Intelligent Design Engine for Assisted Living , (i-DEAL)

Lead Research Organisation: Coventry University
Department Name: Health Design and Technology Institute


This proposal focuses on the evaluation of electronic assistive technologies to support industry partners in the design and development of fit for purpose products. This novel approach aims to map technology requirements against end user needs and develop user performance specifications for each product or concept put through the evaluation cycle.The consortium has identified industry partners at the cutting edge of new product development in the growth areas of Assisted Living in the Home and Telemedicine for vital signs monitoring. The consortium believes this will aid in giving industry partners a significant market advantage.The lead and managing role on this project will be undertaken by MedilinkWM. MedilinkWM has identified 4 SMEs working through its existing i-Health activity that will benefit from this area of R & D. The companies approached to join the consortium are technical specialists all with new product developments already planned and with development about to commence.The companies selected characterise the two principal technology areas of:1)Assisted living at home through home automation, environmental control and monitoring 2)Telemedicine, vital signs monitoring and response linked to personal mobile phones and dedicated residential care /home based unitsInitially, a working briefing document will be drawn up explaining the current product and family of products and outlining the user, carer and Service Provider (e.g. PCT, Local Authority etc) input needed. MedilinkWM will engage the stakeholder groups developed, managed and evaluated by HDTI at Coventry University. A user performance specification will be developed for the product/family of products by formal evaluation of stakeholders experiences and views of the product. Evaluation will be based on the inclusive design tool kit, a walk through methodology developed by Ergonova, and focus groups analysed using the middle order approach. The user performance specification will be used to inform the product design cycle, with further usability and field trial evaluations undertaken as part of the product design process. This strategy will be used in the subsequent design cycles to develop market ready and flexible products.Example intervention cycle: Company A has a mobile phone based vital signs monitoring solution. The Smart Phone takes readings from a range of wearable devices including a Bluetooth pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff and ECG unit. The Smart Phone prompts the user when and how to take readings. The user follows the on screen instructions to connect the devices and take the required readings. The readings are automatically sent over the GSM network to a central server for secure reviewing by an appointed clinical expert, in this case the users GP. There are obvious benefits of the phone based system. However the system proposed by Company A in its current form is unusable by up to 70% of the people it would benefit most. Mobile vital signs monitoring would benefit the 55+ age group where long term conditions are more widespread. Users are more likely to have dexterity, sight and cognitive impairments which make interacting with a mobile phone challenging. In this case the phone requires a performance specification of the user; to see the screen, interact with the keypad by pushing the buttons / select options from the touch screen and understand the user interface.In this instance the i-DEAL approach would be to develop a performance specification for the system based on the requirements of the end user's prior to sourcing the phone, writing the software interface and sourcing the peripherals. Once the product development had started (based on the user performance specification,) cycles of usability and field trials would maintain appropriate stakeholder involvement. This approach will help overcome the barriers that prevent a large scale uptake and so lead to a product that is appropriate for the target user group.


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