The Heeple project set out to research how we can prevent millions of deaths from hypertension in low-income countries.

In India, 5.8 million people die every year due to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The majority of these people are never diagnosed, nor receive the correct treatment.

Our focus was on the use of digital interventions to drive early diagnosis, a healthy lifestyle, and prevention of hypertension. Heeple became our chance to co-invest in a project that would touch thousands of lives in India – underpinning our commitment “code to save lives”.

A Tsunami in Slow Motion

An estimated 1.4 billion people worldwide have hypertension. This makes hypertension the world's largest chronic disease and the biggest comorbidity for accelerating the development of other non-communicable diseases. Reducing blood pressure directly prevents stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, and diabetes. Yet, only 1 in 7 people has their blood pressure under control.

By 2040, India is expected to have 140 million people with diabetes and 541 million people with hypertension. Consequently, early diagnosis is very important to initiate the best treatment and helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The Village Doctor Resurrected in Digital Form

In close collaboration with local healthcare organizations, The World Health Organization, The Lancet, and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we explored ways to equip small villages with digital interventions.

A start-up package was distributed to villages consisting of WiFi-enabled measuring devices including blood pressure monitors, blood glucose meters, and a microscope. Connected with a companion app, measurements could be shared with nearby healthcare centers, thereby increasing awareness through connectivity, simplicity, and empowerment.

The collaboration with our clients led to identification of three major challenges for early diagnosis and prevention of hypertension:

  1. 1Screening

    Hypertension is not diagnosed due to lack of awareness, tools and missing education.

  2. 2Decision Support

    Empower healthcare workers with simple advice for the treatment of individual patients.

  3. 3Tobacco Cessation

    Registration on the usage of tobacco and guidance on effective tobacco cessation.

Research Protocol and Project Outcome

We tested our solution in the Osmanabad and Latur districts of India. The outcome of the exploratory study was the commitment to developing a more comprehensive and innovative village health care model – funded by The World Diabetes Foundation. WDF17-1466 aims to introduce systems for prevention and management of diabetes and hypertension through close collaboration with The Lancet Commission on Hypertension and The Rural Health Progress Trust of India.

Expected Results

  • Increased awareness of diabetes and hypertension in approximately 100 villages
  • Improved compliance towards the treatment of diabetes and hypertension
  • Reduction in morbidity and mortality over the long term in the targeted villages
  • System development for supply chain management of medicines for patients in villages
  • Increased acceptance of non-pharmacological treatment options for diabetes and hypertension, prevention and control

Read more at the World Diabetes Foundation website.




  • India




  • India


  • Research
  • UX/UI Design
  • Design Sprint Workshop
  • Android

Interested in working with us?

Get in touch
Get in touch