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Using Human Centered Design and Design Thinking to Reduce Infant Mortality

Katherine Selchau, Stephanie Yoon, Lawrence Reichle (Abt), Meghan Woo (Abt affiliate), Mary Webster, Vanessa Lee, Sarah Ball


September 25, 2019

Human-centered design (HCD) and design thinking are innovative approaches to problem solving involving building deep empathy with your consumers, extensive brainstorming, and creating prototypes. Through the Health Resources & Services Administration’s Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks (CoIINs), the Border States CoIIN is pioneering the use of HCD to reduce infant mortality by designing interventions to increase early prenatal care utilization among primarily Latina women residing in four US border states.

Teams conducted ideation workshops, design sprints, and lightning talks. Four prototypes were selected to advance to the demonstration phase:

  • A prenatal transfer record to document prenatal visits taking place in other countries,
  • A mobile messaging system for teens to ask confidential questions about pregnancy testing,
  • A co-designed preconception and prenatal curriculum for and with state certified Community Health Workers (or promotores), and
  • A pregnancy “passport” to reduce time between confirmation of pregnancy and first prenatal visit.

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Using Human Centered Design and Design Thinking to Reduce Infant Mortality