This week, the Health for America fellows paired up with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to experience their Innovation Lab. The Innovation Lab is an accelerated version of IHI’s 90 Day Innovation Process, which includes an environmental scan, research, testing, and implementation. The lab, and all of IHI’s efforts, are rooted in the Triple Aim which calls for improving the patient experience, improving population health, and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare.
For our Innovation Lab we invited two heart failure patients, their respective caregivers (a husband and a mother), a healthcare entrepreneur, a cardiologist, and the IHI team. The day started off with our team sharing what we have learned thus far during the fellowship. All the participants then helped us create an affinity diagram to identify the major pain points heart failure patients face.
The next topic was habit formation. For this, IHI provided us a simple but enlightening habit to delve into, wearing seatbelts. Why do we wear seatbelts? Why do we not wear seatbelts sometimes? What design features in the car remind us to wear them? How did we learn to wear them? In doing this exercise, we learned that everyone in the room was motivated to wear seatbelts for different reasons. Some because they knew the life saving value, some because they didn’t want to hear the annoying beep if they didn’t, and some because they picture their mom yelling at them. It was really interesting to learn that of the ten people in the room, we had almost ten different motivations to accomplish the same goal.
It got our wheels spinning to think about how we can capture all of these different types of motivations in designing solutions for habit change. We cannot focus solely on the user who wants to avoid bad consequences or on the user who thinks philosophically about everything they do.
The day continued with deep dive, one-on-one interviews about daily routines, heart failure (both living with it or caring for someone living with it), food habits, weighing habits, interactions with the medical system, and the use of technology.
We finished the day with roleplay exercises to learn more about everyone’s morning routines and get feedback on some of our ideas. We also observed how people used their smartphones. This was really important because it illuminated how differently we use our phones. Especially because heart failure patients tend to be older, we want to avoid our own biases about what features they use, how frequently they use their phones, and their perception of the value of owning a smartphone.
Overall, it was a really valuable experience. This is the core of what human centered design is about. It challenged our assumptions and recalibrated some of our ideas to ensure that we are designing a solution for the people it is intended to help.