Helping mothers donate vital breast milk and save babies lives
Babies fed with breast milk are better protected from infections and diseases – but how could we make it easier for new mums to donate milk to others unable to breastfeed?
The Hearts Milk Bank – the UK’s newest milk bank – believed a digital product could help. They came to us with an open mind, seeking strategic support to check their assumptions and discover what that product could involve.
We collaborate with clients at every stage of digital product design. In this case, that even meant helping Hearts Milk Bank get funding for the project from the Nesta ShareLab.
We then began our product development work, mapping every stage from mum to courier to milk bank, so we could find places where technology could improve the process.
And from there we developed a simple, prototype web app that mums could start using and testing fast. The app makes it easy to request a collection directly with couriers, who then arrange delivery with the milk bank. Milk bank staff have less admin to do – so they can focus on testing and researching the milk.
The initial prototype was ready in weeks, with further iterations turned around fast - based on feedback from users - before it was launched to the milk bank's donors.
We have been very impressed by the work of the whole team, and the speed that all of this has come together.
The impact of this app on babies’ health is already being seen. A premature baby only needs 25-50ml of milk a day and each mother donates 5 litres or more, so making this process more efficient means more babies can benefit from the health properties of breast milk.
And the benefits don’t stop there. Milk bank staff can now focus on research and life is easier for mums too. In initial tests, 90% of mums said the new process was much simpler than the existing one.
The ambition now is to secure funding to introduce extra functionality – from labelling to additional safety controls – as Hearts Milk Bank aims to link mums to babies in the most effective way possible.
Whether you want to create a new digital product or make an existing one even better, we'd love to talk it through.