Preforma is a service that empowers women to take control over their own health through a free digital health care assistant. The service strives to help women of all ages - from puberty to adulthood, motherhood to menopause - by providing a systematic approach to the diagnosis through an online form.
A solution to a recurrent problem
The idea for the project stemmed from recurrent problems witnessed by many gynaecologists in Norway; women were coming to their consultations with health problems that could have been avoided, or the consultation time was too short in order to actually dive into their problems. A team of gynaecologists, led by Maria Barøy Ræder (gynaecologist, PhD), prototyped a simple online questionnaire in order to help doctors gather relevant medical information prior to the consultation. The aim of this prototype was to gather enough information prior to the consultation in order to use the consultation time more efficiently.
In order to take the prototype a step further, we shifted the focus from a tool made by gynaecologists for gynaecologists, to a tool made for patients.
What empowers woman?
Putting women at the centre of the project meant to dive deeper into what empowers them. How could a digital tool make women feel more in control of their own health? And could that in itself empower them? To find the answer to these questions, we started by mapping out user needs and gathering assessments early in the process, which gave us enough feedback on the concept from a user perspective.
Experimenting through prototypes
We realised how important it is for women to look at their health from a holistic perspective, as well as removing stigmas around symptoms or conditions they might be suffering from. Many women found some of their issues intimidating or difficult to talk about with their health care provider. Hence, further questions started to arise: how could we - digitally - provide women with a voice in order for them to feel heard, have their symptoms approached holistically and feel that their time at the doctor was well spent?
The purpose of the prototyped landing page was first of all to convert users to take the consultation and fill in the form, as well as confirming our user stories. Based on what we learned on our 3 months trial period, prior to launching the website to a broader audience, we made adjustments to the design and the flow of the form in order to make it as intuitive as possible. We then built a flexible website, which gives Preforma the opportunity to try out different messages and track the results.
Designing the gap between women and health services
The visual identity is based on lines found in forms and text editing programs, in order to emphasise the service working as a bridge between women and health care providers. In the health care service, forms are often the middle ground between a doctor and a patient. A simple sheet of paper or a digital questionnaire, with blanks for the patient to fill in. The identity of Preforma needed to be simple enough in order for the message to shine through.
Protecting user data whilst helping research
A fundamental issue addressed by Preforma is the lack of research on women’s health in our society. The team behind Preforma is a team of health care professionals, dedicated to women's health and supported by public grants, not private investors. Their hope is that data collected will help research and raise awareness about women’s health. We had to make sure that the digital service would make women feel safe to share personal information, without fearing that their data would be passed on to third parties for commercial purposes. This was done by adding additional information about who was behind Preforma on key steps along the user journey.
The European Commission’s Deep Tech program chose Preforma among 50 others women-led companies to boost innovation in health and technology, to spread the service in various European countries. The need for women to navigate through the health system in a more comprehensive and empathic way is crucial to raise awareness about women’s health on an international level. We therefore hope to hear much more about Preforma in the future and have this service proposed to women in many other countries.
Thanks to DoGA which provided funding to develop the website, and to the entire team at Preforma for their trust, enthusiasm and great collaboration. Follow @preforma on Instagram and help spread it to help women empower themselves about their own health!
Research and insight