Care Link aims to alleviate facility caregiver burnout by streamlining their communication and maximizing real-time assistance while caring for elderly with Alzheimer’s.
Role: UX Research, UX/ UI Designer,
Timeline: 14 Weeks,
May — August 2017
In Collaboration with:
Bryan Oh, Davis Brown, Youn Sang Kwon
Understaffing problems in facilities due to High Caregiver Burnout
Caregivers working in assisted living facilities have twice the amount of residents they’re responsible for, as opposed to those working in memory care facilities, who are often more formally trained as well.
How can Care Link alleviate Caregiver Burnout?
Follow Beth in her first week as a new caregiver at an assisted living facility. This scenario is designed around our ethnographic research, and demonstrates how Care Link can assist our user in their day-to-day responsibilities.
How Care Link helps Beth
Maximizing Real-time Assistance
Tiers of assistance for maximum assist. “Requesting Help”, “Swapping Tasks”, and “Task Advice Cards”, all targeting different needs.
Access to resident preferences and particular behaviors enables caregivers to better understand who they are caring for in order to provide the best quality of care.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
Logged task notes allows all caregivers who are assigned to that resident, access to previous notes.This replaces the need for hourly check-ins, and streamlines the transition between shifts.
How did we get to Beth’s ideal scenario?
The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060.
The 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent from 15 percent.
Long-term care is experiencing a substantial annual growth rate. By 2020, 12 million older Americans will require long-term care services. By 2040, the long-term care market is projected to grow by 250%.
Sources: Population Reference Bureau, Pennsylvania Care Association
We decided to focus on providing our service to facilities, bypassing the individual directly, thereby reaching a potentially greater audience.
How we narrowed in on our opportunity space in the healthcare enterprise software industry is shown more in our full case study.
Once we understood our competition in the industry, we drew up a lean canvas to better position Care Link as a profitable startup company. Some of the factors we considered include operating costs, fixed, variable costs, and infrastructure costs.
We understood that as an enterprise software solution, Care Link would need to consider another user: the "chooser", directors in these long-term care facilities. Consequently, with the new user in mind, we had to find a revenue stream that would benefit both our business and the facility that we would be working with.
Conclusively, Care Link would adopt a Price Per Seat solution, which would allow for us to retain flexibility of our pricing rates in reflecting the number of people using the software.
Finding the Right User: Why Facility Caregivers?
Before going into the field, we wanted to flesh out our assumed roles; Formal Caregivers, Assisted Living Facility Directors, and Residents with Alzheimer’s with an Affinity Diagram.
This exercise helps us in defining better research guides for our interviewees. Our affinity diagram consolidated our interpretations of all of the secondary research we’ve conducted thus far.
We observed a strong central theme around the caregiving of Alzheimer’s patients:
Caregiving for Alzheimer’s patients is a constant and ever-changing battle (that only gets worse) for everyone involved.
Bringing our Assumptions to the Field
Once we had a better understanding of caregivers from our secondary research, we went out to interview and observe caregivers working in the field. We use our assumptions to guide us in creating research questions and success metrics.
Our Key Insight
Caregivers working in assisted living facilities have twice the amount of residents they’re responsible for as opposed to their counterparts working in memory care facilities; who are often more trained as well.
Assisted Living Facilities
Structured more for general needs and activities of elderly residents.
Has less regulations and typically cheaper in fees.
Caregivers are not required to have basic nursing training.
Memory Care Facilities
Accepts less residents
Provides more specific clinical services to upper stage Alzheimer's recipients
Caregivers are required to have basic nursing training.
From the data that we had gathered, we came up with patterns that we found to be relevant to the subject matter. The behavioral continuum helped us in consolidating qualitative data and giving us the means to quantify them.
Behavioral Clusters Identified
We based our personas on 2 key clusters that we discovered from our behavioral continuum.
Our primary person would be based on Angeline and Lakesha, while our secondary person would be based on Virginia and Rosann.
After spotting distinct behavioral clusters of our interviewees, we had the characteristics we needed to outline two personas that have now been validated by both primary and secondary research.
Field Research Tools
Before going out into testing with our users, we created cue cards as a form of tool in accordance to Steve Krug's rules on, making sure we do not lead them into an answer. Instead, we prompted them with questions, and scenarios.
Iterative Design Process
Round One: User Testing Results
Our user failed in 2 out of the 7 tasks we gave her.
There was low discoverability for the task of “Taking an Audio Note”, and some feasibility issue with our first iteration of “Lesson Plans”. Other key insights to note for are as follows:
After our first round of user testing, we decided to replace our hardware, introduce time stamps, and made our lesson plans more time-sensitive.
Round Two: User Testing Results
We lucked out and got an Expert (IT administrator at a new facility) to be our next user tester.
Having an expert who understands the current needs of our end users (caregivers) and the limitations of the current technology really streamlined our process. We had clear, actionable feedback from him that we used to iterate into the next round.
The direct consequence of our user testing with him led to the simplification of our service offerings.
Round Three: User Testing Results
They’re still worried about privacy issues, wanted more real-time help, and wanted to know more about who they’re caring for.
Introduced more real-time assistance and introduced more HIPAA-compliancy safeguards, including looking into the cloud hosting we would have to use.
Follow the full process
I’m very grateful to have worked on this project as it has led me to the kind of designer I am today. I realized the importance and the skill it requires to gather insights from the field and how meaningful design can be in changing the lives of our users, when it’s done right.