Monday, June 15, 2015

Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

As a community we met for the last 12 weeks.  We shared our own personal experiences with health and medication and assisting with loved ones.  We brought together mothers, daughters, sons, husbands, grandmothers and grand fathers, caregivers, designers, occupational therapists, pharmacists, nurses.  Some of us dealt with chronic conditions or helped a loved one.  In the end we all benefit from design in community.  We were enrich by each other's experience, gifts and perspectives.  Our relationships were strengthen to each other and the challenge at hand.  We finished with an impassioned community who wants to do more.  The more is the detailed design...

Together these experiences, stories, gifts, passions and talents helped us see the world and the world for those taking medication in a much deeper and richer way.  We dug deep attempting to gather empathy and a better understanding of the challenges that people deal with on a daily basis.  We looked to the world that exists around our own personal health, the role of our own personal routine, how each of experienced adapting to change.  We looked at ways to solve different challenges that emerged all to stretch our perspective and understanding.

The primary themes that emerged were:
  • Routine - Discovered the importance of understanding routine and each routine is unique and without finding out how health fits into these routines the outcomes could not be sustainable
  • Unspoken Goals - the deepest sense was that the goal for each of us as individuals is freedom, independence, control and confidence.  Medication and health are barriers to achieving this. 
  • Personal Goals - Purpose/Interests/Goals it is personal goals that motive us to make health adaptions so we can continue to LIVE.
  • Education and Learning - Reaching these goals only comes through the right kind of education, skills transfer, coaching, teaching and learning.
  • Totem - Take or Not is an area that may help build confidence and control
  • Medical History - Medical history is an important and often redundant part of our personal health
  • Using the Senses - Visual, tactile and other senses are important to consider. 
Once we explored all these themes we looked at how they fit into the three primary relationships in an individuals health ecosystem (see diagram below).  What emerged at the center was education, skill building, learning, this is what enables a person and their family to feel in control, confident and have the freedom and independence to live their personal goals.  

Each of these relationships 1) individual 2)family and 3) healthcare have a different language but the outcome seemed to be the same and the path, through the right, personalize and individualized education was the path to achieving a shared outcome.  Because each person has their own system the education needs to build real skills, in an accessible way (language for a layperson) and must work with each unique person.  

The only way to design an adaptive education system that works with each unique situation, person, learning style, skill level is to design a system:
  1. based on guiding principles 
  2. Includes simple tools
  3. Hands-on education that can be adapted to every learning style with a feedback loop to continuously improve
  4. starts with discovery of each person's unique routine, personal goals and feelings
  5. the appropriate language that the lay person understands

Getting the language right is going to be important and there is at least three primary audiences.  For the person like my grandma Stella who was in her late 80s she would never want to be "educated".  She would probably say something like you "can't teach an old dog new tricks". So the language must be appropriate.  Language she might relate, "daily independence recipe".  Or the "at home health living guide".  For the caregiver they want peace of mind and stress relief.  For them the system might be called "information is power" or "what I need to know system" or the "help my parents adapt to changes" or the "healthy parent peace of mind".  And then for the health system the language might be something like "patient directed education system" or "patient safety through patient self management" or "lay education system".

All of these are saying the same thing but the language that is a bridge to each primary relationship.  As we move into detailed design.  The design will be rooted in the simplicity and familiarity of the original Pill Pouch and will go deeper in designing a personal education system with familiar tools that grows confidence, control, freedom and independence while strengthen relationships between these three groups and improving outcomes.  

We will start by designing system that addresses one of the barriers to freedom and independence for elders or peace of mind and knowledge for caregivers or to patient safety and improving transitions for the healthcare industry....medication.  We will enter detailed design with the goal of designing a medication education system in the spirit of the above and modeled after some of the successful hands-on, personalized educations systems we identified last week including:
  • Teach back
  • Watch one, do one, teach one
  • Hands-on with feedback loops
  • Coaching model
  • "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn." ~ Ben Franklin
  • Cabinet learning (my learning that included youtube, google, experts and prototyping)
The journey has just begun....Here is a link to our presentation of the structure of our system design.

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