America's healthcare system is predominantly a Curative Care and over the past decade, experts have been trying to change the industry to be a preventive care system. Consumer's expectation of routine check-in would be a waste of time. Rhode Island School of Design had an opportunity to create a healthcare proposal to the state of Rhode Island.
Overall, Rhode Island's ratio of physicians working in patient care is 360 per 100,000, on of the highest ratio in the country. Between 2001-2003, $21 million in hospital inpatient charges were attributed to conditions that would not have required hospitalization if appropriately treated in a physician office.
Curative medicine is geared towards curing or treating patients only after they have become ill or injured. Our industry has typically adopted this form of method, yet overtime, it puts both the medical companies and healthcare providers at a disadvantage due to consumers' expectation by calling them names like "illness insurance."
Preventive care is about routinely checking in with doctors when your body is displaying symptoms: shortness of breathe, mood swing, skin rashes, muscle tenderness, or fainting. Another way to understand preventive care is knowing self-compassion and staying mindful of the changes your body have over time.
The design team went out to visit various practices to better understand the workload to manage the staff, nurses, medical supplies, and equipment. Focus group sessions were setup to share their stories how challenging it is to visit a doctor. They talk about their insurance provider, taking time off work, and travelling cost.
An open, honest doctor/patient relationship enables the patient to share all symptoms truthfully, and results in the most accurate diagnosis and treatment. This is affected by external factors such as a comfortable environment: not having a conversation in the same room where you were naked a few minutes ago. Enabling choice empowers the patient to take control of their health, doctor needs to present patient with a plethora of options in a language that the patient can fully understand.
The design team explore many models using visual mapping and brainstorming techniques to better understand the problems they learned from the doctors and patients. It occurred to the team there were more than one solution to the challenges.
The focus throughout multiple visual models are to emphasis a primary care which balance the use of hospital based and specialty care resources. The team explores how might we prevent fewer emergency visits, fewer inpatient admissions, and easy access to diagnostic services. There was a theme to improve chronic conditions, heart disease, cancer, and stroke. How do we build a business that ensure healthy life style choices such as tobacco use, obesity, or even seat belt usage?
Based on interviewing doctors and patients, the proposal is to develop an online network that helps overwhelmed doctors in small practices and rural areas. State Legislation will need to rewrite laws and provide business subsidies to help build innovative online networks. This structure will help business to be flexible where their employees are working. These business will be able to supply smaller practices with bulk material, equipment and medicine.
The online network needs to help primary care physicians to spend more time caring about patients instead of managing a business. It is discovered through patient interviews how difficult to travel to a PCP within their insurance network. The online network will help many doctors to be represented with more insurance companies and to easily setup an office within a community of need with access to public transportation or traveling to patient's home.
These facilities will help high-stressed patients to accomplish their errand runs and receiving health guidance. Patients under stressful jobs will feel overwhelm how to cope with chronic illnesses as they occur. A 2nd proposal is introducing the role of Care Manager into the health system. This role would have a background of physiology or psychotherapy or biology to help guide their clients with their doctors and specialists. With a Care Manager at their side, patients will learn how to stay mindful about the changes their bodies are going through.