What can we learn from analogy?
As I was thinking of end-of-life experience, looking through the posts, what emerged was anxiety, fear, pain, powerlessness, etc. and it reminded me the story of Doug Dietz's redesign of an MRI machine described by Tom and David Kelley's book Creative Confidence (and by Doug in his TED talk).
Doug realized that children were super anxious before going through the diagnostic procedures, and their parents too (doubly stressed to see their children panicking). It also created tensions for nurses and doctors who were faced with the fear of the children, the anxiety of their parents while trying to get the best images.
Doug used a human-centered design process to try to understand the situation of the patients and their families to redesign the whole experience (rather than the machine) which became an "adventure". "He started by observing and gaining empathy for young children at a day care center. He talked to child life specialists to understand what pediatric patients went through. He reached out for help from people around him, including a small volunteer team from GE, experts from a local children’s museum, and doctors and staff from two hospitals. Next, he created the first prototype of what would become the “Adventure Series” scanner and was able to get it installed as a pilot program in the children’s hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.” (Kelley and Kelley, 2013, p. 10 sq.)
Here are "some positive impacts derive from Doug Dietz’ Adventure Series. First of all, the patient satisfaction scores went up 90 percent. Children do not suffer of anxiety anymore. Instead some of them even ask their parents if they can come back tomorrow. It makes it easier for children to hold still during the procedure what in turn prevents the doctors from having to repeat the scan. This less need for anaesthesiologists meant more patients could get scanned each day, which heavily impacts the financial side of the equation. The experience of joy and play during the scan also took away the fear from parents. " (in http://thisisdesignthinking.net/2014/12/changing-experiences-through-empathy-ge-healthcares-adventure-series/)
This list of impact highlights how improving the experience of patients and their family has positive impact not only on the experience has a positive impact from an operational (and financial) perspective for the hospitals.
Doug Dietz did not redesign the MRI machine itself (he could have made the business case for it), but he thought of it as a touch point in the patient's journey and this opens up new ways for him to think of the patient's experience.
He also used analogies (e.g. going to local museums): where can we learn from?