Human-centered design in healthcare

Design Is Shaping Health
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Can human centered design in healthcare improve our lives?

If we want to have a new perspective on healthcare – namely human-centered design in healthcare – first off we should understand what health is. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Health is a state of physical, mental, and social welfare, not the mere absence of diseases”.

By looking at health through biopsychosocial lenses, WHO sparked public policy reform aimed at making social security and basic sanitation widely accessible, which has significantly benefited society. In fact, since 1940, life expectancy has doubled and infant mortality rate is declining year over year in the US.

Conversely, 1 in 20 people still does have access to essential health services that could be delivered at a local clinic instead of a hospital. And where services are easily available, they are often of poor quality.

WHO is supporting countries to advance universal health coverage by designing health systems around the needs of people instead of diseases and health institutions, so that everyone gets the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

This is one of the most important premises of people-centered care and human-centered design in healthcare, which are well explained in the following video.

Traditional healthcare provides an unmeasurable and unachievable perspective on health that has been under questioning from contemporary medical society.

If every condition is seen as an illness, the human being has to border on perfection to be healthy, which is not realistic. In this way, there is a rift in society where the notions of sickness and health, doctor and patient, prevention and treatment, are antagonistic. We must make room for a different healthcare perspective, and human-centered design in healthcare is a way out of that problem.

Enter human-centered design in healthcare

The dichotomies between sickness and health, doctor and patient, no longer fit with the modern landscape. For the average person, all aspects of life blend in a single experience. If we want to face the new challenges of our time, we need to understand what are the vectors of change to come up with impactful healthcare innovations and break down how a person living in the fast-paced connected world behaves.

In a society where people are becoming more and more connected, the customers and patients are the ones who guide innovation in healthcare. With technology’s exponential growth and its conveniences as digital health, the individual has taken center stage and demands significant change.

The modern healthcare market is inefficient and financially unsustainable. Its need to reinvent itself is urgent. This is the moment for transformation, to evolve, invest in new business models, create new experiences, and improve effectiveness, that’s why human-centered design in healthcare can be a valuable tool in this process.

Systemic Design for Health: our Human-Centered Design Healthcare Approach

Medicine teaches us how to treat. Design teaches us how to care for. Through an essentially systemic perspective, design makes it possible to grasp the intricacies of the healthcare ecosystem.

We believe the core principles are:


  1. Making humans the focal point, understanding any user as a person.
  2. Adopting the concept of ecosystem as something unique and integrated.
  3. Adding value to the business, being relevant to the user.

Through its systemic approach and our understanding of the context, design allows for the development of solutions, products, and services that have a positive effect on all agents within the healthcare market: adding value, amending costs, and improving processes.

We believe the relevance and success of any product or service is directly tied to an organization’s purpose and their sustainability. Healthcare must address the world’s and their business’s demands, all while expressing their truths and beliefs.

Check our VentFlow case study, a ventilator for COVID-19 in developing countries

At the same time, we believe in a more human future. Our job is to understand behaviors, desires, and needs to promote positive transformations in businesses and society. For that reason, we’ve joined forces with Dr. Andressa Gulin, an expert in Innovation and Technology from Singularity University, to map changes in the health industry around the world, to offer reflections about the future, and pursue new healthcare innovation opportunities. We want to help the agents in that market to innovate in businesses and to reinvent themselves, adapting to that new reality that asks for a systemic approach to healthcare.

Need a hand with human-centered design in healthcare?

We can also help your business to thrive with technology & design in healthcare as developing impactful human-centered solutions. You can count on us as a strategic design partner.

Whether your company needs to create incredible products like this Ventilator for COVID-19 in developing countries, ultra relief nebulizer, surgical table, IoT technology for sleep apnea detection or even to redesign its whole consuming experience, the good news is: we can help you.

Questtonó is a cross-disciplinary team of designers, engineers, researchers, and strategists who identify unique market opportunities based on people needs, and cultural trends with  the ability to design & develop ready-for-market products, services, and experiences. We do this by developing  physical and digital products, brands, and services in a systemic and integrated manner.

→  Check out how we can help you!  ← 

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