The European “Blueprint on Digital Transformation of Health and Care for the Ageing Society ” reflects the common policy vision of European policy makers, civil society, professional organisations and industry. The Blueprint has focused on the identification of heath and care needs of the population using a “personas” approach. By creating the personas, it helps to immediately understand users’ needs, experiences, behaviors and goals, thereby increasing the recognition that people have different needs, expectations, and health related problems. As a consequence, this helps in identifying which health intervention could be designed for the user, but also which services, products, or health interventions might be the most preferable health intervention for this persona. Of course, personas do not describe real people, but you compose your personas based on real world data collected from multiple individuals.
In the design thinking process, designers often start with creating personas, but overlook potential benefits of including the results from cost-effectiveness analyses. Integrating these personas with the outcomes from cost-effectiveness analyses for specific services, products, or health interventions that have been conducted and might be applicable to the persona in question, could help to develop an even more sound narrative because it can not only result in increasing the understanding of the personas and their individual needs, experiences, behaviors and goals, but also which intervention could be the most effective one to select to create a good user experience and effective intervention for the persona.
What we can do to integrate the personas with cost-effectiveness analyses:
Based on these steps, we have formulated the following example on how to integrate MAFEIP with the developed personas within WE4AHA.
Nikos: a prototype for using MAFEIP-outcomes for personas
Nikos is a 50-year-old plumber who lives with his wife in an urban area in Greece. He was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (diabetes, abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure) and a mild lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - COPD). He feels overwhelmed by the changes required to effectively manage his conditions. His job was affected by a financial crisis in Greece, and he now has to work more hours to make up for it. He is currently unable to afford professional advice and support to take part in a better diet and exercise regimen. Considering that Nikos has a moderate affinity to new technologies and digital health literacy, and is not using ICT for assistance, health technology tools could be a cost-effective assistance to Nikos. Technological tools could help Nikos to overcome feeling stressed with managing a daily healthy lifestyle and with having too many different medications. Important is that types of help or educational programmes should be affordable. In addition, health care professional specialists live too far away to have regular meetings, so telemedicine technologies would be very beneficial for Nikos.
Using evidence from the cost-effectiveness analysis with the MAFEIP-tool, more specific the projects Do CHANGE, United4Health and Renewing Health, different technological interventions can be used to support Nikos in improving his health. For example, Do CHANGE and United4Health have shown that providing patients with high blood pressure with a set of tools and services to optimally monitor and manage in near real-time their health condition and disease, is more effective and cheaper than usual care. More specific, the outcomes of the United4Health project showed that patients who received telemonitoring were 3.6 times less likely to be hospitalised compared to patients who did not receive the tools. In addition, Renewing Health showed that telemedicine treatment of chronic patients suffering from diabetes, COPD or cardiovascular diseases is more effective, but also more expensive, than the current standard care. Considering the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is less than the willingness to pay, the telemedicine treatment of chronic patients is something that could be useful to Nikos and reduces overall healthcare costs in general.
These technological interventions will support Nikos to reduce the health concerns with regard to diabetes, hypertension and mild COPD, which is very important taking into account that he has a family history of cardiovascular disease. In addition, it will help him to stop smoking and reduce his stress with managing a healthier lifestyle. Overall, these technological interventions will reduce the overall healthcare costs and improve Nikos’ healthy ageing.