Healthcare Design - January/February 2016 - 34
"Service design" and the patient experience
What's service design, and how can it improve the
patient experience? That's what Allison Matthews,
a senior service designer at the Mayo Clinic Center
for Innovation, was on hand to explain to conference attendees. In her session, Matthews described
the Center for Innovation, a shared service group
at the clinic, where any unit or division can request
its experts to solve their challenges. Basically, she
and her colleagues are charged with identifying the
unspoken or latent needs of individuals and how to
answer those with design.
Unlike most healthcare designers, "We have the
luxury of time," Matthews quipped. The team digs
deep into issues, researching a topic through observation, from one-on-ones with patients to looking
outside the industry to, say, a visit to McDonald's.
"Then we begin to experiment," she said. That
means using mock-ups, prototypes, and other interventions to start translating what was learned to the
When the Mayo Clinic's Office of Patient
Experience asked for some help in correcting what
felt like a disjointed effort to deliver on its vision, mission, and operating principles, the innovation center
began its process of workshops and meetings. But
there was some trepidation when it came to ideas for
innovating the process-what if what was changed
was later realized to be where value was actually
delivered? So Matthews said the team delved into
where exactly value was taking place to limit that risk.
When it comes to patient experience, there are
going to be highs and lows. For example, Matthews
said, you can't make delivering the news of a cancer
diagnosis a positive experience. But what the staff
can do is provide support and accommodate the
needs of patients during those low points. "What we
can do is say, 'Where do we belong? How can the
built environment be different to make it better?'"
Another challenge presented was to make adjustments to the patient experience infrastructure by
keeping in mind that plenty of drivers and disruptors
will likely change the face of patient experience in
years to come.
Some megatrends to keep in mind included the experience economy-for example, the success of Apple
products not just for what they do but for how they
make people feel. "How can a space articulate this?
How do you make a MinuteClinic feel this way? How do
you make Skype feel like this?" Matthews said. Another
is the Uber economy, or the trend of instant gratification. For example, why own a car if Uber will have one
outside your door within minutes? And why go to your
usual provider if today there are myriad options to basically get healthcare any way you want it?
Finally, Matthews shared the importance of the
consumer-driven market and not just providing value
but meeting (or exceeding) expectations in ways
that keep people coming back. She said the lessons
learned from the process are starting to be articulated
in how the patient experience office works at Mayo
Clinic, although adoption is still slow.-JKS HCD
SAVE THE DATE
Expo & Conference
Houston | Nov. 12-15, 2016