“How can we help women feel more connected and empowered in the Birth Centre?”


Dr. Daghni Rajasingam, at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital

The Problem

Improve patient experience in the Birth Centre

Our Solution

Better connecting women to midwives


The ongoing pilot now has 73% takeup, positive qualitative feedback from women, and is moving to next phase of development

“We want to help women feel more connected and empowered on the Birth Centre.”

What we did:

  • Developed a simple tool to help women feel connected when there isn’t a midwife around
  • Removed the stress of paging your midwife when it is important, but not an emergency
  • Cut down on the amount of walking back-and-forth that midwives and support workers need to do by letting them know why the woman is paging them
  • Anonymised data collected to improve healthcare management

1-to-1 connects patients and carers

Everyone is trying to do their best, but it’s not possible (or desirable) for every patient to be attended on a one-to-one basis, 24 hours a day. We’ve built this app to make it easy for women to get accurate and efficient care when and how they need it. 1-to-1 gives women a tool for sending messages to their midwife when they aren’t in the room.

Service design

1-to-1 is a service and not just a single app. It is a variety of touchpoints including apps for women and midwives, training scripts and publicity a material as well as launch plans and product feedback loops.

We developed a web-based dashboard so the Ward Clerks could have a live, system-wide view of what was happening. The dashboard helps them stay on top of what kind of messages are being sent. It also allows them to allocate rooms or carers in case workloads peak.

To make the pilot as inclusive as possible, we set up an iPod loan program for midwives without a smartphone.

Service coaches and launch capsules

We developed a new discipline called the Service Coach. This person helps onboard new users, collects and prioritises user feedback, trains key staff, and feeds back development priorities to the design and engineering team. This is a practice used by many companies, including Palantir, who use ‘Forward Deployed Engineers’ in the Pentagon or Afghanistan to gather user requirements from the field.

Being able to listen to feedback, answer questions on both the short and long term needs of the users, along with helping out with a variety of technical hurdles to getting started is a very specific skill set. The service coach is a front line product manager, listening gathering user researcher, and evangelising for the product.

The launch capsule was what we called the ever-changing collection of assets used to launch the service. Just as we refined the engagement plans for onboarding women and midwives, we iterated copy on the posters and handouts and even changed some of the hardware we used to better suit the users.

By testing this live in the field we were able to iterate all aspects of the service as we went along.

Continuous user research

A major component of our work on 1-to-1 has been the rollout at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. The pilot is ongoing  during which time we introduced the app by being on site five days a week. This introductory phase allowed us to brief the hospital staff and begin gathering  feedback from the very beginning.

1-to-1 is currently being piloted on the Birth Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital with a planned future release to dozens of other wards and services, helping hundreds of thousands of patients connect better with their carers.

Making a resilient and secure data application

In addition to developing a technically robust app on two platforms, we created administration tools for hospital staff. This needed to be technically sound so we could run the pilot without the feedback noise of technical glitches. We also needed to create T&Cs and a corporate data policy. All the data is anonymised for use in healthcare management.

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