Baby Steps LA App
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA), a top ranking children’s hospital in the US, set out to understand what variables prevented parents from pursuing follow up care after their child is discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Critical Care Unit (NICCU). CHLA’s research findings indicated that the complexity of the discharge process, along with the emotional stress of the transition from the NICCU to home, makes it difficult for parents to absorb important information about their baby’s diagnosis, medication, and care.
Lack of health literacy creates significant barriers to follow up care for families during and after the discharge process. Having discovered a need for a new way to support and empower NICCU staff and parents of NICCU babies, CHLA challenged Sidebench to design a product that would help them throughout the emotional experience of moving from hospital to home. Using the initial research provided by CHLA in addition to our extensive observations and findings, we determined that a NICCU navigation app would be the perfect solution to the needs we uncovered.
In order to understand the journey that new parents and NICCU staff members go through during the NICCU experience, we conducted thorough user research and used research frameworks including but not limited to: Clinical observation, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) observation, US Social Security Administration observation, the POEMS framework, Focus groups, and Care Mapping.
After completing these observations and interviews we ended up with a copious quantity of notes. We chose to use the affinity diagram method as it acts as an effective graphic tool for organizing large amounts of data into salient themes. We entered our affinity diagram workshop meeting with the transcripts of our four focus group sessions. Two hours and 200 sticky notes later, we had identified themes to guide our designs. In addition to the affinity diagram, we compiled observations into user personas for us to use as a guiding light about our new moms and other caregivers.
- Trusted CHLA curated content is readily available on the app, and NICCU staff members are present during discharge to help “favorite” content for each family, to best cater to the needs of each family’s NICCU baby.
- Each baby’s diagnosis, doctors, and prescribed medications are added to their profile, enabling parents to remember important information about their baby’s diagnosis and treatment when communicating with different care teams about their baby’s health.
- Predefined checklists or ‘To Do’s’ are an excellent source of consolidated information for parents who may not have been able to remember all of the next steps for their babies from the discharge process.