Hospitals were designed for the wants and needs of doctors and hospital administrators. Patients werent ignored--but they werent top priority, either.
Today's Fast Company post nails an essential problem with healthcare. The article focuses on architecture, although the quote above is really applicable to almost every part of how we deliver care.
Other industries, particularly dot com startups, know the term user centered design. It's a simple concept. What does the end user want? Think about the best hotel you've stayed in, or something as simple as the famous Oxo vegetable peeler. What they have in common are roots in user centered design. They were created by thinking how will guests move through this lobby? Where will they sit? Is it comfortable? Quiet? Is there free wifi? And, in the case of the peeler, how does it feel in your hand, could someone with limited grip strength hold it?
The Fast Company article makes a very compelling point. It's not that healthcare has ignored user centered design entirely. It's just that our definition of the end user has ignored several key constituents: patients and staff.
Ok, I added staff, but I believe it to be true. Just ask a nurse. Nonetheless, the point is clear, we've got to involve patients and staff, along with doctors and us admin types, in the design of the processes, spaces and things in healthcare.