If you haven’t checked it out, please stop over and Chuck and I’s site – www.wecallitboost.com. We are designing an app to help families coordinating caregiving tasks. A large part of caregiving is staying on top of everything that needs to happen, both for the care receiver and the care giver. In a typically stressful environment, family caregivers may tend to become isolated and retract from getting the help they need and deserve. We’re here to help them get the support they need from their network, and to make that coordination as easy as possible. One way we are doing that is through automated SMS sign-up and confirmation.
This past week, we began piloting, with Chuck and I as the system. Why pilot you may ask? To make sure we get the system interaction right. And in a very cost effective and fun manner, we learned a lot about how to improve the initial interaction model. Six actual caregivers posing as care helpers received texts regarding activity “asks” such as taking Grandma to PT, visiting, or buying her a sweater. They then had to respond “y” or “n” and could check task details by following a link to a hosted image page of the fake task. After accepting (or declining), we sent confirmation texts 24 hours in advance of the supposed task due date to reconfirm their commitment. The day after, we sent texts asking for updates that would be posted to the system for all to see (imagining use of the actual app by a core team of helpers).
For one, we learned that we will need to plan for uncertainly – helpers will invariably want more information, and there has to be a text option for “?”, at this point, which will likely direct a text to the primary caregiver to determine how to answer.
The goal is to take as much of the matching and explanation responsibility OFF the caregiver, which we intend to do through smart hints when creating tasks, and well as a redesigned message that may include key components of the task in addition to the name.