Smadar Merdler Yardeni
Design Management and Innovation track
Michal Eitan & Sarah Auslander
In vitro fertilization (IVF) promises to give every woman and/or couple a biological child, but this promise is only partly fulfilled. Caught between dream and nightmare, many women find themselves lost in a grueling and prolonged journey, hopelessly trapped in a vicious circle.
The project, developed together with the Edith Woflson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, included observations and interviews with patients and medical staff, which highlighted the information and knowledge gaps in the encounter between the medical system and the women and couples under treatment. These exacerbate the difficulty and frustration on both sides. Although managing an IVF process requires the gathering and understanding of more and more pieces of information, women currently do not have the tools to do this. The accumulated knowledge on the treatment and on their body is distributed among various individuals and institutes, and remains mainly in the hands of the medical system, making it difficult for patients to be involve and make their voice heard. Many words are said and many explanations provided, but the use of medical and statistic language, the shortage in communication channels and the lack of visual aids make it difficult for the two sides to talk the same language, leading to a reality whereby the physician and patient do not meet.
CLOSER is an information management platform that enables patients to “own” the information and tools that enable her to be an active partner. The platform includes maps for orientation, an application for managing information as it accumulates, and a format for summarizing each round of treatment based on medical information and personal experiences, serving as a kind of “compass” for the conversation with the doctor. The navigation tools connect the patient to the bigger picture, enabling her to study each round, in itself and compared to previous rounds, and to become more engaged and wiser as she dialogues with the medical staff.
The project seeks to turn knowledge into power. The patient can not only be more engaged, but also redesign her communication with the doctor, thereby driving a systemic change in a bottom-up move. It offers IVF patients a way to get closer and bring others closer. Closer to the information, closer to themselves. Closer to the target.