The Fellows have all gone our separate ways for the holidays. We thought now would be a good time to look back and reflect on our journey thus far.
We began with a blank slate and a daunting task – to improve the lives of people with heart failure. The topic of heart failure is rife with problems that frustrate medical professionals with years of specialized training, yet here we were to give it our own shot.
We spent hours, days, even weeks reading, listening, watching everything we could about heart failure to understand the subtleties of such a multifaceted disease. We met with some of the country’s leading medical professionals to learn more about our health care system. But mere knowledge is not enough to truly solve such a problem. We sought to develop empathy for those dealing with heart failure by observing and speaking with patients and their caregivers about their experiences and even tried to walk for a bit in their shoes by adhering to our own mock heart failure treatment plan.
Utilizing core tenets of design thinking, we spent time discovering insights about our users’ needs and developing them into design principles to which any good solution should adhere. Brainstorm after brainstorm produced hundreds of ideas that we would then whittle back down to a few through research and feedback on feasibility, impact, and novelty.
In our most recent round of idea-culling, we have focused our energies on the important caregiver-patient relationship, which is known to have powerful implications for patient well-being. One idea stood out among the rest and lasted our vetting process long enough to merit a new level of time and effort devoted to it alone.
As we move from the theoretical stage to the practical, we are excited to see where our current idea takes us in the new year and how the pivots we make to remain user-centered will come to define our product and hopefully make it as useful as can be.