype was evaluated with stroke survivors to assess its potential impact and overall user experience.

Outcome

Our digital health solution aimed to empower stroke survivors by enabling a greater degree of control over their own rehabilitation. The prototype was positively received by participants. The target group believed this service would have aided their own stroke recovery.

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A digital rehabilitation solution

To address key issues experienced by stroke survivors, the digital health solution we worked on would need to:

  • Give structure to the rehabilitation process
  • Reinforce a strong sense of progress
  • Provide tools to support mental health

The digital rehabilitation service would also need to support primary caregivers, particularly where the patient is unable to interact with a digital solution themselves. Sustaining communication with the relevant healthcare professional would be another objective by sharing data around the patient’s progress.

01Research

Extensive desk based and field research to understand key barriers and opportunities within the landscape of stroke recovery

02Behavior design

Translating research into digital design health solutions that represent tailored interventions informed by behavioral science principles

03 Ideation

Rigorous iteration of digital interventions to form a single concept which addresses key needs of stroke survivors

04User testing

Testing of a digital prototype with representative stroke survivors to obtain feedback on the effectiveness of our solution

05Detailed design

Refining the concept into a friendly and supportive user interface (UI), tailored to help users adhere to positive behavioral change

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The impact of stroke

The impact of stroke is complex and diverse. There is a sharp drop-off in the provision of care after patients leave the hospital and it’s often difficult to obtain professional support. Family members or community carers often assume the role of primary caregiver.

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Key rehabilitation challenges

Data from the Stroke Association highlights the need for enhanced patient support. Communication between the stroke survivor and healthcare professional is a major challenge. Patients commonly do not receive a comprehensive rehabilitation plan and it’s difficult for healthcare professionals to track progress. The emotional impact of a stroke also represents a huge burden.

Our process

Ideation started on paper to explore how our chosen behavioral interventions might be embodied as a digital rehabilitation app. Wireframes were developed in Figma to refine ideas and understand how they might be brought together in one cohesive experience. Finally, we began iterating a high-fidelity UI that fits with the messaging of supporting patients with their recovery. Key design challenges were presenting daily activities without being perceived as overwhelming and demonstrating how those activities contribute to achieving user-driven goals.

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Behavior design

We used the COM-B model to identify specific behavioral interventions for encouraging sustained patient engagement with a tailored digital rehab plan. This involved mapping desirable behaviors with possible interventions to help achieve them and the objective impact of each behavior if it were sustained.

Testing with stroke survivors

Stroke survivors aged between 57 and 77 were recruited to test the prototype health app. Participants were asked to evaluate the setup process, completion of daily tasks and some additional support features. The testing indicated this solution would have been meaningful during each participant’s own recovery. This highlighted the opportunity for a digital health solution for stroke patients and provided rich insights to help shape a more refined version of our concept.

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Our digital health solution

Our solution facilitates the handover of a tailored care plan from a healthcare professional to a patient as they move from acute care to home or community care setting. The digital rehabilitation plans are tailored for each patient and evolve based on progress and adherence. Comprehensive support is provided during the completion of physical rehabilitation tasks irrespective of the level of caregiver support or independent use.

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Addressing emotional well-being

Emotional well-being is at the core of our solution, with tools to monitor and support a stroke survivor’s emotional state during recovery. Users can be connected with patient peers, allowing for sharing of experiences and support to help address feelings of isolation synonymous with stroke recovery.

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Aiding with healthcare professional communication

Data on adherence and progress can be shared with healthcare professionals to support efficient and productive dialogue during limited contact time with patients. There is also provision for caregivers to be the primary user of the service, for situations where the patient is not able to use the health app independently.

Outcome

This project showcases the potential for a digital health solution to ease the complex and chronic issues experienced by stroke survivors and their caregivers. Tailored design of behavioral interventions helped define a comprehensive and wide-reaching feature set, but one that is completely focused on the goal of improving stroke rehabilitation outcomes. Continued development of digital health solutions promises to be key in addressing some of the most complex healthcare challenges and in making care more accessible to those who need it around the globe.

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