Healthcare Experience Design: 4.11.11

The first Healthcare Experience Design conference, a one-day symposium held in Boston April 11, sold out with nearly 300 participants across all sectors and industries.  The program selected leading speakers and designers in four tracks of presentations:

  • Patient-Centric Design
  • Designing for Care: Provider Interfaces and Care Environments
  • Facilitating Engagement
  • New Models for Healthcare Delivery

Keynote speaker was BJ Fogg of Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, with a physically interactive talk on designing for persuasion that required managing latex gloves, floss, and instructions prepared for hundreds of sealed envelopes.

Because things were organized in tracks, I was speaking in “Designing for Care” and missed Matthew Diamanti’s talk on People are the Product in the Patient-Centered Care track. I’m waiting for the videos to become available (soon) so we can see watch those presentations at leisure.

The symposium brought together designers and leaders across a wide range of healthcare sectors.  There is something new and inaugural about this meeting, like attending CHI for the first time in its early years.  This is just the start of something, big, as designers, researchers and institutions are starting to find new ways of creating health value for people and patients.

Healthcare spends millions on clinical and business technology, but health institutions continue to lag most other industries in innovative design and IT.  (However, this is not in itself a service problem – efficiencies in healthcare are not ever gained by IT alone). The need for service, process, and interaction innovation is clear, but now the desire to forge change is apparent at the leading institutions (Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser, Sloan Kettering were all in attendance).

Some primary trends I’m seeing and the companies guiding those trends:

See all presentations and speakers

In Experience Design as Creative Care I raised these issues:

  • We (designers) are a new role in health institutions, and have a high credibility hurdle.
  • Earning trust takes time. Designers are still inexperienced in critical domain knowledge.
  • Our skills are tactical & not clinical (and not strategic, even if we think so.)  That will take time to change. We need to develop strong design research portfolios.
  • Our user-centered language is often irrelevant to doctors. (And who’s a “user” in healthcare?)
  • Always think: “How does (my) design help patients?”

What is Design for Care about?

  • Targeting design interventions to whole systems and services, not products and interfaces.
  • If the aim is improving patient experience and performance at the point of care, we need to rethink the service design and care flows for practitioners.
  • Think (IBM) service systems. Not users.
  • Designers need to patiently develop a shared language understood and effective in healthcare.
  • We (UX) need to start sharing design research & practices across sectors, centers, locations

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