Solving Patient Lateness: Innovative Student Presentations at the Biomed Library for the 2019 Healthcare Design Challenge

The Biomedical Library played a big role over the course of the 2019 Healthcare Challenge, hosting one of the design workshops in Janurary as well as the final presentations in February. As one of the Challenge’s planners and as a 3D Printing intern at the Biomedical Library for the last two years, I knew that the Biomed Library would be a central campus location for the event, convenient for students as well as for HUP. It provided a welcoming meeting place for people from many different backgrounds to come together to share innovative ideas that could impact the future of the infrastructure in the hospitals.

Making the pitch

Students presented final pitches in the Biomedical Library last month for the 2019 Healthcare Innovation Challenge which is directed each year by the multidisciplinary Wharton Innovation and Design Club in conjunction with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP).The presentations were given to a panel of high profile judges from HUP, the Center for Healthcare Innovation, Frog Design, and other departments at Penn. The student teams shared their ideas for how to improve patient lateness at the hospital, which they had been studying for the past 3 weeks.

Participants share what they learned over the course of the Challenge

The challenge had these students participate in two design workshops where consultants from Frog Design taught design research methods and strategies, and separate research time where students went into the hospital to explore the problem of patient lateness for themselves. They explored the valet system, the parking garages and shuttles, and the traffic flow outside of the hospital, as well as waiting rooms, hospital signage, and other issues regarding traversal inside of the hospital. From this research, the teams identified two primary causes of patient lateness to hospital appointments: patients expecting to be able to get through traffic more quickly than they actually can, and patients expecting to be able to navigate through the hospital more quickly than they actually can.

Initially, the judges seemed to be expecting more of the students to focus on the problem centered around traffic, as this is where most patient complaints arise from. However, most of the teams presenting actually focused on the second issue. The rationale behind this was very unexpected: first, when doing their research, the students found that new patients had the most trouble estimating how much time it would take for them to navigate the hospital; second, that patients thought of traffic as the hospital’s problems and failure to navigate the hospital as their own problem, and thus were less likely to report internal navigation issues as a complaint.

Winning team of the Challenge!

With this insight in mind, the judges awarded first prize to a team that developed new ideas for creating guides and signage in the hospital that relied on known “landmarks” in the space to give patients directions. This concept has been proven to be more effective in other situations and has a basis in navigational psychology, and the judges appreciated the cross-disciplinary nature of the solution. Students on the winning team included Amrita Singh, Jintong Mao, Mike Weber, Vidyanand Wagh, and Vithika Aggarwal.

“We were definitely pleased with the recommendations made by the students and found it valuable as well,” said Carolyn Jackson, one of the judges and the Chief Operating Officer at HUP. “I especially appreciated how they respectfully pushed back on us regarding some of the interior signage discussions. We would welcome their involvement going forward.”

Judges included Carolyn Jackson (Chief Operating Officer, HUP), Frank Connelly (Assistant Executive Hospital Director, UPHS), Brian Furlong (COO Otorhinolaryngology, UPHS), Katherine Choi (Senior Clinical Innovation Manager, CHCI), Chirs Oskins (Project Manager for Operations Improvement, UPHS), Steve Maiden (Senior Operations Manager, impark), Taylor Caputo (Lecturer of Product Design, UPenn), Gloria Chow and Linda Quarles (Consultants, Frog Design).

Categories: Events

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