A Novel IDEA: How design-thinking approaches revealed an innovative model of prescribing medications

Brian Brady bbrady2@stanford.edu

Abstract

The U.S. spends nearly one-fifth of its national health expenditure on pharmaceutical-related expenses, and more than double the annual per capita OECD average. This spending does not include the estimated 200-300 billion dollars spent annually on avoidable medication-related costs. Our team applied design thinking strategies including: facilitating in-depth literature reviews, conducting interviews with stakeholders, performing observational field studies, and developing care delivery models to discover and address the most common needs related to prescription medication care delivery in the U.S.

Throughout our work, we have observed a chasm between the accountability that providers assume for most medical activities and what they will accept for prescribing medications. Furthermore, we observed that systemic obstacles—including shortened appointment times—hinder physicians’ abilities to engage in optimal medication management. Exploring the obstacles to optimal prescribing has led our team to identify the “IDEA” framework for highly effective prescribing. At its core, the IDEA framework proposes that every prescribed medication must be: indicated, desired, effective, and affordable for every patient. Our model includes solutions for both providers and health systems to help achieve the IDEA framework for optimal prescribing for every patient at every opportunity. The implementation of the IDEA framework will likely lead to an improvement in all areas of the “quadruple aim,” including: health outcomes, reduced cost, patient experience, and provider satisfaction.
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