Monitoring and helping patients with COPD

Inhaler app

About the Project

COPD is a chronic lung disease which severely impairs a persons ability to live a normal life. Research conducted has shown that patients are either incorrectly using their inhalers or incorrectly using the wrong medication at the wrong time. Unfortunately there is no cure for COPD and the symptoms worsen over time. The medication is used to slow the decline of the symptoms.
The concept was to create a product that would enable good adherence to medication and allow patients to manage their condition more effectively and to help enable patients to have a more comfortable life and enjoy daily tasks.

Web Design, UX / UI

The Brief

Helping patients manage their condition

The brief was to create a partner app to a smart inhaler, that would initially be used to help patients with COPD. From the user research conducted, the challenge was to create an app which would become part of a daily medication routine. The app should be able to give live feedback to the patient and help them manage their condition.

A focus group was help with current patients aged between 55-80 and nurses. As the disease predominantly affects smokers, the primary users will be between 55-65. The aim of the session was to gain insight into some of the daily difficulties which patients have and how an app might help them.

Some initial ideas where shared and discussed. The overall feedback was that patients are struggling with everyday activities and to keep track of which medications to take and when. As COPD was only one of many conditions that most patients have often symptoms where compounded.

Often the primary preventative medication for COPD was taken at the wrong time (or not at all) and alleviation medication was taken the most, which only helps symptoms after they are very restricting. This was an ineffective way of relieving the symptoms of COPD.

The problem was clear, patients just wanted to be able to enjoy everyday activities. The key was how to help patients maintain a good medication regime and relieve the symptoms of COPD. If a good preventative regime is maintained then symptoms will alleviate not only COPD but it will also enable patients to manage their other conditions more effectively. Ultimately it will help the patient feel more confident to enjoy more activities.

Final Result

Combining wearables, inhalers and an app

The final result was to create 2 apps to work with the inhaler. The app would have a smart-watch version that could give real time feedback on activity levels, doses left, times taken, dose reminders, support videos. This data would be useful when monitoring whether the medication was having a positive impact on the patients mobility. This data could then be re-used to give positive reinforcement on good adherence for the user through the phone app and give the user more understanding and control over their condition.

The smart-phone app would give a more detailed breakdown of the users usage and activity level. It would also have the functionality to share medication plans, reminders, activity levels with family members. As this helped patients feel supported and enabled family members to aid in medication adherence.

The real-time feedback from the inhaler and app would also benefit nurses when looking at usage history, to give a better  further diagnosis and follow up treatments.