Abt associates: Healthcare toolkit

Design for Social Impact

Paper based, locally manufactured solution

Abt Associates engaged Think Design for designing a tool to reduce delay along the care pathway for Pneumonia and Diarrhea in rural Bihar for reducing high infant mortality rate. The intervention needed to develop training and communication tools that will help the informal health providers in identifying severe cases and make timely referral to doctors. The solution is completely paper based and in physical form; thus paving way for massive adoption across several villages.

Formative Workshop

This was the first step of the process. Think Design and Abt Associates teams(with healthcare and field experience) met and had extensive discussions. Target users and their journeys were mapped, keeping in mind goals and areas of intervention. Scenarios were discovered with their challenges along the way.

Each of the persona’s identified influenced in design decisions at multiple stages. This also helped us identify tasks that could be segregated based on the role. Identifying users helped prioritize tasks based on their roles and level of understanding. Detailed experience maps/ journeys helped in identifying specific areas of intervention in that, we addressed what and how at the same time.

Primary Research

After identifying users, the team conducted field research in Bihar in order to understand the users and situation first hand. In-depth interviews with each user persona gave the design team, a comprehensive understanding of the problem. Key insights, challenges, pain points and critical problems that hindered communication between patient’s mother and healthcare provider came into light. To deliver a cost effective and yet impactful solutions to the user, we identified few critical problems and came up with relevant solutions.


Design Workshop and solutions

The workshop was conducted involving designers, healthcare field personnel and stake holders. A one-day ideation and design workshop addressed product and packaging solutions addressing the issues of manufacturability, distribution, cost effectiveness and systemic issues related to sensitivity of healthcare in Bihar. Designs focused on creating solutions that were paper based and locally manufacturable in order to pave way for massive adoption and at low costs. In terms of design language, the tool was direct in communication, uses english and vernacular language and is highly symbolic and pictorial in order to cater to varying literacy levels of its users.

User Testing

The tools were designed, prototyped and tested with users in field. We employed real life and real time testing in order to gauge effectiveness of our solutions and at the same time, interviewed users in specific areas that needed improvement. By conducting two rounds of field tests, we could narrow down to refinement requirements and move forward to production design.

The tool was launched in November 2016, after four months of initiating the project. Adoption being the Key Performance Indicator, it received initial adoption of 20% and has been consistently increasing ever since. A small step in the right direction, this tool aims to positively impact infant mortality rate in Bihar, primarily caused due to Pneumonia and Diarrhoea.



A Design Award 2017

A Design Award 2017
India's Best Design Project 2017

India’s Best Design Project 2017