World Health Organization has set a target for the elimination of hepatitis C within 2030. In Norway alone, between 10,000 and 20,000 people are estimated to have the hepatitis C infection. Incidence is unusually high among current or earlier drug addicts, and a coordinated effort is required to reach WHO's goal of elimination. How can we use design methodology and design thinking to ensure that persons at risk get relevant information and a link to care? It is about using design-thinking to create user-centred healthcare.
Finding the right road to eradication with design thinking
EGGS Design was contacted by MSD Norway, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. MSD wanted to use methods from service design and the approach of design thinking to gain a better understanding of the people suffering from Hep C, in this case, drug addicts, and the people trying to help them. In the past, liver damage was a prerequisite for treatment – today healthcare services aim to treat anyone who is infected. Nevertheless, public figures show that treatment does not reach all of those who need it. Together we wanted to find the right road to the elimination of Hepatitis C.
Collaboration will increase impact
Our qualitative research informed us that the different support organisations working with drug addicts have different activities in progress with little interaction and collaboration between themselves. Also, they have scarce resources.
The «invisible» addicts are hard to reach
The support organisations are able to ensure that the established drug community is informed, tested and treated. However, they do not reach one important group: the “invisible” addicts. To accomplish the goal of elimination of hepatitis c, all infected individuals must be informed and treated. So how to reach a group of addicts that are not a part of the established community, who stay out of the police’s searchlight and who do not seek out health care services?
Let's beat hep C!
The first and most important thing that must be done is for stakeholders and support organisations working with drug abusers to collaborate and to join forces to work towards a common goal. With the ambition of starting such a collaboration, MSD and EGGS gathered various organisations at EGGS in September 2018. We shared insights and suggested activities. We opened up for new ideas and made room for good, comprehensive conversations. The representatives from the drug addict community in Oslo were invited to take ownership of ideas and to join the effort to BEAT HEP C.