Kids’ immunization records redesigned are way more graphic, personalized & flexible

While healthcare providers in the U.S. struggle with design challenges of electronic medical record systems, some other countries are still struggling to get basic paper records systems in place. A global healthcare design challenge funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tasked designers with giving the children’s immunization record a makeover. Immunization programs are […]

While healthcare providers in the U.S. struggle with design challenges of electronic medical record systems, some other countries are still struggling to get basic paper records systems in place.

A global healthcare design challenge funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tasked designers with giving the children’s immunization record a makeover.

Immunization programs are put at risk when records don’t effectively keep an accurate history of a child’s health or identify when a child is off schedule, which is the case in many developing countries, according to the foundation.

Through focus groups conducted by the Center of Knowledge Societies in Kenya, Indonesia and India, the foundation saw a few big problems emerge: Illiteracy among parents caused challenges with linking children to the right record; most records had no obvious way to highlight that vaccines had been missed; and records were missing a predominant “date of next visit” slot.

More than 300 teams from 41 countries proposed ideas to make records clearer and more flexible as part of the Records for Life contest. I missed the news when the winners were announced last month, but it’s still worth drawing attention to their ideas now. I noticed that a lot of the design principles here run parallel with desirable qualities of electronic personal health records: Make them fun, make them simple, make them flexible and make them personal.

The grand prize winners designed a vaccine record booklet that slips into a hangable sleeve with the child’s name and picture on it. A tab indicating the date of a child’s next visit sticks out of the top of the booklet as an obvious reminder.

A team from Chicago-based innovation consultancy gravitytank developed the winning record and included a set of illustrative health education cards along with it. See an in-depth look at their design here.

A project that earned an honorable mention turned the record into something more personal for families by putting it into a picture book-type casing, with a photograph of the child on the front.

A team at the Maryland Institute College of Art took a similar approach, making the record look more like a timeline.

You can see the ideas from the rest of the finalists here.

[Images from the Gates Foundation]