Our specific focus is on the intersection of health care design and how the industry uses all types of media, from social channels, brochures to medication labels, to fully engage patients in healthcare.
To start, Stuart Wainstock, contributor to the MDWebPro blog, understands that for most physicians—leveraging social media is overwhelming. However, to be effective, Wainstock confirms that users don’t have to spend every moment of their lives tweeting, liking and sharing. Instead, providers should focus on growing their presence in a genuine, authentic way. This means sharing content on the topics that matter most to you and your audience, asking thoughtful questions, and distributing information that patients will benefit from. Physician bloggers Brian Vartanbedian and KevinMD offer additional social media best practices and resources for the medical community.
The combination of effective design and a passionate social media community can also lead to a widespread movement. Take Regina Holliday, medical advocate and painter, as a top example. Regina uses her artistic abilities to advocate for the patient’s right to access their medical record, a necessity that cost her husband’s life. Dozens of people now wear jackets with Holliday’s depictions. (Follow the #theWalkinggallery on Twitter to see her work in action).
Designers are also making huge contributions to improving health literacy, a challenge for 9 out of 10 individuals. Earlier this year, Christina Thielst shared her experience creating an avatar, Gabby, to educate teenage girls about contraception. The avatar does not replace clinicians, but instead adds to the care team, reiterating important treatment information in an entertaining format.
For more example’s of how good design—from websites to labels—can strengthen patient engagement, check out this TED talk from Wired’s Thomas Geotz on medical data design and Joan Justice’s Healthworks Collective post on the elements of patient-centered website.
Additionally, design can make the process of “getting better” fun, satisfying and—most of all—possible. Jane McGonigal, founder of SuperBetter, is working to do just that. Her goal: to create games that enhance people’s lives.
As you can see—you do not have to be a clinician to make a difference in health care. Assets are designed to educate and empower patients are crucial for making lasting change in the provider and patient experience.
What designers are changing our health care system for the better? Share with us below or on Twitter.
Stay tuned for the next Health Care Social Media Review, April 24, to be hosted by Sarah Sonies on Wing of Zock.