Poster: Design Thinking in Health Care

19 Ways That Design Thinking Can Transform Healthcare

In our review of 6 trends nudging hospital design towards responsive healthcare, design thinking ominously featured in traces. From a lay perspective, the fact that the word design features in both hospital design and design thinking, may make our review appear grossly underwhelming. That’s until findings of a survey conducted by NEJM Catalyst titled: Care Redesign Survey – How Designing Thinking Can Transform Healthcare; are considered.

The survey administered to NEJM Catalyst Council Members ( clinical leaders, clinicians and health executives) explored various aspects of design thinking in health. It covered: the organizational issues and health care industry
issues that would benefit most from design thinking; the usefulness of design thinking within health care delivery; the frequency of employing principles and techniques of design thinking; stakeholders most appropriate to champion design thinking; and barriers to applying design thinking to health care problems.

Insights From The Survey On Design Thinking In Healthcare

With a broad brush, these leaders of the American health care system acclaimed their desire and readiness of embracing design thinking to transform the oft castigated American health care system. Citing stark low opinions on the utilization of design thinking in their organization and health system, they not surprisingly, identified Clinical leaders (45%), executives (37%), and clinicians (33%) are as the most appropriate champions of design thinking in health care.

Like All Else, Context Is Important Whilst Regarding Design Thinking As A Transformative Force In Healthcare

Surprisingly, survey respondents (who work the front line of the American health care system) had hospital and clinic design as the lowest ranked (11%) organizational issue this novel healthcare approach. Could be that their status as leaders in the American health care system sees to it that they work in optimally designed health care spaces. If so, oversight of this central issue that our analysis of trends in hospital design found to be critical in making health care systems responsive, is permissible.

Nonetheless, to be fair to them, all probability is the American health system is well accounted for. The continued reverence of the Bronson Methodist Hospital and benchmark setting exploits of newer establishments like the Florida Hospital Waterman bear testament.

The US is a health care system is a space designed to birth and nurture cutting edge health technology like CRISPR. Spaces that don’t need to be Antifragile in order to deal with shock like Ebola whilst fending off HIV, malaria and a rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases. At the very least, the respondents don’t have to bear the chaos of the Kenyan health system where regulation – government or industry led – on hospital and clinic construction is a minefield of delirious health outcomes.

The survey was structure to headline organizational and health system issues that could benefit most form this tenet of user responsive design. The preference choice spectrum nonetheless exhibited strong patient focus.

Patient-centrism Dominates Issues Identified By US Healthcare System Leaders

Schema of the 5 stages of design thinking: Empathise, Define Ideate, Prototype, Test
Image Courtesy of Interaction design Foundation

The NEJM Catalyst write up defines design thinking in health as:

A discipline that uses designers’ sensibility and methods, such as collective idea generation, rapid prototyping, and continuous testing, to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible, provides customer value, and is a viable organizational strategy.

Ranked responses to survey questions listed below, capture the marrow of this definition and the image above. Moreover, the value of design thinking in making health responsive is evident. Striving for responsiveness, guided by a strong patient focus that interrogates patient experience, are indicators of value to quality improvement in health.

What are the top three issues at your organization that would benefit most from design thinking approaches?

  • Staff and provider flow and information (49%)
  • Scheduling patient appointment and reducing no-shows (39%)
  • Patient adherence/ compliance with therapy (37%)
  • Patient satisfaction scores (33%)
  • Patient flow during office visits and procedures (32%)
  • Communication with patients about results (28%)
  • Patient health literacy (26%)
  • Decreasing wait time (23%)
  • Clinical and office space usage (15%)

What are the top three larger issues within the greater healthcare industry that would benefit most from design thinking approaches?

  • Care coordination (52%)
  • Integration and funding of social determinants of health (40%)
  • Technology use, integration, and improvement (35%)
  • Payment reform (32%)
  • Patient Engagement (32%)
  • Care access (30%)
  • Population health (29%)
  • Realization and commercialization of new care models (16%)
  • Medical/health education and training (14%)
  • Hospital and clinic design (11%)

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