Research College PXL

Reporting of user tests

By: R. Lemmens – PXL University of Applied Sciences, Department of Healthcare, Care Innovation Expertise Centre

Framework of the project

The ageing population in Belgium continues to increase, with an estimate of 1.6 million over-65s in Flanders by 2027 (288.00 people (22%) compared to 2017). Elderly people and people with certain conditions such as dementia want to stay at home for as long as possible. Living longer at home is also necessary: due to the ageing population, the socialization of care and the shift from intra- to outpatient care, there is a shortage of places in residential care. However, due to increasing restrictions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay (safely) at home. The use of healthcare technology can help with improving self-reliance, increasing safety and quality of life and keeping care affordable. In addition, healthcare technology can also support caregivers and healthcare professionals who are seeking additional support due to the increased workload. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines healthcare technology as follows: "Application of knowledge skills in the form of devices, procedures or systems to solve a health problem and/or improve the quality of life." Minister Jo Vandeurzen describes in the Flemish Elderly Policy Plan 2015-2020 the role that healthcare technology can play in increasing autonomy, feeling of comfort and ensuring better social inclusion. In this plan he recognizes care technology as a form of support for the elderly, carers and care professionals and indicates that the Flemish government wants to invest in healthcare technology.

There is already a wide range of healthcare technology on the market. In practice, however, this is used very limited in the home situation. The main reasons for this are:

– There is no proper alignment between healthcare technologies and the needs and needs of end-users, making use difficult or hindering in practice.
– Among healthcare professionals and end users, there is too little knowledge about the existence and possibilities of healthcare technology.
– The high cost of healthcare technology, which makes it too expensive for many clients to purchase healthcare technology, especially in relation to the limited useful life.

At PXL University of Applied Sciences, several projects are being done on healthcare technology. Within one of these projects, a number of healthcare technologies have been tested with end users. This provides insight into the needs and needs of end users and their user experiences. Healthcare technologies can be adapted on the basis of these findings. In addition, the information obtained can also be used in informing healthcare professionals and end users about the possibilities of healthcare technology.

Participants and setting

The user tests took place at the UD (Universal Design) Woonlabo in Hasselt. Inclusion criteria were: 1) over 65 years, 2) living at home, 3) presence of a carer. Exclusion criterion was: severe disruption of fine motor skills.

Set up the user test

Tests were carried out with individual participants and their carer. Before this, the participant was given an explanation of the purpose of the user test. Then a short explanation and demonstration of the Compaan was given. After that, the participant and carer were given 5 to 10 minutes to use the Compaan himself. The researcher observed but did not answer any questions. The participant could ask for help from the carer. After this, the participant received some assignments to perform (e.g. view the calendar, play a game, read the message sent by the carer and view the photos). The carer had to send a message to the tablet via the online portal and set up a new agenda item. A maximum of 15 minutes was provided for each assignment. Finally, the questionnaires were completed

"7/10 would (very) like to use the Compaan regularly."