Expert group to evaluate and drive procurement of innovative health apps
Two of Coventry University’s applied research institutes are collaborating to launch a new healthcare app design and evaluation service for smart phone and tablet devices.
The Health Design & Technology Institute (HDTI) and the Serious Games Institute (SGI) are bringing together their respective expertise in community-based healthcare and software development in the delivery of this initiative, which adds a third consultancy stream to HDTI’s existing product design and usability testing services.
App design and build will be delivered in collaboration with the university’s SGI, whose developers have specialist knowledge in this area and have already produced a number of apps in the health and social care sector.
The app evaluation offering is an online service that provides user feedback more quickly than a traditional usability study while retaining the ethical framework, academic rigour, independence and expert end-user involvement.
Critically, the participants in the evaluations are potential users with health conditions and expert knowledge appropriate to the app. At the end of an evaluation, the client commissioning the study receives a star rating report on 20 separate usability criteria, together with comments from the participants.
Clients who have used either the app design and build or the app evaluation services will also be offered the opportunity to have their product featured on a new App Zone being developed for HDTI’s website. This would include the evaluation report, if commissioned, and would feature links to the app store or android market where the product can be purchased.
Guy Smallman, commercial development director at HDTI, said: “We are extremely excited about this new addition to our consultancy services. App design and evaluation fits in seamlessly with our existing product design and usability offerings and this is a natural extension to HDTI’s activity serving academic, professional and commercial clients. We also believe the HDTI online evaluation service is an excellent way of independently evaluating a new app using a representative and informed group of end users.”
Tim Luft, director of the SGI, added: “Health and wellbeing apps make up approximately 40% of new smartphone applications being developed. We have already designed a number of apps conceived by academics in the university’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, and we’re very excited to be extending this work to include companies and professionals in the health and social care sectors.”