University of Rochester
Inspiring Healthier Lives Through UX
In August 2012, the School of Nursing at the University of Rochester was looking to build a web-based application for a new strategic directive regarding its various health intervention programs, known as YoURHealth. By implementing a preventative health care plan, the University of Rochester could encourage their employees to lead a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families, while keeping the costs of health care down. The hope was to provide employees with a way to check their current state of health and improve it with informed recommendations based on an online assessment and their personal Biometrics (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc).
One key aspect of this program was an online Personal Health Assessment Survey, along with a biometrics screening to all employees who are eligible based on their health plan. Previously, the University had been provided this service by a health care company, but ultimately were not happy with the results nor the cost. With ITX’s help they now have the technology to pair with their facilities and well-trained clinical staff. This web application transformed the services they provide, initially for University employees and soon after for other organizations in the Rochester area.
According to social scientists, behaviors can’t be coerced, but they can be influenced. Researcher Edward Deci and others have been developing the Self Determination Theory for the last few decades in an attempt to find ways to modify fundamental human behaviors in the context of their health. It has been shown over and over again that this theory can be applied to help people quit smoking, eat better, and get more exercise.
There are three key influencing factors that will get people to change their behaviors over the long run: autonomy, competence and relatedness. Understanding what drives decision making for individual users is a critical step in understanding how to change minds and modify behaviors with technology. This theory was imperative to the success of this application. It was necessary to hone in on the way technology could be used to alter the users’ behavior in order to provide real value to its users
Real Life Application
ITX took this theory and applied it to the technology surrounding the YoURHealth program. With the Personal Health Assessment survey, the University of Rochester School of Nursing is able to create autonomy by giving their users choices around their health and empowered them with information regarding specific medical issues they may be facing. Providing users with solutions to transit problems that are specific to them is a way relatedness is demonstrated. Lastly, we were able to build competence within this solution by providing users with information they can understand. This transparency will go a long way in providing users with the competence they need to make intelligent decisions.
After prioritizing the different phases of this project, the ITX Design team was engaged to help create a solution for YoURHealth that met the functionality needs of the University as well as provided a clean and easy-to-use experience.
They collaborated with the University of Rochester to ensure direction was clear and the goals were understood. We were able to design and create a portal for the Personal Health Assessment that was online and easily accessible to all University employees.
The YoURHealth solutions were built on DNN Evoq Content. This content management system provides the University of Rochester School of Nursing with the ability to easily update and manage the content within their solution.
Initially, the Personal Health Assessment Survey was built with Dynamic Forms, a third party solution that allowed them to meet their deadline and avoid having to renew a year long contract with their former healthcare provider. However, the University had an unmet need for customization and flexibility. At that point, ITX was enlisted to build a Custom Survey Module, thereby providing absolute freedom to the University to make the surveys fit their ever evolving business needs.
The partnership between the University of Rochester and ITX has made a splash in the daily lives of the University employees and other organizations that will use this system. Neither organization wishes to stop here. The University of Rochester understands that the business they provide internally for the University can also help other organizations to improve their members’ health. ITX continues to work on new requirements -month after month- accommodating changes in the business, new features, and enhancing the user experience, all of which result in healthier lives.
Looking to the future, there are already many ideas for improving and creating programs based on the collection of data and the interests of the patients. The continual refinement of these tools inspires a vision of a happy and healthy future. Through ITX’s and the University of Rochester’s partnership, they hope to tell a story of creativity and caring that reaches beyond their initial targets and inspires others to make the choice of leading a healthy life.