Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Change Isn't Easy

Our fun and lively community started off this week's design session with sharing our favorite DIY projects.  By the end we were talking about sledge hammers and bobcats that can rip down houses.  Starting off this way you think we might have only seen the proverbial nails, but we went way deeper.

The conversation covered all five questions that emerged from the previous week's conversation but really was rooted in the importance of routine.  Christine shared a story of her friend Frank who was recently discharged from the hospital and they told him to take a new medication at 9am and 9pm. Because they didn't ask Frank about his habits, he stays up late so he sleeps in until 11 or Noon, that would not be feasible for him. If he was asked maybe they would have suggested he take the medication when waking up and twelve hours later. This was only indicative of a greater challenge.  Here is what we discussed and learned together:
  • When taking medication and making changes these changes need to fit into existing routines in order for the changes to last  
  • Every person is unique and has a very personal routine
  • Having a way to assess and understand our own routine and how a habit or medication change fits that routine is important
  • Doctors, nurses and pharmacists could benefit from understanding a patient's routine and helping them integrate these changes into an existing routine. 
  • Finding a keystone habit like; reading the paper, making or drinking coffee, making breakfast, brushing teeth are very personal and import reinforcing habits that can create a strong association to taking medication as prescribed
  • It is about "understanding my world and how medication fits into my life" not letting this new medication control my life.  This is the control we want and need.
The question that we were left with was:
  • Is there a way for an individual or their medical professional to assess their current routine and identify a personalized way to integrate their prescriptions successfully into this routine? 
This is what we are going to explore this coming Friday.  Our personal daily routines and what patterns and process exists to identify keystone habits that can help a person have control over their medication.

In addition to this conversation we also performed the 'How To Draw Toast" activity around how we would advise someone to 'have control of their medication' now that we have had several weeks of conversation.  Here is what emerged:

A brief, brief, brief synopsis of the picture (caution this is early in the design so some things seem a bit out there):

  • Personal rewards like doing the morning crosswords, having cup of coffee or eating piece of chocolate are self reinforcing and may help create a lasting habit.
  • A totem could be something physical like flipping over a med bottle or moving a magnet or it also could be tied to an activity (making coffee, feeding cat, etc.)
  • Establishing a personalized routine is critical in all drawings
  • As humans we are blessed with many attributes that can be stimulated by the design:
    • Visual - background contrast and the physical characteristics of the medication are important
    • Brain/Knowledge - Knowledge is confidence and knowing what each pill looks like, why it is being taken and how should it should be taken is the first step to freedom
    • Conversation - conversations with doctors, pharmacists, nurses and even friends and family are helpful and knowledge building
    • Smell - A trigger that smells like coffee could help create a positive connection to taking medication
    • Sound - An alarm that sounds like Chopin and inspires images of birds, butterflies and bees it is relaxing.

Finally, Sue shared a great tool she and her husband Andy created to keep track of all important medical information including prescribing doctor, a complete list of doctors, pharmacy contact, insurance information and allergies (see below)

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