Project Description

Title: Moving Beyond User-Centered Design to Improve Population Health

Presenters: Dr. Karen Fortuna & Mr. Robert Walker

Presented: September 16, 2019


About the presentation: The proliferation of digital mental health has redesigned clinical and research practices. Digital mental health will continue to grow rapidly and have an impact on population health. However, disengagement in digital mental health interventions prior to experiencing intervention effects is common—despite advances in user-centered design. User-centered design includes end-users in digital mental health intervention development and is intended to increase the usefulness and satisfaction with technology, and hence, impact engagement with technology. Despite efforts to include end-users in the usability testing process, disengagement is still highly common. Including end-users as equal partners in every stage of the software development lifecycle can offer valuable perspectives and insights into addressing the needs of populations within the context of their social and physical environments.

Fortuna headshotThis presentation will discuss the intersection of user-centered design and community-engaged research in early intervention development and implementation of an integrated digital mental health and physical health program of research. We will first discuss the role of peer support specialists in digital health, including peer-delivered smartphone interventions, peer-supported asynchronous technology, artificial peer support, informal peer-to-peer support via social media (e.g., Facebook) video games, and virtual worlds. “Peers” (e.g., certified peer specialists, recovery coaches, peer support specialists) are individuals who have a mental health condition, who are trained to provide Medicaid reimbursable supports services. Next, we will present an integrated digital mental health and physical health participatory co-design framework that includes peers in all stages of development and implementation and discuss PeerTECH, a peer-delivered and technology-supported integrated medical and psychiatric self-management smartphone intervention. This framework can be used as a guide to co-design digital mental health and/or physical health smartphone interventions. Finally, we will present the results of this co-design endeavor.

About the presenters: Dr. Karen L. Fortuna holds a doctorate in Social Welfare and a master’s degree in Social Work. Dr. Fortuna is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Her primary research interest is service delivery strategies for adults with serious mental illnesses and chronic health conditions. Through user-centered design and community-engaged methods, Dr. Fortuna is developing and implementing a peer-supported smartphone intervention. Dr. Fortuna was awarded an NIMH K01 award (K01MH117496), a NARSAD Young Investigator Grants from the Brain and Behavior Foundation, and the Alvin R. Tarlov & John E. Ware Jr. Award in Patient Reported Outcomes for her work. Dr. Fortuna’s work can be seen in numerous book chapters on digital peer support and in peer-reviewed journal publications. She currently serves as editor of the Journal of Participatory Medicine.

Mr. Rob Walker works for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Office of Recovery and Empowerment, which is responsible for providing a bridge from the Department to provider agencies, persons receiving services, family members and the community at large. Mr. Walker is a person with lived experience of a mental health diagnosis, which informs all areas of his work. Areas of involvement include; Transitional Age Youth, Older Adults, the Deaf community, supporting and expanding the statewide peer workforce, and DMH efforts around Race, Equity, and Inclusion. Mr. Walker has led the efforts to develop peer enhanced emergency services, integrating peers in the inpatient acute care psychiatric system, and co-designing the PeerTECH intervention. Mr. Walker’s work can be seen in Forbes magazine and also in multiple peer-review publications, including Psychiatric Services and JMIR: Journal of Participatory Medicine. Mr. Walker is involved as a partner in multiple PCORI grants and an NIMH grant to advance peer-delivered and technology-supported interventions.

Project Details