Skip to main content
Informational

For information on the Change Healthcare cyber response:

  

Video

Fusing data with human-centered design

Expert panel at SXSW discusses merging data with design to build simpler, connected health care experiences.

Video: Fusing Data and Analytics with Human-Centered Design

Paige Minemyer:

Hi, everybody. Thank you all for joining us. I'm going to kick it to our panelists here. Well, I'll let them finish their water pouring first, to introduce themselves, but just wanted to get you guys thinking about any questions you may have for them. We're going to leave some time at the end for audience questions. So Steve, you want to go first?

Steve Griffiths:

Sure. Thank you. Hello everybody. I'm Steve Griffiths. I have been with United health group for about 17 years, always in the exciting realm of data analytics. My background's in biostatistics and health services research, and I've played a number of different roles in the organization. Currently I lead our analytics capability with than Optum labs, which is the innovation and R&D part of the organization, and I'm very happy to be here today.

Abhishek Singh:

Hello everyone. My name is Abhishek Singh. I'm a partner with Everest group. We are a research firm that focuses on healthcare technology and services. So been with the firm for close to 10 years now. And I lead a team of analysts who do really excellent research on the trends. What's really happening with enterprise tech and healthcare, so on and so forth. And I get to take all credit for it.

Dan Makoski:

Awesome. Hey everybody. My name is Dan Makoski and I'm a designer and I've also been at United health group, but not 17 years, 17 weeks and some change. So I'm pretty fresh into this space, but so excited to be here because the only way we can revolutionize in this space is by bringing together the left brain, the right brain data and design.

Paige Minemyer:

Awesome. And I'm Paige Minemyer I'm a senior editor at Fierce Healthcare, and I'll be moderating and directing our conversation today. So before we get into it, how many of you are familiar with human centered design? How many of you know what that is and work in that space? Oh, look that, pretty good. But for those of us who may not, I'm going to let Dan give us an intro to that and then we'll get into the meat of our conversation.

Dan Makoski:

Yeah. Awesome. So human centered design in some ways it's just repeating the same idea, design at its heart should be human centered. It's design is not like art where artists have more of a self-centered expression of their vision for creativity. Design is about serving people. So human-centered design is helping people live better lives, and we are only successful with design when people actually have better experiences. And so a lot of design research is involved and we also have people that are also, make things look good like artists, but human center designs puts people at the heart of how we innovate.

Paige Minemyer:

Great. So then Steve, maybe you could talk a little bit about this. I mean, how are you thinking about technology and data as a venue to enhance human connection?

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah, that's a great question and a huge topic. If you think about healthcare, we've got lots of data, lots of different types of data. A lot of it is, we were talking about this earlier generated by the healthcare system or the exhaust, if you will, of the healthcare system, data that comes out of medical claims. When you go to the doctor or pharmacy claims, when you get a prescription or behavioral claims, or if you take a health risk assessment that generates a bunch of data. There's lots and lots and lots of different types of data types available, or if you use Fitbits or other digital solutions that generates data. And so there's a lot of opportunities to understand people from a 360 degree perspective and increasingly use technology like Fitbits or other digital devices to get people more connected to their health, to their measures, to their metrics to understand how their life, their various biometrics or trending.

Steve Griffiths:

I myself have been on the treadmill twice, because I have a few things to manage since I got to the hotel. But so it's really helpful to just make you more connected in that way. I think we got also with, let's say artificial intelligence and machine learning and predictive modeling. We can create new tools and solutions for physicians and providers of care, also both to make their lives easier. We can maybe talk a bit about that a little bit later too, but also to give them more context for their patients that they're working with and to strengthen the connection between the patient and the provider by giving them more context for their person, for their needs, for the gaps and care, the things that they're not getting, that they should, that the provider may not normally get just through a normal interaction for your 15 minute visit. And so I think there's a couple of good examples of how both data and technology can help strengthen connections both with patients and providers.

Paige Minemyer:

Is that something you'd like to jump in as well while we're on it?

Abhishek Singh:

I think Steve covered it all. I mean, at the end of the day, there is a most off repeated cliche about data in healthcare. Data is the new oil. Right now we shall be talking about it because oil is the new data, probably, turn things around. I like that. But at the end of the day, I mean healthcare produces, I mean, trillions of terabytes of data that could be used for decision making and all of us are cognizant of the fact that there are ways in which those could be used for decision making. The question here, since we are on the of human centric design is how do we take that data, contextualize it for an individual. And that individual need not just be a patient in the healthcare setting, but a human who interacts with healthcare organizations even outside of the sickness setting. That's what we are here to debate.

Paige Minemyer:

So as you're thinking about that, then, I mean, where do you see opportunities to take all that data that you have and use it to really craft a full picture of the patient or the member and, maybe where do you still see gaps in that and where we still need to get that data to really get the full image of the people that we're trying to help.

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. Maybe I can start. As I mentioned previously, a lot of the data that we're used to working with in healthcare is again generated through when you go to the doctor or things that are entered into electronic medical record. I think there's a huge opportunity, particularly as we think about human-centered design and new digital solutions to be more proactive and prospective about not just what data we have, but what data do we need and how can we generate that through various interactions with people. And as an example behavioral health is such an increasingly important area where I think we have gaps in the types of information that we capture and what we know about people and how we can provide services and support for them in a way that is safe and positioned at the right time where they feel comfortable to do that.

Steve Griffiths:

And so I think there's any number of areas where we have gaps, if you think of a full pallet of different types of data. And so I see the, I know we are internally, but I think the industry is now again because of the digital age, thinking more about what should we have versus just how do we, and starting really with the person, which is the whole point versus, well, I have this data, so what can I do with it? So really flipping the model if you will.

Abhishek Singh:

Yeah, it's interesting. I was just having a conversation with, I don't know if the individual is still here around the digital efficacy and how individuals interact with different digital platforms, and the individual is talking about how he's working out correlation between the interaction with the digital platforms and the healthcare settings, and turns out when specifically for say, for example, Optum, and you have a lot of technology that you put out there as a healthcare organization, you see that the correlation of engagement of technology for individuals increases alongside any morbidity or sickness, but it drops significantly when there are no such incidences, then that would be a question for you because you have worked in other industries also.

Abhishek Singh:

Because there is a continuum of interaction that other industries have when it comes to digital platforms like retail, you interact in various formats, depending on what you want to do. It's like something aspirational that you want to do. There is something that you really need, that's why you interact. And remember we had that discussion around the fact that you don't engage with banking when you are bankrupt. You engage it in various formats, but why do we deal with healthcare only in those settings? So that's the challenge for the healthcare industry. If it has to take care of the gap in data, in many ways, it has to extend beyond it. And I'll continue hopping on this point because I have Dan here who can talk about that topic.

