- Access to instant and understandable information. Although the internet offers a lot of information, most of the medical reports are scattered and could be too difficult and time-consuming for patients or even for general physicians, in the case of rare skin diseases such as EB.
- Minimal technical-barrier access. The process of information searching such as operating a computer could be rather challenging for patients with skin problems.
- An instant platform for bridging patients and physicians. Sometimes patients have a symptom that would require a doctor’s attention, while doctors could benefit greatly from a continual update or monitoring of the status of the patients.
- Portable e-secretary. Patient compliance is one of the key factor determining the outcome of the treatment. A portable e-secretary device should greatly enhance patient compliance in this regard.
- Proximal social support. The mental support of the patients is also very important to their overall health. Having access to patients or family with similar disorder may allow the patients to bond and strengthen their mentality.
We propose a mobile app “iAID” that function as an instant, audio-assisted e-secretary to bridge patients and physicians. iAID is designed not only for patients, but also family members, family physicians, and related professionals. Users can have iAID installed on their mobile devices and immediately have instant access to all the services and users, including physicians and patient-community support.
Here, we use, but not limited to, a rare inherited blistering disease “epidermolysis bullosa (EB)” as a model. Patients with EB have life-long blisters forming on their skins, which cause tremendous discomforts in any skin-related activities such as dressing or showering. Some forms of EB are associated with morbidity and increased mortality. Currently there is no effective treatment, and the best practice for EB include multi-disciplinary care to provide comprehensive healthcare and social welfare support. Apart from seeking for a cure, a platform that provides all-around aids from mental, social, and health network could greatly improve the living quality of the patients and their families.
As described in the THE CHALLENGE, a lot still remains to be desired in patient care. iAID is designed according to the unmet need to provide solutions as described in the following:
- Instant access to organized and understandable information. iAID provides organized information according to the need of the users. For example, regular newsletters for general users, information related to all the know-how’s of wound care for patients, while physicians receive the most up-to-date literatures. All of this just one click away from the app.
- Audio-assisted access and command. A lot of patients with skin problems would have difficulties operating and clicking the mobile device, while physicians may struggle with time to search and read. One key feature of iAID is Audio-assisted access and command, where users can voice-command any operation, and have the newsletter reported in audio. This would greatly reduce the technical barrier required for all users, and increase its usage rate.
- iCloud and social network platform for bridging, tracking, and monitoring all users. Combing iCloud technology and social network, users can record, capture, text, and store any voice messages, photos of the skin, text messages or track records to iCloud or the physicians. Physicians could also contact or reply patients, monitor patient status, or retrieve history records instantly. This platform will bridge patients and physicians and improve healthcare and communication much more effectively.
- Portable e-secretary for all notifications and reminders. All the appointments, meetings, medications, treatments, and examinations can be scheduled and reminded. This simple function could enhance patients compliance tremendously, while at the same time provide feedback to the physicians.
- Online community building and instant social support. iAID has built-in GPS system that allow users to locate nearby clinics, hospitals, or even other users that could provide social support. In addition, the iCloud and network mentioned earlier could also serve as a platform for patients and families to share their stories and feelings, which would further strengthen the mental support for the patients.
Success Criteria and Evaluation
- Satisfaction survey: a survey of satisfaction from users; the response and suggestions from users
- Frequency: The frequency of APP use through daily medical audio and photo record, the discussion on the blog, the amount of oral message left from patients
- The experience sharing conference: medical students will report their experience of caring nearby patients and GP will report new diagnosed EB patient through the help by “iAID”
- Medical Record: the audio record of international conference
- Prognosis of wound condition: to evaluate the wound condition in the group of patients who used “iAID” compared with a control group.
- Accuracy: to evaluate the prescription error rates and diagnosis errors in the group of physicians who used “iAID” compared with a control group.
- Education outcome: the accuracy of weekly questionnaire mailed to GP and patients