Friday, January 19, 2018

Design Thinking for Health IT

Design Thinking is a recent topic discussed on the AMA's Physician Innovation Network. Following is a comment I posted there.

We have been using design thinking since the 1980s, before I knew what design thinking is. As a practicing clinical psychologist with an strong interest in IT, I envisioned that computers could be used to collect and analyze patient-generated data to help with treatment planning and delivery, as well as outcomes evaluation. I’ve been working for the past three decades to develop and evolve health IT apps through an intuitive process that closely mirrors the five-step design thinking model:

1. Empathize. Through my clinical training, research, observation and questioning my patients, I gained understanding of the information patients could provide and computers could use to support clinical decisions aimed at behavioral and emotional change.
2. Define. This understanding led to insights that defined possible health IT solutions.
3. Ideate. I used these insights to develop more detailed ideas about these defined solutions and discussed them with my patients and colleagues.
4. Prototype. I built prototypes based on these ideas and showed them to others for their feedback.
5. Test. I continually tested and refined the prototypes based on my own observations, assessments, and feedback from others.

This process yielded important benefits. One was my realization our solution should extend to address the relationship between physiological and psychosocial factors since people’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors can affect their physical health and biomedical symptoms can present as psychological problems. As such, I developed a biopsychosocial ontology that categorized and associated physiological/biomedical and psychological concepts; it provided a blueprint that we used to incorporate medical and psychosocial data within the solution. Related benefits are that this solution is relevant to social determinants of health (SDH), and to patient engagement and activation.
We now plan to offer this solution in an open environment for its continued evolution through collaborative design thinking processes.
Post a Comment