Dan Makoski:

Well, yeah, it's interesting because when we think about healthcare, there's so many spaces that we connect in with data and design. There's the urgent care scenarios, there's annual visits. I mean, one interesting thing we have in Optum specialty medicine, we have our type two diabetes. We call them wellbeings in design. Patients is such a, it defines people by their state of ill health. So we use the word wellbeing to define people by their state of getting better. And we get half a billion. What is it called? CGM, continuous glucose measurements in any given month.

Dan Makoski:

And the question for us is not, well, we have all this data. It's how do we connect these wellbeings, these patients to nudges that help them move a bit more, help them maybe change a bit of their diet. And then we actually have metrics around weight loss. We have metrics around NPS, Net Promoter Score. How are they feeling about the app? And we use that feedback loop of data to give us insights and how we ultimately change behavior and how people can live these better lives. I love scenarios like that where there is a continuous stream of data.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah. You guys teased what I was about to add ask, actually. So as you're thinking about this array of data that we have which there's a ton, you just mentioned diabetes is an example of a way that you can take that data and bring it then into the human center design to enhance the member and the patient experience or the wellbeing experience. Could you just talk a little bit more about then how you're thinking about that, maybe areas where you see the potential for this data to really play into, opportunities to improve the experience?

Dan Makoski:

Yeah. Also, I mean, well, in some cases you're looking at the data and trying to understand the human story behind it, but also with human-centered design, we have anthropologists, sociologists on our team who are professionally trained to go out and instead of exploring some remote cultural practices of a tribe, they're going to look at the tribes of type two diabetes folks and what are their needs, what are their lives? What does it look like? And in one of these apps is called, well, it's our Optum specialty medicine app. One of the questions was how do you set goals?

Dan Makoski:

And there was this really interesting insight that as we prototyped and we talked to people, we learned that the more that someone sets their own goal, the more likely they are to actually take forward motion on it. If we could have used AI to set defaults in the app and just say, oh, well, based on your age and your, and your health data, this is what you should do. But this idea of involving someone having agency. And I love that idea because when you think of design, often the question becomes what is the human goal? And then the secondary question is, what's the data we need to find to demonstrate that we're on the right track, so it goes both ways.

Paige Minemyer:

So given that framework then that we're operating in, let's talk about equity a little bit. I mean, as you're thinking about equity challenges, there's pieces to that are both in the data analytics and the gathering, as well as designing these tools to make sure they're accessible to diverse populations. I mean, I was hoping maybe all three of you could just talk a little bit about how you're thinking about where equity fits into the intersection of all these topics that we're talking about today.

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. I can start. Hugely important topic, crazily important, and we spend a ton of time through many of different forms internally talking about it and thinking about it and looking at the work that we do to make sure that we're supporting health equity, we're minimizing disparities and care across the board and data and in analytics, and many other internal capabilities are critical. Because if you can't measure or you can't manage it if you can't measure it sort of a thing. So one example is within Optum health, we have many number of different types of clinical programs, a diabetes program, a heart failure program, all this. So we have teams of health economists and other analytics teams that are looking across who we identify, who we outreach, target, engage, who are we working with? Who has a care plan? What outcomes do they have and asking the question, if you look across important dimensions of age or gender or socioeconomic status or other indicators of disparity, are we seeing variation there? And if we are, why are we?

Steve Griffiths:

And in some conditions you may have higher prevalence of certain types of conditions in certain subgroups. So maybe it makes sense, but if you find that you're over or under serving a population or you're under engaging, if you will, then, we have the opportunity to step back from a product perspective, from a leadership perspective and say, are we missing data back to your question? Is there something we should be doing differently? Are we not marketing our services the right way? Or do we not have the right support if somebody calls in, et cetera. So at any rate, we're doing increasingly a lot of work like that, just to make sure that we have that surveillance and then we can adjust from a business perspective.

Abhishek Singh:

That's interesting because in the research that we have done on technology, when it comes to how artificial intelligence is getting used in healthcare, or even outside of healthcare, one of the things that we are witnessing is that at the end of the day, technology is being created by humans.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Abhishek Singh:

And if there is subconscious bias that exists, that creeps into technology, they repeat the same mistakes and they get codified. And then it's almost like you can blame a human for having a bias, but how do you blame technology for it? So that's the dichotomy that we work with because that's why we have to be careful about how the design aspect comes into the picture because there is a concept in AI that gets discussed a lot, which is called explainability, why something is happening within artificial intelligence or data or analytics. That's something needs to be looked at very carefully especially in the healthcare setting because we are talking about equity. We are talking about reaching to parts of the population where they may not even have technology, because what we are talking about here is usage of technology to design something in healthcare setting.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Abhishek Singh:

But there are populations, there are parts of the population we do not even have access to technology. How do you get that data in? That's another aspect to be looking at.

Dan Makoski:

I love this topic. I mean, there's so, well, first of all, I think the industry is so broken today and I think COVID has shown us all of these fault lines in the space. And I feel like we're all just doing our best here. One of the things that we have is our Optum insight group has a partnership with NHS in the UK where I actually live. I know I don't sound like it, but I do say bits and bobs from time to time. And so using all the health data that we have, there's this conversation with the NHS around, how do we make sure that we're ready for future outbreaks of various types? But then there's another question which is, well, what regions of the UK should we focus on? Should we look at those that have less community clinics or more populous?

Dan Makoski:

And then I just have to show one little example which for me is tangible because I have on our design team, we have an amazing crew of accessibility designers. And there's a tradition of from design, if you work on a more complicated scenario, as you're thinking about designing prototypes, you'll end up more elegantly solving more simple scenarios. And so these shoes are actually experimental shoes from Nike that were designed for people with motor difficulties. And I love these because I don't have to go down and do anything. I just open it up. It's got this living hinge. So this is so good. And so while this may work for someone with accessibility at shoes, it's also great for me in COVID times when I need to slip in and out of the house. So I feel like there's so many examples digitally where when we focus on those that have been traditionally left behind, it increases a better experience for all of us.

Paige Minemyer:

So on the topic of equity, then you laid out a lot of the challenge that we're looking at and lessons that we've learned, what do we need to do to start getting at some of those challenges? Do we have any answers for those questions yet?

Dan Makoski:

I'll say real quick. One thing is we need to have folks within the industry reflect the society that we serve. In the US, there is this stat that I think women make up 80% of primary healthcare decisions.

Paige Minemyer:

Yep.

Dan Makoski:

And do our teams reflect that decision making for those that we serve, maybe not necessarily. And so, as we think about, and we're building a lot of folks on our design team, everyone who raised their hands that knows what human center design is. If you want to talk to me afterwards, I'd love to connect with you and I think we have to be really conscious about the people that we bring into our teams and ensuring that we bring in that humanity and perspective because we're not going to create a more equitable solutions unless we really reflect that with our own workforce.

Abhishek Singh:

I think so same.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Abhishek Singh:

Mostly it's about bringing an outside perspective. So it's one thing we are talking about different categories and groups of people who need to be represented. But at the end of the day, we need to also learn from other industries. We have probably done it better than healthcare. So there's learning from many places. That's where the diversity aspect may have different axis. We need to be thinking about in our designing principles. So that's what I would recommend.

