VITALS MONITORING KIT
2017 ; 4 months
Design Research, Product Design, Internet of Things, Systems Design
The Future of Health project was a part of Srishti Labs at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and was headed by
The healthcare space is in need of an upgrade to benefit from the technological advancements coming up not only in equipment based industries, but also grass-root level innovations in the spaces of remote monitoring, communication, data representation to name a few. In India, the healthcare system can make the most of these benefits due to the deteriorating environmental conditions and the already overburdened primary healthcare System.
Most health problems that we face as adults are consequences of habits and laxity in healthcare we develop as children.
The health screening kit is developed for Government Schools as they lack medical facilities and are completely dependent on government health camps or charity from NGOs.
The kit enables schools to record and maintain health reports of students with the aid of digital devices. The records allow administration to take informed healthcare decisions for their schools in collaboration with government and non-government organisations and also provides visiting doctors year round health records of the students. The intervention also looks at long term gain through decoding health trends in semi-urban and rural settings at the inception stage. I see the role of schools growing to embrace the advantages of an organised healthcare system, both for the students as well as Government or Private organisations.
THE SCREENING KIT
The Screening Kit facilitates a question-answer based screening that can be conducted by a teacher with the aid of a tablet. It also consists of essential medical devices to keep updated medical records of school children. The records allow administration to take informed healthcare decisions for their schools in collaboration with government and non-government organisations and also provides visiting doctors year round health records of the students. The intervention also looks at long term gain through decoding health trends in semi-urban settings at the inception stage. I see the role of schools growing to embrace the advantages of an organised healthcare system, both for the students as well as Government or Private organisations.
Screening Tablet- Interface for all screening devices, Questionnaires, a means to store, send and receive data.
Height and Temperature Scale- Performs the functions of a height scale and contact-free thermometer.
Weighing Scale- Weight is one of the most important criteria to keep check on in children.
Peak Flow Meter- To Keep track of the students’ respiratory health.
Blood Pressure Monitor- a wearable band that records blood pressure.
Oximeter- To monitor blood oxygen, respiratory rate and heart rate.
Camera- to facilitate remote checkups and maintain visual logs if needed.
UV Sanitizaiton- Sanitizes all devices when the kit’s lid is shut.
The data from this product and service is being generated at 3 levels.
First, at an individual level of the student that allows him to maintain his regularly updated health report for his reference should the need arise.
Second, with a cluster of students, you get school health reports that can be used by the school administration, government and non government organisations for the camps.
Third, with a cluster of schools, health trends of a district come into play. This kind of data is useful for civic and state bodies for policy and by corporates for possible interventions.
What follows is the detailed process that led me to the solution explained in the previous section. It mainly comprises of three phases- Immerse, Conceptualise and Refine. Each phase required a different mindset, approach and set of tools as described.
The first phase of the project that included a lot a site visits and research was undertaken as a group my project mates at the time- Jahnavi Jambolkar , a User Experience Designer, Priyanka Jain, an Experience Designer, Shreyans Baid, an extremely talented product designer, Tanvi Ranka, a "100% human centric Service Designer (You can find the output of her project here).
DECODING THE BRIEF
The first attempt to break down the brief to the most important elements brought out a narrative that Phillips as a client was looking for. They needed healthcare to become ACCESSIBLE through TELE-SOLUTIONS which could be used to address the lack of resources in the rural healthcare ecosystem currently through TASK SHIFTING as a methodology for execution. All of this was to come together as a SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODEL.
The initial research produced a lot of secondary data that needed to be effectively mapped. So, we decided to put together a generalised healthcare model across a patient's journey through a disease. It included 26 common respiratory ailments and how people generally respond to them.
Starting with preventive measures that people might take to avoid getting sick, then, to the part where you get symptoms that show signs of an approaching illness followed by different kinds of ways of getting rid of the ailment (Self-medication, homeopathy, allopathy, Ayurveda etc.) and finally, in some cases, rehabilitation. For people who fall sick, effective diagnosis becomes a deciding point at which the course of their treatment would be decided.
The newly formed sequence was much easier to navigate through and find patterns in. This would later help us have useful conversations with doctors and help identifying which part of the patients journey needs interventions.
The second hand information had to be now validated through some primary research. We prepared a questionnaire with a good mix of straightforward and open ended questions to get a balance of factual and opinion oriented data to work on.
Field visits included the Baptist hospital, Sapthigiri hospital, MS Ramaiah Hospital to meet with several pulmonologists, physiotherapists, lab assistants and check out various machines used for diagnosis. The result was a fairly decent set of insights regarding how the healthcare system works in hospitals, what procedures the patients usually had to go through etc.
