Type of work
A program bridging communication between care providers via the NHS patient profile system; to improve cardiovascular health through early detection in primary school as a means of prevention.
This project was created in response to a creative brief defined by RSA Student Design Awards during my Master's at the GSA. The 20211-22 brief, titled Healthy Hearts, addressed the question 'How might we improve cardiovascular health and address health inequalities?' We chose to focus on Glasgow City's East End to situate our research and proposed service model.
Watch our complete project process video below:
Understanding the context and
framing the problem
We identified a communication gap between current health and education systems. Patients do not see their doctors enough, and school children are being exposed to risk factors their care providers may not be aware of. The compounding socio-economic barriers prevent cardiovascular symptoms from being detected at an early age.
Identifying communication gaps
Research & Key Insights
Our insights developed through desk research, mind mapping, interviews, and engagement tools. Our key insight is that in order to improve cardiovascular health and address health inequalities – a communication channel must be built between GPs and teachers, where one does not currently exist.
Through our interviews, we formed the conclusion that those of low socio-economic status face many barriers, therefore our solution should not place the onus on the individual. A successful program ensures that preventative methods and early detection are possible, is inclusive and empowering to all its participants.
Mapping finding against research methods
Project proposal: Risk identification through 'flagging'
Our program integrates the primary school and NHS system, where general health data is gathered overtime, by teachers in collaboration with parents. Through a concept called flagging, doctors are notified of potential risks, enabling appropriate future care decisions. Dividing responsibilities helps overcome systemic barriers and facilitate equity in cardiovascular care.
Program Concept: Flagging (If a child shows signs of a risk factor, it is highlighted in their personal records & their GP is notified
Risk factor information addressed
Systems Thinking: Acknowledging barriers and improving access to healthcare
We acknowledged that the problem is a systemic issue and understood the root causes and consequences for those involved. It helped identify gaps, and suggest a preventative approach, tackling early detection by beginning at a young age.
Inequalities: Causes & Consequences
Preventative care does not begin and end in primary school. We hope that this program would be integrated into all levels of school across Glasgow, eventually further involving the child.
The Healthy Hearts proposal was submitted to the RSA Design Awards 2021-22. It was a helpful project to understand systems level design and work with complexity.