Steve Griffiths:

I'm still stuck on the shoes a little bit. Apparently mine are so boring. I'm sorry. I need to get some of those. Yeah. Diversity, hugely important in so many different ways. And to your point across different dimensions, I mean, diversity and data, we've talked about really creating a 360 perspective of individuals, from medical, behavioral, social determinants of health, just lab data, do you smoke? There's just so many different dimensions. Diversity in technology. There's so many different ways we can use technology. We have to be thoughtful and responsible about how we used it and be thoughtful and asking good questions.

Steve Griffiths:

And that's a whole session probably in and of itself to do. And certainly the diversity of our teams and we have and these are not short term problems. A lot of these types of things are, I always say it's a team sport internally, these are not just technology issues. They're not just analytics issues, they're technology plus, data plus analytics plus business, plus clinical plus operations, really people coming together from different diverse perspectives, as well as diversity from a personal age and gender and whatnot. And we've got a long way to go in healthcare on that topic. But I think I see, I know it's something that we're very committed to in spending a lot of time and I think the whole industry recognizes it as well, but it's going to take some time.

Paige Minemyer:

The shoes really were a show stopper. None of us knew he was going to do that. So I think we were all already got.

Dan Makoski:

Sorry, I went off script.

Paige Minemyer:

We've been talking about equity and that's certainly one of the top lines coming out of COVID, but another huge challenge that we're looking at coming out of the pandemic especially is the impact on the workforce itself and the healthcare, workforce and the burnout and the the struggles they're feeling coming out of this. I mean, how are you thinking about supporting them in addition to the member and the patient at the end of the day, through data analytics, through human centered design approaches.

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. Another extremely important topic that is increasing for all the reasons that we know. And, as an example, and this is probably a great example of using data analytics. We're actively working on building predictive models to identify and predict how can we identify individuals who are suffering from some type of burnout. If we look at physician surveys or information from electronical medical records or the system in which they practice, or the populations that they serve, trying to bring all of that together to build predictions so that we can then again, profile the population, understand where it's happening. So as an example, we have within Optum health care delivery organizations across the country. So how do we use that technology to just understand what's going on? And then from that, how do we understand this gets to explainability and there's different methods to look at that, how do we understand what those factors are that are most influential for those individuals?

Steve Griffiths:

How do we use, and that's maybe a machine learning, well, application, but how to then use other forms of statistics as an example to test different interventions and see are we moving, some randomization or something? Are we moving the needle by changing something? By changing technology that supports the individual? By providing different data analytics to them at the right time, or at different time to support the care delivery for their patient or their wellbeing population. So yeah, very important topic and something that we're, to me, this is the nerdy part of me. It's an exciting one. I mean, it's a great one because it's so important both to the populations that we serve as well as to the clinicians that we employ.

Abhishek Singh:

Since I do not come from a technology firm, I get to say this. Technology has become an end in itself when it comes to healthcare. So if you look at electronic health records, what's playing out there, how it is actually leading to a physician burnout rather than reducing the workload. That's something that we need to talk about more deeply, because at the end of the day, when these big silos exist within organizations wherein you have objectives set about, Hey, certain data points need to be entered. There are certain processes need to be followed. We tend to gravitate away from that individual point of view, the human-centric design, we are back to it. That's where we need two models here. One is what's coming in new.

Abhishek Singh:

So if you're designing a fresh where we are doing blue sky thinking, setting up new organizations, and there are firms which are coming up totally digital, no don't have any brick and mortar serving healthcare. There are many examples of that. They have that opportunity of designing something fresh, but take a moment and think about organizations that have been in existence for decades. I would love to criticize them for the hierarchy of bureaucracy that they have built over the years, and that has crept into the technology systems.

Abhishek Singh:

But if that anything has to change there, there has to be a mix of so-called digital native, what we are deploying on. Say for example, social media platforms, we are talking about metaphors these days. I don't want to use that term because I'll have to answer the question what it actually is. But so there have to be many swim lanes within these organizations to look at how you break the silos. And then also think about the new, and we are talking about either incremental changes, but in certain cases you have to break the mold to actually the real statue to come out.

Dan Makoski:

Yeah, this is one of the silver linings I think of the last couple of years has been with all the trauma, with all the pain, with all the disconnection. There's also, I think at least what I've seen from the UK perspective is, it's more okay to say you're not okay. It's more okay to say that I'm having a hard time juggling my kids being at home because schooling's not working and trying to have a conference call and we've gotten glimpses into each other's lives as we connect in these ways. And also, so one of our sister organizations United healthcare, which there's a lot of insurance.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

We've had some of our, we've heard that, how are you helping our employees manage their mental health during these times? And just one little tiny example about human-centered design here is we took a really close look at our provider search tools. So this is where you go in and you want to have a conversation. Maybe you're not feeling so good. We have such a rich array of providers that we created some really interesting facets. You can search on all types of specialties and sub-specialties and region and ways of connecting. But when you're feeling depressed and you're dealing with substance abuse and it's overwhelming to face off to all of that complexity. So the real human question is how can I get you to someone easily and quickly as soon as possible and not have you try to learn the language of healthcare, the difference between a psychiatrist and a licensed medical therapist, blah, blah, blah. So those language changes and those feature changes is where it comes to. So we can get people the help they need when they need it.

Paige Minemyer:

The pandemic certainly highlighted these equity challenges and the stress and burden on providers and healthcare workers. But that's not necessarily a new issue that emerged during COVID, but we're having a greater conversation about it. Now, are you feeling the momentum that in your work, as you're thinking about ways to tackle these challenges to maybe get at them a little more quickly, or really push on that more?

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. In the work that I do, definitely. I think I forget who I was talking to or the topic, but sometimes good things don't happen until bad things happen. You may know these issues are existing, but they're maybe not the most important thing or the most impactful thing to fix at that time. And I think we are at a tipping point on some of these topics, whether it's behavioral health or whether it's the burnout topics or whatever and so we're just health equity in general, it's just these are in the water and it's great that they are, and we've got a lot of work to do on them. But I do feel like it's changing and it's different.

Dan Makoski:

I mean, one little thing is, I don't know how many of you have worked at companies where the conversation is like return to the office, raise your hand if there's this return conversation. Yeah. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a little bit of PTSD with the word return. So I was like, there's some things about the way it was that I don't think we want to necessarily return to because there are some things about the struggle that we've had with COVID that we've actually been more flexible.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

And we're having a really interesting conversation now with our design team about how can we create spaces that are really designed for connection and empathy and creativity and brainstorming, because it doesn't really make sense to spend an hour in a commute to get to a desk where you're doing individual productivity, where you could be on your couch in your pajamas getting so much more done and being a little bit happier. So I just feel those human conversations about how do we support and trust people in their life, in their goals and their needs. I mean, that should be what our focus is in healthcare and I think we have to do it in our workforce too.

