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7 principles to create a get-well plan for healthcare

October 16, 2018

By Brenda Bush-Moline and Herschel Block

If stakeholders in healthcare institutions can achieve greater harmony, our designs will have greater resonance with their mission

Think of the way the workplace has changed over the past 10 years. Consider how the classroom is changing right now. The old models are disintegrating before our eyes and new models are emerging. Dramatic change is coming to the healthcare realm as well, and if we’re smart, we will welcome it and begin to guide it, because the stakes are high, and the opportunity rare.

As healthcare design leaders and strategists, we are experts in creating solutions that maximize the efforts of a healthcare institution to achieve its mission. But, too often and for too long, we see that healthcare organizations seem to be working on everything at once resulting in misalignment, division, and even a lack of clarity on enterprise priorities.

Whether it is financial considerations, an emphasis on care, or leadership that prioritizes innovation, one value rises above all others, making it difficult to realize the holistic care model that healthcare providers aspire to in their mission.

Why the misalignment?

Internally, these disparate strategies are often the result of the compartmentalization in sprawling systems-based organizations with many centers of influence and idea streams. These organizations might be full of good ideas and intentions, but their dispersed power structures make it difficult to coordinate towards unified goals supporting the institutional mission.

Years ago, the prevailing idea was that “the patient was the center of care,” soon this included the family, and then the care team. Today, we must account for everyone that experiences the healthcare ecosystem. Experience is important—some say paramount and rightfully so. Those that safeguard the budget want to see how designing for experience will increase margin. Elsewhere, the organizational leaders may be focused on innovation, safety and performance improvement, cost reduction and sustainable financial performance. Today, we have various tools that can measure quality and satisfaction across disparate initiatives.

The value of Integrated Experiential Solutions

We call the approach that can restore focus, align organizational activities, and enhance an organization’s enterprise value Integrated Experiential Solutions (IES). At its root, IES meshes Strategic Program Development, Experiential Design, and Lean Operational Design, and harnesses these three critical levers for creating a high performing organization. IES includes capturing the patient voice and has the unique potential to counterbalance the forces that lead to indecision and inertia during these uncertain and rapidly changing times in our industry.

Why are we, as healthcare designers and strategists, so passionate about this? We see opportunity for a paradigm shift for improvement that will complement what we believe is our value. We want our work to have the best result. The better a healthcare organization harmonizes its goals, the more our designs will resonate and forward those goals. IES holds the promise of radically reshaping healthcare ethically, financially, socially, and clinically. Ultimately, the culture we encounter in a healthcare organization impacts how we can provide design services properly.

The promise of IES can be achieved by applying the following seven principles:

  • Reimagining the system of care in partnership with the patient, for the patient.
  • Designing care around the patient’s decision-making.
  • Leveraging patient experience to creative dynamic, innovative care models.
  • Creating frictionless connections across the care continuum to speed time to care and lower costs.
  • Identifying the ideal service mix for each organization.
  • Redirecting resources to patient-valued care.
  • Positioning experiential design as a core approach to integrate and then elevate organizational performance around outcomes, cost, quality, safety, and service.
  • Brenda Bush-Moline
  • Herschel Block

    As a senior associate, Herschel provides support to healthcare managers in the planning and execution of capital redevelopment projects, conducts focused master planning studies, and performs detailed functional and space programming.

    Contact Herschel
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