Approximately 2.3 million people have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system. I was tasked with creating an application to help guide care for MS patients that visit Cleveland Clinic.
I was the lead developer on the project and oversaw a team of two. I helped oversee the UI/UX design, which, for this project, was outsourced to another company.
I also helped adapt the application for additional disease populations. Today, the application is used to help patients with Parkinson's, ALS, Alzheimer's, and more.
The design process for MyHealth centered around what are called modules. A module is a test the patient takes to measure a particular function, such as walking speed, vision, manual dexterity, or quality of life.
My team worked with experts to develop a battery of tests to measure these functions. Patients were then asked to complete these tests before their regularly-scheduled doctor’s visit.
The data from these tests help to create a solid baseline for the patient and, as the patient attends more doctor visits, provides a longitudinal profile of their cognitive status. This profile helps caregivers make informed decisions about their patient's health.
The biggest challenge that faced the MyHealth application was adapting the tests for different disease populations. In the end, we decided to allow configuring modules on-the-fly with JSON downloaded from our web backend. This approach has worked exceptionally well over the years.
How Success is Measured
The most important goal for MyHealth was to provide accurate, objective data to help care providers make better-informed decisions. These patient assessments needed to be collected with minimal supervision from clinic staff.
Just as importantly, data needed to flow into the patient's electronic medical record (EMR) without the need for transcription.
At launch, the MyHealth application was providing data for caregivers and automatically filing this information into the EMR. Assessments took an average of only 28 minutes with little to no supervision from staff.
After the initial study, the majority of patients described their experience with the application as "satisfactory."
The MyHealth application has been translated into 14 different languages and is currently being used in several different countries to assess patients with MS.
No real patients are depicted in any of the above photos. Stock photography from Shutterstock.com.