Abhishek Singh:

Absolutely. And same conversation at my office regarding remote work, sorry, return to, and people are talking about, Hey, there is a hybrid workplace model we are talking about. There are people who are talking about, Hey, continue to work from home. Now there are individuals and I'm just using a different example here. I ran into a couple of conversations where in the individuals were like, Hey, you are pushing the decision onto us, but we have not been used taking those decisions because we were working in settings wherein there were certain rules that we had to follow. There is a contract that exists. There is, how do I say, for example, a new analyst in my team was asking the question that, Hey, I could take a decision about coming to office just two days a week, but what if my boss comes five days a week, will that create a distinction there?

Abhishek Singh:

So these are examples of contexts that exist within organizations that will end up impacting how we end up talking about within the healthcare setting also like physicians, where will they work from? I mean, there has been a huge debate within the healthcare industry about moving away from large hospital systems to brick and mortar, away from brick and mortar to more closer to home, digital health, et cetera. Now some of this pre COVID was just theoretical, but COVID ensured that a lot of telehealth visits started to happen.

Paige Minemyer:

That's right.

Abhishek Singh:

So that's one of the positive changes of usage of technology in a setting where in physician visits were not possible. Now there are many more such examples, but we have to take care to understand that there are certain people who might still be wanting to go back to what the original situation was. So there would be a diversity in thinking in that line too.

Paige Minemyer:

Picking up on that piece of the shift towards these digital settings or even home care. I mean, how are you thinking about maybe enabling those platforms, both through the data and analytics work that you're doing or the human centered design approach for dance team?

Steve Griffiths:

It's a great question. I just was on some calls for this. And so I'm just spinning through it but...

Paige Minemyer:

It's spinning the wheel. Yeah.

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. But it's huge focus obviously in this space, just another great example of technology evolving to meet the needs and also great example of how in healthcare, we focus on things that people get paid for.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Steve Griffiths:

So telehealth wasn't reimbursed, now it is, COVID whatever. Anyway, so it's been an interesting evolution on that front, but so there's a within Optum health, one of our divisions a lot of focus on virtual first care and stitching together a number service offerings to provide the whole person care program. So it really gets into how do you identify individuals that may benefit from it? How do you engage them appropriately through multiple channels? How do you offer these concepts of next best action, the right thing at the right time, ideally where we have more continuous data versus choppy data. How do you use all of that to enable that individual to move through the organization? Not just for that telehealth service, but for all of the things that follow. So there's, again, data and analytics flowing through all of that.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

This gets me excited about the whole idea of what you just said, this next best action. What would it look like to have a healthcare experience or interface, whether it's call, face to face with a doctor app or whatever, where what's being created for you, using data has never been created before. It's completely unique to you because your background, your conditions, your prescriptions, your relationships are all unique. So often companies are so focused on their products, their lines of business.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

That they end up showing all those seam, we call it like your PnL is showing with all the products we serve. So what's so interesting to this conversation is like take Optum RX. We have a whole delivery arm. We have divvy dose, which brings you exactly in the right package, all the pills you need for a complex set of prescriptions. But we also have virtual care where you can talk to a pharmacist right away. If you really take a human-centered approach, you'd be able to think about that person's needs regardless of, oh, you should go to this channel. Well, why can't I just connect with you? However, I'm comfortable at whatever moment and be much more fluid. Those are the kinds of conversations we're having. And it's really hard to hide the PnL, to just focus on experience, but that's the challenge we all have. That's what revolutionizing healthcare ultimately will be about.

Abhishek Singh:

Why is it that when you start speaking we hear clap?

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah. They sync that up over there. That's a surprise. We planned that.

Steve Griffiths:

I also think that increasingly understanding important topics like social determinants of health, and you mention care at home types of things.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Steve Griffiths:

And so I think it's just another great example of how we can identify another really important aspect of an individual and their needs and circumstances and realities, like quite frankly, are so important, they overshadow any ability to get healthcare. So again, are you socially isolated or do you have food insecurity or lack of transportation or lack of housing, some of these basic needs. And so we've seen a huge increase in healthcare in the profiling and the understanding we're now on claims data, but also creating machine learning models and other things to really try to identify that so that you can say, Hey, we have somebody who has these really major things going on. So our traditional ways of outreaching or engaging just aren't going to work. So let's take a different approach, let's go to their home and try to connect and engage with them. So it really starts with the person and works backwards.

Paige Minemyer:

So as you're gathering that wealth of data on, social needs and maybe nonmedical needs that you have that data, where are we with sifting through that then to get that full picture. And then, you can go to Dan's team and say, "Hey, we know this person has food insecurity, what can we do you to build something that works for"

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. Usually we start with a need or a use case or a business problem. Like, Hey, we want to do this. And then they bring in people with my background and say, how do we identify, what do we have what's available that we can use or combine thoughtfully and responsibly to solve that issue. So it's really, gets back to that diversity of teams working, we can do a lot of stuff, but how do we solve a need? How do we help somebody? And so often we're working with more creative folks or design business leaders or operators to really help identify those specific cases,

Abhishek Singh:

Actually, that leads to me to ask this question to Dan. And I mean, I'm again, putting you in a spot because three of us are so close to this system, like been looking at healthcare for years. So we are almost like insiders. So when you're too close to something, you don't have perspective you've 17 weeks or days.

Dan Makoski:

Weeks.

Abhishek Singh:

Weeks into healthcare. So you probably have a more critical view of how you think, I mean, as an outsider, how you think healthcare is working specifically on Optum or even outside of it.

Dan Makoski:

Yeah. I mean, a lot of conversations I've seen is that we have so much data that we don't often exactly know what to do with it. And so the first step for me is having a conversation. Actually I don't care about data, like I love these man, but I really don't care about data.

Abhishek Singh:

Whatever.

Dan Makoski:

What I care about is the insights that data gives us. And actually, I don't even care about insights because insights are inert. What I care about are the insights that lead to action, either for the business or for patients that help people get better. And so I feel like that first of all, having that conversation is so fascinating for designers because we're now so much of the time design gets brought in to create an output. Like, Hey, design, we're redesigning optum.com. This is my first thing in week two. We're redesigning optum.com. Dan, can you help make it awesome. This is like an output.

Dan Makoski:

But then the real question is as well, what's our outcome? Who is this for? What do they need and how do we get there? What data do we have? And in that example, the density of the previous optum.com homepage, we ended up reducing by over 50% because we saw that things like bounce rate and engagement, AEM was part of one of our tools. We talked about that. We had the data, we had this ability to prototype to get to an outcome that we wanted. So I feel like those two conversations go hand in hand, but ultimately the question is what is tech for? What is data for? What is design for? And if you start with that question, you'll get to a good outcome.

Steve Griffiths:

One thing I'll just jump in, because it's sparked I wasn't planning on going here, but as we look at revolutionizing healthcare, we need a different workforce than what we have. And so your comments made me think about this and back to this team sport diversity thing, you can have people that, and I work with them and I hire them all day long, PhD in statistics or machine learning, whatever they can go. So deep into the methods of how to measure, create a model or whatnot. And you can have people with design who come at it if you can't bridge those two.

