Mayo Clinic: Design Thinking in Health Care

In the early 2000s, Mayo Clinic physician Nicholas LaRusso asked himself a question: if we can test new drugs in clinical trials, can we in a similarly rigorous way test new kinds of doctor-patient interactions?

Although over the last 50 years there had been enormous advances in diagnosing and treating disease, the systems of delivering health care had changed little. In fact, new tests, treatments and procedures meant that the health care experience had become increasingly complex for provider and patient alike. 

But what if there were better ways to provide care? As LaRusso reasoned, “New technology, new diagnostic tests, and new therapeutics will be most effective if we can improve the ways we deliver these enormous advances to patients.”

LaRusso had heard that design firms like IDEO were offering consulting services in the area of human-factors design, and he wondered if their work might be applicable in the health care setting. Mayo had a history of innovation in care delivery, starting with the invention of the patient medical record in the early 20th century, and the clinic was always looking for ways to improve both patient outcomes and the health care experience. 

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