Memorial Sloan-Kettering

"It'd be nice to have a more personal side to things, so I know in my heart, not just in my head, that I am being taken seriously." –MSKCC patient

For 10 weeks in the summer of 2012, I joined the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Design Innovation Lab to redesign the New Patient Experience. The goal of the project was to propose ways in which the hospital could deliver and start to gain the reputation of being a more patient-centered institution.

We conducted ethnographic research with clinicians, staff, and patients, as well as conducted workshops with different department representatives within the hospital. We faced challenges in scope and time constraints and had to find ways to adjust accordingly. During our final stakeholder presentation, we presented needs, design principles, sample concepts, and recommendations on where to start. This set the foundation for more specific initiatives that are currently being prototyped such as the Welcome Kit and the Patient Navigator.

The needs we discovered from our research:
1. Improve the process of transferring information. Patients currently carry the burden of being the middle man between their family doctor and MSK, even though they are the ones who are most unfamiliar with the terminology and disease.
2. A more personal approach. An institution as large as MSK deals with hundreds of patients daily, but for the patient, it’s always their first time.
3. Include family members as part of the “patient team”. Family members are often very involved in the decision-making process, and have the potential to be a very valuable in creating a supportive environment for the patient.
4. Prepare patients for what to expect of the process. New patients are already anxious about their treatment and diagnosis; they shouldn’t have to worry about more unknowns.

Illustration of sample concepts forming a new patient-centered experience

FINAL PRESENTATION    Illustration of sample concepts forming a new patient-centered experience


RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

Below are process photos documenting the different research activities we conducted.

SHADOWING  We were able to shadow session assistants and observe the experience of  patients from behind the front desk

SHADOWING   We were able to shadow session assistants and observe the experience of patients from behind the front desk

OBSERVATION In the waiting room

OBSERVATION   In the waiting room

HOME INTERVIEW Patient keeps a detailed journal of her treatment

HOME INTERVIEW   Patient keeps a detailed journal of her treatment

HOME INTERVIEW Patient shows us all the pamphlets she receives from her visits

HOME INTERVIEW   Patient shows us all the pamphlets she receives from her visits

DEBRIEFS

DEBRIEFS

PRIORITY CARDS We asked patients to sort cards based on factors that mattered most to them

PRIORITY CARDS We asked patients to sort cards based on factors that mattered most to them

STAFF INTERVIEWS A conversation about the psychology of the disease

STAFF INTERVIEWS   A conversation about the psychology of the disease

ANALOGOUS RESEARCH WORKSHOP

WORKSHOP Conducting an analogous research workshop with hospital staff

WORKSHOP Ideas from an analogous research workshop with our core team

WORKSHOP   Ideas from the analogous research workshop with our core team

CULTURAL PROBE KIT   We were only able to send it to one participant who later had to decline. We concluded that the kit was asking for more than what they had the strength to do at this point in the process.

CULTURAL PROBE KIT    We were only able to send it to one participant who later had to decline. We concluded that the kit was asking for more than what they had the strength to do at this point in the process.

CONCEPT BRAINSTORMING

CONCEPT BRAINSTORMING

INSPIRING CONVERSATION   Our research and observations started an important discussion on nurses' roles have changed over time from personal to transactional. The head nurse was given approval right then and there to make the changes necessary.

STAKEHOLDER MEETINGS   Our research and observations started an important discussion on how nurses’ roles have changed over time from personal to transactional. The head nurse was given approval right then and there to make the changes necessary to involve nurses earlier in the process.