If Designers Redesigned Healthcare

It’s impossible to ignore the healthcare reform debate going on in the United States.

I am intrigued by the passion so many people have exhibited during town hall meetings.  And of course there’s Joe Wilson’s memorable outburst.

All of it has me wondering:

What would healthcare reform look like if designers had an opportunity to redesign the healthcare experience?

Experience designers have been using their skills to improve healthcare safety for years.  My favorite example is Deborah Adler’s SafeRX label.

What?  You’ve never heard of SafeRX?!?!?!

Okay, okay.

What if I said Target’s ClearRx Program?  Would that ring a bell?

Well thank Deborah Adler and the folks at Target for bringing SafeRX design to market.  And thank her Grandma for serving as the unfortunate inspiration.

Deborah’s Grandma had a very human moment:  She made a mistake.  She and her husband took the same medication, but in different doses.  The pill bottles looked identical.  She took a pill from the wrong bottle.  The mistake could have been deadly–and it has been for many people–but happily it wasn’t deadly this time.

And thanks to Deborah’s expertise she was able to revolutionize the design of prescription bottles.

How many lives have been saved thanks to better design?

We know bad experience design has killed people.   (Please read, Set Phasers on Stun: And Other True Tales of Design, Technology, and Human Error)

When people get sick and doctors can offer a cure, they deserve the opportunity to accept that treatment.  Paying for that cure should not cost people a zillion dollars.  Maybe the barter system should make a come back…

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