The Service Designers at Medic are spread across four countries, where our team lives and works closely with our implementing partners and the communities we serve. The core mandate of the team is to create designs for strengthening community health information systems, to enable sustainable and equitable universal access to quality healthcare through digital technologies. They meet their mandate by using the three step Human Centered Design thinking approach; discover & design, ideate and prototype and testing and iterating the designs.
By understanding the intricacies of each health systems, their respective goals, and the stakeholders involved in each context, the team is able to create strong working as the co-develop the vision and roadmap for each CHT deployments. To highlight the critical role of Medic’s Service Designers, Jane Katanu, Service Design Manager, discusses how her team plays an integral role at Medic.
What is your favorite highlight working within Medic over the years and what motivates you to show up every day?
Seeing the CHT being adopted by different Ministries of Health (MoH) across the world constantly fuels me to show up to work everyday. Every single time we are able to have a MoH exclusively use the CHT as the app of choice in their country, I remember why I love my job. Especially since the CHT seeks to strengthen the timely access of life saving quality health care to communities that would otherwise have not accessed it because of real barriers like long distances or high cost to access skilled healthcare providers.
Expound how the Service Design team contributes to Medic’s vision, mission and values? How do you practice these in your day-to-day life?
The design team uses the human centered design (HCD) approach to design with and for the users. We spend time with the health care workers who serve hard to reach communities. One of the key skills we use is empathy as this enables us to understand their needs. This informs the road map for digitization of high impact health interventions based on the health care workers assessment. Our interactions with the health workers gives us insight on the resources available and needed to design systems that are contextually familiar, easy to use, have high impact and are sustainable for the long haul. We collaborate extensively with team-mates in research, product and program’s as we advocate for our users.
How does the team ensure that the CHT is grounded on users’ needs and values?
Users are the main focus of design for the CHT. The design team uses the HCD approach to design with and for the users. We take time to walk the health workers’ journeys; by listening to them, observing them, asking them questions in order to truly know them- their joys and hopes, frustrations and fears, desires and workarounds. Together we then co-create potential solutions and test the developed solutions to ensure that they meet their needs. We interact continuously with the users, gathering feedback of the usability of the product, and use this data to inform on needful iterations on design to keep the product impactful and a delight to use.
Why is documentation important and how do you use information received to improve the current systems?
Documentation provides a record of information. At Medic, information is fundamental, it is the basic building material without which no design can be built. We document our users’ experiences- what they say and do, both before the design and after the design to get insights that inform the users needs and design iterations to improve user experience and the impact of the designed solutions.
What key thing would you share with anyone who is in the health industry that you have learnt over the years?
Listen to the users, just like health workers listen keenly to the sick person to properly diagnose the problem and treat it correctly.