I really like the ideas put forth by the Washington Health Foundation around “people-centered health.” Among other things, they take a bit of a rebellious stance and promote the radical idea that people must be empowered to be “partners in their health,” and that the current medical system (and a lot of supposedly “patient-centered design”) discourages individuals from solving their own problems by treating them as “patients.” They propose a number of very interesting design principles that are meant to help create services that actually put people in control of their own health care.
I’d like to add something to those tenets: “Good person-centered health design creates an emotional tone that is conducive to self-care.” What I mean by that is in order to effectively reduce the impact of chronic disease, we have to encourage people to establish sustainable, healthy ways of life for themselves, rather than being “treated” by nurses and doctors. Emotional tone is key because this is how exercise and healthy food become sources of joy, rather than unpleasant chores, and a treatment regimen becomes the enabler of good living, rather than yet another indignity. To create this tone, we must bring the same level of design craft and attention to home-health-care experiences as we do to the best housewares and consumer electronics.
via Dave Cronin at CoDesign