17 May

Fredricks Design, Inc. – Upstream travel leads to downstream success

It’s no secret that a major component of healthcare design is focused on patient comfort in a hospital environment. When grappling with healthcare related design problems we are typically torn between hospital procedure and patient experiences. Take patient freedoms for example. As a patient you want as much personal freedom and access as possible. Having human contact and even getting to the restroom on your own are of the utmost importance and have been proven to reduce recovery time.

They’re also not always easily satisfied. Having guests and human contact isn’t always possible due to procedures, infection control, scheduling, etc. Getting to the restroom independently is a goal to set in many situations but can be a long and dehumanizing road that can be uncomfortable for both patient and caregiver. There are loads of conflicting issues like this one stacked against us when we approach human-centered-design problems.

Four main themes highlighted in a recent study of patient’s pain points were “comfort to facilitate healing, control over the environment and privacy, a sense of connection to the outside world, and access to the things patients need (e.g., their own property, the bathroom, etc.)”(1)

Voice-of-customer (VOC) outlines what standard healthcare products should aim to solve for. The real issue here is most healthcare product is developed on an island.Yes, it may work with a few other products from the companies offering but the underlying issues remain. Therefore, good product development needs to be fed by extensive research, product positioning and data. The further upstream we can begin to understand the system the better. These issues are far too big to be solved by a single product and instead are pointed at the entire environment and user experience. We’re talking about symbiotic product, able to adapt to ever-changing environments, becoming one with another and breathing together.

As we pour through surveys, user group feedback, observation sessions and data we are constantly reminded of the patient’s experience. This leads us to another interesting design problem.If we focus solely on the patient experience, it will likely end in product that is difficult to bring to market at budget. If we solely think about our business case, we will continue to output similar product and never improve our user experience. This, like most things in life is all about finding balance. The better we research and capture the voice of the patient/caregiverwhile making good business decisions based around the limitations and scope of the product, the better our chances of achieving better outcomes for users, OEM’s and hospital systems.

For more in-depth insights into our work in the healthcare market visit our website to review case studies on recent healthcare projects we’ve had the pleasure to be a part of.

  • (1) http://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/trends/research-theory/research-matters- what-patients-want/

Conor Fredricks

Industrial Designer

Fredricks Design, Inc.

Fredricks Design, Inc. is a full-service design and engineering firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan. The firm specializes in working as an extension of the client studio and engineering team to identify the right problems and accelerate development of solutions from early ideation, feasibility, concept development and production of mock-ups, prototypes and show properties. Fredricks works with key Clients in the automotive interiors and seating industries, advanced rides and show action projects for themed attractions, furniture, healthcare and consumer products markets.

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