Musculoskeletal (MSK) clinicians and healthcare professionals face many pressures on the time allotted to them to assist patients. Experiencing these pressures firsthand, Cathal Malone approached the Digital Health Accelerator South West with the idea to develop a new digital tool that would enable and empower patients to take greater control over their MSK diagnosis. After securing funding to design and develop the MSK Assist app, he approached Createful to help ideate, test and produce a robust solution.
In order to maximise the impact of the initial round of funding awarded to Cathal and the MSK assist team, we set about designing a prototype of the app. The aim of this was to run a suite of user tests to ensure “real” patients were able to successfully navigate the app. This would provide us with the necessary feedback to further develop the app into something we knew could hit the ground running.
The user tests were carried out in the client’s own offices, with patients who were actively undergoing treatment plans. We used tracking software installed on a mobile phone to monitor audio and video feedback of the patient using the app in real-time, while asking them to carry out various actions within the app. We monitored progress remotely from another room, in order to make sure the users didn’t feel under pressure to perform or do things in a certain way.
This method of capturing feedback proved hugely successful, and the responses were collated and fed back to the client with rationale and recommendations on proposed changes to the prototype. These in turn formed the basis of the technical documentation for the development of the app, eliminating any guesswork or assumptions as we moved into the next stage of the project.
The user tests were carried out in the client’s own offices, with patients who were actively undergoing treatment plans. This method of capturing feedback proved hugely successful, and the responses were collated and fed back to the client with rationale and recommendations on proposed changes to the prototype.
MSK assist is a digital platform created by musculoskeletal specialists and patients to provide the best information, videos and exercises to help patients effectively manage their musculoskeletal problems. The platform aims to reduce referral numbers to musculoskeletal services, wait times, repeat appointment numbers and incur significant service cost savings.
The mobile app provides patients with a detailed, easy to understand digital copy of their treatment plan, along with exercise videos, information about the diagnosis, treatments, options discussed and investigations. Using push notifications through the app, patients are gently reminded to complete outcome measure questionnaires and to report back any exercises they have completed allowing the patient and clinician to track recovery progress.
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