Designing for patients and providers: Experts weigh in on the value of user-centered design in healthcare

Last week, Kaleidoscope’s Director of Design Karl Vanderbeek joined Anna Muthu Diederichs and Caitlin Knobbe in sharing their experiences in the healthcare design sector at the “Design Stories in Healthcare” panel discussion hosted by Women in Design Cincinnati.

Anna Muthu Diederichs gave insights into her role as the Creative Director of Branding & Design Creative Services at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Caitlin Knobbe joined the panel to share her experience as a CAD designer at the rapidly expanding Cincinnati startup Enable Injections. Together with host Eva Lutz, Vanderbeek, Diederichs and Knobbe offered insights into what it means to deliver exceptional experiences in healthcare to a wide variety of stakeholders.

The varied end users in medicine can provide an interesting challenge for designers – for Diederichs, embracing the value of moments of joy for patients became a cornerstone of Cincinnati Children’s design vision when they developed a pet visitation space that allowed hospitalized children to socialize with their beloved pets without leaving the hospital. Yet at the same time, her work must also deliver highly intuitive and technical information for care providers to ensure they receive the information they need to deliver safe and effective care.

For Caitlin Knobbe, the patient experience is at the heart of what Enable Injections delivers to their users. Knobbe and the Enable Injections team have adapted to the changing healthcare landscape by putting the experience of subcutaneous delivery of high-volume therapeutics directly into the end user’s hands. To do this, her team must constantly anticipate the needs of the user, both today and far into the future, to deliver a product that improves patient outcomes and integrates human factors into the design process.

In his seven years at Kaleidoscope, Karl Vanderbeek has developed a deep understanding for the needs and constraints of the healthcare sector. By leveraging a powerful combination of research and insights, design and engineering expertise, Vanderbeek and the Kaleidoscope team are able to deliver exceptional experiences to the wide variety of stakeholders in the medical space. During the panel, he noted the shifting landscape within the industry – from a reliance on “this is how we’ve always done it” to an open-mindedness towards improvement and change.

“While user-centered design is important everywhere, it is especially critical in healthcare where there’s the potential to greatly improve patient outcomes,” explained Vanderbeek as he reflected on the discussion.

The attendees of the “Design Stories in Healthcare” event were able to peek into the lives and work of three talented panelists, who are part of the Cincinnati healthcare and design communities that are constantly evolving to create the next generation of products, devices and patient experiences.

The panel itself was hosted by Eva Lutz, the owner and principal of DesignHorizon, and the founder of Women in Design in Cincinnati. The group is new to the local design community, having only hosted a handful of events so far, but the Design Stories panel promises exciting and compelling events to come.

Women in Design is dedicated to building a tribe of thought leaders who are passionate about providing a forum for women to speak, network and empower one another in the design industry. Kaleidoscope was delighted by the opportunity to share some of what makes our process exceptional and we look forward to a continued commitment to excellence and involvement in the design community!