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Women's Health Apps Provide Education and Community

A list of some currently successful apps that provide forums and education for women.

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Mobile applications such as Glow/Eve https://glowing.com/glow and Clue http://www.helloclue.com/ provide women with easy to understand, down to earth, real information on sexual, physical, and mental health. Their interfaces are clean and easy to use, provide comprehensive health tracking and logging, and connect women all over the world. These apps allow women who may not have access to education about conception, their personal health, fertility, birthing, etc. to get the basic information they need to understand what's normal and what's not and what their options are. Most importantly, it also connects women facing difficult pre or post natal circumstances. This provides the emotional support which is another critical piece of ensuring quality maternal health. Online communities have a crucial role in decreasing depression and anxiety which can lead to infant and maternal mortality. However, these apps are often only in one language (usually English) and are, of course, limited to those with access to mobile phones.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How can we create universal designs for women's health tracking apps that bridge linguistic and cultural barriers? How can women's health apps provide women better access to legal support, clinics, and items like vitamins?

How does this research relate to our use cases and personas?

Immigrants like Janet would greatly benefit from an online community, which could connect her with others going through similar experiences. Healthcare workers like Melania and Ana could connect with patients through these apps, allowing them to build more of that personal connection throughout womens' pregnancies. Policy workers could use location data and forum responses from the apps to make a case for what resources are needed in the area.

Tell us about yourself:

I am a recent graduate with a B.S. in Design & Innovation. Tackling creating more holistic and individualized healthcare, particularly for mental health, is a passion of mine.

Are you currently an employee of Sutter Health or UCB Pharmaceuticals?

  • No

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Photo of Beccah Bartlett

Hi! Apologies if this comes through twice. I replied but can't see it uploaded so sending again. I met with the Hababy creators in May 2016. They mentioned they were shifting focus a little and the website hasn't really changed but it may be that they are on a different site now or under a different name, not sure. As for your questions Kate Rushton about limitations for apps in providing this support, here are a few of my thoughts: 1) apps should move away from trying to be/appear diagnostic and rather focus on information provision and creating referral pathways to actual health services with particular attention paid to creating more visual content for low-literature users (2) many digital health interventions fail to include refugees or other potential end-user groups (e.g. refugee health/support workers) in any of the co-design or user testing phases or they assume 2-3 refugees speak for the entire population. Including an anthropologist or design thinker who specialises in empathy mapping etc. is essential but often overlooked. (3) Most mHealth projects/products miss the opportunity to gather meaningful data on user habits and 'customer" journeys and instead rely on hits and new user stats. More work needs to go into mixed-methods monitoring and evaluation to ensure the app is measuring what it needs to, in order to ensure greatest impact and to uncover possible trends of what people are looking at, where and how often e.g. looking at sensitive info online is more common than asking for the same info from a health professional. See this interesting paper for more http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/06/02/528478817/who-threatens-you-researchers-asked-teen-girls-affected-by-conflict.

Thanks,
Beccah (www.mAdapt.org)

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