Our North Star Design Challenges: Designing the Future of Healthcare

In starting these #PrescribeDesign conversations, people have asked “am I included?” Healthcare is a vast ecosystem — from medicine to policy to insurance. And just like medical specialties, design has many distinct disciplines — from service design to industrial design to graphic design. Instead of trying to carve out a focused segment of healthcare or a specific specialty of design, we are framing the conversation around a set of challenges. We expect that you will recognize your work and your commitment in one or several of these challenges. We view this set of challenges as a declaration of a “North Star” for where healthcare should be headed. No one person or one organization can take on the whole system, but collectively we can make significant, people-centered change happen. We invite you to see how you and your contributions fit in concert with other members of our Prescribe Design network. Together, we are charging ahead to a transformed healthcare system.

Here are our North Star design challenges:
Where designers can make a difference in healthcare

Patients feel understood and cared for

Designers are advocating the patients’ point of view and responding through new services, communications and products.

Designers are distinguishing distinct needs for different clusters of patients, and creating tailored responses that fit.

People are empowered to shape the direction of their treatment

Designers are making complex healthcare information easily digestible and actionable.

Designers are facilitating peoples’ imaginations of different scenarios to consider.

People can navigate health ecosystems with ease

Designers are identifying hotspots in the journey where help is needed.

Designers are creating a welcoming environment with clear guideposts.

Healthy behaviors are encouraged beyond the traditional healthcare walls

Designers are creating feedback loops to lift engagement outside of healthcare episodes.

Designers are exploring new methods to shift norms.

Caregivers are acknowledged as credible members of care teams

Designers are incorporating family caregivers’ needs and contributions into services and tools.

Designers are creating tools and toolkits to empower community members to serve medical needs.

Care is a coordinated team effort across specialties, locations and roles

Designers are reshaping tools and systems to focus on teams and communication.

Designers are introducing new tools in ways that fit smoothly into workflows.

Clinicians are fulfilled by their work, and have the support they need

Designers are fading technology into the background in order to foster the relationship between the patient and clinician.

Designers are reimagining tools that enable rather than disrupt the clinician’s workflow.

Practices are continually challenged in the name of better health outcomes

Designers are fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation.

Designers are bringing a beginner’s mind to practices that haven’t altered in years.

data is useful and available to patients and physicians

Designers are presenting data in visually engaging ways.

Designers are highlighting the signal from the noise.

Medical costs are simple and transparent

Designers are rethinking the way bills and benefits are communicated.

Designers are convening diverse stakeholders to disrupt the status quo.

Best in class care is available and affordable to all

Designers are scaling great services to reach more people.

Designers are facilitating remote interaction and collaboration.

Health policy is informed by empathy for all stakeholders

Designers are curating the compelling stories that reframe the issues.

Designers are synthesizing complexity down to actionable challenges.


The answer to the question  “Am I included?” is yes.

You are part of the Prescribe Design conversation if you are doing any of these twelve things. The question for us is how you’re engaging with design or designers to uniquely meet these challenges.

How can you get involved?

  1. Let us know how you and your organization are leveraging design in working towards these challenges
  2. How else can design can play a role in transforming healthcare? Add your suggested challenges below.

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