Re-designing healthcare

September 23, 2009 — 4 Comments

I spent last week at the Mayo Clinic symposium on health care innovation called Transform. It was excellent. A great group of speakers and an audience populated by some of the most important players in health care innovation.

You can check out the videos from many of the speakers at the Mayo Transform site. Unfortunately I can’t link you to the individual talks but I would recommend the following in particular:

Clayton Christensen on the Innovators Prescription. For those that have not read the book this talk makes a rigorous argument for how the business model of healthcare needs to be restated.

Amy Tenderich talks about the Diabetes Challenge. An attempt to get design thinkers engaged in improving the lives of diabetes sufferers.

Victor Montori, a Mayo physician, does a great job of showing how doctors get it wrong when they don’t consider the whole lifestyle of the patient when they prescribe remedies.

Denis Cortese, the current head of the Mayo, describes where the health care system is dysfunctional today and what Mayo plans to focus on to help resolve that.

Elizabeth Teisberg talks about health care policy and in particular the importance of focusing on value not cost reduction.

Frank Moss from the MIT Media Lab gives a great talk and demonstration (with one of his graduate students) on empowering each of us to be responsible for more of our own health care.

Patrick Garaghty, CEO of Minnesota Blue Cross Blue Shield, makes an impressive argument for how it is in the interests of payers to focus on wellness programs. Given the bad press that insurance companies have been getting in the recent debates it was good to see some real leadership coming from them.

As always, Larry Keeley makes an eloquent and urgent case for innovation based on showing how Leonardo got things wrong.

The three ‘i-spotter’ award speakers all gave great short talks on their projects – Jaspal Sandhu, Jeff Belkora and Alexandra Carmichael.

I headed up the last session which was specifically on design thinking. I was followed by three wonderful talks by Karl Ronn of P&G, Christi Dining Zuber from the Kaiser Innovation team and Maggie Breslin from SPARC, the Mayo design and innovation group.

Overall I was very impressed by the level of the dialog about innovation and design thinking, particularly amongst the physicians. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that a profession that is focused on making people’s lives better is so enthusiastic about a human centered innovation process.

The image is courtesy of Marc Koska at Safepoint. I included the story of Marc’s innovation, the auto-disable syringe, in my talk.

Tim Brown

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4 comments on “Re-designing healthcare

  1. It’s wonderful to see initiative and leadership surrounding this subject. Hopefully countermeasures to the problems will emerge vs. cloudy, compromised, and epic legislation.
    Just saw a bumper sicker “Want cheaper health insurance? Eat a salad.” I doubt BCBS had anything to do with it, but would be interesting if the insurance companies got into the fray of changing public perception at that level.

  2. Great to see IDEO invloved in the debate/design of the future of healthcare. It is is amazing to me how so many different people and groups are so focused on doing the right thing for the patients/people/population health, but we cannot all get together to solve this. Equally sad is the mistrust that is rampant in the system. Patients dont trust their doctors, doctors dont trust the managed care organizations, employers dont trust the the managed care organization and nobody trusts the pharmaceutical industry…in fact when the topic of healthcare is discussed, pharma is an after thought.

  3. We talk a lot about health care. What is the root cause for bad health? Is it our food habits? For instance can “Design Thinking” permeate the restaurant world. I went to lunch today and most dishes had portions which could feed 2 people. I believe that more people would go to a “Healthy Restaurant” if there were more of them. American food is too rich. We need to go to “Lean” thinking in food. Should we research the ancient medicinal herbs in India. Or maybe take a page from Indian foods which are traditionally “Lean” Or should we totally redesign our habitat.
    I live in Florida and see so much sickness every where. Is it the water? Ours is a land of plenty and this at times could be to our disadvantage? Maybe the economic climate could be used as an incentive to lead simpler and healthy lives. My theory is that we can live on 3rd world wages without much discomfort and in the process even become more productive.
    We use carpets which harbor so much bacteria. When I was a small boy in India we had cement floors and mats to sleep on when we went visiting and stayed for a month with relatives. I am not saying that we go backwards but feel that we may be directing our efforts on the result rather than the cure.
    Would May Clinic fund research on simple living or would that be bad for business

  4. I think preventive medicine like the previous poster mentioned can help create a healthier world. Through education and yearly exams, hopefully we can help build a healthier world. And with a healthier population, hopefully more affordable health insurance will result.

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