Good news from ICT4Life end-users partners: the researchers of APM, UPECS and E-Sen have achieved ambitious quantitative results during the field work: 315 users have been involved from October 2016 until December 2017 in the testing of the ICT4Life system! In particular, the testing in Spain, Hungary and France focused on the ICT4Life mobile app and Smart TV app for patients and caregivers and on the web platform for health professionals.
Over the second iterative testing phase of the project (July-December 2017), the end-users researchers doubled their efforts in by involving a high number of users and gathering relevant feedback for the evaluation of the technology thanks to three different testing techniques: the Deep testing, the Focus groups and the Collective testing labs. They not only allowed achieving satisfactory results in terms of quantitative data, but also having a wider number of qualitative feedbacks about the tested technologies from the three main users groups, offering a number of cases high enough to perform reliable statistical analysis.
The Deep testing is a technique that had also been used during the first iterative testing phase, which allows the researchers to assess thoughtfully the iCT4Life components tested by the users. Regarding the Focus groups, thanks to this technique the researchers gave the users the opportunity to discuss openly and in a relaxed environment: by talking in groups they exchanges ideas and made constructive propositions for the improvement of the different ICT4Life components. Finally, during the Collective testing labs, the researchers presented the ICT4Life project and showed them the interaction with its components, which allowed collecting a general feedback about the ICT4Life system.
The main results achieved through these three techniques are remarkable and represent a solid base for further improvements of the ICT4Life technology. During the second iterative testing phase, the research team gathered the following main findings:
- The users confirmed a high acceptance of the co-design process and welcomed the fact that the tested components of the ICT4Life system have been improved and corrected according to the feedback they provided over the different testing sessions both in terms of usability and accessibility.
- The users gave a positive feedback on the general ICT4Life concept, that according to them would help improving the patients’ and caregivers’ quality of life and would support health professionals in saving time during their professional practices.
- The mobile app received a good feedback both from the patients and the caregivers; they would feel reassured by the fact that ICT4Life would provide a good monitoring of the patients’ health conditions thanks to the sharing of information with the health professionals.
- According to the patients’ feedback, the cognitive games on the Smart TV app are easy to use and can also foster interaction by playing them with other users; therefore they are the patients’ favourite components of the ICT4Life system.
- The users agreed on the fact that ICT4Life may have a major impact on patients’ empowerment, since the patients would manage their own appointments, medicines and documents through the mobile app.
- Also the caregivers gave an interesting feedback about the mobile app; they think that the ICT4Life Social Communication Service would facilitate the communication with the health professionals and with other caregivers and the Library may help them to know better the symptoms and the diseases of their loved ones. They also appreciated the calendar and the list of medicines reminding them the patients’ treatment and appointments.
- The health professionals argued that ICT4Life can help them to save time and money in terms of communication with the people involved in the patients’ care. However they warned about the fact that the ICT4Life system must be used by all the people involved in the care of a patient to be really useful and functional.
- Finally, the researchers noticed that the success in the use of the ICT4Life components is strongly correlated to the users’ ICT skills and to the patients’ stage of the disease. Therefore, according to the caregivers and the health professionals the early stage patients would benefit the most from ICT4Life.
ICT4LIFE IS MOVING TO A NEW STEP
We are now preparing for the Pilots Phase in three pilot sites namely Spain, France and Hungary, with several patients in order to test and fine-tuned the technology. Indeed, it is essential to deploy the ICT4Life system and verify its technological and social acceptance in real conditions within controlled pilots.
The Pilots will consider three scenario and will take place in a rehabilitation centre (Madrid), in three day care centres (Madrid, Pécs and Paris) and in six patient’s homes (Madrid, Pécs and Paris). One common methodology and research book are applied to allow the comparation of results. The choice of an iterative testing process aims to get incremental feedback and support an adapted development.
Thanks to users feedbacks and validation of the pilots application and prototype interfaces, recommendations will be issued. The project will be adapted (according for example to languages and cultural environments) and improvements on its design will be achieved.