CURA: HEART HEALTH FOR WOMEN
Cura is a subscription service and non-profit organization that empowers Italian women to better care for their heart health through activity based support groups, a dedicated health ambassador, a goal setting and tracking platform and a medical device lending service called HeartBox.
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in Italy and around the world. A staggering 80% of cardiovascular related deaths are estimated to be preventable through lifestyle change. Cura is a service that guides women to better care for their hearts and the hearts of their loved ones so they stay healthier for longer. Italy, in particular, is entering a future where healthcare is uncertain. They are experiencing an unprecedented doctor shortage. In the next 3-5 years, 14 million Italians will be without a family doctor. Cura empowers local communities to share their knowledge to take care of themselves and each other so they can live longer, healthier lives.
This project is based on the culmination of research presented in Improving the Heart Health for Women in Italy project.
Illustrations by the talented Luiza Braga Campos
Service Designer Design Manager
I worked in a team of 4 international student designers as part of the Service Design Challenge organized by Philips, IBM, and Service Design Days.
Cura was a finalist in the 2020 Student Service Design Challenge and went on to exhibit at Dutch Design Week.
Service Design Design Strategy UX/UI Design
Through the research displayed in Improving the Heart Health for Women in Italy, it became apparent that cardiovascular diseases have a seemingly simple solution with an extremely complicated execution. If women lived healthier lifestyles, they would have a significantly lower risk of heart disease. Cura makes lifestyle guidance accessible and personalized. Women are placed in small local groups according to their condition. Each group is led by a trained ambassador who maintains a program designed from a wellbeing curriculum provided by the doctors and wellness experts at Cura. These ambassadors work through physical and digital means to facilitate activities and conversations to inspire, educate, and guide women as they make positive lifestyle changes. The program includes a device lending library where women can borrow equipment to set biometric goals and track their progress.
Cura makes positive lifestyle changes accessible through peer based support groups that are structured with physical and digital tools to inspire, educate, and guide women on their personal journey to a healthier heart.
CARING THROUGH A HEART AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
The Cura heart ambassador program trains local women to be part time leaders of groups of women participating in the service. Their job is to mange the group, facilitate relationship building, and plan activities as suggested by the Cura curriculum. The ambassador is not necessarily a professional expert, just a trained peer who has the tools to guide her colleagues to a healthier lifestyle. She is an accessible figure for discussing health, and would also act as a link to help get women in contact with any professional services that they may need.
The concept for the Cura heart ambassador program was based on a key finding from the research where we learned that friends are important advisers for women’s health. We understood the need for women to have trusted advisers with whom they could talk about their health and lifestyle casually, without the pressure of a hasty doctors appointment or even the fear of worrying family members.
The activities curriculum is the guide that the Ambassadors use to plan activities for their groups. Each group can online and in person and has the flexibility to organize themselves in the way that works best for them. This allows the groups to be very local, personalized, and casual, which is an important foundation to help the women to feel comfortable and encouraged to make positive lifestyle changes together.
The curriculum is created by health experts who give specialized suggestions depending on the conditions of the women in each group. The Ambassadors are responsible for hosting the events and finding local partners to work together with.
CARING THROUGH LOCAL GROUPS OF LIKEMINDED WOMEN
When a woman signs up for Cura, she is recommended to join a group of women who live near her who have a similar condition. These women may be strangers at first, but the Ambassador is given tools to help the women become comfortable with one another so they can all support each other on their wellbeing journey. Having an involved support group other helps keep women responsible to their health goals.
Information about each group is accessible to the women on the Cura app. They can find information about the other members, meetings, and activities here.
CHECKING THROUGH THE HEARTBOX PROGRAM
The Heartbox program is a devices lending library that is based out of a local pharmacy in each city. Women who are participants in the service have the ability to check out a device anytime. Devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors, pulse rate monitors, scales, and fat calipers are included in the subscription.
The Heartbox program allows all women access to the devices that allow them to track and measure their health progress. Their Ambassadors are always available to give moral or technical support when using them.
This concept was supported by research about the importance of the pharmacy as a health touchpoint in Italy. Women view the pharmacy as an accessible, reliable, and professional source of medical information. Having a physical touchpoint in the pharmacy helps to legitimize the service and ground it in the everyday life of the women.
CURA SYSTEM MAP
The Cura service has multiple touchpoints, both physical and digital, and relies on a network of community and governmental supporters. A key partner would be governmental agencies who can help provide funding and expertise. In Italy, it is in the interest of the public healthcare system to reduce the rate (and associated cost) of highly preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease.
Business Model Canvas
The business model canvas clarifies the value proposition of the service. Specifically, the Italian government greatly benefits from an organized service that educates high risk individuals and lowers their risk factors. This keeps them out of the medical system for longer and gives them the resources to take better care of themselves.
The service blueprint organizes all of the touch points of the service and outlines in detail how the ambassador program would work. It is a helpful tool to understand who all of the key players are and the interactions that compromise the service.
Articulating the Cura service from the Cura research was a challenge because we had to make our insights appealing and actionable in another culture. We had several challenging iterations where major portions of the Cura concept were not well received in user testing.
Cardiovascular disease is a complex topic with many players and inputs. We worked to consider all of this while making a service that was appealing and simple to the end user.