Steve Griffiths:

And so that's that interaction between the two and people being consultative in both ways. We're seeing a lot more programs in business analytics or analytics for business leaders and in technology and in other analytics fields. And so I think having people that are both at left and right brain that can translate, because I see it all day long, often where you have a business leader who has their MBA and they're doing their thing with their PnL and they've got a data and analytics person who can go deep, but there becomes a chasm there. So anyway, I don't know why, but a little plug there, I guess for really multidimensional thinking and education,

Abhishek Singh:

Interesting sparring between data and design.

Paige Minemyer:

So then I have to ask then thinking about that is you're able to diversify your thinking a little bit when you come at these challenges, I don't know that it's a secret to anyone here, any of us sitting here that healthcare is a little bit inert in terms of breaking news. The healthcare is slow to adopt new stuff. So once you have those ability to be thinking this way and thinking a little differently about some of these challenges, what then do you need to do to move the needle on them and actually get somebody to be taking the issue to that next point? That's a little trick question a little bit.

Dan Makoski:

I mean, if I can get a little conceptual from a design perspective for a minute. I think there's one of the challenges with the world of healthcare. I think also in the world of banking, which I spent a few years in is all of the metaphors that we use to connect into either our money or our health. It's actually a single metaphor borrowed from the 1400s called the ledger, which was actually borrowed from banking by the church as a way, a compact way to record attendance and donations, long before databases, it was a really, compact way to connect in.

Dan Makoski:

If you go into a banking app or you go into your healthcare app, a lot of what you'll see is basically past transactions, right here are past visits. Here are past claims. Here's past issues. The real opportunity from a design perspective to revolutionize healthcare is to help people to not understand their past, but to engage with their near future. What about later today? What about sometime this week? What about next month?

Dan Makoski:

When we talk about that type two diabetes patient, what they really need is the encouragement, the motivation, the nudges, the high fives to get to a place where they're moving more, they're eating it maybe differently so that they can manage their prescriptions, downwards. That only comes from new design metaphors in a conversation about what's next. So any of you guys hear work as coaches of wellbeing or fitness life, obviously a couple head nods. Whatever the metaphors y'all use to get your clients into a place where they have to think about the future. And then now I think those are the things that are going to help us get to the next space.

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. I would agree. I think engaging with clients and in various strategic conversations and because I think the purchasers often drive a lot of that. And so I think a lot of it starts with them either because it's a brewing issue in their industry or because, through conversation and strategic planning, we help them make those connections.

Abhishek Singh:

Yeah. And I think all of this, I think the point that Dan was making around. How do we make that connect between the next, what was the term that he used the next best?

Dan Makoski:

Next best self.

Abhishek Singh:

Next best self.

Dan Makoski:

Yeah.

Abhishek Singh:

I think the definition of that from being abstract to something that you can quantify, we have first stepped towards going in that direction because at the end of the day, we are in an industry which is very closely scrutinized from an ethics perspective.

Paige Minemyer:

Yes.

Abhishek Singh:

But being where we are it's also an industry that focuses on profits and these two cannot be or should not be in conflict as such. I mean, we have to be open and honest about the fact that it has to be ethicality with you are running a business and the folks are in the business of being in business. Now, how does ethics get managed in that scenario. I think that those two debates almost diverge from each other at a lot of time. And that's where when we are defining services, how payers and providers contract for it, the whole price transparency debate that is happening, why prices are not visible to individuals, et cetera, all happens because of this conflict or this dichotomy that exists within the industry. So I think some of these silos need to be broken down. It's conceptual I know. I know a lot of people would be scoffing at this debate, but something needs to happen there.

Paige Minemyer:

So when you have the two different thinkings united. You have your plan together. So the next step I'm obligated as a business reporter to ask you this question, how do you then take that and make the ROI pitch and the business pitch to the people who are going to sign off on the work that you see the opportunity to do together.

Dan Makoski:

Great. I mean, in week two, when I came on board, I was asked to give some reflections about design and directions we need to take. And as I'm talking to senior leaders across Optum in the group, I actually started with a business conversation. And I talked about some signature studies that showed that companies that value design outperform their peers from a business perspective. So, I mean, I'm in design because I want to help people. And I'm in healthcare because I feel like we can help people live better, healthier lives. But I also recognize design actually helps businesses succeed. The UK design council four decades ago did this study where they looked at all the FTSE 100, for those of you in the US, FTSE is like, I forget financial time something. It's like the S&P 500 for the UK.

Dan Makoski:

They looked at that list and they took companies that had submitted four design awards as a signal that those companies probably care enough about design to try to get an award. And they just looked at the financial performance of those companies versus the others and found a two to one outperforming of shareholder returns. Two decades later, the design management institute did a similar study with six attributes, same result, two to one. And then 2018 McKinsey launched the biggest study six years in the making 152 million financial data points track to design actions, exact same result, companies that care about design, which means that companies who care about people and their lives, they actually do better.

Dan Makoski:

And I used to work for this other company, not the Fortune Five, the Fortune One called Walmart. And there was one of our leaders on the foundation who said that the purpose of business is to serve society. And I fully believe that no matter what company you're in, you have permission to operate your business because you provide something valuable to people. And if design and data which gives you the right place to focus work together to serve society better, you will do better. So I do love data and I love you. And I love it when it does come together. So I they do have to come together.

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. And I'm the guy that calculates the ROI. So I can give you whatever number you want to make it work out. No problem.

Paige Minemyer:

That's a great spot to be.

Dan Makoski:

Back to ethics.

Paige Minemyer:

That's

Steve Griffiths:

Wait, sorry. This isn't being recorded, is it? No, but I will say, I think often doing the right thing also makes good business sense. And I think in this topic, a lot of its own simplifying. Simplifying the experience for a person and sometimes that's hard in healthcare and maybe it costs a little bit more in the short term to wire things together. But at the end, I think the ROI is clearly there.

Abhishek Singh:

When we get into venture world, I think we can learn a lot from that. There is a concept called fail fast, fail cheaply. But in healthcare, we tend to drag things along for a long period of time. Things are not working, but nobody would be willing to raise their hands and just clam down it and close it down. There are so many projects that I see running within the healthcare enterprise setting which have been going long around for years, which should have been shut down and something new should have thought of that.

Abhishek Singh:

I think that's one of the things from an enterprise tech decision making perspective, from a process perspective that needs to change from a business casing perspective needs to change because if use has to be made of data, we need to learn from what really happens in the venture world. That if innovation needs to happen, it's okay to fail. But I think in the healthcare setting, it's almost frowned upon a lot, even from a tech perspective, we are not even venturing into the area of care settings or development of drugs or vaccines because those are high risk zones. We are talking about low risk areas and even there I see risk aversion.

