Each Friday, we send out a handful of articles from the past week, related to healthcare and design, as well as an in-depth look at a current trend affecting healthcare right now.

Design through the lens of uncertainty

With the election at an end, we as a healthcare industry need to stop looking at what could have been, and instead focus on what lies ahead. No matter one’s political views, it is clear that healthcare policy and treatment will begin to enter a new era: the era of uncertainty.

“I think there’s going to be real angst and disappointment that they’ve followed the rules, they’ve put all these things in place to be consistent with regulations that have emerged over the last several years” - Rita Numerof, Ph.D., via FierceHealthPayer

Even though it is only a few years old, the ACA has touched many facets of healthcare: from insurance regulation, to HCAHPS reporting, to the medical device industry. All of these players in our healthcare system have since adapted and invested in leveraging these changes to improve their products and services, and to provide a better experience for customers.

The path moving forward will not be easy. Payers, physicians, and patients will all be impacted, and no matter the outcome, there will be changes, both positive and negative, that will affect how healthcare is delivered. The question is: how do we start moving along that path? Is it possible to get out in front of the mess of policy we will soon be sorting through?

Uncertainty is used to explore possibility and, through this exploration, provides opportunities for discussion, iteration and design thinking. Indeed, uncertainty becomes an important element of the activity, promoting a discourse around the development of design ideas, both with other stakeholders and the designer's own self in the exploration of one's own design thinking. -> - James Self, via Core77

There is no single answer to how to approach the future of healthcare, nor will we attempt to pretend that there is. What we will say is this: uncertainty can lead to unexpectedly positive outcomes, and a framework around innovation will help to propel new ideas forward.

Who knows, this may even be an opportunity to rewrite the rules. What would happen if we used design thinking to create new policy and new ideas across sectors? What if we sat down all the various healthcare stakeholders in a room and asked them what their biggest problems were, and encouraged them to co-create solutions? What would our healthcare system look like then?

Design thinking has the unique penchant of breaking down silos and bringing together people with different preconceived notions. Even within a single company: whether it be an insurance agency, a hospital, or even a trade association, there is potential to create new ideas that work better for both businesses and customers.

We certainly have a long way to go, and a lot of questions to answer, but the future does not look bleak. It may be uncertain, but we as an industry have been becoming more customer centric for quite some time now. This is our time to finally rise above outside influencers and create a system that is really, truly fair, relevant, and patient-focused. Let’s make healthcare great again.

The Weekly Roundup

A collection of interesting articles from the past week.

Nudging Brand Perceptions w/ Sal Bravo

Our perceptions of brands extremely influence our experience with their services and products. For healthcare providers, crucial moments along the patient journey can make or break those experiences. Our very own strategist, Sal Bravo, will be hosting a webinar about just that. Click through to sign up for our session next Thursday at 1:30EST.

What is Patient and Family Engagement?

Meaningful use, the rise of technology, and consumerism are pushing the adoption of new patient portals and better availability of data. The question is, what does this actually look like? Is it only about data, or is it about action?

Following election, health IT policy picture is murky

As we all try to make sense of how the new government will impact us, one particularly vulnerable sector of the healthcare economy is technology. Not only is it impacted by policy decisions stemming from both healthcare and telecommunications, but also research funding. This article explores what some of the ramifications may be in the near future.

Experts: ACA repeal would be complex, costly

Though repealing the entire ACA may prove difficult, there is no doubt that there will be wide-reaching impacts to changes in healthcare regulation. What does the path to deregulation look like, and how will it impact healthcare organizations? Fierce Healthcare explores in this article.

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