Facilitating Access to Community Support for People with Parkinson’s Disease through Co-design of mHealth Technology
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Optimal treatment for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) consists of combined approach between medication, lifestyle accommodations and adjuvant treatments, such as therapies. This project aimed at addressing the lack of available resources to facilitate discovering and finding adjuvant therapies in their community. A human-centered design (HCD) process was conducted using three methods: Online survey (n=79), Semi-structured interviews (n=20) and a Co-design session (n=6). Thematic analysis was conducted on survey and interview results to develop themes and categories that informed the formulation of the co-design activity. Subsequently, the co-design session brought together all insights to brainstorm ideas for a design concept. Results from the survey and interviews show that community support is perceived as a complex network that can encompass local outreach and representation, and companionship and goals alignment, showing an affinity for community networks of varying scales; strategies for accessing community support are limited by a lack of mechanisms beyond word of mouth, advertisement and finite technology proficiency. Results from the co-design session proposed ways of providing information in a condensed form and in a way that is comprehensive of user’s (people with PD) preferences. The final result is a proof-of-concept prototype of an application for desktop and tablet that can be interacted by touch and voice, that provides the user with thumbnails of information about the available therapy groups in their area, by specifying their preferences for type of group and closeness. Evaluation methods and future steps are then discussed.