Human-centered design to improve quality of life in ostomy patients by connected technology

Karen Anaid Solis Gonzalez karen@11health.com

Abstract

About 100,000 surgeries performed in the United States result in a colostomy or ileostomy (Goldberg et al., 2010 as cited in Leal de Alencar Luz & Barros Araujo Luz, 2014). And even when there is no accurate statistics, approximately 1.5 – 2 million live as ostomates. At this moment, life expectancy is greater although chronic illness rates are on the rise due to unhealthy lifestyles such as the lack of regular physical activity, bad nutrition, inadequate stress management, etc. Accidents and violence can lead to surgeries which, in turn, result in an ostomy (Leal de Alencar & Barros Araujo, 2014). Ostomies may be performed by bowel or urinary diversion and may occur in both cancer and non-cancer patients. Impact on physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being is unexpected and has been minimally described in literature (Grant, Ferrel, Dean, Uman, Chu, & Krouse, 2004). Colostomy and ileostomy patients present psychosocial stressors before and after hospital discharge. Stressors before the discharge include stoma formation, cancer diagnosis (in some patients), and self-care preparation. After discharge, stressors experienced include adaptation to body changes, altered sexuality, and impact on social life as well as recreational activities (Marcus Ang, Chiew Siah, & Klainin-Yobas, 2013). Being better and living better are some of humans’ biggest challenges in this era where everything goes so fast, where there is so much noise surrounding us, and at the same time, a lot of tools can help achieve this goal. Quality of life is a very topical issue and can be heard about in many mediums. Specialists have done large quantities of research, and science has found relationships between daily activities of those with chronicle conditions, or altered lifestyles, and the way they interact with society through time. Understanding this is a global concept, there are many areas that can easily be focused on our life’s daily basis. When we observe the effect of those specific actions (big or small), we can find the results in our general quality of life. At 11 Health, we are very interested in ostomy patients’ daily experience, the consequences regarding this condition, and, even when there are many day to day challenges, the beautiful opportunity to live. The approach we have with patients, doctors, nurses, caregivers, and other stakeholders who accompany the life of ostomy patients provide us the possibility to understand the challenges they face and the way every day contributions to living in equilibrium can help attain a good quality of life. At 11 Health, we create technology to learn in real life patient daily habits, reduce the learning curve to improve the quality of their care help the healthcare system with new ways of research. It can also allow us to virtually connect in order to share and support others as well the possibility to receive immediate information about what is happening in one self’s general lifestyle and make proper decisions.
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