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Dear Medical Designer

Finding Design Opportunities

Question:

How can I participate in design-thinking as a medical student?

Answer:

The possibilities for design in healthcare are infinite! That’s because everything in healthcare is designed, and most of it has been designed poorly. How can you engage in design as a healthcare stakeholder? Here are some of the design opportunities that I have discovered:

There are some intermediate steps to get there:

  1. Learn about design from design legends. See this page for updated blogs and books.
  2. Make friends with members from a different tribe. Spend time with the designers, the technologists, the hackers, and the makers. You will learn a lot from them, but most importantly, you will learn from their optimism. Get used to saying “yes” when the rest of healthcare says “no”.
  3. Design with and not for patients and caregivers.
  4. Embrace your role as a healthcare stakeholder. You have the opportunity to design solutions to healthcare systems that are both user-centered and sustainable.
  5. Finally, be humble and listen!

PS Special thanks to the enterprising design-oriented medical student who posed the question to me via email and then Quora!

I tweet and blog about design, healthcare, and innovation as “Doctor as Designer”. Follow me on Twitter and sign up for my newsletter.

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