Approach to Human-Centered, Evidence-Driven Adaptive Design (AHEAD) for Health Care Interventions: a Proposed Framework

Publication Year: 2021
Contributing Organisation: Stanford University School of Medicine,
Authors: Meredith Fischer, Nadia Safaeinili, and Marie C. Haverfield
Learning Themes: Global Health

Human-centered design (HCD), an empathy-driven approach to innovation that focuses on user needs, offers promise for the rapid design of health care intervention  that are acceptable to patients, clinicians, and other
stakeholders. Reviews of HCD in healthcare, however, note a need for greater rigor, suggesting an opportunity
for integration of elements from traditional research and HCD. A strategy that combines HCD principles with
evidence-grounded health services research (HSR) methods has the potential to strengthen the innovation
process and outcomes.
In this paper, we review the strengths and limitations of HCD and HSR methods for intervention design, and propose a novel Approach to Human-centered, Evidence-driven Adaptive Design (AHEAD) framework. AHEAD offers a practical guide for the design of creative, evidence-based, pragmatic solutions to modern healthcare challenges.
Human-centered design (HCD) offers a novel approach for developing solutions to “wicked problems” in
healthcare that involve complex interactions between population health demands, rapidly advancing technology, financial pressures, and workforce strain. By definition, wicked problems, such as childhood obesity, physician burnout, and access disparities, lack one-off solutions. Due to their complexity and interdependence, working to solve single aspects of these problems often affects other components, and attempts to address multidimensional issues in public health and healthcare using traditional research methods lead to gaps between research and practice.
A framework integrating HCD principles and practices with evidence-grounded research methods has potential to generate interventions acceptable to stakeholders that positively influence outcomes of interest.

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