Since respiratory healthcare requires diagnosis based on symptoms that overlap in many of the diseases from a common cold to COPD, proper diagnosis is lacking. In turn, patients receive a very symptom based treatment and usually are diagnosed when the symptoms become very serious or the disease is in no longer in a preventive stage. Some of these diseases are not reversible and affect the patient’s quality of life immensely. The scope for work in both awareness, data representation and diagnosis aspects of care is therefore immense.
Getting some of the tests done helped pick important details and hiccups in the process. One example would be our concern with the germs thriving inside a PFT machine after use by a sick patient.
The new insights from the visits called for some more secondary research. We used a similar healthcare sequence to organise the doctor’s side of the story with all the information we’d gathered. We further researched patient case studies and used our personal experience along with primary data from people in our circle with respiratory issues to fill in the patient’s side of the story.
RESPONSE TO BRIEF (EARLY)
Using research insights, I outlined the opportunity spaces. It was also time to shift to more focused research on topics that weren't a part of the initial blanket research that we did. These being-
1) Rural healthcare models
2) Task shifting
A healthcare solution that:
- Uses technology to build on an integrated ecosystem of services to make healthcare more accessible to marginalised people in order to improve their quality of life.
- Is User Centric but involve all Stakeholders at the same time.
- Can be placed within existing traditional healthcare delivery models.
- Can be aimed at bringing about a Behavioural Change.
Doctors, Caretakers, Patients, Hospital Administrators, Broadband Providers
Types of Interventions
- Systems and Service Design- Supplement existing delivery models
- Smart Devices- Standalone tele-monitoring/ mobile products
- Data Representation- Represent data in a way that is most relevant and comprehensible for the user
Areas of Intervention
Effective ways of highlighting the faults in current lifestyles that lead to diseases and/or how to deal with diseases.
Facilitate exercises to maintain a healthy lung or to deal with lung affecting diseases/smart products the inform the user of potential threats.
Devices/services to make diagnosis Easy, Accessible and Desirable.
Ensuring the patient remains motivated during the recovery process by monitoring progress so as to help with the
recovery process itself.
Enabling the patient to lead a “normal” life by using smart non-intrusive monitoring devices.
Data collection/ Representation
Devices/services to facilitate collection of relevant data and/or its representation for making personal health and the environments impact more transparent.
FIELD VISITS- PART 2- THE COMMUNITIES
After a relatively brief, but overwhelming exploration of the respiratory healthcare ecosystem, it was time to overlap the patient's needs over the opportunity spaces. We visited two low income settlements around Yelahanka, Bangalore.
After the interaction with communities I came to two conclusions.
1. They are not aware.
2. They do not care.
The semi urban population is struggling with the security of their basic needs, hence their priorities are focused towards earning money. For doing that, they look for immediate relief wherever there is a problem to get back to work at the earliest. This behavioural pattern is very hard to break, especially if you start with adults who have the responsibility of supporting a family.
Hospitals and medical services are so overburdened with people that they end up providing symptom based care due to lack of time for sensitising the patient and lack of infrastructure to back up proper diagnosis or long term treatment. On visiting one of the government hospitals we saw that the general physician was dealing with 80-100 patients a day. He complained about poor budgetary allocations and lack of awareness and compliance among patients.
Keeping both these points in mind, I started looking at models of diagnosis out of the healthcare model itself which are not even associated with disease in the first place. When we think of hospitals, we think of disease and not health. I wanted to promote routine check-ups for prevention as a healthy practice rather than something that only the sick get access to.
I imagined a system that would facilitate collection of data in a routine manner to initiate a routine cycle of data generation. This data could then be used to further drive the model by a) generating revenue b) bringing out more opportunity spaces.
Today, big data is playing a big part in product and systems design decisions as it provides more opportunities through large amount of data being produced through smart devices.
While researching, I noticed data from rural sectors is largely out of reach and only exists as siloed results surveys conducted by researchers. I decided to work towards a system that enables routine relay and organisation of information so as to enable intervention through collaboration of existing stakeholders or through making existing services more efficient. It could further lead to gains in the form of revenue or more opportunity spaces which would feed back into the model and make it sustainable.
After intensive research and collecting data, it was time to translate the insights into possible ideas. I did quick rough sketches of different directions I could take. I got interesting leads from public kiosks to all kinds of toys for kids. The ideas started to cluster under categories such as, rehabilitation, prevention, screening under the themes of interactive installations operating on the principles of fun and play to portable healthcare devices.