We were inspired by feedback from patients at Weill Cornell's Radiology waiting rooms. There was a common privacy concern about having names and medical exam details called out when patients were told to approach the front desk. We saw an opportunity to improve this experience: it would be great if we built an app that handled the notification process for each individual patient smoothly.
How it works
The app is optimized to run on the iPad. Upon patient check-in, medical staff will set an iPad to display that patient's appointment. This iPad is then given to the patient, who can check the exam status, send in-app messages to staff, and also consult exam info-media on their medical appointment while they're waiting. When staff is ready for this appointment, a push notification will be sent to the patient, resulting in an app color-theme change and sound cue. The patient will then return the iPad to the front desk and proceed with their exam. Lastly, staff can easily setup the returned iPad for another patient.
Challenges we ran into
We wanted to keep the interface simple, to make the experience easier for those patients who are not familiar with technology. For example, from feedback, we had to increase font-size in order to make them easily readable for older patients.
Picking a good cross-platform development package vs. prioritizing prototype development speed; in the end, we decided to settle with the rather new Meteor web application framework over standard options like Angular.js
Implementation challenges: getting Enterprise iOS app distribution to work correctly, configuring apple push notifications to work a prebuilt Meteor package, getting in-app message sounds to play correctly through Cordova on message receipt.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
In just two months, we went full-cycle: from initial app idea, to specification and design, to implementation, iteration, and finally testing and demo. Our team had a diverse background but worked really well together: we had a doctor from Radiology, two graduate students in healthcare administration and bio-medical engineering , and a full-time and student app developer.
We have deployed a working iOS app to a website and iOS iPads and have received enthusiastic feedback. We have reactive updating of patient exam status, and notifications work flawlessly. On the staff side, staff can click a simple checkbox to update a patient's exam status. When the exam is ready, regardless of whether Daisy or another app is running, or whether the iPad is locked, an Apple Push Notification, coupled with a sound cue, makes sure they know the exam is ready. Additionally, upon switching back to Daisy, the yellow color theme on the patient's device will switch to green to further emphasize the exam status.
What we learned
One thing was how easy it was to gloss over design details and make implicit assumptions. Often times, we found user feedback invaluable in helping us optimize the UI design and experience.
Meteor had its pros and cons. On one hand, it gave us very convenient features, such as full-stack reactivity and latency compensation. On the other hand, its relatively new status meant more advanced features (such as integration with push notifications, UI components, and Cordova) were undocumented or unimplemented, and required a lot more time to figure out and implement from scratch.
What's next for Daisy Patient Companion App
Extending the app to let patients fill out paperwork and identify themselves electronically Incorporate post visit instructions, follow-up visit reminders, and patient satisfaction surveys Integration with Weill Cornell's scheduling system to optimize cross-site patient allocation Implementation of security measures to protect the iPad itself from theft
For contest judges, see submission document for app download URL. For all others, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a demo.