A new guide from the National Academy of Sciences aims to help information technology designers and developers create applications for consumers to achieve better health at home. It also can assist home health professionals in selecting tools to complement professional home health care services.
Consumer Health Information Technology in the Home: A Guide for Human Factors Design introduces designers and developers to the practical realities and complexities of managing health at home. It discusses the range of people involved in achieving health in everyday living—such as healthy people, those with chronic conditions, people with disabilities, older adults, and children—and the types of health tasks they do, including monitoring blood glucose, exercising to maintain muscle strength, preparing appropriate meals, and changing bandages. It also addresses the physical, social, and community environments of the home and calls for cultural awareness within cultural groups and between them when designing technologies.
A checklist is included to help ensure that equipment and technologies fit the 3 home environments in which health tasks are performed. For example, physical environment considerations examine if the product contains layout templates (to help users choose space wisely) and is durable, waterproof, and easily cleaned. Considerations for social and community environments assess whether the device is inconspicuous, blends into the rest of the home, and allows for both private and shared use.