As elements of healthcare shift from traditional healthcare facilities to the home, and active adults turn to technologies to help them live healthy lifestyles, there are an increasing number of products moving into the market to answer this demand. The goals of these products are broad, but many are intended to provide long-term benefits. Healthcare providers, insurers, home care providers, as well as informal caregivers and the individuals themselves are seeking products that will help them accomplish their goals, whether that means keeping individuals out of the hospital, helping them live healthier lifestyles, or reducing burden in caring for a loved one.
Many of the businesses or consumers who may purchase such products will desire proof of a product's effectiveness or ability to deliver on its claims. They will also consider the likelihood of the end user adopting the product, which may be affected by usability, perceived usefulness, or just the aesthetics of the product. The companies selling a product may run studies to provide this proof upfront to position them better in the market. Alternately, businesses purchasing a large quantity of products may wish to run pilot studies themselves prior to a large equipment investment. In either case, running such a study requires expertise, and recruiting a significant number of participants for such a study would take a considerable amount of time.
In answer to this need, Georgia Tech is creating HomeLab, a network of 550 individuals, age 50 and older, who are willing to use such products in their home over a time period ranging from one month to six months or possibly longer. Relevant information about each individual, including their health, family, and home will be maintained to assist in identifying participants for targeted product research studies.
In addition, Georgia Tech also has the human factors expertise on staff to design, plan, and conduct such studies as well as analyze data, and develop reports on the study findings.
Components of HomeLab
The Home Health Technologies Testbed consists of the following components:
- A managed network of aging adults willing to use your product to provide feedback over a long-term product evaluation period with interviews conducted at critical intervals to provide understanding of changes in use. Information on these individuals regarding health, abilities, and home environment is managed in a secure database to allow fast and more accurate selection in recruiting participants for your study.
- A team of human factors researchers with expertise in conducting focus group studies or individual interviews as well as evaluating products designed for older adults.
- An alpha site (The Aware Home) for short-term usability evaluation of pre-market technologies in an authentic home environment.
- Beta sites (for example, a dedicated apartment in a community) for short-term evaluation of technology products in a controlled home environment and with users from the same community.
- A study support team to perform study planning, IRB protocol development, study management, data analysis, reporting, and co-publication.
Who Might Benefit?
- Companies interested in an independent evaluation of their emerging home health and wellness technology products, pre-market or on the market.
- Insurance companies and healthcare providers interested in evaluating new products for potential inclusion in their business plan.
- Home care providers evaluating new technologies to help them better manage their care.
- How is this product actually used in the home setting over time?
- Is it useful, accepted, and adopted as expected at 1 month, 3 months, or longer?
- Is there room for improvement of the interface or for refinement of the design?
- Does the product perform as expected?
- Will this product meet my clients' needs?
- Product assessment to inform design and to test effectiveness
- Product usability studies
- Study planning
- IRB protocol development
- Study management
- Pre- and post-evaluation interviews
- Product installation
- Data collection and analysis
For More Information
If you are interested in learning more about evaluating products in HomeLab, please contact us.