Another of our third year projects was a live brief with the NHS. Given the opportunity to design for any sector within healthcare, but to achieve the same brief – improving health literacy. I decided to tackle Dementia again, as it is something close to my heart, and attempt to reduce the anxiety and confusion that comes with the disease while creating a reminder device for taking medication.
We were able to sit in on meetings with GP’s and members of the NHS to ask them questions relating to health literacy and general patient care and difficulties that occur such as jargon or lack of understandings. This helped with my core research, and led me to speak to some carers that specialised in looking after elderly patients in their homes with diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s – one patient case study in particular. This primary research gave me a much broader understanding of what basic functionalities can be a struggle, what patients like this find comfort in or what aids in their confusion, and methods that are already in place to act as reminders.
So I began with a lot of sketching and iteration while deciphering exactly what I wanted the device to do. I wanted to avoid the patient using an electronic device as much as possible and leave most of the modern technology to the careers and younger generations so not to add confusion for the patient. I came to the conclusion that I wanted my product to work alongside pharmaceutical blister packs, that patients through the NHS currently get pre packaged with medication and delivered to homes. I wanted to familiar nostalgic music to engage their attention and video reminders recorded by loved ones to provide comfort and lessen anxiety, to be displayed alongside their medication. I wanted the screen to also provide information about the medication in case the patients has forgotten why they need to take them, this way avoiding and defiance. And lastly I wanted it to be able to record all the information included, whether the patient is taking them, on time etc. and send this back to the pharmacy, to improve reliability of feedback for further doctors/carer’s visits.
Making this visual prototype gave me more experience in my cardboard modelling, woodworking, and paint finishing, as well as having the amazing opportunity to show this in an exhibition. I received some wonderful feedback and learned so much from the project.