Reducing Maternal and Neonatal Mortality with 24/7 Health Support
Angels on Call / United Nations Population Fund x World Food Programme
Partnered with Research Team and
Angels on Call (Angeles de la Guardia) is an app that ensures 24/7 technical and clinical support to all doctors, nurses, midwives, and health staff attending obstetric & neonatal complications in the maternity ward in Equatorial Guinea.
The project is a part of 2020 UNFPA Innovation Challenge. It is a bootcamp created in partnership with WFP Innovation Accelerator programme focused on innovative approaches to end unmet need for family planning.
Ending preventable maternal deaths by connecting 24/7 expert clinical support remotely to staff on the ground.
The app needs to be as straightforward and as simple as possible, to provide the non-professional and unexperienced staff with a smooth navigation.
Accurate assessment of the medical condition is a key, providing all the necessary details via a synchronised expert app the Spanish team member ‘on Call’. Tone of the app is also important to create an atmosphere of support and calm and sense of togetherness, so that the health staff can feel that they are not on their own with the problem.
The app is divided into 4 sections: Emergency, Epidemiology, Training, and non-urgent Consultation. Aside from the emergency assistance, it can also work at the same time as a training programme for the staff and a log of critical cases to examine and learn from.
It includes user-friendly:
Based on the received guidelines and research findings, I quickly visualised the app structure to help with effective communication. It was important that navigation was as clear as possible, while retaining the emergency triggers in key areas. I have decided on the fixed bottom menu bar for the 4 key sections and enabling the ‘Angel’s Support’ access at all times from the top menu navigation. The specific health support screens will be accessible after providing critical info about patient’s condition, to ensure that the most appropriate help is administered.
Time is crucial, that’s why users will be able to choose the most common types of obstetric emergency right away at the home screen of the app. As soon as the emergency is activated, the timer will appear at the top of the screen. Visuals will help the less experienced users navigate the condition checklist step by step. Triggered emergency code (blue, red, black or white) prompts the Angel’s support screen. However, It is also possible to continue the self-emergency with the code checklist and in-app build help for more experienced users. The expert’s assistance will be accessible at all times from the top menu navigation throughout the app.
The compatible Expert’s app synchronises with the Health Care Worker’s app and alerts the medical team in Spain when an emergency code is triggered. When further info about available users or medical staff is required, this can be accessed, and a specific expert can be contacted for assistance.
The initial prototype tests received positive feedback. Users were pleased with a clear and ‘very well thought through layout’. The app appeared easy to use and was valued for its high content clarity, practical checklists, and the offline case data collection, which would become an invaluable training source in the future. The only concerns arose around the level of medical complexity, which might require initial training for the non-professional staff.
Satisfaction: On a scale 1 to 5, where 1 = low and 5 = high, please evaluate what you think of the design and functionally of the app.
Error Management: How many errors within the app you encountered, when using it for the second time?
Learnability: On a scale 1 to 5, where 1 = low and 5 = high, please grade the learnability of the app.
Efficiency: On a scale 1 to 5, where 1 = low and 5 = high, please grade the efficiency of the app.
The main screen has been designed to allow users to quickly access priority functions of the app. The emergency appears right at the home page with other app functions available at all times in the bottom navigation. The size of the buttons makes tapping easier, and the initial and critical patient’s condition assessment is broken down into individual screens to allow the user to focus on each task individually step by step and minimise the risk of mistake or panic throughout the process. Some visual elements have been added, and necessary tasks were presented in a form of checklists, with additional reading or videos available if required.
The app is currently being developed with further user testing sessions starting at the beginning of 2021. Meanwhile it has been awarded the Best Health App at the Hackaton Nacional Salud 2020 in Spain.
Working remotely can have its pros and cons, but certainly it requires additional effort on a clear and concise communication with the other team members. It is easy to jump to the assumptions when things are not clear or are lost in translation. However, this can lead to spending too much time, going in the wrong direction. If you are not the person, who has done the research or have a limited access to the research findings, consistent communication with the researcher is necessary. Understanding users’ motivations and goals allows to emphatise with the users.