October 26, 2021
Picture this! A person suffers from kidney failure and needs to undergo dialysis thrice a week with each session lasting for over 4 hours. He can pick from two facilities to undergo his treatment.
Option 1 is a facility with 20 beds in a room, all placed in a line in a huge rectangular room alternated by dialysis machines. It’s a clean facility that has all the basic medical requirements and modern machines.
Option 2 is a facility in a square-shaped room with huge windows. The 20 beds here are placed along the four sides such that patients can see and interact with each other. The machines are placed in a way such that they aren’t a hindrance if patients want to communicate with each other. This facility has television sets hanging over the beds if someone wants to use them. It has a small library with books on varied subjects in several languages, for patients to borrow from. It has a seating area, work stations, and recreational facilities for caregivers accompanying the patients.
Isn’t it a given that the patient would prefer the second option considering the fact that he and his attendant have to spend over 12 hours a week, every week at a dialysis centre?
This is what Design Thinking essentially is! Design thinking is a very customer-centric way of looking at situations and processes in an organization, so as to meet even the most miniscule needs of the consumers. Yes, the intangible and emotional needs too! It deals with solving problems in a practical and creative way while keeping the spotlight on the end-user.
Your customers are sure to love you back if you fulfill all their needs and desires. They are highly unlikely to stray if an organisation walks that extra mile to surpass their expectations.
All hospitals offer similar, if not the same services to their patients. There’s not much hospitals can do to differentiate themselves from their peers in terms of medical treatments after all. Yet patients show a preference for some hospitals over the other. It is because of the experience that these hospitals provide their patients. Applying design thinking lets healthcare organisations achieve this.
Design thinking in healthcare organizations focuses mainly on the two key parties involved, the employees and the patients. Since employees are the ones who have hands on experience and work in close contact with the patients, their feedback provides immense benefits in design thinking.
Design thinking can help come up with new creative ways of doing the same processes to make things easy and enjoyable for the employees and patients.
Productivity level of employees is likely to show an assent when their functional and emotional needs are taken care of.
Design thinking can provide actual solutions, which are relevant even in the future, to the problems faced on ground since the views of all the concerned parties – the doctors, nurses, administrative staff, patients and their caregivers are taken into account. If design thinking is given the adequate prominence, it will enable organisations to not only tackle issues at the onset itself, but also greatly reduce their occurrence.
Feedback shared by the doctors, nurses and other concerned employees is the starting point for design thinking. Thus, their suggestions form the basis for change. Employees are more likely to adapt to new procedures and put an effort to make them work when they have been involved in the problem-solving process. This in turn ensures a better user experience for patients.
We can safely conclude that design thinking is beneficial for developing better, sustainable products and practices. Let’s take a look at the various areas in which it can be implemented by healthcare businesses.
Patients need much more than just medical treatments while they are unwell. If healthcare providers have a design thinking perspective in their procedures, they will see the patients’ needs with a lot of empathy and help to devise holistic treatments to address the emotional needs of the patients and their caregivers as well.
The way a hospital or a clinic is designed goes a long way in impacting the experience of the employees, patients and caregivers. Design thinking helps to identify and tap elements that go beyond the functional aspects of providing and receiving treatment. It can guarantee an elevated user experience for all the parties involved.
Customers are increasingly looking at company websites and apps to connect with businesses, know more about them or gather general information about related things. If design thinking is used to build and maintain websites or apps for healthcare service providers, it will ensure a better user experience for its consumers. It can help to study the needs and requirements of consumers across the several demographic segments and come up with ideas that fulfil them.
Design thinking thus helps organisations to delve into areas that were not looked into earlier, in a way they were not looked at previously, to provide solutions that were hitherto not thought about, by bringing the focus on the humane element. Organisations can record new levels of efficiency by implementing a design thinking approach and it can translate to a holistic growth story for organisations.