Tag Archives: needs


Conduct user research to understand pain points and identify opportunities. Students should speak to potential target users through surveys, interviews, focus groups or usability tests to understand what problems are most pressing in their daily tasks or workflows. User research helps uncover unmet needs and pain points that a solution could address. It’s important to get input from multiple users with different backgrounds and perspectives to find common themes.

Perform competitive analysis and gap analysis. Students should research what existing solutions are currently available on the market and how those solutions are meeting or not meeting user needs. A gap analysis evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of competitors while also identifying white spaces of unmet needs. This allows students to design a solution that fills gaps rather than duplicating what already exists. It’s important for projects to provide unique value.

Develop personas. Based on user research findings, students can create user personas – fictional representations of the target users. Personas put a human face to abstract user groups and help students understand the motivations, frustrations and characteristics of different types of users. Well-developed personas keep the solution focused on empathizing with and solving problems for specific user types throughout the design and development process.

Understand the business model and value proposition. Students must clarify how their proposed solution would generate revenue and provide value for both users and the business. Questions to consider include: What problem is being solved? Who is the customer? What direct and indirect needs are being addressed? How will customers pay and what is in it for them? How will the business make money? How does the value proposition differ from competitors? Having well-defined business model helps ensure technical solutions are developed with commercialization and profitability in mind.

Create user journeys and flows. Students should map out the step-by-step process a user would take to accomplish tasks within the proposed solution. User journeys identify touchpoints, potential frustrations, and opportunities for improvement. Mapping the before-and-after workflows helps validate whether the solution will provide a seamless, efficient experience and achieve the desired outcomes for users. User journeys also give insight into how functionality and features should be prioritized or developed.

Build prototypes. Low to high fidelity prototypes allow users to interact with and provide feedback on early versions of the concept. paper prototyping, interactive prototypes, or wireframes give students a chance to test design ideas and learn where the design succeeds or fails in meeting user needs before significant development effort is expended. Iterative prototyping helps students incorporate user feedback to refine the solution design in a user-centered manner.

Conduct iterative user testing. Students should test prototype versions of the solution with target users to uncover usability issues, comprehension problems, and ensure tasks can be completed as expected. User testing early and often prevents larger reworks later and helps keep the student focused on designing for real user needs and behaviors. Each round of user research, prototyping and testing allows for ongoing refinement to the solution and business model based on learning what is most effective and valued by potential customers.

Consult with industry mentors. Seeking guidance from industry mentors – such as accomplished alumni, executives, or potential customers – gives students an outside perspective on whether their proposed solution aligns with market opportunities and realities. Consulting experienced professionals in the target domain helps validate business assumptions, get early customer interest and feedback, and ensures the technical vision considers practical implementation challenges. Mentor input helps reduce risk and strengthen customer-centric aspects of the solution design.

Present to target users. Students should organize a stakeholder presentation to demonstrate prototypes or concepts to potential target users and customer organizations. Presentations mimic real-world customer validation opportunities and allow students to observe user reactions firsthand and answer questions. Students gain valuable insights into how well non-technical audiences understand value propositions and whether interests are captured as intended. Stakeholder feedback during final validation is crucial for fine-tuning the pitch before capstone conclusions are drawn.

By conducting iterative user research, developing personas, mapping workflows, building prototypes, testing with users, consulting mentors and stakeholders, students can have high confidence their capstone projects address authentic needs that are important and valuable to its intended users and target organizations. This user-centered mindset is imperative for developing commercially-viable fintech solutions and ensures the technical work produces maximum impact and benefit outside of academic requirements. Targeting real-world problems leads to more compelling demonstrations of how technology can enhance financial services, processes and experiences.


Collaboration is essential when developing and carrying out a community health needs assessment. It is important to partner with community stakeholders like public health departments, healthcare providers, community organizations, and members of the public. This ensures all relevant perspectives are represented and buy-in is obtained from those impacted by the results. When identifying partners, consider organizations that serve vulnerable populations or address the social determinants of health.

