A medical journey can be a long walk through the darkness. It can be hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Even after treatment, trauma can keep following us. Post-treatment depression can keep the darkness with us even when we have recovered and are transitioning back into normal life. This is the story for many. Depression following critical illness is associated with increased mortality risk in the 2 years following intensive care. In the UK it is estimated that more than 40% of the patients experience ongoing trauma.
At Inaya, we ask, how might we create a more caring medical journey?
Inaya aims to incorporate celebration as a key part of the care process. It is a care service that acts as a platform for patients going through healthcare, offering both physical and digital toolkits designed to facilitate human behaviour change. Our main design solution is a physical journal that allows patients to introduce celebration into their own journeys. This journal is specific to cancer treatment, however, we aim to expand this into other treatments with personalization options in the future.
Through our research into cancer treatment we identified 3 major phases that could contribute to a patient's journey, these are, bridging, building and reflecting. We have designed our journal in correlation with these stages.
Starting with the introduction that introduces the benefits and the power of celebration, the bridging stage communicates positivity with messages as well as acknowledge the challenges, opportunities and introducing gratitude practices. We provide a timeline they can fill out to help develop an awareness of being present and building a hopeful outlook for the future.
The building stage aims to support the patient to build their own celebration rituals. Through some resources and activities, we invite the patient to grow their understanding of the value of small celebrations and acknowledge the effects on the journey. We designed a range of interactive pages such as the frustration and control pages, a calendar to express feelings and others that bring joy such as one that can be cut into confetti to celebrate any time, anywhere.
The reflection section helps develop a positive and reflective approach to the journey of recovery, by clarifying physical, mental and spiritual needs along with reinforcing celebration as a daily habit. It guides you through the process of acknowledging self-growth and learning through self-discovery. It maps your achievements while paying attention to your body, mind and loved ones. A collection of stickers in the journal help you express yourself while motivating you to try new ways of celebration
This customizable journal allows patients to process their journey the way they want based on their various experiences.
We believe reframing experiences through celebration tools like gratitude, a sense of accomplishment, and reducing stress and anxiety will be powerful. We are confident that this will have a massive impact as many patients develop mental health problems after their treatment.
We are inaya, less medical, more human.
As part of the RCA Grand Challenge 2020/2021, we had the opportunity to come together from 5 different countries and five different disciplines to give birth to inaya, Shruti Agerwala from Service Design, Suzanne James from Textile Design, Célia Marchessaux from Product Design, Justin Tsang from Intelligent Mobility, and Emre Kayganaci from Engineering Design Innovation.
Focusing on the theme of care, we discovered that the act of caring happens typically in 4 stages: Identify, Offer, Accept and Celebrate. But often, Celebration is missing. We have focused on celebration because we've actually seen the power of it. Three of us have mothers who have gone through serious health complications. Celebration doesn't have to be big and shouty - it can be as simple as having a cup of coffee and a cookie, or just a walk in the open. So we asked ourselves how could we integrate celebration into a patient's healthcare journey?
We've found that a full range of emotional processing, including celebration, is the key to reducing mental illness in our global community. So why has celebration been invisible until now? Maybe because of the ethical dilemma of celebrating amongst difficulty? Our conversation with expert Claire Wretham found that celebration is valuable even in painful situations and we believe that this can be applied to various healthcare journeys. Similarly, as the sociologist Brene Brown said, it is important we all 'Practice gratitude and joy in moments of terror'.
That is why we believe that celebration could be a leverage point for safety and healthcare. The global wellbeing market is worth 4.5 trillion dollars; with our sector, Preventive and Personalised Medicine being worth 575 billion dollars. The NHS is also spending 12.2 billion pounds on mental health. We ask ourselves - what if a portion of this was spent on celebration?
Our approach is informed by the Peak End theory which finds that humans remember the most intense part of an experience, followed by how that experience ended. So what would happen if the magic of celebration was a part of those key memories?
Whilst developing the celebration toolkits we have done extensive primary research, aiming to identify cultural differences and celebratory habits. We have also brought in professional collaborators to further solidify and support our approach using recommended techniques. We wanted to create a journal that acts as a psychologist in your pocket.
Throughout this project, we conducted multiple interviews with health experts, including therapists, psychologists, caregivers and professors. Digital touchpoints, to incorporate inaya into hospitals to offer personalization options and treatment tracking and physical touchpoint, the journal, as an innovative treatment for each individual. Our approach is backed by research which shows that journaling can significantly lower depression after just 3 days of expressive writing, 20 minutes per day.
We took great care when designing every element of the inaya brand, specifically the journal as this is the main user touchpoint. From the recycled linen paper to perfect binding and soy ink printing, every element was carefully considered.
We lead the user to the next steps in the digital toolkit with our 3 core pillars; resources, storytelling and community alongside an introduction to the physical journal. Our service provides 3 key benefits: resources for learning new tools and skills, storytelling to help a patient through the emotional process of recovery and community to develop a long-term support system.
We aim to create a substantial impact on two levels, personal and systematic. On a personal level, Inaya helps to provide a holistic recovery. On a system level, our approach will help save money spent on mental health services.
We will be partnering with the hospitals and other healthcare services to increase our reach. We will be looking at impact investors for early funding and we are exploring the option of a not-for-profit operation model.
We see inaya as a nest for future caring innovative projects. We are currently getting feedback on our journal and our next step would be to validate our business assumptions, collaborate with universities and hospitals to test our concept and work for the launch of inaya. In the near future, we are looking to test the journal within various treatments and integrate celebration into hospitals in larger-scale projects.
We believe we are in a crux globally, where technology is now unavoidable and that as designers, it is our job to simplify much of the technology and provide it in a meaningful, delightful and more human way to people. It is not always about creating new technologies but going back and asking ourselves, how could an existing technology benefits people in a novel way. And we believe it is this approach that is most valuable in bringing the inaya community together.
At inaya, we believe in the power of celebration as a key part of the care process. Celebration has the potential for a huge global impact. We believe reframing experiences through celebration tools like gratitude, a sense of accomplishment, and reducing stress and anxiety will be powerful. We are confident that this will have a massive impact as many patients develop mental health problems after their treatment. We believe in the magic of a less medical, more human approach.