Much has changed since our first “day in the life” blog post. In the exploration phase, we focused on shadowing healthcare providers and listening to the stories of stroke survivors. Subsequently, in the ideation phase, we donned our design-thinking caps and brainstormed 100+ solutions based on the needs that we identified during exploration. And now for the implementation phase, we are extending our initial pilots and moving forward with our top 2 solutions, Galva and KnightCap.
Let’s take a look at what my “day in the life” looks like, as I work alongside my co-fellow Katia on Galva.
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM – My alarm goes off. I freshen up and make my morning coffee, checking my email while waiting for the coffee to steep. Squeezing in a 20-minute yoga session, I mentally prepare for the eventful day that awaits.
8:00 AM – 8:45 AM – I commute to MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) where I will be meeting with case managers and social workers in the inpatient stroke unit. While in transit, I go over the documents I’ll soon be sharing with case managers. I’m meeting with three stakeholders at NRH to finalize logistics for the launch of Galva’s 2-month extended pilot.
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM – I meet with Kim one of the stroke case managers at NRH and ask about any concerns that came up recently regarding our plans to distribute our product starting the second week of May. Kim provides feedback on our questionnaires and connects me to three patients that would be good candidates for the Galva pilot.
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – After responding and following up on emails, I review the feedback we received from the outpatient stroke team, updating our laundry list of wellness items and educational topics that we use to personalize the Galva empowerment kits. Given the recent stakeholder feedback, I order motivational calendars from Amazon that we will include in our first inpatient empowerment kit. I continue finalizing the content and format of our educational flashcards. This process involves multiple tasks such as: 1) creating QR codes and custom-branded shortened links that lead to additional resources 2) ensuring the layout of each flashcard is printer-friendly 3) revising and adding new content in the flashcards (e.g. visual aids, health tips, quick facts).
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – I head over to 1776 to meet up with my colleague Katia. We grab lunch and update each other on the day’s action items and changes to our project timeline.
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM – Katia and I go over our questions for our upcoming phone call with Dr. Yochelson, our lead physician mentor for Galva. We speak to Dr. Yochelson, update him on our progress, and clarify logistical concerns regarding the vetting of our flashcard content and coordinating with the hospital billing department on reimbursements. After Katia and I debrief, we switch gears and discuss our plans for testing consumer demand for Galva gift boxes, an ancillary product that can be purchased by friends and family members of stroke survivors.
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM – Katia and I work independently and continue checking off our action items for the day. These include revising our patient questionnaire, creating one-pagers with instructions for the Galva empowerment kits, and preparing personalized flashcards for our first cohort of Galva users.
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM– I check my calendar for upcoming meetings and events, updating several Galva-specific calendar invites by copying my colleagues Mike and Stephanie, who are working on KnightCap. This ensures that Katia and I keep the KnightCap team in the loop and vice versa. I call Brandi, a case manager who works with Kim, and ask her if she has any upcoming discharges for the 2nd week of May. I inform her that we will be on site twice a week at NRH to work more closely with the inpatient stroke team.
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Thinking down the road, I browse the internet for upcoming startup pitch competitions in D.C. and nearby cities, double-checking the eligibility criteria and jotting down the ones that are good matches for Galva. I make sure to upload my documents to Google Drive as backup before I leave for the day.
Throughout my experience so far, I realized that implementing new ideas and innovative solutions in the healthcare system requires a combination of emotional intelligence, project management, and the ability to think not only inside but also outside of the box. In developing Galva, I also had several personal revelations, one of them being that I truly enjoy the process of creating new ideas and that I am an optimist, always choosing to see the glass as half-full, regardless of how many challenges and problems we stumble upon. Moreover, the transition from exploring the needs of stroke stakeholders to finally implementing the solutions we co-deveIoped with our stakeholders taught me the importance of intentionality in design-thinking. As the fellowship draws to a close, I look back on my first “day in the life” and can’t help but feel grateful for how much I have grown professionally and personally.