NurseLink: An In-Home Nursing Application; Diffusion of Autonomous Vehicles and Issues That Come With Adoption

Girerd, John, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Weaver, Alfred, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Baritaud, Catherine, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

In order for NurseLink to be successful there will need to be significant advertising and
demonstration of why the application is useful, similarly to how autonomous vehicles (AV) need
to communicate their benefits to society. NurseLink tackles a major shortcoming in the
healthcare industry, the lack of easily and cheaply available in-home nurses. This is a problem
that many people do not think about until they are in need of an in-home nurse and could benefit
many people if the technology existed and they knew about it. Communication of NurseLink is
key to its success, similar to AV’s reliance on communication. There are many impediments that
will decrease the rate at which AVs will become widespread in society, which may be increased
with proper communication of benefits. There are also moral implications for slow diffusion of
the technology. These are both technologies that require increased communication of the benefits
to become successful.
There is a need for experienced nurses to care for people and administer medications in
their homes. It can be tiring for family members to spend all of their time helping and caring for
relatives, so hiring these nurses can relieve a lot of stress. To find these medical professionals,
patients and caregivers rely on either word of mouth or existing agencies. Agencies charge
additional fees and act as a middleman. Additionally, these agencies do not allow patients to
browse available nurses and directly contact them to instantly inquire about rates and
availability, which could be problematic if a patient needs assistance unexpectedly due to a
sudden illness or injury. The high cost and long turnaround time associated with current nurse
agencies creates a gap in the market that NurseLink hopes to fill.
NurseLink was completed in the scope that was discussed at the beginning of the project.
The application allows the user to search and view nurses in their area, message each other,
complete payments, and rate nurses. NurseLink is a useful solution because it improves the
efficiency of hiring medical professionals, reduces the overall cost, and provides patients with a
greater selection of medical professionals from which to hire.
There will be many obstacles that will make diffusion of autonomous vehicles very
difficult especially in rural and low-income areas. There will also be problems with incomplete
adoption of the technology. The process at which the technology is adopted can be sped up, so
there will not be a disparity in AV usage across demographics. Previous records and experiences
of AV in our current society are used in the analysis of these topics. AVs have been steadily
improving over the years, so insight can be gained in the early years of adoption. Additionally,
electric vehicles and their difficulties can be used as a comparison to AVs. Social Construction
of Technology (SCOT) and Diffusion of Innovation are frameworks that will assist in the
research of these topics. SCOT will be used to help determine how regulations and 3rd party
evaluations will affect the development of AVs.
Diffusion is slow for a technology like AV because people have a lack of trust in
computers making decisions possibly jeopardizing their life. Many people do not see the benefits
of the technology and the possible increase in safety. This combined with the price of the
technology, causes a lack of adoption in lower income areas, especially areas that would have
trouble with infrastructure maintenance. The moral consequences of this have to do with crash
algorithms and low-income being unfairly treated in some crash scenarios. In order to speed up
the rate of diffusion, a third party must evaluate the safety of the technology and communicate to
the public the advantages of AV usage.
The limiting factor for AV usage is society’s view of the safety and the cost of the
technology. Increasing awareness through communication and advertisements will increase the
number of people adopting the technology. NurseLink relies on a similar principle of proving the
usefulness to people especially in a niche market like in-home nurse care.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Autonomous Vehicles, Self Driving Cars, Diffusion of Innovation, Autonomous, Self Driving

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Alfred Weaver
STS Advisor: Catherine Baritaud
Technical Team Members: Emily Roberts, Jill DeWoody

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