The Yorkshire & Humber Digital Health Design Challenge intends to generate commercial benefit for the organisations involved and, more importantly, new digital solutions that lead to improved patient outcomes.
We were invited to participate to look at the challenge of Maternity Care. The midwifery team in Barnsley have found that over the last five years there has been an influx of diverse people, and a large number of their patients do not have English as their first language, which makes it difficult to exchange full information between the midwife and patient. As such, they were interested in translation solutions.
The day was billed in some communications as a hack day, however, as with all things ‘Service Design’ we needed to do plenty of thinking before we got anywhere near prototyping or code.
Dean and I spent a while identifying the different types of people that the midwives come into contact with, to create a representative persona. From there, we identified when this person would first come into contact with the team, and anything relevant such as whether or not we could get hold of her medical records. We also had a look at other pregnancy apps to understand what is in the market and what they cover. I felt the translation issue was a bit of a red herring; yes there was certainly a communication issue, but building a translation tool didn’t feel like the right thing to do. For a start, there are lots of existing tools that do translation very well.
We felt that ‘pregnancy’ was a huge period of time to tackle – think of all the different needs a woman has during the 9-10 months! As such we decided to look at a key period – from 37 weeks pregnant to 2 weeks post-partum – at the most this is a 7 week period.
We then brainstormed the questions that a woman might ask the midwife, and arranged them into clusters. This led us to focus on an a specific area that we hadn’t found any apps covering. We were advised to protect our IP (which seems against the spirit of these things, somehow) and agreed to develop our ideas confidentially until we’re further along in the programme, so unfortunately at this stage I can’t tell you much more.
We really enjoyed working with Vicki and Kerry from the Midwifery team, and we’re looking forward to returning to Barnsley in late April to prototype our idea – in the meantime we’ve all got lots of homework to do!