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Follow Your Calling

Career-shifter virtual volunteers reduce loneliness/isolation and provide new data source on post-fracture recovery. Patient gives back too.

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What challenges or opportunities are you trying to address within the problem? (200 characters or less)

Maria (caregiver) like Diana (active senior) get pamphlets and advice, but not day-to-day recovery support. Career Switcher Kai (new) struggles to fit in required volunteer hours to career shift.

Did you know that in order to apply to a Nursing program OR a Masters in Social Work program applicants need proof of hundred to thousands (1000-2500 hours for UC Berkeley for instance) of applicable work - paid or volunteer!? This can be a significant barrier to entry especially for anyone who is working full time and those without a lot of time to travel to volunteer on someone else's schedule.  If a "tele-health"  option to check in with people and serve in injury recovery were available this could be a win-win for the community. The person recovering from a fracture would know they were *helping out someone who needed their help too*. I believe that element would drive not only adoption but patient engagement levels.

For schools/applicants to schools the volunteer hours would be verifiable. The person designing the follow-up program would need to be a professional, ideally teaching methods that are well recognized. Conversation prompts written by social service expects and an escalation path to the patient's caregivers or medial staff could be determined.  

A volunteer could prep patients for A Matter of Balance Sessions or potentially if trained hold them in a group video conference call format for recover-ers in  "Service Desert" areas. 

A volunteer can simply virtually visit and listen. Or a volunteer could be trained in exercises. The program could offer a mixed schedule of volunteer check-ins & therapist check-ins where the volunteer (if agreed) could "shadow" the therapist on the tele-heath visit and learn.

A volunteer could do more social service supportive tasks, after getting the notes and recommendations from Andre, could hold a few types of calls

- "next steps & logistics" call(s) which is all about connecting the logistical dots on the path ahead such as

- help with arranging in person appointments and transportation if needed

-calling attention to the importance of having a baseline DEXA scan to measure the impact of the recovery measures

-providing links to online recipe collections that would serve dietary recommendations 

-helping select a software service to communicate in a 1:many fashion health updates and needs 

-linking the family up with any remote monitoring pilots (perhaps that radar micro-vibration pattern recognition tech for instance) or 

-help set-up digital recovery support activities like an Axure / Kinect T'ai Chi or even better hold an orientation session so friends, family, or others in fracture recovery could enjoy exercising/an exercise game with their friends and family -- as seen in @Ashwin Mogral's "Udaan" idea.

Note: I am not an SME for fracture recovery or social support, I'd look to those who are though! Target areas:

  • educate patients and caregivers about the link between fractures and osteoporosis for improved awareness of the link between oesteoprosis and bone fractures
  • evangelized DEXA scans as a method to get a baseline of bone health to help make the first fracture be the last 
  • help recoverers make the transition from the hospital/skilled nursing to home specifically by providing social support, encouragement to keep up with their physical therapy and to help recoverers measure their progress, challenges and well being after returning home
  • to meet the needs here the virtual visit session check in scripts and data recording mechanisms need to be created with Nursing and MSW staff members, and potentially be collecting data for an ongoing or new study launching from university's Nursing or MSW researchers.

it could be a great pilot.

The Power of Posting: Optional. This speaks to raising awareness so people think to investigate the cause of a broken bone. Or get a DEXA scan proactively.

After the DEXA scan (which the volunteers will be talk about with help from their session prompts), part of the population served will have the "If I'd only known moment": if I'd known that I/my mom/dad/wife had osteoporosis and gotten treatment my world could be very different right now.   It's a powerful moment.  Most people want to help others, but bearing your soul in an online post is hard. Instead I see this moment/opportunity being supported by a collection of art/memes for participants to choose from -  a bit like when you send an electronic greeting card. There are a bunch, they are cute, and you can personalize the image a bit.  

The Power of Two: Optional. If patients really responded in particular to the "supportive two way street" aspect  we could test a two way check-in also.

