ZenStorming

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Posts Tagged ‘designing healthcare’

Inspiration from “The Rebbe” into Redesigning Healthcare, Starting with the Word We Use

Posted by Plish on June 14, 2014

While driving to a 24 hour Walgreens in the wee hours of the night, I was listening to the radio and heard an interview with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History.

Rebbi Telushkin pointed out that the Rebbe believed in the power of words and he made it a point to use optimistic, positive words.   So strong was the Rebbe’s belief that it influenced the author, Rabbi Joseph, to use the words “due date” as opposed to “deadline” when talking about projects.  “Due dates” are synonymous with births, “deadlines” with, well, death.

The Rebbe carefully chose his words and therefore used the phrase beit refuah, when he spoke of a hospital.  Translated it means ‘house of healing.’  Most people used the term beit cholim, which means ‘house of the sick’.

Think about that.

When you hear the word “hospital” what do you think of?

If you’re like most people, you’ll probably say, “That’s where the sick people are.” Maybe you’ll mention something about people getting better but, odds are, the first thing that’ll  probably come to mind is sickness, not healing.

That’s interesting because the word “hospital” comes from the Latin word hospes. The word meant a foreigner/stranger or guest.  It’s actually the root word for “hospitality”, “hostel”, “hotel”, and “hospice”.

Do you consider hospitals synonymous with hospitality?  While the Ritz-Carlton has given customer services lessons to healthcare facilities, and many hospitals are upgrading their food quality and redesigning their interiors, the cultural change hasn’t occurred yet.  People still don’t identify hospitality with hospitals.  For that matter, unfortunately, I don’t believe that healing is identified with hospitals. I’ve even heard of hospitals being described as those places where people get sick!

Some places are making the change and trying to change peoples’ impression of what healthcare facilities represent.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America has taken the step of using green colors and logo that has a tree and a person playing and a dog.  They clearly want to convey their commitment to life and living.  Their facilities are even designed in V-shapes, almost like open arms.  They really don’t look ‘hospitally’. Check them out some pictures here.

The lesson here is that language is important.   From healthcare terms, to renaming strategic plans, to renaming project ‘post-mortems’, I believe it’s important that we use terms that take us in positive directions and make us think of what it really is that we want to accomplish.  Too often we just use common phrases, seldom taking the time to understand the impact of those terms in shaping our worldviews and how we approach problems.

Whether it’s healthcare or a relationship you’re trying to improve,

think about the words you use,

think about the metaphors that describe your challenges,

think about the ramifications of words,

and choose words that build up, that inspire, that give life, that cause you to look at people and situations in new and exciting ways.

The Rebbe would be happy…

 

 

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Healthcare, innovation, Religion, Service Design, Social Innovation, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How To Build an SMS/Text Support Group to _________(Lose Weight, Stop Smoking, Be Green…)

Posted by Plish on March 25, 2012

Texting is everywhere.  Which got me to thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app  that would leverage SMS to help people support each other in their quests to improve?

Need to lose weight?  Get this app.  Need to stop smoking?  Try this app.  Want to do a better job of conserving energy or recycling?  This is the app for you and your friends.

But then I thought, “Why bother with an app?”  Everything needed to make a virtual support group already exists on our mobile phones.  All that is needed are friends, common goals, passion, and a little know-how.

I assume you have the first three. Here’s the how:

Build the Group

1. – What type of people should be in your virtual group?

  • They share concern for the issue you’re working on.  In fact, it should be a passionate concern!
  • They’re within 100 miles (This isn’t necessary, but it’s always a plus if you can sometimes meet in person!)
  • You trust these people implicitly, and they trust you!

2.- Group size should be between 2 to 10 people. You can have more but the goal is to support each other. More than 10 and things could get quite unwieldy. Small groups are better for this.

3. – Once you and your friends are committed to this journey, make sure you have each other’s phone numbers.

