SHI Blog

Think. Create. Innovate.

Home Health Project Leads to Innovative Solution

  • August 31, 2017
  • by Felicia Rowley

According to medicare.gov, home health care is defined as a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury.

By 2020, the home health industry will see a 69% growth in additional jobs within the home care field. That’s 1.3 million jobs! The reason for this growth? People are seeing home health care as a need, it’s more affordable, they have a desire to age in place, and simply the convenience of it (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).

Recognizing the opportunity for innovation, Spectrum Health Innovations (SHI) facilitated a spark session with Spectrum Health visiting nurses association to generate ideas.

With such a great response to innovating around home health, the SHI team decided to take the project into a Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) classroom. Luke Davis, an industrial design student at KCAD was chosen by professor Jonathan Moroney to pursue an independent study.

Andrew Heuerman product specialist at SHI said, “This was a great chance to collaborate with KCAD exploring areas of opportunity for innovation within the home health space and supporting Luke’s educational experience.”

(Luke Davis presenting his solution)

Over the past summer Luke met with those involved in home care to talk about what is working and what isn’t working. He shadowed Donna Farmer VNA south visiting nurse and Kaelee Brockway VNA south physical therapist. Sarah Booth, VNA south nurse supervisor was very helpful throughout the process as well. Without these people who generously gave their time, Luke wouldn’t have been able to understand the problems at hand.

Several proposed solutions were captured via “themes” like communication, storage, etc. Upon review of the proposed solutions, the team ended up selecting one that they felt was most promising. With the priorities identified, Luke took to paper and pencil, creating several concepts through sketches, until one particular design stood out amongst them all.

On August 17th, Spectrum Health Innovations hosted a report out where Luke presented a home health solution to a group of Spectrum health employees that had previously expressed interest in exploring the opportunities. Those that attended were blown away by the solution that was developed.

Julie Hill, VNA south nurse supervisor said, “I found the project very interesting. I think there is great potential for it to impact the community, enabling us as health care workers to interact, send and receive meaningful information, and give people security in their homes.”

The primary problem that Luke solved was communication; communication between patient/provider, patient/payer and patient/family.

Luke stated, “Overall this was an incredible project, and I was able to work with some amazing people. I’m extremely grateful to be privileged enough to work on this project that hopefully makes difference in the home health care industry.”

Next steps? The project is currently being reviewed for a possible fit into another KCAD classroom for a senior thesis.

Read more about our collaborations by keeping up with our blog.