Currently there are over 65 million displaced people globally,
and while healthcare is a basic human right, the growing number of migrants and refugees is making it increasingly difficult to provide care on the ground.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is
the world governing body looking after the welfare of migrants.
Working with masters level design students at Trinity College, the University of Limerick,
IT Carlow and the National College of Art & Design, Frontend helped IOM to conceptualise a
‘Future Vision for Migrant Healthcare’.
Placing humans at the centre of the design process helped us to frame the underlying problems and explore holistic solutions, ensuring that the people most affected were at the core of all outputs.
IOM are the leading inter-governmental organisation in the field of migration and are uniquely aware of the ecosystem. Frontend began with learning everything they could share with us.
Students from four continents applied to join Frontend for an intensive bootcamp. Ten chosen students worked with the Frontend design team to explore wide ranging concepts around migrant healthcare.
Following the bootcamp, Frontend and IOM worked to refine the student concepts; focusing on ideas which were practical to implement and which integrated well with IOM’s other initiatives & programmes.
In September 2016, ‘The Future Vision of Migrant Healthcare’ concept was unveiled at a symposium exploring the role of design in the migrant situation. IOM and Frontend continue to further many of the concepts.
Understanding, and mapping, the entire ecosystem (including interdependencies) allowed us to think strategically in identifying the touch points in the migration process where we could add most value.
Diversity of languages, literacy rates and cultures add to the great challenges facing aid workers in providing emergency healthcare. How might we enhance communication to reduce these barriers?
There are many aid agencies working on the ground. There are also many suppliers of medication. There is no consistent labelling system and often medication labels are handwritten by aid workers.
We sought to provide a standard labelling system that increases efficiencies, improves communication and empowers vulnerable patients; reducing their uncertainties and anxieties.
As part of improving communication, we developed an iconographic system to communicate dosage and key warnings. We also created a colouring and numbering system to help with medication identification.
Due to the increasing prevalence of mobile technology it is now feasible to provide support information digitally. By scanning the label patients can access full medication information, instruction videos, etc. in their own language.
Labels can be ‘built’ by aid workers on the ground through a web portal allowing them to choose from over 1000 medicine templates and add up to three languages onto each sticker.
Specifically in the European context, migrants are in constant motion which makes healthcare provision especially challenging. How might we encourage necessary testing and provide continuity of care?
As displaced patients engage with different aid agencies and healthcare systems they have virtually no continuous record of their care. Also, many migrants are unwilling to take vital tests due to pressures to keep moving.
This disjointed approach is obviously ineffective. However, when exploring alternative options it was paramount that migrants felt in control of their data, particularly given their vulnerable situation.
It became apparent that a cloud based system which migrants could access through their phones was the best solution. An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) that was lightweight enough for them, and aid workers, to manage.
Test results often take a number of days to be returned, by allowing aid workers to input results onto this system, migrants can get access to results after they move on from the camp.
To facilitate face-to-face encounters the EMR Lite system can be translated at a touch of a button, meaning health data and test results can be input in any language and translated to any other.
Accessing healthcare is difficult for displaced people, yet many health professionals worldwide are eager to help. How might we create a flexible environment which links both vulnerable migrants with empathetic doctors?
NGOs require the support of medical professionals to respond to emergency situations, sometimes they struggle to attract the specialisations required. Using a digital solution can aid this situation.
Remote Doc encompasses a triage nurse live chat which can be escalated to a video call with a remote doctor. These chats can be with specialist medics in the patient’s own language,and can incorporate file sharing.
Patients can authenticate these remote health care professionals to access, and add to, their cloud based Emergency Medical Records.
The Frontend/IOM collaboration was unveiled at ‘DesignFix; Pixels to Policy’, a design symposium in Dublin, Ireland exploring the role of design in addressing the global migration and refugee crisis.
Would you like to learn more about this project and #Tech4Good generally? Or would you like to donate specialist skills such as design and development to help IOM with their great work? Get involved!