How to apply Design Thinking for Healthcare Transformation?
The healthcare sector has an annual revenue of billions of dollars, and with the increased technological advancements, people have started to expect more out of the services they get at medical centres. Many healthcare institutions are starting to focus more on understanding the needs of their patients and how to give them a better healthcare experience.
Design thinking for Healthcare
Design thinking is one of the most promising approaches that can help significantly in understanding the patient’s experiences. It is not only a creative problem-solving approach centred around behaviour psychology but also leverages rapid prototyping, collective idea generation and empathy to tackle complex challenges.
Design thinking is not a conventional way of problem-solving. It requires great efforts and skills towards understanding the patient’s experience and then coming up with viable solutions. It can transform the healthcare sector in terms of understanding what are the difficulties that are faced by the patients and why?
Design thinking involves continuous testing of ideas and then taking feedback from the patients for each applied tactic to find out which one was the most beneficial for them. This is a solution-based approach that focuses on problem-solving. In general, six steps are involved in the process:
Step 1 – Empathise
Empathy is perhaps one of the key elements that make healthcare sector different from every other sector in the world. It involves communicating and interacting with the patient through interviews and non-judgemental observations and shadowing. No viable solution can take place unless the challenges faced by the service user are experienced first hand.
Step 2 – Define
How can you design a solution without defining the problem? Design thinking requires you to define the challenges you seek to address and what role everyone is supposed to play. It also requires reframing the problem in a human-centric way. It is important that every problem-solving process starts with defining every aspect of the process.
Step 3 – Ideate
Don’t just jump on board with the first idea that pops into your mind, take time and evaluate its pros and cons. This step requires the sharing of ideas, brainstorming different ways and prioritizing objectives.
Step 4 – Prototype
In this step, mock-ups are carried out, all possible failure are identified, quick iteration and all the hands-on information is gathering before the actual implication of the solution. This step is important in particular as it involves judging ideas before they are implemented in real-life situations.
Step 5 – Testing
Here you evaluate what solutions work and what doesn’t. In this step, you ask yourself how can things improve and then start over. Testing is important in particular because implementing an idea without testing them can cause more harm than good.
How design thinking is transforming the healthcare sector
Design thinking is already one of the leading approaches undertaken in the healthcare sector. It has a huge significance in improving a patient’s experience through the development of new products and creating better design spaces.
Unfortunately, design thinking remains underused in addressing some of the biggest healthcare challenges such as communication between patients and clinicians, patient transportation and coming up with creative treatment ways for the patients, to name a few.
Design thinking allows leaders in the healthcare sector to leverage their deeper understanding in achieving better healthcare outcomes, lower the treatment costs and improve the overall experience for the patient. This methodology uses empathy to understand the impact of a problem on a patient. The approach requires you to identify solutions based on detail information. Design thinking uses a variety of approaches such as interviews, observations, etc.
Some of the basic questions that are asking throughout the design thinking process are:
Who does the problem affect?
People that you are trying to help.
Who else may benefit from this solution?
Other groups of people benefiting from this solution. People for whom the solution was not primarily intended.
Who is paying to get this done?
People who are financing the whole project. This is very important.
How to implement design thinking in healthcare transformation?
The easiest way of implementing design thinking is through analogues, which creates a comparison between different services and experiences. The analogue approach is about implementing the best practices of other businesses to tackle the challenges being faced by your organisation. It is a lot easier than going about something with a whole new process.
People often forget that the healthcare sector falls under the domain of the hospitality industry which is customer-centric. It is safe to say that healthcare institutions can undertake some of the best-worked practices in hotels not just in terms of improving the space but the services as well.
Guests in a hotel don’t just walk through the kitchen or housekeeping to get to their designated rooms. They also don’t have to wait for 30 minutes in the lobby just waiting to be served, which is literally what people go through in a hospital setting.
The healthcare sector can take so much from the hotel industry and implement quick and efficient services to their patients. Using this approach, hospitals can minimise the waiting time for the patients looking to get treated. Healthcare centres can have a clinical space where patients can get diagnosed for basic medical check-ups such as blood pressure check, temperature check, and medical history.
Why design thinking is beneficial for healthcare transformation?
Healthcare institution is moving beyond the hospital walls into the communities as the role of the healthcare provider keeps shifting. Medical professionals are asking questions that lead to a better understanding of the patients and helps in creating an ecosystem of care for them.
Healthcare centres need to understand the needs of the community to make their services more efficient. There are communities where there is limited access to food and resources for the people, and there is no integration of healthcare services in the community.
Design thinking is all about making professional proactive rather than being reactive. It empowers the patients towards self-evaluation and understands what is wrong with them. In the long-run, this approach helps improves the regulation process through experimentation. It allows the creative aspects of medical professionals to foster even further.
If you are looking to boost your design thinking process in today’s at your healthcare facility then feel free to contact us any time.
If you are interested to know more about our program for design thinking in healthcare, and how we can tailor it as your needs, please check our Design Thinking for Healthcare service.