Current health system practices are not sufficient to
address growing rates of obesity and diabetes, health and economic disparities
and cost control. “A Design Thinking Framework for Healthcare Management and
Innovation” argues that addressing these complex challenges will require
leaders that can think, and act, more like designers.
"Perhaps one of the greatest threats to solving 21st
century problems in healthcare is not a lack of vision or resources, but a lack
of creativity. At its core, design thinking is about building creative
competency into an organization’s day-to-day operations and strategy,” says
Jess Roberts, Principal Design Strategist for Allina Health.
“To innovate in an increasingly complex and competitive
world, the business community has come to rely on design thinking – a term that
describes the problem-solving, creative processes that have transformed product
design and service delivery. We argue that healthcare could benefit greatly by
doing the same,” Roberts says.
The authors describe and offer tools for three key elements
of a design thinking framework which include empathy, radical collaboration and rapid prototyping. “By starting with empathy for our patients,
families, employees, and communities, design thinking allows innovation to be
driven by ‘user’ experiences and needs rather than top-down expertise, which is
often the case,” Roberts says.
The authors illustrate how design thinking complements and
differs from the scientific method and process improvement and is especially well
suited for wicked problems or those complex problems that don’t have a right
answer. ”We have already successfully launched this framework with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Minnesota School of
Public Health, and inside Allina Health,” Roberts says.
In addition to Roberts, Thomas Fisher, MA, University of
Minnesota, Matthew Trowbridge, MD, MPH, University of Virginia School of Medicine,
and Christine Bent, MHA, executive vice president of Allina Health, were
co-authors on the paper that was published in the March issue of Healthcare.