Synergy: Development of an Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Clinical Learners and Design Students
Event Type
Oral Presentations
TimeFriday, April 162:40pm - 3:00pm EDT
LocationEducation and Simulation
DescriptionThe US spends more on healthcare than any other post-industrialized nation, and yet, our healthcare quality lags when using any number of standardized measures. Moreover, the frequency of preventable errors, patient harm, and clinician burnout is unacceptably high. It, therefore, is no surprise that there has been increased interest and funding of clinical effectiveness and implementation and dissemination (I&D) research. Likewise, study frameworks and approaches are more likely to apply systems engineering and human factors methods to solve complex healthcare problems. This phenomenon represents an important step towards more widespread adoption of people-centered design (PCD) principles. PCD refers to a design process involving the human perspective in the entire problem-finding and solving phases. However, we believe traditional curricula in medicine create self-imposed constraints that limit the scope and success of health design projects from a people-centered approach. Lack of PCD in the curricula results in clinical graduates unprepared to effectively gather and communicate requirements, participate in simulation testing teams, or evaluate innovation usability.

With regards to other professional training programs, we encounter a different set of constraints. User experience and interface (UXUI) designers are often experts in design theories, models, and frameworks and are equally skilled in a myriad of human factors engineering methods. However, without clinical background or experience, UXUI designers may be less capable of empathizing with the user, understanding the deeper root causes of clinical error, or effectively interfacing with clinical stakeholders.

Our two programs saw these challenges as an opportunity to collaborate and develop an innovative – and sustainable – cross-disciplinary training program for clinical learners and design students. The faculty members from the University of Kansas (KU) Department of Design and the University of Oklahoma (OU) Departments of Medical Informatics and Internal Medicine are piloting new ways to break discipline-centered silos and create innovative educational opportunities for the future clinicians and designers. Since 2019, the two departments have used a series of longitudinal quality improvement and patient safety projects to teach undergraduate and graduate design students, medical students, physicians assistants students, and medical residents. The projects are part of a larger vision: developing a clinical design studio that teaches these concepts, provides trans-disciplinary experiential learning, and pilots breakthrough innovations.

This presentation will explain our collaboration model, describe several early piloting successes, and present a long-term vision for a new kind of interprofessional training program. To accomplish these tasks, we will talk about three major projects:

1. Project Dashboard: We designed inpatient handoff tools for both mobile and desktop platforms for internal medicine residents. The project aims to provide intuitive user experiences to clinicians for effective patient handoff processes;
2. Design Thinking for Social Determinants of Health Workshop: As a part of Student Academy, we offered a design thinking workshop that emphasized clinicians' empathy toward their patients. 48 medical and PA students participated in this workshop where they developed an after-clinic document based on a patient archetype; and
3. Ubering Medical Procedures: We designed mobile applications that help patients better understand the recommended procedures to make informed decisions.

The presentation will review our pedagogical strategies for co-education, institutional barriers and lessons learned, and three collaboration projects' outcomes. This presentation targets medical and design educators as well as administrators, researchers, and developers.