Improving the Health Experience
Originally posted on Newsletter of the New England Regional Medical Library
The HxRefactored Conference brings together designers, health care providers, public health professionals, and others interested in the intersection of design and technology for a cross-disciplinary exploration of ways to improve the health experience. On April 1st and 2nd, I attended the conference in Boston, Massachusetts sponsored by MadPow and Health 2.0.
The conference was jam-packed with inspiring presentations on topics including human centered design/usability, technology, health literacy/equity, mindfulness/stress reduction, behavior change, patient activism, electronic health records and organizational design. Presenters shared ways to use design and technology to improve the health experience. I hope you find these summaries of keynote presentations food for thought on creative ways to improve the health experience.
Keynotes ~ April 1, 2015
John Brownstein, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Computational Epidemiology Group at Children’s Hospital, explored the intersection of data and design for disease prevention in his keynote. He asked, “How do we make everyone a stakeholder in public health?” He shared real time detection of public health issues through social media platforms like HealthMap; StreetRx; and MEDWATCHER. He also discussed new technology like iThermometer, a wearable thermometer that alerts parents of their child’s fever on their smartphone. His presentation made me think about ways librarians can get involved with the development of social media platforms and new technologies to support public health.
Darshan Mehta, from MGH’s Benson-Henry Institute for Mind and Body Medicine, discussed how to build resiliency with an introduction to the relaxation response. I’ve been practicing meditation since high school. I enjoyed his guided relaxation. It was a nice way to start the first day of the conference. Mehta spoke about how meditation increases the cortical thickness and can change gene expression. According to Mehta, mind/body practices reduce the frequency of medical symptoms, decrease the severity of psychiatric symptoms, and increase healthy lifestyles. This presentation may inspire me to initiate a weekly mindfulness meditation group here at UMassMed School.
Keynotes ~ April 2, 2015
Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make Me Think and Rocket Surgery Made Easy, kicked off day two of the conference. He only had twenty minutes but led a DIY (do-it-yourself) usability testing example with a volunteer from the audience. His recommended DIY testing, preferably once a month on the same day – and stick to it! Also, make it a spectator sport and have as many people as possible come watch. Then, more people on your staff gain skill in usability testing. For more information, check out his site, Advanced Common Sense
Deborah Estrin, Professor of Computer Science from Cornell NYC Tech, presented on small data. She talked about using mHealth and small health to create data driven feedback loops of health. She urged us to invest in interoperable and iterative approaches to benefit from reuse of tools and techniques. She asked us: “How can we help create resources to help patients answer the question: are you feeling better?” For examples of such resources, she mentioned Paragon Measure (turning mobile device use into actionable insights) and Ginger.io (using smartphones to improve mental health care). She wrapped up by urging attendees to create an ecosystem around small data.
John Halamka, Chief Information Officer at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network, spoke about what’s new in HealthIT in 2015. I’m sure many of you remember his excellent presentation at the NAHSL Annual Conference. He discussed the federal interoperability roadmap, meaningful use stage 3, new mobile devices, private security challenges and the return to private sector innovation. I was pleased to hear him mention National Library of Medicine’s free access to vocabulary standards for interoperability. I was tweeting during the conference and my tweet with the link to NLM’s free APIs (application programming interfaces) was my most retweeted and favorited tweet of the conference. Interested to learn more? Check out how the NLM APIs can be used to support electronic health record certification and meaningful use.
Geoff Williams, of the University of Rochester Healthy Living Center Motivation Research Group, spoke about self-determination theory and how people change. He asked,”Does it come from the inside or outside?” He told us about the psychological needs to support optimal health such as autonomy, competence, and feeling connected to others.
Jared Spool, author of Web Anatomy and Web Site Usability, declared design, “the rendering of intent.” He asked: “What is the experience we want them to have? Are we designing activities or experiences?” He discussed a design process for the design experience and the importance of facilitated leadership. According to Spool, “The best design teams worship inclusiveness.”
Julian Treasure, Master of Sound and author of Sound Business, was one of my favorite HxR presenters. He told us the noise is the number one complaint in the hospital experience, the number one problem with productivity in the workplace, and that elevated noise leads to worse health. He recommended improving acoustics, reducing noises, and designing soundscapes. He shared acronyms to help us learn to listen better and speak powerfully. He wrapped up with a vocal toolbox activity. If you are curious to learn more, listen to his TedTalk.
The HxR conference was full of creative and practical ways to improve the health experience. I left inspired to bring what I learned back to our network. I learned about some amazing presenters that we might be able to host for regional conferences and webinars. I found it an insightful, useful conference and highly recommend it. Stay tuned for my next blog post about what I learned at the breakout sessions.