Channapatna, is a small town about 70 km from Bangalore on the four-lane highway to Mysore, mostly well-known for its lacquer toys.
However, it is also the site for a silent-revolution in the space of community health being ushered in by MayaHealth and a group of Health Navigators. Health navigators are talented, driven, and ambitious women who aim to earn income through offering services of preventive care and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, malnutrition, menstrual hygiene, etc., within their communities. Health navigators are being trained to become micro-entrepreneurs.
This project was born during one of my visits to their site office, while listening in on one of their strategic meeting. The group of women listed the goods and bads of their service for their ‘clients’ (or people in their community who avail their services), and brainstormed on what is the key value they need to improve on to maximize their value to the community. Their top idea struck a chord. It was “to enhance the communication between HNs (Health Navigators) and Clients”.
Previously, we have worked on ideas of how to enhance collaboration between senior citizens and their physical therapists in Denmark. Here, we learned that there is value in reducing the time spent on data collection and increasing time spent on understanding data thereby enhancing the counseling & discussion between care-providers and patients.
In this project we focused on exploring solutions for enhancing the meeting between the health navigators and their clients.
The exploration was deeply situated in the context of actual care: the office of Health navigators, and the homes of their clients. We worked closely with the health navigators and through iterative participatory human-centered approach, articulated conceptual solutions that aim at transforming and translating the inherent idea of data-driven support for communication in the context. Both the students and the navigators were mentored and guided throughout the project through situated learning workshops.
12 HNs and 6 students worked on the project over 14 weeks in four groups. Each group had three HNs and one or two design students. Out of the three HNs, one was an ‘experienced’ one, and the other two had just begun. You can take a look at the detailed documentation of each of the four groups here: Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4.
You can also download the complete documentation as a single pdf file: Project 1 Report
The project had two outputs.
The first is a set of scaffolding tools and templates that the Health Navigators could potentially use while envisioning new solutions as micro-entrepreneurs.
The second is a set of concepts that envision new modes of practices for HNs, where data features centrally in enhancing their communication and counseling with their clients
(Thanks to Dr. Prea Gulati for pointing to the difference between output and outcome)
The central outcome of the project was about enhanced confidences. The design students learned about and became more confident towards conducting and situating a design process and delivering concepts to address real-world problems through a close working with community members. The health navigators enhanced their inherent creative and design thinking abilities and became more confident towards continuing to explore new solutions for their communities health & wellbeing.