Utilizing human-centered design to improve health outcomes

Related program: Diagnostics

For more than 40 years, PATH has utilized human-centered design (HCD) to ensure that innovative medical technologies, tools, and approaches are appropriate, sustainable, and reflective of local priorities.

Human-centered design is a means of developing, testing, and implementing impactful technologies, tools, and approaches in partnership with users and communities to better understand their needs and motivations, translate insights into tangible ideas, and iteratively test and refine solutions.

Our approach

For more than 40 years, PATH has used HCD to improve communities' health outcomes by working alongside individuals and communities in low resource settings to ensure that solutions are appropriate, sustainable, and align with local priorities.

HCD is used to:​

  • ​Define and gain insight into a problem​
  • Co-design viable ideas and solutions with key stakeholders​
  • Evaluate and test solutions in context​
  • Better understand market dynamics and preferences​
  • Build consensus, partnerships, and demand for a solution​
  • Deepen and complement MEL data for a solution

Locally created, championed, and owned technologies, tools, and approaches reflect local priorities, considerations, wants, and needs.

Why does PATH use human-centered design?

When health technologies and approaches are not designed with individuals or communities, their impact is limited. Missing, unused, or ineffective innovation in the health sector can worsen health outcomes—even when they are well-intentioned or work elsewhere in the world.

At PATH, we partner with communities and stakeholders to design, build, and implement health technologies, tools, and approaches. Through these partnerships, we create innovative, impactful, and user-friendly solutions to some of the most pressing health challenges.

The Living Labs Initiative is a local network for human-centered design expertise in global health. Comprised of 25 designers, analysts, and experts in HCD, it leverages PATH's collective experience in working across geographical contexts to design and scale health interventions and products that improve access, use, and uptake.

Learn how PATH has used human-centered design to improve health outcomes by:

Integrating HCD into all stages of design, development, introduction, and scale-up helps to ensure that technologies, tools, and approaches are:

To enable successful utilization and uptake


To ensure long term use, viability, and adoption


To align with local economies/market insights and procurement mechanisms