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Prototyping in Pharmacies - Expert from IDEO.Org

Today we chatted with our colleague Courtney from IDEO.Org. Courtney has experience live prototyping in Congo, having designed and run a pharmacy pilot to improve access to contraception for teenage girls. Check out her project here: https://www.ideo.org/project/batela-lobi-nayo. 

As we've been through our Discovery phase, i's been great to explore some expert perspectives on this side of our project as well as the experts in AMR and interventions. We chatted with her for some advice and to gather learnings about making this type of work a success.Top tips:

  1. Position your idea as ‘upskilling’
“We worked with very low tier pharmacies which tend not to have any medical training, and so these individuals were very open to learning and gaining expertise - anything that would help them do a better job. Having said that, we have to remember that profits are THE significant priority for these providers”

Even providers with more formal training, we’re really interested in presenting whatever we design as a way to create a competitive edge. It might be personal (appearing more knowledgeable), more social (serving my community better than others) as well as financial (making more money through loyalty and selling medications or alternatives that are right). In the discovery phase we'll be exploring how these incentives might work in each market.

  1. Upgrade the experience in the pharmacy

Talking of competitive edges, Courtney advised that you cannot overestimate the value of making a pharmacy amore streamlined/more attractive/more enjoyable place to be:

“Our pilot was all about adolescent girls so we had pink banners on the outside, a lot of props and collateral that made the environment feel really appealing. There were other pharmacists up and down the street asking if they could have the same things!”

3. Measure 'switching' - over 'stopping'

“We asked pharmacists to estimate how many girls per day they encouraged/persuaded to switch from one solution to another per day. That was one of the more successful metrics we tried. When we tried to get them to record data through the week and submit, it dropped off after the first couple of days”

This might be a more interesting angle for us to go for, vs measuring a ‘reduction’ in a ‘bad’ behaviour. Having someone check in per day and record one or two measures (even if they’re self reported by the pharmacist) is likely to be much more doable and reliable than trying to record all transactions.

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