HXD 2020 Day 2 Summary

HXD 2020

HXD 2020 Day 2 Highlights

Day two of Mad*Pow’s annual Health Experience Design (HXD) conference featured a mix of keynotes, specialized tracks and interactive sessions, with topics covering COVID-19 resources, digital design for personalization, DIY health solutions, and many more.

Opening Remarks

Kathryn Hautanen, Center for Health Experience Design (CHXD)

As we contemplate the future of health experience design, consider the current COVID-19 crisis. We’ve seen more health innovation and digital transformation in the past month than ever before. Strides in 3-D printing, telemedicine, and digital health are being implemented in record time. The situation calls to mind the art of kinsugi – where broken pottery is fused back together with gold, often resulting in a piece more beautiful and strong than the original. Hautanen also shared the history of Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape architect who designed Central Park in New York City, along with more than 650 other parks. Most people don’t realize that, while the Civil War put construction of Central Park on hold, Olmsted was named general secretary of the organization that would eventually become known as the Red Cross. His design knowledge made him the perfect person for this role, as he went on to design field hospitals and recruiting and organizing volunteer doctors and nurses. These skills helped the North win the war. Imagine what a new health experience might look like if it was inspired by the park system – these are the types of projects CHXD is doing and would love to collaborate on with others.

For example, the CHXD launched a design challenge for everyone while they stay at home. All were encouraged to submit zany, inspirational ideas that reduce face touching and increase handwashing. Learn more at the CHXD website.

For the Love of Technology: How Digital Design Can Support Relatedness Needs

Keynote: Amy Bucher, Mad*Pow

For Amy Bucher, HXD is more than just a conference – she attended the very first one, and it’s where she was first introduced to Mad*Pow. In her new book Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change, Bucher offers practical tips for design professionals to apply the psychology of engagement to their work. For her keynote, she focused on the example of chatbots as a way to increase motivation. When people have a sense of relatedness, they feel as though they are part of something bigger than themselves. Chatbots’ popularity has exploded as a means of providing virtual support because they are available anytime, people may be more comfortable talking to a bot (computers can’t judge us), and ultimately, we are not solitary creatures (remember Wilson the volleyball in Castaway?). As designers, it’s our job to design technology in a way that helps people feel connected. That means using artificial intelligence like machine learning to add personalization that helps users feel seen and understood. We must incorporate user feedback to make corrections. Pandora pioneered this with its “thumbs-up/thumbs-down” feature to help its algorithm learn what types of music a particular user preferred. Now, chatbots like Woebot and Vivibot bring authenticity and relatedness to a new level. They even have a sense of humor. Bucher led attendees through a robot scavenger hunt, challenging them to get a chatbot to say something really personalized, show warmth and kindness, apologize for making an error, and make a joke. To finish up, Bucher left attendees with the question, “How can you let your personality shine through your technology to connect with users?”

How Collaboration and Strategic Design are Coming Together to Help with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Keynote: Michael K. Dempsey, Massachusetts General Hospital - CIMIT

Fortunately, most of us are able to work from home and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, frontline health professionals and essential workers are not able to stay home and are actively risking their lives to help others. That’s why, when asked by Massachusetts General Hospital how to make face shields, which were in critically low supply, Dempsey immediately worked with his team to develop a prototype and find a vendor to produce them immediately. However, the project was quickly thwarted by the hospital’s infrastructure. For good reason, too – everyone wants and expects medical supplies that are safe and effective. This need doesn’t change during an emergency. In times like these, the need is for safety AND speed. With the support of the NIH, FDA, and IEEE, Dempsey quickly put together plans for Collaborating to Address Shortages of Medical Supplies (CASMS), a network of innovators, producers, testers, and users who could create tested and validated nontraditional medical supplies that would meet the needs of medical professionals during the COVID-19 crisis. Within two weeks, CASMS launched a website to enable individuals and organizations to submit PPE designs, volunteer to test and validate designs, or access validated designs for production. Now, the focus is on growing the community of makers and testers and getting the word out to more hospitals about nonmedical supplies. And, once we beat COVID, CASMS will continue to address persistent shortages in low- and middle-income countries. For more information, visit