Establish a steering committee made up of collaboration partners to oversee the entire needs assessment process. The steering committee provides guidance, identifies resources, and helps obtain necessary approvals. They also review results and help craft the implementation strategy. Steering committees often meet monthly during the active phases of the needs assessment.

Create a detailed work plan with timelines, assigned responsibilities, and budget. A needs assessment can take 6-12 months to complete depending on the size and scope. The work plan keeps the project on track and allows for adjustments if needed. It also demonstrates thorough planning to stakeholders. Key elements include secondary data collection, primary data collection via surveys or interviews, analysis, report writing, and planning next steps.

Comprehensively review secondary data sources to understand the health status of the community and identify potential health problems or disparities. Secondary data includes information from the U.S. Census on demographics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on health indicators and chronic diseases, county health rankings, community health profiles, and data from local health departments and hospitals. Review data over time to see trends.

Identify and prioritize community health issues to study further through primary data collection. This involves analyzing secondary data, consulting with stakeholders, and considering issues of highest burden, worst outcomes or greatest inequities. Prioritization will focus primary data collection efforts.

Develop a primary data collection methodology appropriate for the issues prioritized. Common methods are community forums or focus groups, key informant interviews, and community health surveys. Surveys sample a representative segment of the population to quantify issues identified in secondary data. Interviews provide rich qualitative insights from experts. Forums bring together residents to discuss concerns.

Analyze all primary and secondary data to understand the community defined health priorities. Look for agreements, disconnects, themes. Consider social and systems factors impacting health using a comprehensive framework like the Social Determinants of Health. Identify strengths and challenges experienced by different groups.

Prepare a final community health needs assessment report. The report synthesizes all findings, highlights priority health issues for action, and identifies community resources and assets addressing those issues. Be sure to provide the methods, data, and analysis transparently. Present results to stakeholders for validation of priorities.

Develop an implementation strategy outlining how priority health needs will be addressed over a 3 year period. Consider policy, systems and environmental change strategies in addition to direct services and programs. The implementation plan establishes roles, responsibilities, and metrics for evaluating progress and impact. Disseminate results to the community widely.

Conducting a thorough and collaborative community health needs assessment requires considerable time and effort but provides vital insights to understand community defined health priorities, direct resource allocation, and catalyze multi-sector partnerships and strategies for impact. The results can also be used to fulfill requirements for non-profit hospitals’ community benefit activities. When done well, a needs assessment lays the groundwork for sustainable improvements in community health outcomes.

Key considerations for a capstone-level community health needs assessment include establishing collaboration, creating a steering committee and work plan, comprehensively reviewing secondary data, prioritizing issues for primary data collection, analyzing all findings, preparing a final report, and developing an implementation strategy. A needs assessment provides a valuable opportunity to engage a community, identify local health challenges, and lay the foundation for making a measurable difference in community well-being.


The first step is to research the various hospice programs in your local area. Most programs have websites that provide information about their mission, services offered, patient population served, and volunteer opportunities. You can start by doing an online search for “hospice programs near me” to find the options close to where you live. Browsing their websites will give you an initial idea of how each program operates and what types of volunteer roles they have available.

Beyond looking at individual program websites, it can also be helpful to search more broadly online for general information about common hospice volunteer roles and the skills/interests typically required for different positions. Some of the core volunteering needs across most hospice programs include: providing companionship for patients, assisting with activities of daily living, performing light housekeeping/meal preparation tasks, helping with administrative work or fundraising events, offering massage/relaxation support, engaging in music/art activities, or providing respite care for family caregivers. Understanding the scope of typical volunteer roles can help you identify what areas may be the best match based on your skills and interests.

Another valuable source of information is speaking directly with the volunteer coordinators at different hospice programs. Don’t hesitate to call programs you’re interested in and ask if you can schedule a short informational interview or volunteer orientation session to learn more. During these conversations, important questions to ask include: What types of volunteers do you need most? What are the time commitments like for different roles? What ongoing training do you provide? How involved with direct patient care can volunteers be? Do you serve any specific patient populations I’m passionate about (such as pediatric patients)? Speaking to coordinators face-to-face allows you to get customized details on each program beyond what’s on their website.

