Project Care: Empowering Elderly Chronic Disease Patients to Better Understand and Manage Their Treatment Plans Through Enhanced Patient-Centric Services and Systems

2019-07-10T19:12:40Z (GMT) by Suzanne Choi Laura Rodriguez-eng
The purpose of this thesis project was to explore the relationship and communication between physicians, patients, and caregivers, and reexamine the implementation strategies for post-acute care treatment plans. Our goals were to understand (1) the difficulties that elderly patients with chronic conditions face (2) to design an intervention that would help them to better understand, implement, and manage their chronic conditions at home. The risk of developing a chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, is based on both genetic makeup and lifestyle behaviors. While individuals are not able to control their genetic predisposition, it is widely known that common lifestyle behaviors, such as exercise and diet, can contribute to the reduced risk of the development and progression of chronic diseases. Effectiveness of communication and individualized planning greatly influence a patient’s motivation and ability to adhere to their treatment plans at home. However, due to the limited appointment time and infrequent interactions, healthcare providers struggle to gain a holistic understanding of their patients resulting in treatments and care that can feel impersonal. Based on this we looked to address “how might we empower elderly chronic patients to better understand and manage their treatment plan at home?” Through research and design, we discovered it starts by improving the patient-physician relationship through patient-centric services and systems that allow greater autonomy in their treatment plans, health, and lifestyles. Our project, Care Clinic, is a reimagining of the primary care clinic check-in process and waiting room experience. With digital touch points and a welcoming environment, Care Clinic provides an opportunity to gain a holistic picture of the patient, while encouraging positive and supportive social interactions, with the ultimate goal of improving the patient’s receptiveness, attitude and impression of their overall care.

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