Designing for Public Health Track Description

Behavior change interventions can vary depending on the audience, infrastructure, budget, and goals. Behavior change theories explain what influences behavior and behavior change models describe the process of successful behavior change. In this session, we will look at behavior change interventions within the context of public health and health communications. Drawing on John Snow, Inc.’s work in public health, discussions will include public health interventions at the national, state, and local levels. The session included an overview of behavior change theories, frameworks, models, and their implementation and outcomes, and ended with a presentation on a human-centered design approach to solving a public health issue.


Designing for Public Health Panel: Karyn Dudley Madore, Nikki Davis, and Christin D’Ovidio, John Snow Inc.; Mary Brown, Spectrum Health; Andrew Miller, Stephen Yablon Architecture; and Andre Nogueira, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Karyn Dudley Madore, communications director for John Snow Inc. (JSI), explained the importance of bringing design thinking to public health and how approaching public health problems through a lens of design theories and frameworks enables creativity to develop new solutions that are designed with the audience instead of for the audience.

Each speaker offered their unique perspective in this session:

  • Christin D’Ovidio, the marketing and communications program director for JSI, presented on the use of behavioral change design in public health. She introduced participants to the Health Impact Pyramid and explained where behavior change design fits best in the pyramid. She provided a framework that breaks down public health interventions at different tiers to provide a sense of what types of behavior change strategies are most effective.
  • Mary Brown, who works as the learning and development lead for Spectrum Health, shared an enlightening case study that shines a light on the impact of social determinants of health on health disparities in the United States and how structural marginalization plays a role. She challenged designers to glean from the study the foresight to think about how design can have a mindset toward equity. Her case study, Two Brothers, demonstrated how people need culturally specific strategies to deal with the factors affecting their health.
  • Can high quality architecture reduce the stigma of sexually transmitted diseases and encourage people to seek testing and treatment who wouldn’t otherwise have done so? Is there a way to make a link between high-quality architecture and positive patient health outcomes? Those are some of the key questions Andrew Miller tackled during his presentation on stigma reduction. Miller, an associate partner with Stephen Yablon Architecture, shared his experience based on his work in New York.
  • The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is working to expand its field of knowledge, and Andre Nogueira, associate researcher, has been invited to work alongside Professor Patrick Whitney on an effort to bring design into public health in a more structured way. The two are working to bring design as a complementary approach in dealing with intractable problems that are related to behavior change. To ensure conference participants were clear on the approach, Nogueira managed expectations from the start: “I’m going to walk you through a high-level diagram that we are using as a reference for our work, rather than a diagram that embraces all the different conditions that public health and design explore.”
  • Governments are always looking for solutions that are better, faster and have more impact. Nikki Davis, a research, monitoring and evaluation advisor with JSI, shared how global health has been using human-centered design (HCD) methodologies; what some of the early learnings are from engaging with HCD and where experts believe it is going next.

Scaling Design & Innovation Practices Track Description:
How can organizations overcome the hurdles of building design and innovation practices? By now, many of us are familiar with the “big ideas” of making design and innovation work: collaboration, co-creation, empathy, iteration, and more. But bringing these ideas into our organizations and infusing them into our work in a way that is sustainable, repeatable, and scalable has been a challenge. Hurdles of time, participation, resources, understanding, and risk/change-aversion often hinder our attempts. In our Scaling Design & Innovation Practices track at HXD 2020, we shared first-hand stories of the successes, challenges, and practical take-aways that teams have encountered as they’ve worked to overcome these challenges to strengthen and scale their practices.

