InterSurgeon is an online platform that connects members of the surgical team as well as surgically-focused organisations around the world. By bringing people together in this way, it helps to address global inequalities in surgical resources. It is part of the worldwide movement of global surgery and has received funding and support from organisations including the UN, the Global Surgery Foundation and the G4 Alliance.
InterSurgeon started as an idea between co-founders William Harkness and James Johnston. Both paediatric neurosurgeons, they identified the need for surgeons around the world to find and connect with one another in order to share their resources, expertise, and even equipment. Ideally, surgeons would be able to create posts advertising what they could offer and others could post about what they needed and the platform would connect the two parties. Nothing quite like this had been created before and the founders needed a complete solution: a name, brand, website, and fully-developed systems capable of handling requests and matching like-minded people around the world. They asked Novagram to deliver on all fronts.
We started by first understanding as much as possible about the goals of the co-founders as well as the concept of global surgery. We then put together a minimum viable product (MVP) to try out some early ideas and to make sure that the brief was fully addressed. While we continued to build out a more advanced version of the website and online systems, we also tackled the name and brand.
We devised the name InterSurgeon as an easily-understandable portmanteau of ‘surgeon’ and ‘international’. Crucially, this name also had a .org domain available as well as social media handles – these are all important considerations in brand naming.
The logo we created for InterSurgeon is based on the idea of the surgeon’s knot – something universally understood by surgeons – to symbolise a strong connection. The letter’s ‘I’ and ‘S’ are also hidden within the logo.
The website also had to be easy to use for a truly global audience, so we incorporated plenty of explanatory text as ‘tooltips’ throughout the registration form to help those for whom English is not the first language.
InterSurgeon was initially launched in beta, inviting only paediatric neurosurgeons to join. It has since grown to accommodate all surgical specialties as well as nursing, anaesthesia, and allied health professionals. Custom registration forms have been built for each group and designed in such a way that it is easy to build a detailed profile just by checking boxes and choosing relevant options. The website automatically matches compatible members and sends out notifications to all parties.
It is now also open to students, trainees and organisations involved with global surgery. It provides a way for those organisations to help mobilise surgeons as needed when demand is needed – for example, in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
InterSurgeon is now a truly international organisation with members in 112 countries and counting. The site we created has remained uncompromisingly reliable: the quality of the UX has allowed people all over the world to easily register, create profiles and connect with other members.
We have provided training on the back-end systems to InterSurgeon, created videos to introduce new features, and helped create marketing materials for international audiences. We continue to work with InterSurgeon, maintaining the website and building new systems.