What does healthcare consumerism have to do with design thinking? according to Paul Roemer, leader of IBM’s Healthcare Consumerism group, it's the most important component.

In a recent article published to IBM's Think Tank blog, Roemer explains the role of design thinking in healthcare—specifically pertaining to the needs and wants of consumers. Roemer uses a variety of thought-provoking scenarios to emphasize the dynamic between patients and consumers and the importance of leveraging design to enhance the effectiveness of healthcare solutions.

Design involves taking a human-centered approach to problem seeking and solving and the integration of both human-to-human and digital experiences to create seamless engagement and satisfaction for the user. For healthcare organizations to thrive, they must be deemed relevant and useful in the everyday lives of consumers, beyond care for cardiac arrest and spine surgery. 

We found the following notion from Roemer's article particularly intriguing:

What is the opposite of design-thinking? Maybe it is designing without thinking.


Without design, opportunities to enhance experience and interaction are overlooked and organizations run the risk of compromising compelling moments for innovation. Design opens our eyes to the possibilities outside of traditional approaches to engaging consumers. Design challenges us to seek something greater and beyond our current capabilities; to envision and aspire to reach the ideal—this is the visionary underpinning that healthcare must commit to achieving.

Roemer goes on to discuss the distinction between designing in a fragmental manner, focused solely on utility, rather than from an experiential standpoint:

There is a huge difference between designing for function and designing to create an experience.

In healthcare in particular, it is critical to design for the comprehensive experience between patients, providers and the broader system of interactions that support each. As leaders charged with impacting strategy, voice and experience—understanding experiences as a whole is a necessity.

Healthcare involves an intricate network of interactions, blurring the lines between clinical and non-clinical endeavors, that impact the health and wellbeing of consumers in the everyday. Healthcare leaders must rise to the occasion and leverage a human-centered vantage point to effectively drive engagement with the products, services and systems.

Consumers have options and increasingly more access to knowledge and insights regarding the management of their health and wellbeing. Technology continues to ramp up the demands, desires and expectations for increased quality and efficiency of consumer healthcare experiences. 

To stay ahead of the curve, healthcare organizations must adopt the principles and practices of design—rethinking their approach to consumer engagement. 

Read Roemer's full article, Why is Design Thinking Healthcare Consumerism's Greatest Factor, on IBM Interactive's Think Tank blog —