Design Thinking

Reevaluating the Value of Primary Care using Design Thinking


Design Thinking


It may seem a little out of the ordinary, a healthcare presentation at a design conference, but CFI designer Allison Matthews and primary care provider Marc Matthews presented at the Oslo Systemic Design Conference at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Norway. This symposium series explored the interdisciplinary development of design thinking as a progressive practice through systems thinking. Graduate students, academic professionals, and advanced practitioners from around the globe joined in the conversation. The overall question posed was, “How can we reinvent and innovate the relationship between design and systems thinking?”

Marc and Allison Matthews presented a talk entitled, “Reevaluating the Value of Primary Care using Design Thinking,” which highlights the work of primary care through community health and the impact that design thinking has added. In their talk, Dr. Matthews discusses the need for reevaluation of primary care based on a financial perspective. Currently, primary care is being paid for under the affordable care act. Our current delivery systems are unsustainable to survive systems where the total cost of care, patient experience, and patient centered outcomes are the primary determinants of success. In order for primary care to remain relevant, new solutions must be created that are both practical and transformative. Looking at the problem from a designer’s point of view, CFI designer Allison Matthews explained the process of change, and how design work has played an essential role.

Traditionally, primary care providers have seen their role as maintaining a longitudinal patient-provider relationship. Allison explains that although research and experience have demonstrated that this relationship decreases total healthcare costs with improved quality outcomes, primary care will be unable to keep up with the demand. Regulatory and payment changes will have a significant impact on the ability of primary care providers to maintain this same depth of relationships with all of their patients. In order to meet the needs of the future, we must tap into the vastly underutilized skills and knowledge of the nursing and mid-level provider in our clinics. By distributing the work of maintaining relationships, we will be able to more effectively care for the inevitable influx of patients entering the healthcare system.


For more on design thinking, watch the video below where Google for Entrepreneurs teamed presented a Hangout moderated by Kaili Emmrich of Google for Entrepreneurs,  Eric Ries (The Lean Startup), Tim Brown, (CEO of IDEO), and Google Ventures Design Partner Jake Knapp.



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