Culture by Design: How Cultivating Human-centered Design Skills in Our Peers Helps Organizations Do Better

Scaling Design & Innovation Practices Session: Jeremy Beaudry, hiCOlab

As a design and innovation lab embedded in the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Beaudry and his fellow designers at hiCOlab know the difficulty of scaling design and innovation practices firsthand. He shared, “In project after project, we kept hitting the limitations of what our organizational culture will support with respect to creative thinking, risk taking, and rapid cycles of experimentation and learning.” When his team took a hard look at what was holding them back, they found a common thread of barriers, attitudes, and behaviors. They took time to pause and reflect to redirect their efforts, asking, ‘How can we expand our design capacity with our existing resources while also shifting the organizational culture to be more creative, more reflective, and more experimental?’ They teamed up with the center’s telehealth group, quickly developing a prototype design education program to meet the group’s specific needs and context. While the goal wasn't to train the telehealth group as designers, Beaudry and his team wanted them to gain creative confidence and be able to apply basic methods of human-centered design on their own. Unfortunately, the project was halted due to COVID-19; however, they were able to collaborate quickly on an implementation planning workshop for telehealth’s new task of deploying video visit technology to 80 clinics in less than 10 days. For others considering creating similar learning experiences in their organizations, Beaudry shared the following insights:

  1. Take great care to building and nurture the relationship with program participants.
  2. Set clear and detailed expectations about participation, roles, and the journey through the process.
  3. Emphasize learning by doing. Let participants do the work themselves and let them fail (gently).
  4. Give learners accessible tools that help them grow at their own pace and assemble toolkits to use beyond the life of the program.
  5. Be flexible and meet people where they are. The program details can and should evolve without compromising the learning objectives.

Building an Integrated Innovation Network

Scaling Design & Innovation Practices Session: Azin Nezami and Victoria Agbey, Vertex

Over its 31 years in operation, Vertex has built its integrated innovation network by generating and implementing new ideas, creating new connections internally and externally, supporting all functions as innovators, and building a culture to nurture innovative people. Specifically, Vertex has three stages of innovation and accompanying programs to support each. First, to promote ideation, Vertex hosts a global innovation tournament called VOICE to identify pain points. Since its launch in 2015, Vertex has seen a 300 percent increase in idea submissions, resulting in identifying and developing dozens of ideas. Next, the Vertex Innovator’s Institute puts the spotlight on implementation – building a community of innovators and “intrapreneurs” by teaching the tools and mindsets for innovation. After completing the multiweek training program, participants were twice as likely to submit and develop ideas for VOICE and more than 60 percent continue to stay actively engaged in the innovation community. Finally, execution is the theme for Vertex’s Innovation Partners. This program seeks to co-create customer-centered solutions by embedding designers within teams, discovering root needs, and applying innovation principles. These partnerships include user interviews, research, process mapping, strategy sessions, and applying human-centered design, to name only a few. To build an integrated innovation network in your company, Nezami and Agbey suggest that you create strategic alignment with your leadership, organizational strategy, and corporate values, enable the entire lifecycle of innovation and stay nimble and adaptable to the evolving needs of your organization.

Scaling Innovation Through a Shared Language

Scaling Design & Innovation Practices Session: Preethi Raju and Bobby Caplin, One Medical

With 70 primary care offices across the U.S., One Medical is recognized as being one of the most customer-centric companies in the world. Patients appreciate that they can seamlessly access care both in the office and virtually. That’s not an accident – the designers at One Medical focus on in-person care, virtual care, and everything in between. To be successful, design thinking must be paired with design doing and then cultivated throughout the organization. The way to promote that kind of regular collaboration is to use a common lexicon. This way, everyone speaks the same language consistently and innovation can scale and be sustained. Another key to One Medical’s success is their strategy of “going to Gemba,” where Gemba is the place where work is done. This means that everyone visits a primary care practice within his or her first week of work and continues to visit offices regularly. This opportunity for in-person observation promotes empathy for patients and the healthcare professionals in the practice, as well as provides a way to check in on how processes work in the real world. Finally, Raju and Caplin shared three additional keys for scaling design change: have a method to identify and elevate opportunities, promote joint ownership, and commit to continuous assessment and improvement.

