Designing ToucHb, a non-invasive anemia detection device for women in rural India.
A person holding the ToucHb device

User Reseacrh

UX Design


Mumbai, IN & Delft, NL



Anemia has a high incidence in rural India. This is especially critical for women during pregnancy and has resulted 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.

To successfully enter the market, the company needed to not only offer the technology but to design a device that met expectations from India's healthcare providers and patient needs. We spent two months in India, interviewing and observing caregivers and future mothers and navigating the Indian health system. This immersion helped us identify needs and conditions unique to the market to define product requirements.

As a result, the new ToucHb fits the Indian context due to its affordability, portability, and supporting caregivers of different education levels. The devices interface is user friendly, and we also created a visual tool to equip nurses when communicating with patients.

Diving in to understand India's healthcare system.

Interviews to prototype
Touchb_Session Asha
Different desaign research methods were used to understand patients, care givers and other stakeholders.
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To understand the Indian health system and user groups, we spent two months immersed in rural India. We conducted interviews and generative sessions with different healthcare providers like ASHAS, women trained to support communities around healthcare topics, medical specialists of private and public clinics, and NGO doctors.

On the other hand, we interview medical device vendors to understand the market and how communication around anemia and blood diseases is most efficient in India. Finally, we facilitated a vision session with Biosense to understand business drivers and potential limitations.

Design research to drive product requirements.

User research highlighted the complexity and peculiarities of the Indian healthcare system and its actors. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. "Prevention is better than cure": 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.
Summarised patient journey, mapped based on research findings
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A portable device focused on prevention.  

After synthesizing the findings from the research in India, product design kicked in in The Netherlands. Wit 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.

User flow
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Clay models to test ergonomics
Clay models to test the device ergonomics
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