Design Thinking to Create a Remote Patient Monitoring Platform for Older Adults' Homes
How might clinicians collect the vitals needed for effective scheduled video visits for older adults? This challenge was presented by AARP to graduate students in a Digital Health course at Tufts University School of Medicine. The design thinking process was used to create a product that would meet this need, keeping the needs and constraints of older adults, especially those with chronic conditions or other barriers to health, central to the solution. The initial steps involved understanding and empathizing with the target audience through interviews and by developing personas and scenarios that identified barriers and opportunities. The later steps were to ideate potential solutions, design a prototype, and define product success. The design thinking process led to the design of Home Health Hub, a remote patient monitoring (RPM) platform designed to meet the unique needs of older adults. Additionally, Home Health Hub can conceivably benefit all users of telehealth, regardless of health status—an important need during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in general due to increased use of virtual visits. Home Health Hub is one example of what can be achieved with the dedicated use of design thinking. The design thinking process can benefit public health practice as a whole by encouraging practitioners to delve into a problem to find the root causes and empathize with the needs and constraints of stakeholders to design innovative, human-centered solutions.