Co-design methods for eliciting patient needs for wrist splint design

Wrist splints are a common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, however their effectiveness is compromised by patients not wearing splints as prescribed. Previous research has identified reasons for non-compliance, but typically lacks insights that could lead to improved splint design. A three-part study using design probes, context mapping and a personalization toolkit as co-design methods for eliciting patient needs for wrist splint designs, is described. It identifies three themes and nine sub-themes for situations that affect compliance in wearing a splint. Additionally four motivating factors to wear, and 10 motivating factors not to wear a splint are presented. Nine requirements for improved splint design are established and form the basis of the design for a prototype personalization toolkit. Testing of this toolkit reveals participants are keen to wear splints whose appearance matches the clothes they are wearing or activities being undertaken. Co-design methods are shown to be capable of identifying determinants of compliance not previously discussed in the literature, as well as eliciting patient-specific needs for splint design.