You probably know less about health care design than you think you do.
It wasn't until I arrived at the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation's Transform conference in Rochester, Minn., that I realized my understanding of the health care design world was almost nonexistent. Having just entered my 13th year of covering health care, I assumed I had a decent grasp on most aspects of the hospital field, but the topics, lingo and perspectives from the event were largely new to me.
When the master of ceremonies, journalist John Hockenberry (pictured at right), closed out the conference's intro by singing from the musical "Hamilton," I knew Transform was going to be different. As Hockenberry described it, Transform tries to create actionable ideas that attendees can take home and use. "It's practical; it's visionary," he said.
So, after having had one day to drink the health care design Kool-aid, so to speak, here are:
3 Things to Know About Health Care Design and Innovation
1. George Halverson, former CEO of Kaiser Permanente (pictured at left), still is doing interesting work in different roles that has real-world implications for health care and society. The biggest thing I learned from him is that talking and reading to children from birth through 3 years is vitally important.
Kids learn differently after that period and they need special attention during those first three years. Some stats from Halverson: Families in more than half of Medicaid-covered homes don't own books, and 50 percent of the nation's babies are born to mothers who receive Medicaid. Doing the math regarding the country's future educational level is a little scary. I would think that in some fashion, hospitals are in a good position to help.
2. People will drink more water if singer Ashanti urges them to. Consultant Karen Watson described the work that went into the Drink Up campaign to promote water as the healthy drinking choice over soda, which included successful promotion from Ashanti. It was encouraging. Still, Watson, a former Nielsen exec, seemed less than enthusiastic about the future of promoting water as a beverage when faced with the lobbying strength of the sweetener industry. More big thinking is needed in this regard.
3. The health care C-suite may have an untapped source of solutions for handling health care's transformation. The relatively young, enthusiastic group of designers working in health care — such as Rob Gradoville Jr. of IDEO.org (left) and Allina Health Principal Design Strategist Jess Roberts — are thinking differently, something the field needs. Yet, they may be close enough to health care to propose ideas that are realistic for use.
The rest of the conference can be watched online via livestream.