We were approached by a team of researchers from Dalhousie and Queen's University. They were conducting a three-armed study based on those who were living with multiple sclerosis and ways in which they could help them manage fatigue. The study was to be conducted via one-on-one sessions with a therapist, over the phone conferences, and finally an online platform. They were seeking our assistance in creating the latter. The sample groups for the study were to be chosen completely at random so we had to ensure that this online option matched up with the other options in order to collect accurate data.
The Dalhousie School of Occupational Therapy was running a study through Dalhousie University and Queen’s University that required an online platform for implementation. Therapy for individuals living with MS was to be monitored. The therapy was to come from telecommunications, in-person meetings, as well as over an online platform. That online platform was what we were to design.
With a multi-week layout, different modules were in place to keep the platform from becoming repetitious. Our team of developers saw this as a great opportunity The study involved approximately 200 individuals living with MS and lasted 7 weeks. We ensured that the platform was also interactive, in that people could chat back and forth about different methods that may have been working well for them, share stories, or just ask questions. As consistency was needed to ensure that the results of the experiment were accurate, much thought was put into how the online platform would work considering the other two sample sizes of this experiment were dealing directly with other people whether it be face to face or via the telephone. This was our reasoning behind making the platform intreractive in the sense that you could share how different modules of the program were working for you. This would mimic how an individual would interact with someone in a one-on-one interview. The online interactive platform made it easy for those involved in the study to access all the information they needed seamlessly. All they had to do was log in to their profile and they would be granted access to all the information they wanted for that week’s module.
The School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University reached out to us about a study that they were conducting in partnership with Queen’s University. The study would require an online platform to be implemented that they could easily access. This platform would serve those involved in the study in things like accessing information and logging progress. The study is question was to look at the effects of different methods of managing fatigue in those who suffer from multiple sclerosis. The three-pronged study in question was to observe the effects of this fatigue management program being administered in person, teleconference, and on an online platform. Participants of the study were to be living in Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota. We were brought on to build and design the “Refresh” online portal for the school of occupational therapy. This was to serve as the online portal for those involved in the study.
The Managing Fatigue program is a six-week, occupational therapy intervention that is being used around the world. The online version of the program was designed to allow 8-10 people in at one time. In order to get accurate data, the program heads only wanted this amount of subjects in the program at one time. Together with an occupational therapist they investigate and test different strategies and techniques for managing fatigue. Participants share their experience to help others find new ways to manage their own fatigue. This is the reason that the online platform was such an important and useful aspect of the study for those living with MS. With in-person group discussions and teleconferences, some individuals may be more inclined to remain quiet about troubles they are experiencing. The online platform was in place to fight just that. many people feel more comfortable talking about their health with a keyboard.
Individuals involved in the study are assigned to one of the three programs randomly. They then received a 6-week course in fatigue management. People in the course learn skills like how to set goals, take rest breaks, and find ways to save energy. The platform that we designed had to follow this same 6-week schedule organically as to not skew the results. Results from this study may help healthcare providers decide how to provide a fatigue management course for patients with MS. Results may also help patients with MS and their doctors choose the best way for the patients to take part in such a course. We are proud and honoured to have been a part of this amazing study. Multiple sclerosis the lives of those living with it every day more than anyone without can even imagine. If our work on this project has improved even one day of those involved with it then we can call it a success.
The two universities that we worked with brought this platform to the United States where the study was taking place and things went tremendously. The data collected from the study was perfect as the experience that those got using the platform mimicked accurately what the others were going through with their in-person strategies
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