4. – Create a Group out of your friends’ numbers. This is so you can text everyone at once. Oh sure, you can text the individual people one at a time, but the true power of finding and giving support, lies in the ability to contact everyone at once and the easier this is to do, the better. If you need help doing this you can check out the following references based upon the phone type:

5. – It may be worthwhile to write, and store, various ‘pre-written’ messages (for example: “I’m feeling weak and really want to eat this!”, “I did it!! I resisted!” or “Just finished exercising – feel gr8!”) But be careful. Correspondence should be authentic and heartfelt. Don’t overuse pre-canned messages!

 Working Together…

6, – Now that your group is built, contact each other, via text, at key moments.  Here are some examples of times when sharing would be apropos:

  • Challenges.  When someone in the group feels the urge to eat more than he/she should, or the wrong type of food, or doesn’t feel like exercising, grab one of the pre-written texts, or write one on the spot, and send it to the group.
  • Successes.  If you’ve just resisted that cigarette, or resisted the “Ice Cream Brownie Fudge Surprise!” share it.
  • Did you sneak something from the fridge in the middle of the night? Share it. You need to be open with each other. Remember, you’re in this together to improve not to judge. (No judging!!) 
  • Come across an article, quote or event that might help you all reach your goals? Send it out!

7. – The group’s reason for existence is to support each other. You are committed to each other. When a text comes from someone in the group, respond. Help each other out. Cheer each other on! It’s the feedback and interaction that will help people meet their goals and grow.

8. – If distance permits, get together in person to touch base, see each other, and smile (or cry). You’re in this together, and you’ll succeed together.

That’s all there is to it! 

And remember, this is more than just about weight loss.  It’s about helping each other grow and be more!

Please let me know how this goes, or if you meet any specific challenges.  I’m especially looking forward to hearing how else this could be applied..

Good luck!!

Disclaimer: Any healthcare information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers with any questions that you may have regarding a specific medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on this site.

Posted in Design, Food, Health Concerns, Healthcare, Social Innovation, Social Networking, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Designing Positive Experiences in a Doctor’s Office – One Bagel at a Time

Posted by Plish on January 12, 2012

It was a typical physical. The basic tests, some questions, some ‘turn your head and cough’-ing, a blood draw and the removal of a dime-sized, spherical cyst from my right shoulder.

As usual, the prep for the appointment included a fast from midnight.  This isn’t usually a big deal, except that I had the latest possible appointment that morning.

Everything went well. Even the cyst removal.  It wasn’t particularly painful, but the area was effectively numbed up prior to the mini-surgery.  That was, no doubt,  a good thing, as the cyst went deeper into the skin than one would think, based upon its size.  The doctor’s skillful excision left a clean, but surprisingly large, ‘glass marble sized’ crater on my shoulder.

After I was bandaged, I turned my head and started to get up. I was instantly greeted by a flurry of starry, firefly like speckles that twinkled for a few moments then faded.

“Whoa…stars,” I said.  It had caught me by surprise.

The doctor steadied me and I stepped down off the table.  “I’ll have my nurse give you something to help that,” he said,

As I was leaving the office, she handed me my prescription.  A coupon for a free bagel  at the bakery next door.

I smiled, left, and visited the doctor’s neighbor.

“This is the coolest idea, EVER!”  I thought to myself as I munched on a toasted bagel, slathered with honey-walnut cheese.

My shoulder wound was beginning to get sore, but it didn’t matter.  The crunchy, creamy-ness filled the 12 hour fasting void in my stomach, perfectly.

In the moment, I had thought the free bagel coupon was a sacred talisman, of which I was the sole possessor. The uninitiated would never taste the nectar of honey and walnut as I was able…

Only…

I wasn’t the only one to get a coupon. In fact, all my doctor’s patients who had to fast the day before their appointments, received a ‘get a free bagel’ coupon.

This was brilliance – Pure and simple.

It also wasn’t the doctor’s brainchild.  It was the bakery owner’s! (Though the good doctor did know a good idea when he saw it, and acted upon it.)  He proposed providing coupons for the doc’s prepping, fasting patients.  In the end, he not only benefitted from letting people try his bagels, he received remuneration for the drinks that I’m sure others, like myself, purchased as a sidecar to the bagel. Yet, he wasn’t the one in the limelight as far as I was concerned.  I was indebted to the doctor who thought enough of me to feed me when I was hungry (and smarting!).

