BJO&PM - The Design Thinking and

the Health Services




Artigo publicado por Adriano Caulliraux e Marcelo Meiriño (coautor) em dezembro de 2015 no periódico BJO&PM (Quali B na área Interdisciplinar). Abaixo serão apresentas as informações relacionadas a Mayo Clinic, eleito melhor Hospital dos EUA em 2014-2015, que se reinventa sistematicamente através do Design Thinking.


      A case study performed by Yale Business School (2012), deeply approached the Mayo Clinic. The traditional American hospital chain has already noticed that for more than 50 years, despite the remarkable advances in diagnosis and diseases’ treatment, the health system itself had changed very little. Motivated by the belief that by improving the way of providing care it would be possible to better use the scientific advances, they started in 2002 – using IDEO’s consultancy – a lab called SPARC, where the doctors, patients and other employees could test hypothesis about new ways of interaction between health professional and its users.


     After six years of experience, the lab evolved into a dedicated center – Center for Innovation (CFI) – that works as a kind of an incubator for new ideas to be achieved. The new concepts explore all the stages of the care supply, considering the preventive health, the initial contact made by phone, the medical appointment, the diagnosis, the problem treatment and the aftercare.

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  The divergent thinking is the key for the fusion of the Design Thinking with the medical practice in the Mayo Clinic. By bringing together professionals from different disciplines in conducting participatory research centered on the human being – the essence of the Design Thinking – the issue is framed and developed under a light different from the usual. The work process includes planning, research, synthesis, prototyping and implementation. (DICKSON et. al, 2011) 


   The main point of the process is the research, through which the current scenario is mapped, allowing the coherent idealization of future scenarios. In the experimentation phase, one seeks to achieve promptly several concepts, aiming its fast trial and the insights generation. In the synthesis stage, the several findings are organized and prepared for the prototyping , through which the concepts will be achieved, tested, evaluated and refined. (DICKSON et. al, 2011).


   In order to change the traditional care model of Mayo Clinic, the CFI, initially understood what drove the clients to look for the hospital – high quality and specialized care. By understanding the essence of the value proposition, the CFI was able to start to explore and develop based in their clients’ demands. The objective was to migrate from the old centralized model of care, to a concept of integrated care delivery network, which aims to be connected to 200 million people in 2020 (AGUIRRE; VINK, 2013).


   The innovation needs propitious environment to happen. Therefore, the CFI possesses several specific spaces to develop new concepts. The “Healthy Aging and Independent Living Lab”, for example, is an initiative performed together with a local institute, in where live 400 elderly. A lab was created in loco, consisting of an area for common use of residents. In this area, new products and services what may facilitate the independent and health life of the elderly, are tested (AGUIRRE; VINK, 2013).


   The Design Thinking is a methodology focused on discovering and generating invents that supply - and transpose - implicit and explicit needs of the human beings. For this reason, its potential application in projects that seek the “humanization of health” is evident, due to the specialty field - guided by synergy and interdisciplinarity with the social sciences - to grasp holistically both the phenomenon in question as the demands of the involved human beings.


   As a natural increasing tendency since the Industrial Revolution, the expansion of supply has forced companies to differentiate themselves in order to support, or even reach, the competitive advantage. The methodologies brought by the Design field seek the understanding of the real needs of the clients, as well as the creation of new spaces for competition. It is expected that the market, increasingly demands the innovation potential offered by the Design, seeking the differentiation based on the human values to thrive.


   The introduction of the Design Thinking tools in the management of the health service – as the investigation focused in the human being, prototyping and co-creation - corroborates with the migration from the Fordist model of care delivery for a mass collaboration model, in which the society is empowered and co-responsible for the results of the health system.