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Pano: Redesigning Children’s Health Records for Gates Foundation Contest

August 21, 2015

A solution that focuses on the specific use case of India, but has broad application across cultural and geographic boundaries.


In the fall of 2013, students from IIT Institute of Design (ID) advised by Tomoko Ichikawa participated in the Records for Life contest, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to redesign the child health record. Together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, the Gates Foundation sought to understand the critical components of an effective health record, with the hope that this knowledge would help to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.


 The submitted prototypes were required to fulfill five major functions:

  1. unique identifier that is intimately connected to the child
  2. source of critical information for health workers about the child’s health and vaccination status and what the child needs at each point of contact with the health system
  3. source of critical information for families, such as date of next visit for vaccination
  4. source of critical information for household surveys, which many countries and policymakers rely on to validate the vaccine coverage levels obtained from administrative data systems
  5. An educational tool for families to learn more about health interventions

Ideas from this international contest will feed into the WHO’s guidelines in order to help developing countries improve record accuracy, prevalence, and use.

Proposed User Experience

A team of four second-year students created Pano—short for “Panorama”—a solution that focuses on the specific use case of India but has broad application across cultural and geographic boundaries. To inform their design, the team conducted remote research with families and health workers in and around Mumbai, as well as in countries as diverse as Mali, Uganda, and Paraguay.

Pano includes a new vaccination and health record, an appointment reminder card, and a protective carrying case. This new system is built on three key tenets, all derived from research:

  1. At-a-glance macroview of vaccination—The health and vaccination record is designed so that both families and health workers can see immediately which vaccines the child has received and needs to receive.
  2. Information organized by context, not category—Content is organized by vaccination schedule, making relevant information readily accessible.
  3. Decoupling of record and reminder—The record is paired with an appointment reminder tool, given to the family at each clinic visit. In the specific context of India, the reminder takes the form of a card that attaches to the family’s home calendar.

Taking a multi-disciplinary approach The scope of the problem went beyond communication design to include areas such as user research, behavioral economics, transcultural studies, and systems thinking.

Applying methodologies The team members relied heavily on three methods given the design areas to focus, the geography it served, and the tight timeframe:

Expert interviews—Engaged in learning sessions with medical professionals, the team was able to test hypothesis and learn about issues in the area of infectious disease prevention and vaccination.

Remote research—Focusing on India as the target culture for the prototype, the team had to quickly and efficiently find ways to conduct primary research. Identifying individuals who can be research ambassadors and training them was key. Through research photo sharing and video telecommunication, the team was able to develop insights that informed prototype directions. These prototypes were also sent to India for evaluative testing.

Prototyping—The team pursued many different approaches using prototyping as an active method to help think and improve the concept rather than simply demonstrating the end product.



Katherine Schtevie
Maggee Bond
Sarah Ekblad
Priyanka Marawar