Posts Tagged IDEO

Design Thinking for the Underserved – at Health Tech Forum Innovation Conference

At Health Technology Forum, innovation conference on April, 19th 2013, a panel addressed the challenges and opportunities in building design thinking in planning technology solutions for the underserved.  The panel shared examples and case studies from their work, around the world.  Healthcare delivery, in low resource settings, can be particularly challenging.  The panelists demonstrated how innovative design solutions addressed key pain points, and enhanced quality of care in these situations.  Seema Handu, Managing Director at Children’s Global Health Initiative, moderated the panel and shared about the work done by CGHI in various parts of the world, with its mission to enable sustainable global health.  Handu shared examples of work like the Solar Suitcase

Solar suitcase headed for Africa with wecareso...

Solar suitcase headed for Africa with (Photo credit: veritatem) which is affordable, cost effective, light weight, efficient, safe, portable suitcase that can be easily assembled, and has been used with increasing demand, to bring light into the hospitals, and to power small medical instruments, in rural Africa.


Dr. Andre Muelenaer, CMO at Pediatric Medical Device Institute, said, design thinking for the underserved, requires considerations of the needs of the community and the needs of the patient.  He and his team often visit the developing regions of the world, and perform needs assessment, to ensure that unnecessary equipment is not dumped there, without consideration of the requirements and resources.  Glen Moy is Senior Program Officer with California HealthCare Foundation.  Each year, the foundation gives away $40 million, in grants.  In reviewing the grant proposals, the foundation considers if the solution is targeted for the right problem, and if it is patient centered.   Foundation gives many small grants, to nurture early stage ideas, said Moy.


Dennis Boyle, Partner and Founding Member with IDEO, shared about the design thinking approach at IDEO that is human centered, and balances understanding of the community, business, and technology factors.  Above all, it is based on understanding people’s needs.  Boyle shared IDEO success stories including solving urban sanitation problem in Ghana and giving home trained, otherwise poorly qualified doctors in Bihar, India, information and access to some basic tools and access to doctors in major hospitals, in big cities.  Boyle also talked about understanding culture and beliefs and behavior patterns of the community.  For instance, while clean cook stoves were a necessity in Tanzania, and though many families acquired them, they rarely used them, opting for chopping down the wood instead.  They were gradually educated how clean cook stoves were safer, easy to care, and healthier, in order to help the people move from acquisition of cook stoves to actual use.



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Platforms for the Underserved – Health Tech Forum Innovation Conference, April 19, 2013 at UCSF, CA (Preview)

In the upcoming conference on April 19, 2013 and Code-A-Thon preceding the conference, Health Technology Forum, is trying to push the envelope on creating new applications and technologies for hospitals and for getting information on tiny devices.  The aim of such applications and devices is to make healthcare information and treatments available to people with the greatest need.  Health Technology Forum Innovation Conference on April 19th, 2013 at UCSF, Mission Bay Conference Center, has a theme of “Platforms for the Underserved”.  Here is a preview of some of some of the panels and speakers.

Dennis Boyle, a partner and one of the founding members of IDEO will share examples and case studies about IDEO’s work around the world.  Armed with a mission to “make high-tech simple”, Boyle tackles design challenges to find ways to get information into and out of tiny devices.  IDEO’s current project, a QWERTY keyboard made with foldable fabric, in collaboration with a British company, Elekson is an example of how technology is transforming our ability to send and receive information.

How can better communication through connected healthcare model help improve patient care in the hospitals?  This will be discussed in a panel comprising of Five Bay Area Hospital CMIOs.  I would also like to see this panel discuss how the IT infrastructure will enable the hospitals to provide value based care with fee-for-performance mindset.  Additionally, I am looking for this panel to explore how technology may enable hospitals to lower readmission rates and control infections.  Studies indicate that community based care transitions programs can help lower hospital readmission rates, particularly for patients afflicted with chronic diseases.  I would welcome an opportunity to hear what plans hospitals have to leverage current strides in remote patient monitoring apps and devices so that patient’s vital signs including blood pressure and weight, biometric data including pulse oximetry and blood glucose levels as well as disease signs and medication and diet adherence can be monitored to couple it with reform driven community care to help lower hospital readmission rates.

Other interesting panels will address issues regarding patient engagement, challenges of harnessing big data and analytics, use of robotics in life sciences, and an opportunity to hear from Bay Area VCs on the funding scenario for Medical Device and Biotechnology companies.

See my earlier blog at for information on some of the other panels and register for the conference at .

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