Wellness & Prevention Track

De Las Mías – A Bilingual Healthy Lifestyle Platform for Latinas

Wellness & Prevention Session: Ana Consuelo Matiella and Sada Naegelin, De Las Mías

Mother-daughter duo Ana Consuelo Matiella and Sada Naegelin are co-founders of De Las Mías, a bilingual lifestyle platform built for Latinas by Latinas. The focus is to empower Latinas to live healthy lifestyles and improve health outcomes. Knowing that Latinas have a greater risk for serious chronic diseases due to their high percentage rates of being overweight and obese, inspired them to change that story. De Las Mías is a bilingual website and app that offers engaging content and easy-to-use tools that appeal to Latinas, who have a great influence in both families and the community. Relevant recipes, exercises and support from friends create a personalized experience not found in other weight-loss or health-focused apps. Based on randomized control trial and user testing results, they learned:

  • The app was most utilized by women ages 35 to 50
  • 31% lost 5% or more of their weight over 6 months
  • 47% reported increased confidence to practice regular exercise
  • 50% reported increased confidence to adopt healthy eating habits
  • 41% reported an improvement in physical health

What is Moral Burnout and How Do We Treat and Prevent It?

Wellness & Prevention Session: Jeannette Paxia, Pax Coaching

Jeannette Paxia is a transformation speaker and coach with more than 25 years of experience in the medical field. She defined moral burnout as healthcare professionals losing all concern and emotional feelings for the people they work with, treating them in a detached or dehumanized way. The signs are emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and declines in desire for personal achievement. The root of the issue is moral distress, which is caused by conflict of morality, ethics, and values that are unidentified or unresolved. In order to treat moral burnout, the root cause has to be addressed first. Additionally, to decrease stress, Paxia recommended practicing self-care like keeping a gratitude journal, meditating in the morning, listening to positive podcasts, or watching positive videos.

Taking on COVID-19 loneliness: Five Lessons Learned from Our Pandemic Pivot

Wellness & Prevention Session: Caroline Fitzgerald, HopeLab; Andrew Baker, Grit Digital Health

Caroline Fitzgerald, Project Lead at HopeLab, and Andrew Baker, VP Product, Grit Digital Health, helped develop Nod, an app designed to address college loneliness. As campuses began to close in response to COVID-19, their second pilot user base disappeared, and their in-personal social connection content became contradictory to new social distancing practices. In order to be of service during this health crisis, they moved to quickly adapt and roll out the app within 12 days. That brought about five key lessons:

  1. Clarity of mission facilitates clarity in decision-making. Both companies still believed in the mission to reduce loneliness among college students.
  2. Know thy intervention. The innovation team had a strong grounding in the science behind the original intervention content and had that research accessible.
  3. Build a co-design crew you can call on. They had built strong relationships with college students, who helped revise the content and provided personal testimonials for each of the 50 tips within 72 hours.
  4. Put your best foot forward and trust the process. The app store was experiencing delays due to the health crisis, so they had to launch with a patched Android signup.
  5. Find the gift. They have new insights into their capabilities, their relationships and the goodwill of others to support their work on loneliness.

Accessibility Audit

Lunch and Learn: Heather Thomas and Bruce Howell, Carroll Center for the Blind

Can someone who is blind use your website? Heather Thomas and Bruce Howell from the Carroll Center for the Blind told conference participants that they should consider digital accessibility from the day a website or tool is built to ensure a positive user experience for all of their audiences. Thomas did a deep dive on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and a demonstration on the value of a screen reader. She provided guidance on what a digital accessibility audit should include and the importance of both ongoing automated and manual testing since accessibility can be broken when changes are made, or new content is added.

