University of Chicago, South Side students design and develop new contraceptive counseling tool for young people

Dec. 6, 2023
Hello Options is the latest development from Ci3’s programs with South Side youth.

A new contraceptive educational tool designed with more than two dozen South Side teenagers and developed by the University of Chicago will help teach young people about various forms of birth control to support adolescent healthcare decision-making.

Hello Options is a portable, all-in-one decision aid featuring 3D replicas of birth control methods that doctors, nurses and counselors can share with patients during clinic visits. It includes real-size models of birth control pill packets, long-term contraception methods and various condoms. The tool — which allows patients to see, touch and explore the range of available contraceptive options that are attached to a central ring — became available this month.

The tool was co-designed by UChicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) and 31 South Side adolescents and young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 who worked with the center on the project.

Each contraception method in Hello Options is arranged around a central ring and can be removed or moved around so providers can easily integrate the tool into their counseling. It has been clinically tested by contraceptive care providers and adolescents.

Hello Options was developed as part of a comprehensive human-centered design project at Ci3 to improve the experience of adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare. The adolescents who co-designed the tool interviewed public health experts, toured a clinical space, led simulated patient visits and drew on their own lived experiences to identify real-world opportunities. Ultimately, they came up with a Hello Options prototype. Ci3 then worked with industrial designers to develop the final product, with feedback from providers and young people along the way.

As part of a study to test the Hello Options tool in a real-world clinic, Ci3 researchers evaluated the usability, feasibility and acceptability with ten contraceptive care providers and 40 adolescent and young adult patients at two Chicago clinics. Patients reported that it helped them better understand how contraceptive methods work in their body and make more informed decisions. Providers thought the tool facilitated conversations, helped dispel myths and eased patient anxieties.

Support materials for Hello Options also include tear sheets with information about all the tool’s contraceptive methods for providers to share and discuss with patients. The tear sheets recently won the Core77 Design for Social Impact Award.

University of Chicago release on Newswise