8 Principals for Designing for Dignity in Health Tech

Thanks all for the great discussion, in real time at StrataRx and on the Twittersphere.

Is it enough to design for a great patient experience, improved health outcomes, and overall cost reductions in health care? While incentives may soon change, the idea of data-driven solutions to improve health care is not a new one. Yet why have technological solutions so frequently fail on all three of the triple aims? We need to be able to ask deeper questions, and experiment with more humanistic approaches.

Looking at specific interaction examples from incumbents and startups in health tech, I will contrast the current approaches for data-driven solution development, and how they fall short at the moment of interaction. Incumbents deploy top down approaches that comply with regulation, and meet the needs of payers and providers, but famously fail to deliver engaging patient and practitioner experiences. New entrants want to disrupt the entire system, but often struggle to understand deep unmet patient needs, and how to demonstrate evidence-based outcomes.

For each solution born onto the health tech scene, can we ask: Are patient’s lives enhanced by the addition of data? Do doctors become more wise? Do nurses feel more empowered? Do spouses know how to effectively intervene? Do adult children of aging parents get more time in their overly stretched days? And do these collective interactions actually result in improved population health?

This talk will outline an approach to design for a higher aim and enhance the lives of everyone who seeks care from the health care system.


Here are the slides:


Products of Design: Lifecycle and Flows

Happy to be at the inaugural second year for Products of Design at SVA. Following through on a promise many years ago to Allan Chochinov, I’ll be teaching Lifecycle and Flows with Rebecca Silver, and adapting a systems thinking approach to product backstories.

Lifecycle and Flows will expose students to the hidden forces behind how consumer objects are made. Systems Thinking, Life Cycle Analysis, and Stakeholder Management Theory will be used as frameworks for understanding the industrial process. Deeper exploration of Life Cycle Analysis will expose students to the ecological, social, and financial impact of a consumer product across the full product lifecycle. Students will gain skills in critical analysis, business logic, design research, and thing-making consciousness.

I was obsessed with product backstories and  book years ago when I left frog design to do my own innovation consulting work, and taught a class on backstories at ITP for a number of years inspired by Bruce Sterling’s Shaping Things. I’m thoroughly foregrounded in health, tech, and open data, and will have a point of convergence in this course as a few of the students will be hacking, deconstructing, and thoroughly investigating the product history of health and wellness tracking devices. These days, we are badass, putting sensors into EVERYTHING. What would be superbadass: understanding the human and environmental impact of sensors, everywhere, and tasking these sensors with telling the whole truth.