I think about this little, customer service based, sleight of hand often.  It was a brilliant tactic that paid off in spades.  I respected my doc even more after that day, and the bagel baking prowess of his neighbor as well.  There are many lessons to glean from this experience, but the one that I personally come back to is this: The positive vibes I felt from that physical didn’t come from anything the doctor did, from a medical point of view, during my visit.  It had everything to do with the simple, person-centered action that occurred  after the physical was finished.

After – not during.

It’s important to finish experiences on a high note. This one was  the coda  of the sweet, Honey Walnut Symphony…

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Emotions, Experience, Food, Healthcare, innovation, Service Design, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Resources and Tips to Improve Communication and (Your) Healthcare Quality

Posted by Plish on September 28, 2011

…Communication is two-sided – vital and profound communication makes demands also on those who are to receive it… demands in the sense of concentration, of genuine effort to receive what is being communicated. – Roger Sessions

The Joint Commission says over 70 percent of sentinel events — sentinel events are unexpected outcomes, death or injuries — over 70 percent are due to breakdown in communication, That’s a huge deal. – Sorrel King, Founder of Josie King Foundation

We know that when patients and clinicians communicate well, care is better. But in today’s fast-paced health care system, good communication isn’t always the norm. This campaign reminds us all that effective communication between patients and their health care team is important and that it is possible – even when time is limited. –  AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.

Communication – real, deep communication- seems difficult enough when two people are healthy and  have all the time in the world to share.

Now put those two people in a doctor’s office, make one a doctor and the other sick and communication becomes even more difficult.  And, if the quality of communication goes down, the quality of healthcare is not too far behind.

To help keep the level of communication high, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has begun an initiative to foster more effective communication between patients and clinicians. One aspect of the initiative emphasizes the importance of asking questions.  People ask all types of questions when buying a cellphone, why not when dealing with their health?  The AHRQ provides videos of both patients and clinicians, highlighting the importance of asking questions and being prepared for the doctor visit.

With regards to being prepared for the doc  visit, Dr. Oz provides a great one-sheet (it’s pictured at the beginning of this blog entry – click on it to get a copy) that helps women if they think they may have ovarian cancer.  What about if you have other problems?

Write the symptoms down- draw pictures showing where it hurts! Make your own list of problems and things to ask.

“The process of drawing is, before all else, the process of putting the visual intelligence into action, the very mechanics of visual thought. Unlike painting and sculpture it is the process by which the artist makes clear to himself, and not to the spectator, what he is doing. It is a soliloquy before it becomes communication. – Michael Ayrton

Ayerton’s quote is very apropos.  When we write and draw, we make things clear to ourselves. When things are clear we are able to articulate them better to others, and this improves the quality of communication- that is, if someone is listening.

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. – Robert McCloskey

Listening is more than understanding what the other person is saying.  Listening, truly listening,  affirms the one speaking.  When we listen to others, those people feel valued for who they are; it builds trust.  It shows that we respect those people, that we value their stories, their dreams, where they’re going and where they’ve been.

With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing. – Catherine de Hueck Doherty

…Listening…

…Healing…

Maybe it’s not that innovative, but  it’s what healthcare is all about, isn’t it?

*****Postscript*****

I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon tomorrow, the 28th, and while in the shower thought of a couple of things that I hadn’t before with regards to how my leg is healing.  I’ve written it all down in my phone so I don’t miss anything in the morning (I wrote this blog on the evening of the 27th).  It’s actually a relief not having to expend energy forcing myself to remember what to say tomorrow.

Posted in Design, Healthcare, innovation, Life Stages, The Human Person, Wellness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Designing a Healthier You – Should You Take a Vacation or a Healthy ‘Staycation’? Take Some Vaykay!

Posted by Plish on August 12, 2010

So, you’re having a tough time getting your exercise time in and eating right?  But,  what can you expect?

