A connected, coordinated and integrated healthcare model is vital for the delivery of efficient and safe care as a patient transitions between home, community-based and hospital care. However, limited budgets, a lack of access to appropriate technology and isolated models of care within a health service can pose a challenge to the delivery of optimal integrated care.
Innovative communication solutions are required to build an integrated care model that meets the needs of clinicians, patients, their families and carers.
Using design thinking to optimise an integrated care model
The Strategy Group identified and solved communication and information problems in the integrated care setting at Calvary Health Care in the NSW Hunter Region. We employed the cutting-edge Design Thinking methodology to develop successful and meaningful solutions to achieve more efficient and safe healthcare for patients, their families and carers.
Design Thinking is an innovative methodology used to tackle complex problems and develop meaningful solutions that benefit the end user.
In contrast with traditional problem solving that typically involves jumping in and trying to come up with a solution from the start, Design Thinking takes a more considered approach. Based on the principle of empathy, Design Thinking aims to build solutions through observing and understanding the needs of end users, and involving end users in the development and testing of solutions.
By using Design Thinking at Calvary Health Care, The Strategy Group aimed to observe and empathise with clinicians in order to understand the issues and barriers to the delivery of integrated care, without the distraction of developing solutions from the outset.
“Only through contact, observation and empathy with users can you hope to design solutions to fit their needs.”
Design Thinking at Calvary Health Care aimed to:
- understand the potential communication problems in an integrated care setting from the clinical perspective, and how these problems are preventing optimum care outcomes for the patients
- observe integrated care in real time, with a view to developing insights and solutions to the observed communication problems
- develop solutions to delight end users, solving real problems in a very meaningful and insightful way
- develop a model of research and engagement that can be used in other integrated care settings.
Our Five-step Design Thinking process
After engaging stakeholders across a number of key integrated care settings at Calvary Health Care, The Strategy Group implemented the five-step Design Thinking process.
Daily clinical practice was observed across seven integrated care units. Written, audio and video recordings were used to assist the project team to capture and understand their observations.
A workshop with a diverse cross-section of stakeholders was held to further extract, define and prioritise stakeholder communication problems and needs.
A structured brainstorming session was held with internal stakeholders and key staff from Telstra, to develop and storyboard creative and meaningful solutions to the identified problems.
A number of meaningful and workable solutions were prototyped for testing.
The prototypes were tested in a workshop with clinician stakeholders, allowing another layer of insight to emerge as the clinicians interacted and shared their experiences with each other.
Observations across care units identified commons problems
Observations of daily clinical life at Calvary Health Care gave The Strategy Group a front row view into the typical activities of an integrated care organisation.
While the insights gained from this process differed across integrated care units, many common problems were observed, including:
- confusion from clinicians about roles and responsibilities across unit boundaries
- limited care coordination for patients who are receiving care for a variety of conditions
- limited communication of clinician directives and patient wishes across unit boundaries
- a lack of resources, systems and processes to support communication and information sharing between integrated care units.
These common problems highlighted an unintentional disconnection in the delivery of care across integrated care units, and the resulting impact on patients.
Formulating communication and information technology solutions
Using Design Thinking and empathy-based observations, The Strategy Group was able to understand the key issues and pain-points in the delivery of integrated care at Calvary Health Care.
Working with clinicians and stakeholders from Calvary Health Care and Telstra, five key communication and information technology solutions were formulated:
- In-building mobile coverage
- Portable patient records
- Multi-platform integrated messaging for clinicians, patients and carers
- Multidisciplinary rostering solution
- Closed community social media to facilitate patient, carer and clinician communication.
Design Thinking ensured the identification of meaningful and impactful solutions that will help Calvary Health Care and its clinicians to deliver more integrated, efficient and safe healthcare for patients, their families and carers.
“The Strategy Group’s expertise and knowledge in Design Thinking was instrumental in the success of this project with Calvary Health Care. They have a strong focus on creating winning outcomes for both Telstra and Calvary creating a real ROI for us on the project. I would highly recommend The Strategy Group for any Design Thinking or innovation project”
– Tanya Felton, National General Manager, Health Industry Development, Telstra
About Julian KezelmanDirector, The Strategy Group Julian believes the future of innovation will be centred on business model redesign, integrative thinking and customer experience design. Julian has extensive client consulting experience working within major Australian banks, creating funding solutions and developing restructuring strategies for borrowers. He advised large corporate and publicly listed Australian clients in the financial services, mining services, media, medical and retail industries. In search of a career change, Julian completed an MBA, receiving class medals for overall performance, finance, innovation & entrepreneurship and now specialises in business and innovation strategy, open innovation, design thinking and lean startup methodologies.
- Cold Hard Truths About Customer Demand - 23/03/2017
- Design Thinking at Calvary Health Care for Telstra - 24/11/2016
- How to (Literally) Grow Your Innovation Culture - 17/11/2016