Anemia has a high incidence in rural India. This is especially critical for women during pregnancy, resulting in high mortality rates during childbirth.
Biosense developed an affordable, non-invasive technology to detect anemia allowing caregivers to give the necessary treatment on time. However, the device's design needed to met expectations from India's healthcare providers and patient needs.
To understand the Indian health system and user groups, we spent two months immersed in rural India. We conducted visits, interviews and generative sessions with different healthcare providers like women trained to support communities with healthcare topics (ASHAS), private and public medical practicioners and NGO doctors.
On the other hand, we interview medical device vendors to understand the market and facilitated a vision session with Biosense to understand business drivers and potential limitations.
Users are not always highly educated medical practitioners: There is an immense variety of education levels among caregivers who use the device, from 24h trained ASHA nurses to specialist doctors. Therefore, the device needs to allow for a wide range of medical expertise.
Testing women at home means higher reach. Patients in rural areas struggle to go to the health centers due to lack of transportation or income. ASHA nurses – who work with communities in rural areas – are a vital target user, and device portability is a priority.
Anemia is treatable and usually preventable, but is often unknown and misunderstood by patients; thus, the device must empower nurses to inform women about anemia and what they can do to prevent it.
After synthesizing the findings from the research in India, product design kicked in in The Netherlands. With Biosense, we created 3D models and selected the electronic components for the device. Users provided feedback throughout the process from the plastic shell's shape to the interface flows or the button's symbols.
The redesigned device combines a low-cost shell with a more sophisticated graphical interface for visual guidance, which can be used by caregivers of all education levels. The product is portable and transported in a carrying case and an infographic to help nurses explain patients about anemia.