To gain a better understanding of the challenges and frustrations patients face in managing heart failure, the Fellows have decided to embark on a two-week simulation.
One of the most important design thinking tools for needfinding is to develop a sense of empathy with those for whom we're designing. By taking a short walk in the shoes of heart failure patients, we hope to gain a visceral understanding of the everyday trials their condition puts them through.
Here are some of the questions we would like to explore during this trial:
What are the best methods to organize medications to ensure taking them on time?
How do people keep track of which medications they are currently on and which are changed during doctor visits?
How do people remember to keep track of their weights?
How can people integrate more walking into their daily lives?
Which resources do we use to monitor medication management and specific dietary plans? Where are there gaps in resources?
How do people keep track of the amount of sodium and liquid they have consumed?
How do people plan their meals ahead when they will be out of the house and do not have total control over the food (i.e. eating at restaurants)?
How do people manage their specific dietary needs when eating meals in various social settings?
How do people keep track of nutrition when items are not individually packaged or clearly marked?
What are the most frustrating aspects of developing new, daily habits? Which habits are hardest to break?
What tricks and tips make it easier to follow special dietary plans?
What are the most difficult aspects of adhering to a treatment plan? When are people most likely to deviate from their intended plan?
Are there any rewarding aspects of complying with a treatment plan?
Our plan was created with help from a cardiologist, Dr. Kapil Parakh, and is as follows:
B. Exercise Plan
20-40 minutes, three to six times per week, of non-strenuous exercise (brisk walking)
C. Eating Plan
Less than 2,000 mg of sodium / day
No more than two liters of water / day
No more than two alcoholic drinks / day (max per day)
Our quantities / type / frequency of medications can change at any point, as directed by Dr. Parakh (short-term or long-term)
All medications will only be referred to by their official name
It is important to note that medication management and lifestyle changes are not necessarily the most difficult aspects of living with heart failure. As we are unable to simulate symptoms and hardships of coping with the disease, we will continue to explore these challenges through the design-thinking techniques of interviews and detailed observation. We will do our best to understand the patient perspective as we continue to engage with the patients and the communities.