Paige Minemyer:

So we've got about 15 minutes left and we've got a pretty good size audience. I want to leave plenty of time for you guys to get into it. So while y'all are wrapping up your questions in your mind, I'll kick something to the three of you. We've laid out this conversation now about the intersection of data and human centered design, and some of the things we can get at if we combine those and the different work that you're doing. As you're looking, five years down the road, 10 years down the road, I mean, where do you see opportunity that you can can get at together?

Dan Makoski:

I mean, with your point, I feel like we need to give teams the ability to explore. One part of a human center design process is modulating, divergence, and convergence. Some of you may have heard of something called the double diamonds process. This is a famous design model where there's moments of your process where you actually brainstorm. You get a lot of ideas before you converge. And like you said, it's so hard in the world of healthcare or in the world of finance because they're such regulated risky spaces to enable teams to do that. So I think I'm imagining a future where every single team in the world of healthcare has permission to experiment and to try in a way that's safe for the good of folks with very specific measures from a data perspective of how we know we're successful.

Dan Makoski:

Because I think there's a lot of teams that when you just focus on creating a thing, an object, an output, a lot of it's really guessing. And we don't want to guess with people's lives, we want to have an evidence based approach like we do with how we treat folks from a medical perspective. And the more that we take an evidence based approach when we design software or redesign our clinics or redesign conversations. And there are a lot of teams that do that already, but I think we need more of them. And sometimes that regulatory mindset prevents us from the divergent parts of the process.

Abhishek Singh:

Actually, I'm happy that Dan, you are part of Optum now. And also the fact that this group here is here at SXSW and not at EMS, reason being we are bringing in external perspectives. We are having this discussion in a very different setting. That allows us, I mean, I'm very hopeful that five years down the line, the new perspectives that are coming in healthcare, like your perspectives, I'm seeing other industries, their perspectives being borrowed technology obviously is a given, but healthcare, luckily or unlucky happens to be in the center of the debate when it comes to United States.

Abhishek Singh:

I know everybody has an opinion on that. It's good and bad. Both good and bad, but what it's doing is we are getting so many diverse opinions around how design needs to happen. You're not short of ideas here. Probably you're getting more ideas that you can probably work on. And that's where I think even within an enterprise setting, because most major decisions about data or technology end up happening within the confines of very large organizations, whether it's Optum, whether we are talking about Wellpoint, whether we are talking about large hospital systems, are those opinions actually getting to the people who make those decisions? I am seeing currently at least in my research, they are listening. So I'm hopeful.

Steve Griffiths:

A couple, I think it's going to be next five or 10 years will be very interesting. I think, I'm very excited about digital signals which it's a newer thing in healthcare. We're a late adopter of some of this, but having more passive ongoing continuous signals coming in from devices. And I think it's going to be messy for a while, but I think it's going to be fun to see what we can do with that to provide more, to be more, it's a lot of discussion about precision medicine. And I think I would see a lot of advancements there helping get people the right things, the right care, the right support at the right time at the right place.

Steve Griffiths:

I think that's important. I think the other one is just in artifact, AI, machine learning all of that, which is a big frothy topic, but there's a lot of really great use cases that move the needle. And I think particularly in around the top topic of affordability and driving efficiency in healthcare, this links to clinician burnout, using some of these technologies in a thoughtful, responsible safe way as augmenting decision making or automating things that really just don't need a person. Healthcare was built around people in facts and forms and all this stuff and using technology thoughtfully to clear all of that out and help people focus on helping people and working at the top of their license. And so I think those are both exciting for me.

Paige Minemyer:

He gave a fist bump to that. He was excited about that.

Dan Makoski:

I love that because we've got a design team looking at burnout. We got 16,000 physicians in Optum care. And I don't know how many of you have gone to a physician where they're not like this, looking at you in the eye anymore. They're like this looking at a screen and they're like, oh, what did you say about that? Because every procedure has to have some data recording from a HIPAA perspective.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

And doctors only got 15 minutes with you or however long. And so they're just, clerical burden is the term, the special form of cognitive burden that physicians have. So I'm just amening that because the more we can connect doctors with their wellbeings, with their patients, I think the more we can help create that human connection.

Abhishek Singh:

Solutions looking for a problem end up creating more problems.

Paige Minemyer:

So if you have a question for our panelists, you can just come on down to the mic and we'll grab it. And in the meantime, I actually have a question for Dan that has been brewing in my mind as we've been talking. So you're 17 weeks on the job at Optum. How was your or has your perspective shifted at all on where you see human center design fitting in now that you're in the healthcare system compared to when you hadn't come in yet?

Dan Makoski:

I am more excited now than when I started. And a lot of people were predicting that I would just, that I wasn't thinking clearly. There's a people in my professional network then when they saw me like, chief design officer at Optum, they're like, really Dan, you spent 10 years in Silicon valley, Google, Microsoft. Why would you go to this place it's so unfriendly. And I came here exactly, because I'm a design pioneer that likes to bring light into the darkest places where there's so much to fix, but the culture is so thirsty and it's so receptive. So I'm feeling more overwhelmed than ever, but more excited than ever. And I just feel like design has to come into these regulated complicated spaces, like banking and education and healthcare, because that's where, I mean, I don't want to go to Airbnb or Tesla or Apple, or they've got it figured out. I want to go to places that need a design leadership. So I'm excited.

Steve Griffiths:

And I will actually just say on top of that as somebody who's been in it for a long time.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Steve Griffiths:

You get too into it. And you need disruption, you need outside thinking to keep it fresh. So thank you.

Dan Makoski:

Cheers big.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah. He called us insiders. I think that's pretty accurate. So it's always good to hear from somebody who is definitely not an insider. All right. We've got a line for me. I love it. Go ahead.

Speaker 6:

Hi, I'm a mom and a daughter and a wife, which means I manage six people's healthcare, which means that I'm on 24 different portals, probably because.

Steve Griffiths:

That's for Dan.

Speaker 6:

Because I have three or four different pharmacies, four or five different insurance and then tons of doctors and they don't all talk to each other. So AI is great. But you don't have all my information. I don't have all my information. The fact that I have resorted to in notes mode, having my daughter's prescriptions so that if we have to go to the emergency room, I can just give it to them because they can't get it even though her doctor is down the street. So what are we doing here?

Dan Makoski:

Amazing. Keeping it real. Yeah. The frustrating thing about this is it's so relatable. We've all experienced the brokenness of the multiple portals of information not being connected. This is a solvable problem. We have this thing called an EMR. This an electronic medical record can thoughtfully share your information at the right people at the right time. So I think this is where, this is the unintended consequence of thoughtlessness where companies create this individual. I'm going to create this portal for this product for this case. Oh, I'm going to create this other portal for this product for this case.