Managing Covid-19 Using Predictive Analytics – Solution from Lumiata & Tec Mahindra

Lunch and Learn: Shannon Marques, Lumiata; Miguel Alvarado, Lumiata; Manish Mehta, Tech Mahindra

As health plans, providers and the public sector scramble to address COVID-19, the opportunity to leverage machine learning to predict issues, such as utilization patterns, ICU bed requirements and geographic locations at high-risk for exposure, is clear. One of the barriers to current AI efforts is the lack of interoperability of data. Instead, “just in time” data is needed, which means a new level of infrastructure is required. Solutions also need built-in feedback loops to continue improving models and making the more relevant to providers and healthcare in general.   

Designing for Mental Health Track Description:

Technology can improve or harm our mental health. The evidence shows that it is a tool, and as such can serve as a means of connection or increased isolation, improving access to behavioral healthcare, or encouraging negative mental health choices. In this session we’ll hear from and speak with digital mental health specialists, each approaching the field from a different perspective. We'll see how technology can serve as a tool either alongside or (in some cases) in place of mental health professionals. Speakers will discuss the latest technologies, trends, and opportunities in digital mental health.

 Tackling the Mental Health Issue of Loneliness in College

Designing for Mental Health Session: Caroline FitzGerald and Danielle Ramo, HopeLab

The session began with a sobering statistic – one in four people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point during their life (resource: The World Health Organization). Telehealth is an important way to help address all mental health issues, especially now during the pandemic. HopeLab is focused on using digital technology to address mental health issues, specifically loneliness, in college students. While loneliness isn’t a clinical condition, lonely young people are at heightened risk for depression, sleep issues, self-harm, physical illness, and dropping out of school. This led HopeLab to partner with Grit Digital Health to use channels that students are already using to connect with and design solutions to create real friendships and connections for students. They designed an app called Nod that helps students take realistic steps to grow and take risks. The app gives the students challenges (mini missions) that encourage them to go out and socialize. The missions are all aimed at helping the student go from idea to action. In-app exercises help the student process interactions after completing the mission. If the student has a positive interaction, the app offers exercises in gratitude. If the interaction is negative, the app offers exercises in reframing and learning from the experience. HopeLab is working with several colleges now to do more research to improve the app and to get data about its effectiveness.

Designing a Digital Psychiatry Clinic

Designing for Mental Health Session: Michael Sobolev, Northwell Health; Sara Lozyniak, M.D., Psychiatrist

The current COVID-19 health crisis was on all the speakers’ minds. They all agreed that the pandemic has driven the rise in the use and importance of digital health tools. Michael Sobolev said that COVID-19 has been a force of “creative destruction” – old ways are being destroyed, and new ways are being created at an astonishing rate, in terms of digital health offerings. Specifically, this is true for digital psychiatry. The future of all medicine is digital and machine learning, where human and artificial intelligence converge. However, innovations in digital psychiatry must have a combination of patient and clinician engagement to work. This future of psychiatry will have practitioners using a variety of tools to help diagnose and treat mental health issues. Sobolev talked about how data from mobile devices (Fitbits, phones, etc.) and web usage (social media posts, etc.) can all be used to predict a relapse or onset of a mental illness. For digital psychiatry to work, the platforms to connect patients and clinician or case managers have to be easy to access and easy to use.

Sara Lozyniak, a practicing psychiatrist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers digital psychiatry to some of her patients. She outlined some of the common concerns about leading counseling over telehealth, including things like how to begin, legal issues around state licensure to practice if your patient is in another state, prescribing controlled substances online, accessibility to the technology, having secure network connections, reimbursement for clinicians. In light of those concerns, Dr. Lozyniak said that innovations in telehealth for mental health issues need to focus on creating tools that allow for ease of use, making sure the technology is accessible to all, ensuring privacy, and addressing legal issues that inhibit the use of telehealth. As the pandemic has made outpatient mental health treatment the only option for now, practitioners are learning how to improve the experience and new ways to use the technology. Hopefully, the growth in telehealth care will continue even when the current health crisis is over.

