From Day One: Design Thinking the Patient Experience with Lawrence General Hospital and Sutherland Global Services


There’s no two ways about it. I’m excited to be on the cutting edge of a Design Thinking-led services engagement in healthcare to address patient experience. Thank you to Lawrence General Hospital (LGH) and Sutherland Global Services for inviting me through the door and into this initiative…. and especially for agreeing to let me blog about it! We are constantly looking for where companies are “taking a detour with design thinking” and finding results to share. This time, we’re bringing you along on the journey.

We’ll start with a workshop led by Sutherland Labs, and follow their version of this human-centered, iterative innovation methodology over the next few months. The goal is to re-think the patient experience at LGH, and I’ll be sharing the progress here in my blog as we go. After months of researching, interviewing, and writing about Design Thinking and the value it can bring to a services engagement, I will be able to give you an inside look as well. If you have done this before, you can compare it to your own experience and perhaps find some new ideas; and if you haven’t, here’s a way to get some further exposure to a work in progress 

Design Thinking can play a strategic role in helping healthcare organizations to better service the consumer as the patient, member, caregiver, clinician, etc… and rethink operating (and business!) models.

We believe design thinking can help bring about a more healthcare consumer focused type of engagement, which is so needed in health care today. With the latest news burning the wires that in the U.S., premiums are going up yet again, healthcare consumers are just going to get more discerning about how and what services they are receiving for their money. Value – always defined by the beholder – is changing for healthcare consumers. Being aware of that, and aligning the organization –front, middle, and back office – is simply becoming an imperative to the future health and success of healthcare providers, period. And service providers can play a role in doing so.

Despite the potential, and early success stories in and outside of the industry to date, the use of Design Thinking in healthcare for impacting business outcomes through operations is fairly nascent, as seen in Exhibit 1 from our recent Intelligent Operations Study, which included 45 Healthcare Operations Services Buyers. Only 23% of the respondents say they are using Design Thinking today, so we see LGH and Sutherland as pioneers here. For those of you who have not yet jumped into the waters, you can also find some ideas on how to get started in my recent interview with Charlotte Bui, Global Lead of Design Thinking at SAP… and stay with us here as this story with Lawrence General Hospital and Sutherland Global Services develops.

The LGH and Sutherland partnership to put patient experience at the center of reimagining the hospital business operations – the use of Design Thinking – exemplifies one of the 8 Ideals that HfS Research considers critical in the move to more “intelligent business operations.” As it is also one of the least mature of the Ideals in this services industry, they are breaking some new ground here.

Exhibit 1: The Maturity of Design Thinking in Helping Achieve “Intelligent Operations” in Healthcare Organizations

At the same time, fellow HfS analyst Hema Santosh, and I will be launching an update to the Design Thinking for the As-a-Service Economy Blueprint we published with Phil Fersht in early 2016. We expect to hear more about how service providers are using Design Thinking and incorporating innovation into their engagements, to be more forward thinking and investing in the long-term value of outsourcing services partnerships.

If you have a story to share, questions to ask, or challenges to pose, please fee free to post them here, or contact me at [email protected]. And, stay tuned…

Posted in : Design Thinking, Healthcare and Outsourcing


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