Dan Makoski:

And if you don't think from a human perspective these are going to be disconnected and they're just going to leave it up to people to navigate. The days of that thoughtlessness are over. We have to do better. We have to do better. So thank you for bringing that up. If I told you the amount of conversations that talked about portal consolidation and connection, it's happening, there are definite conversations about how do we simplify. I was just talking with our president about simplicity as how do we get that embedded into what we do? So I'm sorry for your pain. I feel mild a bit of it. [inaudible 00:56:31]. Yeah, totally. Yeah.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

I don't know.

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah. We're working on it.

Speaker 7:

Hi, I'm a principal product manager at a healthcare company [inaudible 00:56:43] And I wish you mentioned that certain projects take forever and they should have been cut a long time ago. The choke hold that I feel as a product manager is that I go off, I do human centered design research and we integrate user feedback into our methods. We have a data analyst, a data scientist join at the beginning to inform how we develop the research, the cohorts of customer segments. But then I have this great digital experience develop.

Speaker 7:

Now people are like, well, have you connected it to health outcomes? And it's like, well, do you want it to take a year? Do you want it to take three years? Because that's how long it's going to take to get health outcomes and connect it to a digital experience. So to you all, what recommendations do you have for people experiencing that such as myself? How do we change that mentality in our organization? Do we need to change it or is it a matter of folding and changing the way we operate in terms of processes folding? I don't know. How do we get to it faster?

Steve Griffiths:

That's an over drinks conversation. That's a deep one and it is challenging and without going into a huge diet drive outcomes are hard to see in healthcare.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. It takes long time.

Steve Griffiths:

Some people are like, well, if your costs went up, something wasn't successful. Well, did they go up as much as they would have had your intervention or product not been available? So then you get into control groups and randomization and all this stuff. And often it can take a year plus three months of claims plus this happening and that happening. And it's a complex space and one of the, and happy to talk offline, because really is challenging. Art is to think about intermediate outcomes or process measures that maybe you could be thinking about that might be leading indicators, gap closures, getting people to certain services or whatnot. So are we seeing the things that would plausibly support impact on affordability or quality or whatever those outcomes measures are in the context of your product? And so it's yeah. I had an email on this today as a matter of fact and it is not an easy one.

Speaker 7:

It's a double edged sword because people as a healthcare company, they're like, well, we don't want to pay more, increase utilization and benefits going to cost us more. And then, well, how is that connected to what impacts are we having on people's health.

Steve Griffiths:

And that gets to the timeline in healthcare. There's two trains of thought. There's improving people's health the long term, and taking a long term perspective on health improvement. And then there's the CFO that wants a return within 18 months and most payers think that way. And those two things are in conflict. And so you to do the right thing, but maybe think about other KPIs that would, so you could sit in front of the chief actually, the CFO and have that conversation about we're seeing all these things that then correlate or support longer term health outcomes. So but again, happy to talk more about it.

Abhishek Singh:

And another thing that is changing within organizations, and I don't know how much of that has started playing out in your organization is this whole concept of whatever technology that you're developing, whether it's a product or a set of products that comprise a platform, the term that is getting used increasingly, and it's a concept which is called composable platform. So you do not need to build everything yourself. And that's a fallacy of how technology development has happened in the past. So the examples that Dan was giving around one use case, somebody's developing that, there is another use case somebody else is developing.

Abhishek Singh:

And those two use cases are not talking to each other. The design principle that is coming together is that, Hey, you define as an organization and somebody senior has to take ownership of that who steers it, which are the different components that are going to be there, which are the components within the organization that have come up, that is useful enough to be part of that platform.

Abhishek Singh:

If not, look outside, there are so many people willing to innovate. So if you're on a phone, you use an app for say, for example, travel booking. If you don't like it, you have an option to switch to a different app, but does an organization have that flexibility? That's the question some organizations have actually started to deal with. So this whole ecosystem that we're here keep hearing the word, the term. It's playing out. It's soon come to bear that you will have an option of looking at your product and figuring out yes, there is something analogous to it, which is much better you can opt for it.

Speaker 7:

Thank you.

Morgan:

Okay. My name is Morgan, actually an undergrad student at Purdue, I have my own startup when it comes to health data and trying to reduce workplace injuries. And one of the things I'm currently exploring is Apples health kit and Google fit. So how do those different APIs come into play with data analytics, human center, design healthcare? Is that something you guys are looking to leverage? Is that even useful? Can you share some of your comments about even developing around that?

Steve Griffiths:

Say it specifically again which API?

Morgan:

Health kit. Just go with health kite. Not Google fit right now. Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

I mean, it's so traditionally in this space you have a new acronym, which I learned in my 17 weeks called RPM, which is remote patient monitoring.

Paige Minemyer:

Yep.

Dan Makoski:

And often in the space, there's these very.

Paige Minemyer:

I the like acronyms.

Dan Makoski:

Did I get it right?

Paige Minemyer:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

Yeah. In this space, there's very expensive medical grade devices. And it's so interesting to me because if you were to ask me, Hey Dan, how'd you sleep last night? I'd be like, oh, give me a second. And I'll go in and I'll see what this thing told me. And I'll say, oh, I was interrupted six times. I got one sleep score and I got 3.2 hours of deep sleep. We're already many of us now, maybe this is very privileged. I don't know, Silicon valley thing. But I think more and more people are understanding their body, their health, their lives, how they're moving, how they're eating, how they're sleeping, supported by mobile devices, health kit, Google fit, et cetera.

Dan Makoski:

And I feel like this is an incredible opportunity for a company like Optum or any healthcare company to create the connections to that health data that we're all getting to accelerate because with health kit, they can't prescribe something or they can't necessarily connect you to a therapist if they're noticing that you might need a little help right now. But those two things work really well together. And I know there's places that we're embracing it. We're doing scenarios for future design where we're thinking that way, but I love that you're in the space and we'd love to talk more.

Morgan:

I would love to talk more too.

Paige Minemyer:

Do we have time to take those three or? I think we're good.

Dan Makoski:

For Michael slab for sure.

Paige Minemyer:

Yep. Go ahead.

Speaker 12:

Thanks. This is an awesome conversation. I love that we've got people at the center of a data conversation in general, which is very excellent. I think listening to this, a lot of what we're talking about is individualized data. I'm curious, we've been through the last couple of weird couple years, a pretty big public health thing happened. And you're talking a lot about the value of insight and the engagement and storytelling layer but to between the data and the person. And I'm curious at a community level, I'm a volunteer fire rescue EMD and have been in that community layer of a public health crisis for two years. And I think we've done a really unfortunate job with the storytelling about public health data. I'm curious about community data in the lens of watching like amateur epidemiology become a thing, which seems dangerous. So I'm just curious about where the community layer is versus all the individualization that you're talking about.

Dan Makoski:

I mean, well, there's whole parts organization that go deep into that. We have something called population health services. That is looking at community regional national things, even as we partner with the NHS in the UK, which is a completely different health system than in the US, there is this conversation about the community and who do we enable and who do we not enable? And there are conscious choices there. I mean, part of the reason I think we look from a human center design perspective, we go deep to the individual and we think about the relationships, the household is because if you can start to think about connecting there, you can start to widen it out. But I do feel like there's an amazing opportunity to be broader. We do have a whole part of our business, particularly on the insurance side with United healthcare that works with community and state.