Digital Interventions for Health Behavior Change Track Description:
Digital Behavior Change Interventions (DBCIs) are increasingly being adopted for use in primary prevention, treatment, and self-management of chronic diseases. They offer a promise to revolutionize the ways in which individuals gain access to care and guidance, track and promote behavioral change, reduce costs, and ultimately improve patient experience, engagement, and outcomes. Delivering on those promises requires multi-disciplinary collaboration throughout the design process, merging evidence and rigor with creative ingenuity. This session will showcase a range of digital interventions and highlight the methods used and insights gained throughout research, design, and evaluation phases.

Leveraging WhatsApp to Encourage Key Health Behavior Change for Patients in India

Digital Interventions for Health Behavior Change Session: Shirley Yan and Arjun Rangarajan, Noora Health

Since Noora Health was started six years ago, the company has been examining all facets of care delivery in India. The barriers to care in India are significant, with a shortage of 2 million nurses, 1.4 million child deaths annually (70 percent of which are preventable) and 44 percent of trauma patients with readmissions due to infection. Plus, the average visit with a public health provider is less than 2.5 minutes. Noora Health realized that healthcare means more than the individual in India – the entire family is involved. Entire families journey to a healthcare facility to support their family member, and mobile phones are usually shared by an entire family. So, when communicating about health, it’s important to carefully consider both the content and how it’s delivered. Noora Health launched a WhatsApp campaign to improve outcomes for specific health condition areas targeting health behavior change at home for patients recently discharged from a hospital stay. Since WhatsApp is very popular in India with more than 200 million users, Noora Health was able to create trust by becoming a WhatsApp-verified business. So far, more than 16,000 families have opted into the program, with 23 percent engagement (e.g., families that have submitted medical queries, sent thank you notes, emoji and/or forwarded messages to others).

Augmented and Virtual Reality for Behavior Change

Digital Interventions for Health Behavior Change Session: Julie Dirksen, Usable Learning

As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology continues to expand and become more affordable to develop, new applications to behavior change are taking shape. In fact, there are already promising developments in the areas of experience and consequences (e.g., conservation and airline safety), feedback mechanisms (e.g., physical therapy, dental health), future projections (e.g., healthy selfie, saving for your future self), empathy building (e.g., AGNES suit that lets the wearer experience vision impairment, tremors and dementia), and emotional regulation (e.g., pain management and phobia treatment). At this point, the biggest challenge to the application of VR and AR technology is accessibility.

Focus on the Action: An Embodied Perspective of Behavior Change

Digital Interventions for Health Behavior Change Session: Silja Voolma, Consilience Research

Creating sustained behavior change is difficult, and when it comes to modifying behaviors around health, that difficulty increases. Voolma wondered why it’s so hard to bridge the intention-behavior gap, and what would happen if we focused on action instead of the usual cognitive strategies. She worked with three Olympic athlete clients who wanted to change specific behaviors, starting with deconstructing each behavior by observing physical micro- and macro-movements using digital technology. She then worked with each athlete to reconstruct behavior by creating new muscle memories through action practice. She found that once a behavior is stored in muscle memory, it becomes automatic. For her clients, the results included two European Championship gold medals and a six-figure player contract. Additionally, Voolma noted that the level of personalization available with IoT, sensors, wearables, and smart devices makes this the perfect moment to help people understand their own physicality. Her client summed it up perfectly, saying, “I can trust my body more than my mind.”

Health Literacy Track Description:

How do we tell the story we want to tell while building meaningful relationships with our audience? How do we communicate in a way that people can understand and relate to? And how do we do we determine what content and message is most appropriate and relevant? This session will dig into these questions and more to help you enhance digital communication and engagement with health content that matters.

