Educating the next generation to solve complex health problems through design thinking

Stories

Summer Projects: smarterPLAY

As summer begins in our new Vault, we greet a new crop of interns and a new set of projects. One of these projects is smarterPlay, a study that aims at analyzing the use of children's playgrounds in order to help design playgrounds that promote health and physical activity. With Philadelphia being one of the country’s most unhealthy cities, and with a childhood obesity rate of 50%, promoting children’s health through play will be very important down the line. For the doctors in the ER and the rest of the hospital as well, having a generally healthier population overall would mean fewer complications when people do get sick. We partnered with Studio Ludo, an non-profit organization that studies children’s play in America, in order to assess some of the playgrounds in the city. With Philly’s Rebuild project, in which over half a billion dollars has been allocated to renovate playgrounds across the city, we had plenty of choices as to how and where we could do our research.

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The Health Design Lab @JeffInnovation

Imagine a space where Doctors and Designers alike can come together and solve some of the toughest challenges in healthcare in one of the most evocative spaces in Philadelphia. The Health Design Lab @JeffInnovation exists to bring people together, including patients, who in the past may never have interacted with the goal of accelerating change and translating technological innovation to real innovations at the bedside. Fueled by traditional and modern prototyping technology and a foundation of user-centered design principles, the Health Design Lab is more than just a maker space, but a space that will change the way we all think about the future of healthcare.

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Design for Disability: Lariq's Story and Lessons in Collaboration

As I reflect back on the semester for JeffDESIGN, I am proud of what we accomplished in such a short time. What started as a crazy idea, turned into a truly meaningful experience for everyone involved. Personally, I learned a great many lessons from coordinating the class (probably more than my students did :-P). For me, the goal was always to create a unique co-creative learning experience, routed in reality, with design thinking at the core, and delivering content was was meaningful to both doctors and designers. Easy, right! One such lesson I learned developing this course, that I would like to explore with this post, is that the contributions of others were essential to its success. One such contributor, was Lariq Byrd, a bright 16 year old Philadelphian who loves sports and writing spoken word.

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Robert PuglieseComment
Design for Disability: 3D Imaging, Hands for Haiti, and the Enable hand build @ Comcast Collaboration Studio

As common as 3D printing has become in popular culture, it still elicits a sense of wonderment and curiosity in most people who are exposed to it. After the initial “WOW SO COOL” moment, the next reaction is generally a dichotomy. Either they can’t wait to learn how to use it or feel like there is no way they can figure out such a seemingly complex technology. Once these individuals learn about 3D printing and experience it, next comes a wonderful example of human behavior...the person who couldn’t wait to dive in realizes that there is far more detail and complexity to using the technology successfully than is readily apparent as you joyfully watch the extrusion of a perfectly formed object.

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Robert PuglieseComment
"Come ready to learn with an open mind": A pharmacy student gains new perspective through design thinking

When going through my list of potential elective rotation options, the emergency department (ED) stood out above the rest. I had some exposure to an ED rotation in the past and enjoyed the fast-paced environment that this type of practice offers. The list of assigned rotations came back and to my excitement, I ended up securing an ED rotation at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH). I reached out to my preceptor as I have done for all other rotations inquiring about what to bring with me on my first day. His response was different than any other response I have received in the past – the first thing he said was “come ready to learn with an open mind”. I didn’t realize at the time what he meant by “open mind” but I quickly found out as the rotation unfolded.

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Robert PuglieseComment
Design for Disability @ Comcast Collaboration Studio!

This semester we are focusing our JeffDESIGN coursework on additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) and its implications for health care. I find myself regularly explaining why we teach 3D printing to our medical students and I always start off with how 3D printing is not a simply a curiosity or flashy toy, but a powerful tool. I also stress that it is not some kind of magical creation-engine that can single handedly solve all of The World’s problems. Like any other tool, it is only powerful when wielded intelligently and with purpose. For this course, our purpose will be designing accessibility solutions for people with a disability. 

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The Crossroads of Healthcare and Design: A Pharmacy Student’s Experience in Design (and Emergency Medicine)

When I first heard from my preceptor that my Emergency Medicine rotation would include a component of design, I was excited but also curious as to what that meant exactly. When I was initially introduced to design thinking as it pertains to healthcare, it didn’t click. What does design have to do with healthcare? As I soon learnt, design thinking is about allowing for creativity to establish the different ideas that can result either in a solution to an issue or a re-imagining of a system in which the issue is circumvented. Scientific thinking is about understanding constraints and prerequisites in which a solution must sit and then progressing to develop one. Much of healthcare utilizes a scientific approach to solutions, and while an efficient means, it does not give way to the creativity allowed with design thinking. By wielding design thinking as a tool of innovation, healthcare may find relief from the constraints that hold back progress.

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Pharmacists: The Original Designers in Healthcare

Design thinking, at its core, is a person centric method for solving problems while also leaving room for innovation. This focus on the person/customer/patient is also the core of what drives the modern pharmacist. The first line of the pharmacists oath states "I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns". Just as in design, the person comes first and the process/solution always keeps the person/patient at the center. Also as in design, in pharmacy, there is no room for stagnation. Pharmacists must constantly have their eyes towards the next innovation in care, must always remain vigilant and understand the benefits and risks of any new treatment. I personally believe that pharmacists historically and today, are true designers of healthcare.

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Robert PuglieseComment
What can design thinking do for healthcare?

The US healthcare system is broken. This is a phrase that has been used for so long that it practically defines the word cliche. When I made the decision to pursue a career in healthcare, I did so with the grandiose idea that I would somehow be able to change at least a small part of the broken system for the better. Since that time, there have been some amazing achievements in the delivery of healthcare on a grand scale, but from the view on the front lines, the main thing that has changed is my optimism that the status quo will ever be broken. Then I discovered design, it changed the way I think, and my optimism returned.

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Kids Designing For Kids

Like many of the incredible connections I have made in recent years, the relationship with Northfield Community Middle School (NCMS) in Northfield, New Jersey, started on Twitter. Dr. Pamela Moran (@pammoran), Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools and a leader in innovation in education, saw that we were both doing some pretty cool stuff involving design and education and made the connection. Soon after, we were invited to visit NCMS by Principal Glenn Robins (@glennr1809), and Digital Shop STEAM teacher, Kevin Jarrett (@kjarrett). We at JeffDESIGN knew they had something special going on, but once we saw it in action, we realized that they were truly remarkable.

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Robert PuglieseComment