Aplicación del Design Thinking en salud

Success stories about the application of Design Thinking in the health field

Successful examples of organizations that applied Design Thinking in healthcare

There are numerous success stories that we know nowadays about the application of design thinking in the health field. Some we have already mentioned and others mentioned below, however, we want to emphasize how much of the success stories that exist are from outside our country (Spain). This makes clear the need to implement this methodology in our health systems in order to improve, increase performance and, above all, improve the patient experience when it comes to these services.

Memorial Hospital of South Bend

The Memorial Hospital and the national health system collaborated with IDEO in 2002 in order to get help to develop a new center for heart and vascular treatment in the hospital. They started by observing the hospital environment in real situations, following and observing patients, nurses and doctors for weeks. They also conducted a deep dive through 3 workshops of 2 days each, which synthesized all the information gathered through brainstorming and visualization tools, generating new ideas and prototypes for the design of the new center.

This process made the hospital staff get involved deeply in the development of the new design, detecting numerous problems and areas for improvement. But they also managed to generate solutions for each of them. What most benefit received was improving teamwork, increasing motivation and fostering a climate more open to work, less hierarchical, which respects the diversity of skills rather than seniority or position, in contrast, strengthening the team for seek improvement.

Mayo Clinic


Jack & Jill rooms

The Mayo Clinic is actively working with Design Thinking methodology, in 2008 they decided to create the Center for Innovation (CFI), acting as a bridge between design thinking and the practice of medicine. The IFC has a laboratory in its own facilities where they conduct observations and research interviews with patients, family members and users. In addition, working with visualization, modeling, prototyping and testing of possible solutions for the provision of health services. But not only that, they also try to use a method of problem-solving that goes beyond the analysis process or quality improvement.

An example of a project that has been implemented in the hospital was called “Jack & Jill Rooms“. The idea of ​​this project is: only a small part of the meetings of patients include physical checkups while most of the rooms are equipped for it. The classic rooms for checkups were isolated and were inadequate for collaborative communication with the patient, while hospital rooms Room Jack and Jill were equipped for it. The rooms that were located on both sides of the rooms had physicals, monitors and space for families. All this made the collaborative communication better, but also allowed a better layout of the room checks, thus increasing patient visits.

Chief Andrew Isaac Health Clinic


Chief Andrew Isaac Health Clinic

In order to develop a new and specialized outpatient clinic, clinical health chief Andrew Isaac hired designers to understand the problems and conditions of patients. The designers made a field work to see the living habits of people and thus understand their culture, their sense of community and expectations for a health care provider. Then they made 12 intensive works to understand the problems and conditions of the old facilities. All this effort resulted in a completely new model of how to carry out care at the new facility.

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is the largest US organization in relation to the administration of care. Its functions are very diverse, so a coherent strategy for managing innovation and improvement work is a very complex task. The solution was to create the “Innovation Team“.

Following a collaboration with IDEO in 2003, Kaiser Permanente created a small team in charge of using the methodology of Design Thinking, with the aim of developing more efficient for high-value activities within the company process. Through a design people-centered process, projects were carried out in carefully chosen areas for improvement, to enhance the patient experience and work experiences of employees.

One of this carried out successful projects was to improve the way nurses exchange information about patients at shift change. The innovation team found that this process was too long, usually 45 minutes, leading to a delay in the arrival of the nurses at the first interaction with the patient. In addition, nurses wrote the information in their own way, without any concrete systematic system. Through analyzing observations and shift changes, IDEO proposed to make the exchange of information next to the bedside, encouraging them (the patients) to participate in the exchange, ensuring better coverage of information. Also, new software was implemented to compile the information in a standardized format.

Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital had a very clear objective: to reduce waiting times and increase patient satisfaction. Applying Design Thinking they created delivery points for recipes with a specific waiting room, avoiding queues and long waits. Moreover, they improved the pharmacist-patient communication and created private consultation areas to monitor the medication for more confidential help. All this resulted in greater satisfaction of patients and families with the new service. An increase in sales and motivation of the hospital staff was observed.

Patient App


It is a simple environment through mobile application for patients and visitors to the Mayo Clinic. This app helps people find information, itineraries and residence time of the activities in and out of the clinic and receive patient-centered information related messaging, education and appointments.

The application was launched at the Apple Store and MayoClinic.org on 15 May 2012. On the first day, it was downloaded more than 1,000 times. Current uses of this app are viewing appointments, clinical documents, lab results, care equipment, drugs and vaccines, as well as communication with suppliers.

Developing Patient-Centred Communication Materials for Breast Cancer Detection


And the Design Thinking is also applicable when making any kind of communication. Worldwide Breast Cancer is an online resource that facilitates understanding of the basics of detection of breast cancer through good design.

It is difficult to make a communication illustrated on the detection of breast cancer, it is generally associated with sex and generally are taboo. Another of the difficulties encountered to make a communication on this issue was communication to illiterate people. Thus a easy to understand design was created, pleasant, not aggressive and to facilitate the task of sending and receiving the message about awareness of breast cancer.

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  1. Pingback : Design Thinking aliado a saúde | Venturus

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