The noble pursuit of radical simplicity

High blood pressure is a silent killer. Measuring it is not the problem – instead it’s the seemingly straightforward task of recording patient medical history, over time, that causes the biggest clinical barrier to providing effective care.

It is in developing countries where this burden is most pronounced. Under huge demand, appointment times with patients can be under 4 minutes long, and the strain on clinicians to keep track of everything can be overwhelming.

In this episode we talk to Daniel Burka, the Director of Design at Resolve To Save Lives, to discuss how designing a stripped back EMR (electronic medical record) with a healthy dose of essentialism is enabling healthcare workers to manage blood pressure at scale in India and beyond.


  • Implications of high blood pressure (3:33)
  • Why we need more notes for longitudinal care (6:23)
  • Learnings from their first trip to Punjab (7:44)
  • Measuring time saved (11:35)
  • How the Simple app works (12:17)
  • The bare minimum data needed for medical records (14:30)
  • The individual clinician vs public initiative tension (15:51)
  • Having a strong user-research program (17:44)
  • The need to change systems training with staff (19:10)
  • Getting the Simple app into the hands of clinicians (21:30)
  • The Simulated Hypertension Clinic and learnings from their field research (26:18)
  • Other metrics they use to guide the design process (36:34)
  • The challenges to workflow working at scale (41:42)
  • Open-sourcing approach to break down silos in digital health (48:12)
  • Coming into the health world from the tech world as a designer (51:33)
  • Next big steps for Simple (57:28)

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