Work Mott Children's Hospital + Google

This work has been endorsed by: Bob Anderson and Mike Wallace



Mott Children’s Hospital sought out to discover whether or not a health based social network was viable, needed, or even wanted. Together with a group of interested companies that included Google and Apple, I was recruited to perform a needs analysis on the project and provide technical and health care related recommendations for the network.

The Full Story:

In the summer of 2011, I was hired by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Office of Medical Development to administer a project that included conducting a needs assessment for a health-based social networking tool for the new hospital.  The goal of the project was to determine the level of interest between health professionals and patients, the viability of such a network, and what resources it should provide.

Throughout the three-month long project, my two colleagues and I interviewed over 30 staff members including: nurses, doctors, social workers, and child life specialists. In addition to that, we also interviewed 12 Mott patients and their families. Having taken such an ethnographical approach towards what was seemingly such a technical problem, made me really appreciate just how important it is to put people first, especially working in an industry that can be as distant as the software industry can be.

What we found was that there were huge overlapping needs between patients and their care providers.  Both sides expressed that they would like to see better continuity of care, more readily accessible education, and overall better communication between both their health care providers and other patients.

After thorough analysis of our findings, we shared our results and presented our recommendations in several round table discussions with our set of stakeholders that included: Google, Apple, Warner bros., and Accenture among many other interested companies. However, specifically with Google, I had the great opportunity of working directly with Mike Miller and the team behind the then emerging social network, Google+.



Together with the lead developers of Google+ we discussed the possibilities of integrating their network in a health care and corporate setting. We reviewed the technical requirements and limitations based on the findings and insights that my team and I at Mott had found, and then brainstormed some possible outcomes.

It was a real honor to be able to be share insights and facilitate critical discussion from both the medical side of things as well as the technical. In my opinion, this project serves as a really good example of how rapid progress can be made in typically slow moving industries by introducing new ideas and talents from organizations and people that would otherwise not work together.

This project is still in development. However, the information collected in this needs assessment has proven there is a clear need for the development of a versatile, online platform, for patients with chronic illness or long term complications from treatment, that would aid in managing health through education, psychosocial support, and also promoting health ownership.

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