Pain phone

The Panadol Pain Phone is a remote healthcare unit.


Armed with the knowledge that in rural Indonesia, more than 42 million people delay treatment and suffer with daily pain because medical care is too far away, paracetamol medication brand Panadol set out to bridge the gap between these communities and the experts who could help, by using design. 


Designed to function as an extended part of the Panadol Klinik Cekatan healthcare initiative, which aimed to support 16 villages in the Cugenang district affected by the 2022 Cianjur earthquake, the Panadol Pain Phone was designed to reach people with limited mobility and access to medical consultation and treatment with the care they need. To do this, Panadol enlisted DCA Design International – one of the world's leading product design and development consultancies – to create an easy-to-use remote healthcare unit.  


DCA’s agile, multidisciplinary team overcame a series of technical and usability challenges by curating a collection of existing technologies and integrating them into a new custom-made booth. The team ensured the design could operate in low bandwidth rural areas, and its usability allowed accessibility to the widest spectrum of patients.


The Panadol Pain Phone contains a collection of devices that provides the patient with the tools for a remote consultation. It has a video screen for face-to-face interactions and includes sensors that measure common metrics taken in consultations – such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels. It also has a digital stethoscope that can live stream audio directly to the healthcare professional.


By using the familiarity of a pay phone to overcome the fear of new technology, the device makes the consultation experience more personal and reliable. 


‘We believe digitalisation is one of the keys to making healthcare more inclusive,’ commented Setiaji Setiaji, Chief of the Digital Transformation Office, Ministry of Health, Indonesia. ‘The Panadol Klinik Cekatan and Pain Phone programme are real examples of how we can participate in accelerating health access throughout the country and making healthcare and health education accessible to more people.’


As part of the broader Panadol Klinik Cekatan, the Panadol Pain Phone has helped to connect more than 7 000 patients with medical care, including those suffering from headaches, joint and muscle pains, as well as life-threatening conditions such as hypertension, anorexia, asthma. 


In recognition of its effective design and healthcare combination, the Panadol Pain Phone was awarded a Good Design award for 2023 by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design, and Urban Studies.


Read more. 

Building bridges


Stand by me


Cool pool