A two way check in model 

  • could be as simple as  helping the career shifter stay on track with their applications to school just like the volunteer helps the fracture recoverer stay on track with PT.  This could add an Accountability Buddy  flavor to program for those who were seeking that.
  • and/or conversational prompts for the person in fracture recovery to use to help the volunteer evaluate which areas of social work or nursing are the most appealing. This way it's a focused 2-way conversation, both sides would have conversation prompts and reading materials.
  • If the buddy system went well in a focused pilot, it could be expanded to incorporate other buddies like friends and family and other goals helping the patient weave back into their community.  


Who is your target end user and why will they be interested? (650 characters or less)

UNIVERSITY ACCEPTANCE OF HOURS: One key to acceptance would be to create a program that is accepted by "name" universities with hours requirements (like Berkeley). Their support for "connected care" hours for applicants could increase their applicant pools. It could also potentially collect data is some of their PhDs wants to be involved and all parties were willing. SENIORS & CAREGIVERS WHO WANT TO GIVE BACK: Family and fracture recoverers need to be OK with the volunteers not being professionals. And expectations would have to be very clearly set. I think knowing that you are helping the volunteer gain hours towards their goal of applying to graduate or professional school could be powerful.

How is your idea scaleable? (650 characters or less)

What would critical mass for scale look like? How many engaged caregivers? For “back of the napkin” estimation let’s say: + 40,000/year apply to MSW programs even with the current barriers to entry/few or no telehealth volunteer opportunities + 295,000/year apply to graduate nursing programs = approx. a = 335,000 people pool a year looking for hours to apply to MSW or nursing programs. That's without any DPT program applicants joining in on this. And that's without any 'peer/buddy matching' between friends and family. ... “Napkin” adoption from this population: for each 1% adoption we'd see 3,000 dedicated volunteers from this specific segment of highly motivated volunteering population. See attachment for napkin applicant pool estimate and data sources used.

What do/will you measure to know if your solution worked? (500 characters or less)

(1) service participation metrics - sign ups, session completion rate, volume of notes to Andre (or designated receiver), recorded exercise sessions (live or inferred via motion monitoring) (2) rate of reinjury vs all fracture recovery population (3) rate of depression vs total fracture recovery population

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

If you were to become a Top Idea, would you want to actively participate in piloting your idea?

  • I want my idea piloted, and I'd like to contribute/be involved in the prototyping w/partner.

Website (if applicable)

Tell us about yourself or your team (500 characters or less)

My aunt has osteoporosis and getting shots, she's super active and an awesome travel partner for me. I volunteer in Seattle at Providence ElderPlace and I have a background in software product management.

Location (50 characters)

Seattle, WA

What is your legal / organizational structure?

  • We are individuals

Innovator/Organizational Characteristics

  • Female-led organization

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • searching for open challenges on Google

Why are you participating in this Challenge?

I'm looking to career switch myself - from product management into user experience research. I love that there is now a career that is 100% learning about the user and sharing insights! To make the transition I was hunting for interesting challenges to utilize to create a user research portfolio. (I learned about this challenge with only a few days remaining so unfortunately don't have much primary research time on this one.)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Manisha Laroia

Hi Z Morris 
Hope your idea prototyping is on in full swing!
In gratitude and in support of your future work, we would like to invite you to join the final Innovation Coach Office Hours as you continue your innovation learning journey:

Make, Try, Show, Test, Build
Ashutosh Biltharia, Designer and Engineer, MFA, Interaction Design, Umea Institute of Design, Sweden. 10am PST August 5th.

Building Partnerships in Design
Susan Jackewicz, Principal at Takhi Associates, Boston, Massachusetts. 10am PST August 9th.

Love the Problem, Scale the Solution
Chris Cochella, Managing Partner at Sequoia Group, Salt Lake City, Utah. 9 am PST August 12th.

Sign up here to attend

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