You’ll also want to consider practical factors like the locations served by different hospices and whether their service areas align with where you live or are willing to travel. Some examples include whether a program operates residential facilities you could volunteer at, or if they only provide in-home care requiring travel. The time commitments expected for various roles is another important consideration – some positions like direct patient companionship will require regularly scheduled visits whereas others like administrative help may be more flexible.

Once you’ve researched programs online and conducted informant interviews, the next step is often to attend volunteer information sessions held by individual hospices. These group orientation meetings are a low-pressure way to learn more details, have your questions answered, and even meet other volunteers. Seeing firsthand how programs operate and introduce themselves can help confirm which one is the closest fit based on mission alignment, populations served, volunteer needs, and time commitment requirements.

Even after narrowing it down to one or two top choices, it’s a good idea to see if you can shadow existing volunteers for a few hours to get a realistic idea of what specific roles entail before formally applying. Ask volunteer coordinators if you can briefly join patient visits, answer phones in the office, assist at an event, or help with other common volunteer tasks. Shadowing exposes you to the full experience and allows both you and the program to determine if the role matches your interests and capabilities.

Consider also speaking with current volunteers about what they enjoy most and find fulfilling working with that particular hospice. Peer perspectives provide an additional layer of valuable insight into the organizational culture, patient and staff relationships, and daily volunteer operations. Their input can help ensure realistic expectations by highlighting both rewards and challenges to expect from different roles.

Once you’ve thoroughly researched programs, roles, and visited or shadowed your top choices, you should have a clear sense of where your interests and strengths are the best fit. At that point, formal applications and background checks are usually the final step before onboarding and hands-on training with the hospice that aligns closest to your skills and passions in service of patients at end of life. Taking a comprehensive, multipronged approach to learning all you can is key to determining the hospice program volunteer needs that match your specific interests best and pave the way for a fulfilling and impactful volunteering experience.


The subject matter expert (SME) plays a vital role in ensuring a project successfully delivers value to end users. As the person with in-depth knowledge about the domain and stakeholder needs, the SME has unique insights that can guide project requirements, design, development, and implementation.

Early and continuous end user engagement is key. The SME should facilitate conducting user research at the outset to uncover user pain points, desires, and existing mental models. Methods like interviews, surveys, focus groups, job shadowing, and usability testing provide diverse perspectives.Personas and user stories translate research findings into actionable requirements.

As the voice of the user, the SME should participate in requirements definition and validation. They can help the project team interpret research and prioritize based on user importance and feasibility. The resulting requirements specification reflects user needs and enables traceability. The SME also reviews and approves deliverables to confirm alignment.

The SME advises on user experience (UX) and interface design to ensure solutions are easy to learn, efficient to use, and error-proof. They advocate for intuitive interaction paradigms, meaningful and unambiguous terminology, and responsive support for varied users, tasks and contexts of use. Usability testing involving users supports iterative improvement.

For complex domains, the SME helps break down requirements into manageable features and provides subject matter training. They act as a liaison between implementation teams and users to clarify assumptions and address obstacles early. As new needs emerge, the SME captures changes through revisions to requirements and guides changes.

During deployment and transition to support, the SME coaches end users, documents processes, and identifies areas for supplementary guidance materials like job aids, quick references and help functions. They solicit feedback to continuously enhance adoption, success and satisfaction. The post-implementation support period is crucial for benefits realization.

As an objective observer, the SME monitors real-world usage and performance to verify that solutions are working as intended and delivering expected outcomes. They compile metrics on things like completion rates, error frequencies and task durations to highlight what’s going well or requiring adjustment. Formal usability studies help justify refinements.

Change management is vital with users. The SME plays a lead role in communications, training, incentivization and addressing resistance to minimize disruptions. Their credibility and expertise reassure users of benefits while preparing them for transitions. A culture of open information exchange and responsiveness to issues fosters user buy-in, compliance and advocacy over the long term.

The SME participates in maintenance to incorporate lessons learned as well as handle changes in user profiles, technologies and business needs. They keep requirements and designs flexible enough to support future enhancements with minimal rework. Well-timed roadmap discussions balance necessary upgrades with avoiding “analysis paralysis”.

