A Human-Centric Approach to Digital Innovation Projects in Health Care: Learnings from Applying Design Thinking

Publication Year: 2018
Contributing Organisation: Technical University of Munich
Authors: Leonard Przybilla, Kai Klinker, and Manuel Wiesche
Learning Themes: Global Health

Adoption of information systems as a class of digital innovation has been praised to enable a plethora of positive  developments in the provision of health care. Multibillion dollar savings, improved quality of care, and a reduction in fatalities have been touted as potential benefits (RAND 2005). Nonetheless, as of 2017, health care expenditure is on the rise in many countries and equality in access to care is an open issue (OECD 2017). Given this assertion, the question of why there has been no adoption of systems leading to these effects arises. Already with the initial proposition of these benefits, obstacles to adoption that may make these gains unattainable have been voiced (RAND 2005).
As a specific aspect of digital solutions in health care, electronic health records have been in the research limelight. While a federal push in the US for adoption with the aim of widespread use by 2014 could be expected to aid adoption, the opposite became true: Compared to before the federal initiative, outright resistance of physicians to adopt electronic health records has increased (Ford et al. 2009). In addition to the described organizational and political aspects, health care processes differ from business processes such as inventory management in that they are all centered on caring for a human being. Put differently, health care is inherently human-centered.

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