2013 | 20 Weeks | Shivanjali Tomar
How might we empower people in poverty and with low literacy to take better healthcare decisions?
Prologue is a health information system developed for underserved communities in Bihar, India. It is aimed at helping people living in poverty and with low literacy to take the right steps to manage their and their family’s health.
Bihar suffers from one of the worst healthcare records in the country. This is as much due to the lack of access to the right information as it is due to the socio-economic condition of the region.
The project was done in collaboration with World Health Partners.
The inaccessibility of information is aggravated by the complex social set up in these communities, for e.g. women aren’t allowed to leave their homes and community has the strongest influence on an individual’s decision making.
To make sure that right information permeates even to the most inaccessible user groups, especially women and to uplift community’s awareness as a whole, two different communication channels were designed-an interactive radio show and a public installation.
Interactive Radio Show is a voice only information system that is accessible on a toll free number, through any mobile phone or a landline.
This personal channel is specifically targeted towards young women and girls to have round the clock access to relevant health information from the comfort of their homes; without having to worry about numerous constraints that stop them from their pursuit of better health. The call back feature to repeat the diagnosis is to facilitate communication of the same information to the decision makers in the family and make the healthcare seekers job a little easier.
The Bioscope is an interactive, audiovisual, public installation to engage community in gaining understanding of common health issues and their appropriate treatments in a playful manner.
In rural communities it is as important to extend the right information to the influencers as it is to the individuals and to make them an integral part of the system. The Bioscope visualizes the conversation between “Maya” and “Dr. Mohan” and provides people with visual cues to make their selection. It is more elaborate and richer in its experience than the radio show. Audiences build their own narrative and watch it unfold as they make a series of choices.
Delivery of Information
In the bioscope and the radio show, the framework of the narration, characters and mode of interaction have been kept exactly the same in order to have a consistency in the interaction and to keep the learning curve to a minimum.
The callers listen to a staged conversation between a patient’s relative “Maya” who is enquiring about her niece’s health with Dr. Mohan
Both channels use a third person narrative in their interface. This was decided to take away the pressure from the users by removing them from the scene.
The narration was plotted in a village similar to where the audiences live. The characters, scenery and props are created to match the environment around the users to build familiarity and comfort with the interface.
There are checkpoints in their dialogue where the caller is given options to change the flow of their conversation. Users are given one option at a time and they just have to think whether that option applies to them or not. This binary decision making process is the most convenient interaction for the target audience.
Through a series of these options the caller narrows down to the exact information of the patient, including their gender, age, symptoms, etc.
Then the caller hears a tentative diagnosis of the problem and is told about whether or not it is important to see the doctor. If the problem is easily curable, they are told about easy to make home remedies and their preparations.
If they need to buy medicines, they are informed on how much money they are going to save in the long term by acting right away, encouraging them to get over their passive threshold by showing them concrete benefits.
The phone based radio show was piloted in Bihar in late 2013.
During 2 week ethnographic study done in Bihar, India, 9 villages were visited in 5 different cities. Below is a documentary that captures some of the key insights from this research trip.
Analysis of the behaviour and attitude towards personal and family healthcare in rural communities.
Illustration Style Exploration
Evolution of the working prototype of the bioscope.
You can read the entire case study here— Prologue Documentation