GIEP: A Multidisciplinary Venture

“A health behavior specialist, UX designer and developer walk into a bar…”

Replace the three “experts” with University of Michigan graduate students, and replace the bar with a coffee shop, and you have the origins of our GIEP team. Although we come from vastly different backgrounds, and possess different skills, the GIEP application process gave us a unique opportunity to crowd-source our knowledge to address an important problem in information technology: improving health care access and health worker communication in rural Indian settings.

Although we hardly knew each other and rarely interacted prior to the GIEP program, we quickly learned how to communicate with each other and with our clients, who were based in India and operated on a completely opposite time zone from us Ann Arborites.

At this point, our project objectives and goals were not completely fleshed out. However, we knew there were a few key things that we needed to keep in mind as we gathered information throughout the semester:

1) Community Health Workers are vital to Indian healthcare delivery, especially in remote rural areas.
2) To improve health access for the most marginalized communities, SMS-based solutions are most feasible.
3) Considering social, environmental, technological context of these communities is essential to understand for designing a technical solution to the issue of poor healthcare access in India.

We know the challenges may change drastically or will be heightened once we enter the country, but for now we are doing our best to gather enough information and advice from people who do this work in India to figure out how best to proceed in this project.