Project Description

As rural hospitals continue to close and access to care diminishes, more and more individuals choose to experience healthcare in the home. One condition which is increasingly managed in the home environment is childbirth. Planned home birth in the US has been on the rise since 2003 and is currently at the highest rate since tracking home births was initiated. Little systematic research has been performed investigating the mothers who plan home births and there is a lack of research to support these mothers who are choosing to give birth outside of the traditional healthcare system. To address these research gaps we propose two primary research aims. The first is to collect a rich set of data on the physical, emotional, social, communication, and socio-economic challenges faced by women over the course of their home birth pregnancy journey. These data will describe barriers to care experienced by pregnant women and their families/caretakers such as economic hardships, gaps in knowledge and social support, and the challenges of understanding and managing pregnancy alongside the demands of daily life. The second aim of our work builds on the first and focuses on encoding and analyzing the data collected, using the results of this analysis to formulate design guidelines for interaction techniques, interactive designs, and initial prototypes of a system designed to provide holistic support to home birth patients over the course of their pregnancy journey.

Technology or Computational Component

I take a human-centered approach to designing, building, and evaluating user-facing interactive technologies. In the context of this project, we will focus on requirements gathering (understanding our users) and designing/building mobile systems for data collection. An interest in women's health is key if you are going to join this project as we are very focused on empowering women to engage with and understand their health over the course of their pregnancy. Students will be taught how to collect both qualitative and quantitative data, how to analyze those data, and how to design and build interactive systems based on those data.