Understanding patients and their lived experiences is table stakes for proper patient education and support program design. Marketers and patient experience professionals are more and more interested in challenging the solution design process using the tools and protocols of design thinking. Having a framework for such a challenge is an important aspect of successful and relevant solution design.

At LIFT, we have a saying we use across our agency:

Understanding fuels thinking fuels strategy.”

Understanding: We use qualitative (and quantitative) research methods to understand the needs and motivations of targeted stakeholders.

LIFT uses a proprietary tool called the LIFT Insights Canvas™ to understand the patient and related stakeholder(s) journey—and related needs, motivations, fears, hopes, and beliefs—we artfully link the voice of a healthcare organization and/or brand to the experience of the people and populations it serves and supports.

Thinking: We champion the principles and protocols of design thinking to challenge and empower solution design.

This is how we bring patient understanding and solution design together—we take what we learn from the patient (and related stakeholders) and we create maps, personas, elicitation tools, design workshop manuals, and various other materials for use in multi-stakeholder co-creation activities focusing on a particular problem or area of interest.

Strategy. We create strategies that are fueled by human insights and borne of a multidisciplinary design thinking approach.

Our strategic guidance reflects the human voice of our clients’ stakeholders (patients, healthcare providers and practitioners, caregivers, and others) and our strategic plans invariably will seek to nurture authentic opportunities to capture, cultivate, and impact what we refer to as Share of Experience™.

It all starts with insights.

Given the difficulty of accessing patients in-person, we are increasing our use of tools like self ethnography and multi-stakeholder virtual roundtables. We also use artifact-driven tools and other secondary probing constructs to dig deep and gather insights at ground level. LIFT also offers a framework that helps leverage the assistance of various stakeholders within proximity of the patient—empowering HCPs, family & caregivers to help carry out insights gathering by serving as a field surrogate to the research team.

More than data, we organize human truths.

Observing the human condition as it relates to disease and therapy, we created a framework called the Five Dimensions of Emotional Truth. You likely have heard about the 7 dimensions of wellbeing, the 5 dimensions of emotional intelligence, or the 10-12 basic emotions (depending on what literature you are looking at). Healthcare ethnography had no such framework, so LIFT researchers created the Five Dimensions or Emotional Truth as a framework to organize human insights.

Using insights to illuminate a design opportunity.

Creating the tools and plans for design workshops allows us to bring the two together—patient understanding and solution design. At this point, we take what we learn from the patient (and related stakeholders) to stage (and facilitate) multi-stakeholder co-creation sessions focusing on a particular problem or area of interest.

Designing solutions on a foundation of healthcare stakeholder insights.

With insights work completed, learning thematically organized, and a set plan for a design thinking workshop, all thats left to do is jump in and start. Implementing a co-creation workshop using stakeholder insights allows us to collaboratively test and iterate a few solutions, land on a final solution, and deploy for testing and iteration. This sets the stage for the LIFT implementation team to deliver a marketing, patient education & support program that is relevant, engaging, and accountable to the patient as well as the brand.

The benefits of this interconnected process are profound:

It maintains a human centric lens across the process;

It keeps patient and stakeholder(s) involved throughout solution design … and testing;

It’s contextual and built at ground level with the patient;

It’s iterative, holistic and inductive (three important characteristics of ethnography);

It’s rigorous … and,

It’s tied to reality and experiences … it’s human driven, not big-data driven.

Stakeholders must have seats at the design table.

Pulling through what we learn from patients (and other stakeholders) is very important to empower solution design. This can often be a dropping off point in terms of quality when we don’t dovetail learnings with the design process properly.

And a significant component to “dovetailing learnings” is to include the very people we learn from as contributors and challengers in the solution design environment. This is the very nature of multidiscipline co-creation.

LIFT offers our clients an end-to-end process that looks to, and learns from, the patient. Our Solution Design Praxis pulls the patient voice into the solution design process. Empathy and collaboration are the cornerstones of a good design process and understanding the lay of the land and the path to successful solution design is crucial and having an agency partner who can walk he entire path is fast becoming table stakes for impactful programming.

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