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LK 101
Applying design thinking at Stanford Hospital & Clinics to improve the cancer inpatient experience
LK 101
Applying design thinking at Stanford Hospital & Clinics to improve the cancer inpatient experience
Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Stanford Hospital & Clinics
People diagnosed with cancer undergo unwelcomed life-changing events that launch them and their family members into a ‘new normal’ – essentially an unasked-for way of life.  Cancer diagnosis and... Read more

Description

People diagnosed with cancer undergo unwelcomed life-changing events that launch them and their family members into a ‘new normal’ – essentially an unasked-for way of life.  Cancer diagnosis and treatment not only impact the patient, but are also experienced by the patient’s immediate family, work colleagues, and wider circle of relatives and friends. Long-standing habits in our inpatient care models challenge patients and their loved ones to maintain personal presence and sustain their dignity. The purpose of this work is to identify human-centered solutions that significantly enhance the cancer patient experience: acknowledge and celebrate the patient as a person; restore dignity; provide meaningful comfort, convenience and reassurance; and guide patients and family members compassionately and comprehensively through every care transition, including re-entry to their ‘new normal’.  The challenges identified reveal that oncology inpatients and their family members experience huge emotional, physical and practical impacts in a short period of time.  During these diagnostic and treatment periods, patients are stripped of their sense of self and are placed in a vulnerable, foreign environment where they no longer have control over what is done to their bodies; family members are faced with logistical, pragmatic and organizational hurdles to support the patient – directly and indirectly while the supporting circle of family and friends are limited to ‘caring’ from a distance.

The scope of this work is aimed at improving the care experience for the Cancer inpatient, their family members and loved ones. Assumptions addressed through this work include:

-   Patients want to feel like someone is  genuinely looking to care for them before they arrive

-   Patients want to  feel and stay connected to their world – family and friends – during their stay

-   Patients want to feel like they are well-known and understood as individuals, by everyone they encounter during  their stay

 Design Thinking techniques were used to uncover unmet patient and family member needs.  This started by deeply empathizing with patients and family members, through interviews and observations, and proceeded through the Design Thinking stages, concluding with testing ‘low-resolution’ mobile & non-technology prototype solutions with real patients and family members to understand the value of the solutions and gain further insights via empathy.

These techniques revealed that there are notable gaps between what patients and family members believe or state to be their preferences and wants vs. where they actually derive value, as evidenced by usage leading to the enhanced patient experience sought.  Each of the assumptions, developed and tested through prototypes, were perceived by patients and family members as solutions that delivered warmth and a sense of caring, but failed to address practical needs that were an equally high priority.

Lessons learned from this approach indicate the need to further invest in empathizing with extreme users, and to collaborate with analogous organizations that deliver this type of compassionate, high-touch, deep-detail service.

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