VAD Education

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC)
Advanced Cardiac Therapies Improving Outcomes Network (ACTION)

The ACTION Learning Network includes 45 pediatric hospitals across North America and is led by CCHMC cardiologists. ACTION’s mission is to improve critical outcomes for children and adult congenital heart disease patients with heart failure by developing an international collaborative learning health system that unites all key stakeholders (patients, families, clinicians, researchers & industry). CCHMC leaders in ACTION approached the Live Well to design age and developmentally appropriate education materials on Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) for pediatric patients, families, and staff members. The materials needed to be innovative and accessible for digital and analog use.

Many types of VADs are used “off-label” in pediatric settings; this means that the industry is not required to produce pediatric-specific education. Appropriately designed modules would greatly reduce the educational burdens at institutions across the country.


Hurdles in Education

The Live Well team conducted numerous interviews with patients, families and clinicians. The interviews with all three stakeholders aimed to understand the unique learning needs of each respective group, as well as observe how VAD education is currently handled. The team found that most of the time, patients and families are given large binders full of information and only one staff member per hospital is properly trained in education. Patients and families felt overwhelmed by the onslaught of new information. Clinicians had similar issues. Since VADs aren't widely used in children's hospitals, they would go months or years in between seeing any one particular device. When a patient would come in for implantation, clinicians would have to quickly relearn all of the information as they were also trying to educate the patient and family.

Through these interviews and after receiving hands-on training, the Live Well team confirmed that the best method of delivery for education would be in a digital format. Along with the VAD Team at CCHMC, they outlined the courses and modules that would be created over two studio semesters.



Developing A Style

In order to keep kids engaged, a style had to be developed that appealed to their sense of wonder and imagination. A stylized character set was developed and colors were based on the brand guidelines set up by the ACTION Learning Network. This style was then applied to the rest of the assets. The biggest obstacle the team faced was representing complex objects, such as the heart or the actual VAD. Below is an early draft of a storyboard created for one of the educational modules.

Also during this time, the Live Well team identified that Adobe Captivate would be the best platform to use to build out these educational modules. Captivate creates a file type that is SCORM compliant. To be SCORM compliant means that a file can be uploaded to any Learning Management System (LMS), which is a website type that tracks user progress and adherence. SCORM compliant files are able to be interactive with things such as clickable buttons, text fields and quizzes. All of these were vital to integrate into the educational modules developed for the VAD team.


Telling the Story

Over the course of two semesters, 22 learning modules were developed. The first four walk stakeholders through the journey of a VAD patient—starting with diagnosis and going through post-implantation. The rest are known as "The ABC's of VAD." Each letter represents a different aspect of living with a VAD, such as "Keeping You Safe," "Learning Alarms" and "Medication."


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