Dan Makoski:

So a lot of like for example, our team about a month ago after the Biden administration said that, Hey, we need to get health insurers to reimburse at home COVID tests, within 72 hours our team had to completely redesign the process for that in all communities. And think about, can we get the them into a physical store? Should we, Walmart, Walgreens, who can we partner with? How do we do that online? And so really that community focus comes into play with getting the data to answer the questions. How do we redesign this really rapid reimbursement for COVID to help keep families safe? But I think there's way more to be addressed in that topic and super fast editing perspective.

Abhishek Singh:

And just to your point on the amature epidemiology that we are currently facing a trust deficit in institutions.

Paige Minemyer:

Definitely.

Abhishek Singh:

Yeah. It doesn't matter data exists, but if you don't trust the source, it doesn't matter. I mean, data is just some binary numbers being thrown around. I think that trust deficit aspect needs to be solved. I don't have a very good answer for that, but we need to acknowledge that first, before we go get into any solution.

Steve Griffiths:

Yeah. And we do a lot of, in the industry, there's a lot of population level, surveillance and forecasting and all those types of things. But I think as we think about community, I think there's different actually dimensions to your question and community data, community services. I think we have gaps for how we do some of that. And the amateur epidemiology thing was challenging externally. Do you believe the university of Washington's methods or this method or that method, or the four different groups internally that are developed in their own sea model. Epidemiology, which is based on whatever assumptions you think make the sense and how do you through all of that. And they're all right and they're all wrong. And therein lies the fun in math, but definitely challenging.

Speaker 13:

Thank you very much. So I am a US strategist and woo. And over my 15 years in the industry, I have become a passionate believer that the best work comes by combining quant and qual. Because we need the quant to tell us what and the qual to tell us why. And I loved, all of the data focused discussion that happened here today. I didn't hear a lot about qual and, understanding, talking to people individually. I especially think that when we're thinking about marginalized groups or minority groups, they have less of the population that's why they're minority. And so sometimes they won't show up in the big data and the way that it does when an individual is telling you their life story. And that moment, so I'm just curious, what systems do you guys put in place to make sure that you're keeping those things in balance and if there's any collaboration between your groups to bring together those two perspectives.

Dan Makoski:

Yeah. I love that question.

Steve Griffiths:

That's a great question.

Dan Makoski:

Yeah, it's fantastic. So every one of our, we have this idea of called a design studio.

Speaker 13:

Yes.

Dan Makoski:

And in a design studio, we have like a team of six that cover nine areas of practice. One of those is our design research guild of which we have lots of folks that either come from more of an ethnic graphic background, or usability background, depending on the studio. And it's so important to get to the realization, particularly in hard nose, left brains, maybe Fortune 10 organizations that we're actually designing for people and that people have these really interesting thing called emotions.

Speaker 13:

Yes.

Dan Makoski:

And they sometimes act irrationally predictably sometimes and that's important to understand. So the previous question about payers, right? How do you motivate an organization to deal with something that just feels better? But where's the business outcome. That's part of our conversation. But we also, in our design studios also have what we call design scientists or people I call designers. These are developer designer hybrids. These are people that can prototype and work with the engineering team because we need both of those perspectives.

Dan Makoski:

And often you'll find some deep qualitative insights from doing ethnographic research. Like take, for example, we have a house called business. Well, we'll go to your place, nurse practitioners will help and it's been so valuable in COVID when folks have been sheltering, but you'll see different groups have various levels of trust deficit. I don't want someone coming into my house I don't know if I trust where they're from or what data they're using or what, anD it's so important to understand that nuance because we'll completely miss those issues of health equity if we don't bring both the quant and qual together. You looking for a next job.

Speaker 13:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

Awesome.

Abhishek Singh:

Call me.

Paige Minemyer:

So this will be our last one, but you can come up.

Speaker 15:

I think you covered some of my questions with your answer to the last question. So I have a design related question, but like you said, designs often brought in to work on output, like as opposed to helping decide what the output could be. So I wanted to elaborate on that a little bit more. My question is more, I would love to know more about how your team specifically is embedded with the non-design aspects of the business at Optum and how you all collaborate in real time. And do you have any tips for getting buy-in for design, having a seat at the table when maybe you're working in a traditional business that might see it as an afterthought or just good for websites and brochures. I mean, and I'm definitely going to mention the McKenzie study to them. So don't worry about that.

Dan Makoski:

Awesome. Amazing question.

Speaker 15:

Yeah.

Dan Makoski:

I think I questions for Steve. No, I think so. Well, first of all, I think it is extraordinary that United health group in Optum have created the first chief design office. It didn't exist more than 17 weeks ago. And this first group has puled together six or seven disparate user experience in design teams that were disconnected and tucked into more like technical places of the organization. And it's so interesting because one of our values as a company is compassion, which is such a powerful value to connect in and to talk about design. And we actually did this workshop called compassion by design with a number of our most senior executives across the business. And we did this two day immersive where we had some of them actually observe some payers in our usability labs trying to deal with our payer portal.

Dan Makoski:

And they were like, oh my God, that's so hard. And we're like, yeah, you need to think about people. We had another group go out and observe or urgent care scenarios in our MedExpress clinics. We had another group go to a call center and just listen in and see what it's like as our call center agents deal with some of the most horribly complicated head scratching multi-portal, you don't have my information. And so I think the conversation is not really about design. I don't think really, just like I don't care about data as much. I don't think our executives actually care about design as much. And my white glasses actually don't help a lot because they're like, why isn't this guy normal? What they care about is can design help me run a better business?

Dan Makoski:

Can design help me create something that's more effective? So first of all, I think designers need to learn the language of business just as much as the business needs to learn the language of people. The second thing is we have a new executive layer of leadership that we're building that was nonexistence before the number of CIOs and CMOs and CEOs at our organization far exceed the one chief design officer that I have. I mean, if I met with each of them for 10 minutes every week, I would just there's not enough time.

Dan Makoski:

So we have a new generation of design executives that we're bringing in. If you all know anyone, send them my way. And the last thing I'll say is we have a new design method that called the design pulse. It's basically like a design thinking meets agile sprint that allows design. So work in the language of technology, using insights, prototyping, and outcomes that really beautifully marry with agile and humanize agile. So we can talk a lot more. Those are the three primary strategies, but all I'll say is keep hope alive. Design is important. You're the most precious resource in your company and you can do it.

Steve Griffiths:

Woo.

Paige Minemyer:

Well, thanks for attending everybody and thank you for the great questions. Thank you.

Steve Griffiths:

Thank you for hosting.

Dan Makoski: 

Excellent.

 


Explore the concept of human-centered design. An expert panel at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference discusses how to revolutionize health care by merging data with design to build simpler, connected health care experiences.

Access PDF transcription