Many IT applications have been developed to support people with dementia and their family and formal caregivers. Unfortunately, many IT applications are not used by them because they do not match their needs and capacities. Therefore, in our study, involving network members and inclusion of people with dementia in the development and design process are key features.
Currently, we are busy doing interviews with the end-users to gather their feedback on our first draft of the MedGUIDE tool. Different scenarios for the tool are tested in subgroups by: people with dementia, informal and formal carers. These scenarios are based on the needs-assessments which were done before with these groups. Furthermore, the end-user requirements document was finalized in November 2017 and to speed up the process we have immediately started with the scenario-testing of the first draft of MedGUIDE tool.
Although involvement of end-users in developing eHealth technologies still is not self-evident, we consider involvement of end-users as one of the key factors for developing a user-friendly and usable IT application. Too many IT applications have been developed without ever being used. MedGUIDE will also be tested in daily practice during a pilot project. Earlier a website for people with dementia was developed together with them and their family carers (Kort, van Hoof 2014). In a recent literature review on developing e-Health technology for people with dementia (Span, 2013) the following conclusions were drawn, which are supportive to the aims of MedGUIDE:
– People with dementia can participate in development processes and provide useful feedback on IT applications;
– Involving people with dementia in development processes (as co-designers) leads to better IT applications;
– Involving people with dementia in development processes may have empowering effects on them;
– Researchers, designers and clinicians are advised to elaborate on how they want to involve people with dementia in development processes of supportive IT applications.
The protocol of the needs- and user-assessment of MedGUIDE is available for all who are interested. The results were described and are now available in scenarios and are the input of the first wireframes. We will share our experiences in these blogs, in the reports and products of this project and we have the ambition to write a scientific paper about our experiences with co-designing the MedGUIDE IT with involvement of the people with dementia and the formal and informal caregivers.
Because we adopt the conclusion that to develop valuable, user-friendly, supportive IT applications that increase the quality of life of people with dementia involvement of people with dementia in all phases of the development process is of great importance.