Creative Spaces for Clinicians and Patients: Placemaking for radical collaboration

Robert Pugliese robert.pugliese@jefferson.edu

Abstract

Improving health care requires the participation of both clinicians and patients working together. However, most interactions between patients and providers occur in sterile clinic spaces, hospital rooms and doctor’s offices. Rarely do providers and patients communicate in an environment that fosters collaboration and inspiration. Even those who work together to improve patient care rarely collaborate in a space that supports and provides resources for ideation and prototyping. Promoting innovation in health care requires spaces that allow all users to collaborate and create. Dr. Robert Pugliese, a clinical pharmacist, a type 1 diabetic, and co-director of the first design thinking program within a medical school describes how he built the Health Design Lab at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Pugliese converted an old vault located in the basement of a historic Federal Reserve Bank into a space that evokes creative potential. The space contains both high and low tech prototyping equipment ranging from post-its and pipe cleaners to 3D printers and an arduino library. Dr. Pugliese lives and thrives in the space between being a clinician, maker, designer, and patient and uses these varying perspectives to encourage others to step outside of their comfort zone to learn something new and re-discover their creative potential. In the Lab, Dr. Pugliese and others lead programs that bring together diverse multidisciplinary teams to tackle health care challenges. In a course called Design for Disability, medical, occupational therapy, and industrial design students worked together with a teenager with a spinal cord injury to co-create customized accessibility solutions. At the nexus of concepts such as design thinking, co-creation, and digital fabrication a course focused on patient-centered design emerged. The audience will learn tips and tricks on building creative spaces. Simple things like dry erase boards, moveable tables, and wall-size sheets of cardboard have enabled users to exercise their creative muscles. Dr. Pugliese will describe the process of building a creative space with within a health care system that helps to foster collaborations between clinicians and those whose participation is most essential, patients. 
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