How users' experiences can develop digital health services

DigitalWell Arena has tested a new method for evaluating users' experience of new, digital health services. Knowledge that can be of great importance to the continued development. First to test the methodology is Lumeno – an app for managing both the bright and dark moments of life.

For many digital health services, a kind of catch 22 occurs. Without scientific support, the services may have difficulty reaching the market, especially if they are aimed at the public sector. At the same time, some type of decision basis and validation is needed in order for them to be tested in public activities at all.

Test according to standardized method

DigitalWell Arena has therefore, through its Innovation Support, which supports innovative companies, tried a new way of evaluating digital health services. In collaboration with NHE Licence, MedTech20®, a standardized survey with scientifically developed questions, has been tested to capture the user's experience.

MedTech20 has already been used for the evaluation of a range of medical technology products, for example oxygen equipment and aids for diabetes. The results of the evaluations can then form part of the decision-making basis for a public procurement. So far, however, digital health services have been a relatively untested area for MedTech20.

Used both in studies and smaller user tests

- We measure how users experience and are affected by the product in everyday life. The method is used both for small-scale user tests and in scientifically designed studies. The project we have now completed for DigitalWell Arena was just such a user test. The insights you get from small-scale user tests may very well be the first step to creating interest in healthcare, but of course the developer of the health app also gets input on how it can be improved, says Carl Björholt, co-founder at NHE Licence/ MedTech20.

Carl Björholt sees that user tests, even if they are done on a small scale, can give the developing companies important insights into their services.

The methodology has been tested on Lumeno, an app aimed at promoting mental health. The app was created by Livskämpar AB, which is one of the companies in the DigitalWell GovTech Incubator. 

Increased mood control

Marie Niljung, CEO of Livskämpar, thinks the survey has yielded valuable results. Most gratifying was that 84 percent of the users who responded to the survey feel that Lumeno gives them a feeling of control over their condition, which can be thought to contribute to a reduced need to contact healthcare. Another important insight is that Lumeno is perceived as easy to use, something that is central as the service must support users in helping themselves. For example, by reminding of basic needs for sleep and food, but also by going back to positive memories and past experiences.

Lumeno, an app for managing life's dark and bright moments, is the first service evaluated using the new methodology.

Even though the number of participants in the user test was limited, Marie Niljung thinks that the survey answers provide knowledge to build on. Preferably in collaboration with the public sector.

- Lumeno is available 24 hours a day, something that psychiatric care, or other care, will never be able to offer. At the same time, there is a fear of touching services that target mental illness. An evaluation like this can be a first step for the public sector to be able to do an in-depth evaluation and hopefully contribute to Lumeno reaching more users, says Marie Niljung.

Background important for the public sector

For DigitalWell Arena's innovation support, testing and verification of digital health services is a key area. The MedTech20 test is a step on the way to being able to offer innovative companies a qualitative way to evaluate how the end users experience and use the services.

- This is especially important in our contacts with the public sector, which needs a credible basis to be able to purchase or test a service. Not least there is a great need for this type of support services for the companies in our GovTech Incubator, where all have the public sector as their end customer, says Anders Solberg, Innovation Manager at Compare and responsible for DigitalWell Arena's Innovation Support.



The regional project DigitalWell is financed by the European Union - European Regional Development Fund. The purpose of DigitalWell is that we will together develop digital solutions for needs in welfare with the user's own abilities in focus.