Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Behind the Scenes Goal Setting for our New Mobile App for Care Staff in Senior Living to Assist in Great Resident Experiences

Last week we officially launched PointClickCare Companion and I want to share some of the highlights from working with our customers to surpass their expectation in creating a great user experience. Our product page has a nice overview of PointClickCare Companion and this video provides an excellent 30second summary.

The Challenge

For those not in the senior healthcare industry, here are some facts from NCAL, the National Center for Assisted Living, to set the baseline challenges for the front line care staff.

Unlike a nursing home or hospital, where Aides will handle Activities of Daily Living, ADL’s, and Nurses will handle medication — as the conditions above show, there can be a lot of medication — 82% of care staff in senior living will do both. The residents of these communities don’t want to see computers with clinical information everywhere they look in their home — like one sees in a hospital — and the staff doesn’t want to be running up and down the halls to record notes or look up information. Which brings us to the challenge:

Build an easy-to-use mobile app for care staff in senior living to assist in the delivery of great resident experiences

Measurable Goals

We wanted to set some goals we could measure for our challenge and asked our customers, “What would make it easy to justify the purchase of this new app?” There were a number of responses, including:

  • Provide better service to our residents
  • Improve our employee engagement
  • Help me run a better business

We thought a lot about these, and we’ve addressed them all, but they can be tricky to measure when creating the app — we’ll see the results some time down the road after the app has been in use for a while — so we dug a bit more. One of the root causes of the concerns mentioned above is that staff are doing too much administrative work, recording what they have done. This lead to something we could measure.

Document a typical task in 30 seconds or less

Typical is hard to quantify, particularly with customer-generated content, so we tested with a variety of tasks as well as a variety of styles of documentation. For example, meal assistance could vary across communities from single question yes/no responses like, “Did you provide assistance?” to multiple questions with multiple answers like, “How much assistance was provided? In what location?” We included both experts and novices in our testing.

One of our favorite pieces of feedback from the testing was:

I can’t believe I’ve only been using this app for a minute — it’s so comfortable and natural I feel like I’ve been using it for years

This talks to one of our secondary goals: to make the app so easy to use so that we remove the need for formal training.

The Results

This was a powerful goal for the team — not just for the user interface but also the server calls — and they rose to the challenge. We found that many tasks could indeed be completed in less than 30 seconds. We even measured some tasks that could be recorded 4x faster.

What is really beneficial about achieving this goal is that we were only looking at screen time — the time a user is reading and interacting with the screen — not the time spent traveling down a hallway to a kiosk or writing a note on a piece of paper so that important details were not forgotten before being transcribed to a computer. Depending on the length of hallways and the number of computers, customers could be saving even more time.

What’s really important is that the feedback from our customers tells us that the time savings addresses the concerns raised above (better service, improved employee engagement, and financial health) and more, including:

Having all of this information at my fingertips makes me more confident

And the reason why many of our customers are in business:

I get to spend more time with my residents

Product Management, User Experience and Marketing leader on the bleeding edge — sometimes writing work stuff, sometimes writing fiction