Throughout the project lifecycle and beyond, the SME establishes a collaborative relationship and keeps users front and center. Their dedication to understanding real user perspectives avoids assumptions and delivers outcomes grounded in reality. With proactive methods and continuous improvement mindset, the SME empowers users and maximizes project success, adoption and realization of strategic benefits. Effective guidance from the SME helps ensure user requirements are done right from the start.

A subject matter expert can ensure a project meets end user needs by thoroughly involving users upfront and throughout via research, requirement validation, UX design collaboration, training, deployment support, monitoring, change communication and maintenance involvement. Their in-depth domain understanding and priority on user perspectives is invaluable for delivering the right solutions that are well-received and create intended impacts. With the SME championing the user voice, projects achieve much greater chances of fulfillment and long-term satisfaction.


Conducting a needs assessment is an important first step in developing an effective program or intervention for a target population. It involves systematically gathering information about the needs of the group, analyzing the data, and determining which needs should be prioritized and addressed. The needs assessment process typically involves the following key steps:

Define the target population. Clearly identify who it is you want to assess – be specific about demographic factors like age, gender, location, etc. Make sure your definition is focused enough to produce meaningful results but also broad enough to capture important sub-groups.

Form a needs assessment team. Pull together a multidisciplinary group of 5-10 people who are knowledgeable about the target population and assessment processes. The team should include stakeholders from the population as well as external experts. Getting diverse perspectives is important for collecting comprehensive data.

Determine the purpose and scope of the assessment. Decide specifically what questions you hope to answer through the assessment. Are you looking to identify overall needs, prioritize among existing programs, or gather community input on a new initiative? Narrowing the scope will help you conduct an efficient and effective assessment.

Select needs assessment tools and strategies. Common methods include surveys, focus groups, interviews, and community forums. Choose mixed quantitative and qualitative approaches to gather both numbers and stories. Also consider secondary data collection through record reviews and existing community assessments. Having multiple tools provides triangulation which strengthens results validity.

Develop tools and protocols. Draft survey/interview questions, focus group protocols, and procedures for things like obtaining consent, ensuring privacy, measuring response rates, and documenting information. Get feedback and pilot test your tools to address any issues before broad use. Careful tool development is needed to collect meaningful data.

Identify and recruit participants. Use representative sampling methods to identify specific members of the target population to take part. Make sure your sample accounts for important subgroups. Develop recruitment strategies and materials that are culturally sensitive and address any access barriers participants may face. Informed consent is critical.

Administer assessment activities. For surveys, aim for at least a 30% response rate. For focus groups/interviews, most recommend 6-10 groups with 6-8 participants each to reach thematic saturation. Record all sessions for documentation and detailed analysis later. Provide incentives for participation and express appreciation.

Analyze and interpret the data. Bring the entire assessment team together to examine both qualitative and quantitative results. Identify common themes in the qualitative data through careful coding. Analyze descriptive statistics from surveys/quantitative findings. Triangulate all results to develop a comprehensive picture of needs, gaps, concerns, and priorities from the perspective of the population.

Determine priority needs and gaps. Based on the analysis, decide which needs are most pressing, widespread, or important to address to make meaningful difference for the population. Consider severity, feasibility, potential for impact, connection to organizational mission, and whether needs are being met elsewhere. Narrowing focus to a few priority needs is strategic.

Prepare and disseminate the final report. Draft a document that synthesizes all assessment activities, key findings, and priority needs identification. Frame recommendations non-judgmentally and in a solutions-oriented, actionable manner. Share results with all partners and stakeholders. The report forms a needs-based foundation and rationale for your proposed interventions.

Use results to develop programs and evaluate impact. The priority needs became program objectives. Monitor outcomes over time with follow up assessments to determine if implemented programs and services are effectively addressing target populations’ needs and making desired impacts. Continuous quality improvement is important.

A well-designed and rigorously conducted needs assessment provides a data-driven process for understanding the most significant issues facing a target population. It helps to ensure that subsequent interventions and programs are relevant, effective, and meeting the real needs of those being served. Regular reassessment allows for evaluation and adjustments to changing priorities over time.