Nudge helps care providers schedule text messages to be sent to their patients automatically, and view and track responses.
More About This Project
It’s hard to take care of ourselves. We get support from care providers, such as doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and social workers, when we need extra help. But we usually have to go to their offices, and our interactions are by-and-large limited to the time we meet with them during appointments. We see them, they give us a diagnosis and treatment plan, and then we’re left on our own to do the hard work of actually getting better. It’s no surprise then that one in two patients don’t fully adhere to their treatment plans—e.g. remember to take their pills consistently, or eat more healthily when they have high cholesterol. Non-adherence to small things can lead to bigger complications that may require more expensive and more life-threatening interventions. Addressing the issue of adherence would be more impactful to the health of our nation today than any single medical treatment breakthrough. The World Health Organization has found that “ongoing communication efforts (e.g. telephone contacts) that keep the patient engaged in health care may be the simplest and most cost-effective strategy for improving adherence.”
Through synthesizing our research, Ryan and I realized that most families—even ones experiencing temporary homelessness—have cell phones, and that most were comfortable texting their friends and family. We knew case managers wanted to check-in with all of their clients every day, but they just didn’t have the time using their current means of phone communication. And we knew that small check-in’s could alert case managers to warning signs in how their clients were doing, and that they could intervene to prevent those small things from snowballing into larger crises.
We came up with Nudge as an online platform that allows care providers to use text messages to automatically check in with their clients or patients on a more frequent basis. Care providers can schedule batches of messages, view replies and data as they came in, and follow-up where necessary. Clients and patients receive the messages on their personal phones and can reply easily.
Our first proof of concept and user testing was done with some of our classmates and friends. We started sending out daily messages that read “How are you feeling? Reply back on a scale of 0 (terrible) to 5 (great).” Reply rates were high, and the messages increased reflection for participants into their own moods and well-being. “Nudge is comforting,” reflected one of our participants. “It makes me happy to know someone is listening.” We knew we were onto something and worked hard to push the design and code for the online interface of the product.
We have since been trying to talk to as many people in the healthcare industry as possible, so we can design with the needs of both care providers and patients in mind. HIPAA is obviously a large concern for medical uses of Nudge, and we are now building in all of the nuts and bolts security and privacy measures that we can.
You can learn more about Nudge at http://patientnudge.com