You get home from work and you’re just plain tired.  You don’t want to cook, so you grab a quick snack that you picked up at the store and you nuke it,  or you run out for a bite, which you really don’t feel like doing because you’re tired. 

And working out? Forget it.  Either there are family  commitments or commitments to friends, or worse, that proposal needs to be done by tomorrow and you need to get going on it before it gets too late.

Morning comes and the routine starts over again….

and again…

…until vacation.

Ahhh, the word sounds so sweet.  When it arrives it’s even sweeter.  Time to get out of Dodge, get away from all the hassles – far away if possible.  If we can’t get out-of-town, at least we change the routine – get some extra sleep, go out and have some fun, which usually includes food and drink – sometimes more than is prudent, or healthy.

But does that mean that we should ditch the vacation if we want to be healthier?

The fitness columnists over at The Washington Post  and dietician Felicia Stoler, host of TLC’s reality show “Honey We’re Killing the Kids,” recommend taking a health based Staycation.  What is this comprised of?

Instead of sightseeing, you’ll explore how to build more physical activity into your daily life and figure out smarter ways to shop for groceries and plan meals. It’s unlikely you’ll lose 10 pounds in a week like they do on TV. But by getting a jump-start on an exercise routine in your own neighborhood and cooking in your own kitchen, you’re setting yourself up to continue these behaviors even when real life kicks in again.

In other words, utilize the time of your vacation to design a healthier you.

On the one hand this sounds like a good idea. After all, why wouldn’t such a vacation be good for you?  On the other, it sounds like a recipe for setting yourself up for disaster – where you’re proud of yourself for spending a week eating healthy, hitting the gym, and cooking your own meals, but crushed after you get back into your daily routine (See red text above) and you can’t get to the gym, can’t cook your own meals, and can’t seem to get enough time for yourself for sleep or recreation.

The article itself points out this could be a problem:

The key is remembering that you need to make these changes part of your regular routine, says physician Arthur Frank, founder and co-director of the George Washington University Weight Management Program. “A week of working out is essentially useless unless you can continue it,” he says.

And without a real itinerary, you could fall into the trap of snacking to alleviate boredom. “Most people do well much of the day until it becomes unstructured,” Frank says.

This is a design problem.  This particular design problem requires empathy and understanding of what Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Design, design thinking, Food, Health Concerns, Healthcare, innovation, problem solving, The Human Person, Wellness, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Let’s Design Healthier Hearts – American Heart Association Takes an Innovative Step

Posted by Plish on January 22, 2010

 

In an effort to increase cardiovascular health in the US and promote prevention of heart disease, the American Heart Association has taken an innovative step and defined ideal cardiovascular health using seven easy to understand measures.  In concert with this definition they’ve also created an aid to help people in understanding their cardiovascular health by launching a monitoring tool over at My Life Check

“A simple step-by-step approach has now been developed that delivers on the hope we all have – to live a long, productive, healthy life. We call it Life’s Simple 7,” said Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, President of the American Heart Association.

What are the seven things we should all be monitoring?

  1. Never smoked or quit more than one year ago;
  2. Body mass index less than 25 kg/m2;
  3. Physical activity of at least 150 minutes (moderate intensity) or 75 minutes (vigorous intensity) each week;
  4. Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet consistent with current American Heart Association guideline recommendations;
  5. Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL;
  6. Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg;
  7. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL.

Any improvements in any of these will help people to have healthier hearts and prevent heart disease.

Continues Dr. Yancy,

“Prevention should be a cornerstone of healthcare reform, a priority of our state and local legislatures, incorporated into our workplace policies, in our schools and our community environments, and a big part of our everyday lives. The American Heart Association is clearly focusing not only on reducing the burden of disease but, importantly, on prevention of disease. That should matter to everyone.”

Hmmm…there could be the makings of a problem here…actually two problems. 

First, we all know that heart disease can put heavy burdens on society, but we also know, though we don’t like to admit it, that prevention brings its own burdens.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Health Concerns, innovation, Science, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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