Transform Breakout Session Fuels Honest Dialogue about Design Process Challenges

Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation service designer Amy Wicks and colleagues, Steve Ommen M.D., Kelli Walvatne and Paul Nordlund, engaged Transform 2016 attendees in a lively discussion about the challenges the team encountered and what they learned while working on a project called Smart Space. As part of a larger effort to develop tools to help reduce costs in the practice setting, Smart Space was a mobile prototype designed to optimize providers' interactions with the electronic health record, the care team and the patient.

Smart Space attempted to address a growing problem for providers: the burden of clinical data entry. Although the project was developed but not implemented, Wicks’ presentation noted that the project yielded some valuable insights. These include a better understanding of care teams’ needs and fresh perspectives on the process of developing new systems within a large, complex medical practice.According to Wicks, Transform session attendees shared some of the challenges that they faced in their own healthcare innovation experiences.

“They described specific causes for the barriers that they had encountered, as well as potential root causes for the challenges we experienced during our work on Smart Space.”Breakout session attendee Caroline Patton was one of 24 Health Administration students from Auburn University attending Transform.

Patton says she came away from the session recognizing that seeking input from a broad team is an essential part of designing products that truly meet users’ needs. “I learned how important communication is between all parties that are involved in a project,” says Patton.

Wicks also notes that attendees were very interested in the ways that Smart Space project findings were incorporated into the practice even though it was not implemented as a product. “Attendees wanted to know where we made an impact and how the solution could be broken apart to create change in unexpected ways.”One of the most interesting veins of discussion and debate that emerged during the session focused on what role skeptics should play during the life cycle of a project.

“We all agreed that you need champions and early adopters,” says Wicks. “But opinions differed about whether you should engage with more resistant users early on in order to address their concerns, or whether you should wait to build momentum.

Even though the attendees didn’t reach a firm conclusion, Wicks says it was clear that this issue resonated with many in the group.Overall, Wicks also felt that the process of developing the breakout session and sharing her team’s story was a worthwhile endeavor. “It's a great way to reflect on a project and hear new perspectives about the work that we did,” says Wicks. “We learned from ideas brought forward by attendees, like how to engage with stakeholders early or how to implement something in an unexpected way.

And the discussion confirmed a lot of our thoughts about what our Smart Space team could have done differently and additional ways we might incorporate our insights into to the practice moving forward.”