Cohort Study Good Practices: Design Communication and Capacitation Processes
Authors: Elga Ferreira, Eliana Penedos-Santiago, Constança Rocha, Daniela Marques, Estêvão Soares-dos-Santos, Sara Dias
Abstract: In the county of Leiria, Portugal, part of the population is known to have morbidity diagnoses (metabolic illnesses and more) and poor health habits on a big enough scale to bring the idea of how low health literacy can affect people's lives and health services, such as a flood of the emergency systems caused by people attending the emergency room with minor issues. To address it, institutions in Leiria such as the City Hall and Polytechnic of Leiria decided to conduct a longitudinal and prospective cohort study, where a sample of the population will be followed throughout time to understand if their choices regarding health and sustainable habits are indeed affected by their health literacy levels.This project will contribute to the initial stage of this cohort study, by developing a recognizable brand, whose identity can be maintained throughout all its communication and dissemination media, so that the population can identify, without equivocation, the cohort study to which it refers, and awaken their curiosity to participate. This stage also includes the presentation and dissemination of the cohort study itself to the population under study, followed by a randomized inquiry done by pre-selected interviewers.This project relies on Service Design and Participatory Design methodologies to streamline the development of the study’s elements and to solve common cohort issues, such as: 1) gathering a suitable number of participants that can represent the population; 2) follow-up maintenance of participants; 3) keeping the interviewers and participants engaged with the study, after the first contact. Informal interviews and user group definition will help the comprehension of the study and allow to create personas to characterize the interviewers of the cohort study. These aforementioned methodologies will be supported by the workshop methodology under Participatory Design, acting as a testing ground for the previously developed processes, preparing interviewers to adapt their communication when facing people from different generations, education, and social backgrounds.By carrying out this project simultaneously with the cohort study, it’s possible to evaluate, over time, how the design methodologies can empower and facilitate communication and intervene, changing tactics in case it’s needed. The creation of a replicable experience is proposed allowing the betterment of the overall health of the population. Additionally, assuming the lack of information on how the preparatory phases of cohort studies are designed, it’s also envisaged the creation of guidelines and a good practice manual. It is also of great importance to point out the bridge established between the health and design fields, where design becomes the interface between science and the public.
Keywords: Service design, participatory design, capacitation processes, cohort studies, bridging design
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