Monday, April 27, 2015

Control = Freedom = Happiness

The Power of Community-led System Design

The stories that were shared last week were the complexity and stress of managing chronic conditions.  Many of our friends, family members, clients, patients,  neighbors live this struggle everyday.

This week we reviewed our 'Draw How To Take Medication' and the nodes that emerged from the activity.  

Our review of these nodes and the patterns that emerged inspired a rich dialogue that further deepened our understanding of the complexity and patterns in managing chronic conditions and the medications that are a part of this fight.

We shared laughs about the importance of place (using a different bathroom = a smell from not wearing deodorant) and a story about Moses (not to be confused with Charlton Heston/10 commandments Moses - ask Kathi to tell you the hilarious story)

We started by exploring the connection between Routine -> Place -> Remembering.  Bev told how important in her work, as an occupational therapist (OT), that she learn her client's, with traumatic brain industry, previous routine.  Because everything new needs to fit into an existing routine or else the change would be too great for the client to adopt.  

Routine (including Place) and Habit Are Critical 

We talked deeper about keystone habits, from Charles Duhigg's book, the Power of Habit, and how an association to habit is a powerful way to form new or strengthen existing habits especially taking medication as prescribed.  This included the power of place that in inextricably linked to habit.  Much like the Japanese Kanban that transformed Japanese manufacturing place and routine our powerful.  How does routine become part of this system?     

Medication History Helps at Doctors and In Emergencies

Sue discussed the importance of having medical history along with medication information. She includes; past surgeries or episodes, conditions, doctors names and phone numbers, next appointments, medical power of attorney. advance directives, DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) and ICE (in case of emergency) contacts.  There are tools out there like St. Mary Mercy's Plan In A Can  and File of Life and Advance Directives.  How would a system work that integrates medication with medical history?
Take or Not Taken = Important

Remembering whether or not we took our medication was an unanimous challenge when taking medication, vitamins or supplements.  A little bit of a stretch but we made a connection to the movie Inception, because Leonardo DiCaprio's character had a Totem to tell what world he was in. Sue has a totem to tell where or not she took one important medication she takes seperately on an empty stomach. 

After taking this critical medication, Sue turns the bottle over as the indicator that she took her pill that day.  Bev added "it could be like an airplane toilet, Occupied or Vacant".  Could we design a totem that is familiar, integrated and becomes part of a routine?

Control = Freedom = Happiness

A deep, human and emotional theme seems to be control.  If a person feels controlled by their medication, their mental health wanes (meds (can) = depression) and the physical health follows.  But if a person can gain control over their medication, condition and health they have the freedom to live life.  Our quick with a quip, Ed Marsh declared "Control Frees Us To Live Life".  Freedom is Happiness.  How does this system give people control and the ability to experience freedom?

Five Senses To Freedom

Finally, we talked about the importance of using all our senses.  Touch, Taste, Sight, Smell, Sound.  Color to indicate morning and night.  Braille or texture for low visibility.  Background color (black, blue, red) to maximize contrast with each pill.  Bracelet or Watch as a wearable accessory that goes with us everywhere.  A magnifying glass to see details on each pill.  A gumball machine with the sound and visual of the gumball rolling down.  How do we engage all our senses in the design?  

Next week we will explore these five questions.  

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