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Carebuddy

Future-proofing the youth patient experience

In the US, over 50% of youth with physical illnesses face an increased risk of mental illness. Healthcare has followed a disease-centered approach, focused on the diagnosis and treatment of a specific condition. Patients typically receive advice from specialists and medication regimens that adhere to standardized norms. However, in this conventional model, the patient's input is mostly limited to self-reports on health conditions, and they are often unaware of their clinical progress until the next review or during health crisis.

To combat this problem, we created CareBuddy. We dug deep into the youth patients' with chronic conditions care experience, their goals and preferences, and their medical system to unearth opportunities to improve their well-being. 

My Role

Strategic Designer
UX Researcher
Facilitator

Methods

Ethnographic Research
Qualitative Interviews
Data Synthesis
Prototyping

Team

Camila Ordonez
Maria Shanina
Celine Opoku

Partner

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1. Immersion into the Youth-Patient Experience

NYULH presented an extensive brief depicting the problem framework and key goals for our project. In summary:

THE CHALLENGE

Enhance the youth patients' experience at NYU Langone Health (NYULH) by addressing their goals and preferences.

THE GOAL

Future-proof the experience of youth patients at NYULH by designing a comprehensive and innovative solution in response to their need.

THE USER

The target persona​ is youth patients with chronic conditions between ages 11 - 18 residing in the New York Tri-State area. 

Our initial approach was to identify stakeholders and patterns in the patient ecosystem, conduct in-depth literature reviews on healthcare reports and case studies understanding the landscape of youth patient care. Realizing how youth patients with chronic conditions rely more heavily on the system, we decided to frame our project around this target audience. 

In this way, our new design challenge became:

How might we future-proof the experience of youth patients with chronic conditions at NYULH by addressing their goals and preferences?

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Secondary Research

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Stakeholder Map of Youth Patients at NYULH

2. A Patient-Centered Approach to Holistic Healthcare

We identified 12 hospitals around the United States with Youth Advisory Councils (YACs), to execute user interviews (including NYULH). After connecting with all YACs, we were able to understand the psychological, social, behavioral, and physical implications for youth patients with chronic conditions as well as how we could refine their experience in a way that actually addressed the specific challenges of our target group.

We transformed our interview findings into insights leveraging affinity, empathy, and journey maps. This allowed us to create a comprehensive picture of their lives, especially in the context of frequent hospital and healthcare interactions.

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Affinity Map Key Findings

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Insights

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Empathy Map

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User Journey Map

Design research revealed the need to rethink holistic healthcare and position mental and behavioral health in the front and center for youth patient care.   

Social and emotional well-being is the main driver for the successful management and care for youth patients with acute and chronic conditions.

3. Concept Co-Creation and Design

Following youth patients' insights, we assessed risks and established design criteria specific to our intervention. This lede us to come up with a model that would potentially solve for the patients' pain points.

The concept - CareBuddy - is a digital and physical experience that future-proofs healthcare as youth patients receive & give support and directly track/manage their physical and mental health. 

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Design Criteria

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Risky Assumption Canvas

CareBuddy

Digital Experience

In-Person Workshop

Mixed Reality Integration

Data Accessibility

Mental Health

Social & Emotional Well-being

Workshop Experience

- Workshop view & sign-up

- Reminder to attend

- Follow-up with educational content

Additional Features:

- Health timeline

- Medical records

- Resources

- Ask a question

- Connected to the NYU App

- Learn about their chronic conditions

- Understand the impact of their conditions on their physical & mental health

- Develop coping mechanisms for managing their conditions

- Build relationships with other youth patients who understand what they are going through

Concept and Value Proposition of Carebuddy

4. Prototype

Digital Experience

5. Testing and Feedback

When testing the digital prototype of Carebuddy with our target group, they corroborated the product-market fit of our solution. Some commented how:

"You really need something new and exciting, not another boring app. Carebuddy is just that." 

"It's like a best friend and therapist at once. It looks like I can learn new ways to manage my asthma and even pick up some mindfulness tricks."

"Living with diabetes can be tricky, but this tracker? Total game-changer. My daily check-ins keep me winning at the physical and mental game! It's not just tracking; it's a supportive community helping me navigate the highs and lows."

6. Outcome

CareBuddy future-proofs the holistic care experience by providing a space in which youth patients with chronic conditions can feel emotionally supported and also manage their symptoms. This prototype was presented to the NYU Langone Health FuturePractice team in May 2023 and is currently being implemented to enhance the youth patient experience across the hospital's services and programs.

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My Role

Research 

Created a primary investigation plan to gather findings from youth patients with chronic conditions; led interviews with Youth Patient Advocacy Groups from hospitals around the US.

Analysis 

Synthesized research outcomes; consolidated insights, user profiles, patient journeys and identified key areas of intervention for ideation through Stakeholder, Affinity & Journey Mapping, and Design Criteria frameworks.

Ideation & Prototyping 

Created the idea of a mixed reality experience that transforms the way youth patients manage their health by addressing their patient experience, goals, preferences, and the intricacies of the medical system while ensuring they can build a supportive community.

About NYU Langone Health

NYU Langone Health's (NYULH) FuturePractice is the innovation branch within the Department of Medical Center Information Technology, constituting an interdisciplinary team dedicated to advancing clinical innovation and shaping the youth's healthcare experience of tomorrow. The project began with the urging a paradigm shift in clinical care towards youth patient goals and preferences, signifying a departure from traditional disease-centered approaches. Rooted in the belief that patient engagement and satisfaction could be heightened through a holistic, goal-driven model, the brief sought to lay the groundwork for a transformative journey within the expansive network of NYULH.

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