Grass Roots Accessibility: How Inclusive Design Is Like Starting a Garden

Health Literacy Session: Janna Kimel, Dexcom

Janna Kimel is an associate research manager at Dexcom who learned at a young age how not everyone can access the world in same way. She continued to grow her knowledge about people with special needs and the importance of accessibility. She defined inclusive design as optimizing design for all users and situations, including extenuating circumstances, in a way that benefits everyone and offers a competitive advantage. Highlighting the percentage of people living with permanent disabilities with access to billions of dollars in disposable income, Kimel also noted the rising number of lawsuits over web accessibility. There were 10 main steps to inclusive design:

  1. Decide What to Grow by deciding on a customer type to focus on and what guidelines to follow.
  2. Choose Where to Put Your Garden by deciding who to partner with and where you can have a measurable impact.
  3. Plan Your Garden by picking a reasonable project to share qualitative insights or measurable results.
  4. Invest in Basic Tools by tapping into people and downloading a tool to test website accessibility.
  5. Test Your Soil by knowing your organizational culture and what it will take to create change. See how existing products perform for customers with disabilities.
  6. Enrich Your Soil by fertilizing your organizing with continued training in different areas and hiring staff members with a disability.
  7. Plant with Care by demonstrating genuine care through customer surveys, user panels for ongoing feedback and user feedback from people with lived experience.
  8. Nurture Your Garden by ensuring people can apply what they learn in training, continuing the conversation, exploring how the organizational structure needs to change to accommodate inclusive design.
  9. Pull Weeds by removing barriers within the organization. Educate people, change practices to promote inclusive outcomes, redesign web pages, products or parts of products that are not accessible.
  10. Enjoy Your Harvest by celebrating success you can quantify and qualify.


Graphic Medicine, Visual Communication & Shaping Science Narratives

Health Literacy Session: Alexandra Gallant, Brigham Research Institute

Alexandra Gallant, Creative Designer at Brigham Research Institute, focused on the importance of how visuals effectively tell a story. Some of these advantages include providing important context and scope, reinforcing the narrative, simplifying complex information and humanizing experiences. Defining graphic medicine as the intersection of comics and medicine, she noted that comics can:

  • Change cultural perceptions of medicine
  • Relate the subjective patient/caregiver/provider experience
  • Enable discussion about difficult topics
  • Help other sufferers or caregivers

Comics are more flexible for storytelling and can manipulate space and time to tell a more effective story. Comics are an effective tool to deliver complicated medical details, offer a way to create a relatable experience, and remove barriers when tackling serious subjects.

The Caregiver Experience Before and After COVID-19

Panel: Kathryn Hautanen, Center for Health Experience Design at Mad*Pow; Manjari Raman, Harvard Business School; Geri Lynn Baumblatt, Difference Collaborative; and Danny van Leeuwen, Health Hats

This lively discussion touched on the caregiver experience and how it has changed in the current health crisis. In companies, there is a lack of understanding for those employees serving as caregivers. In fact, according to a Harvard study, one out of three employees changed jobs because they did not feel supported. The number rose to 67 percent for people in positions of vice president and above. Many times, there isn’t a policy in place and managers don’t understand how to help or support their employees. It can be very difficult to come back after an extended leave. When asked if the current COVID-19 situation will make work more humane, the panel noticed some changes, but agree it’s up to everyone to decide it’s going to be different. Mental health issues could be supported by allowing employees to share their stories and experiences. Also, people should reach out to each other and offer to help. Even help with the small chores can be a huge relief for someone in a professional or family caregiver role. Overall, the best solutions come locally. Small changes made a difference. Now, how can companies scale that to be organization-wide? The people who are caregivers are sometimes the most valuable employees. So, it’s worth the investment to support and save the expertise that organizations need.

Introduction to Behavioral Archetypes

Interactive Session: Jen Briselli, Dana Ortegón, Liz Possee Corthell, and Priyama Barua, Mad*Pow

Creating personas was the objective of this interactive session from Mad*Pow, featuring mock interviews and persona-creation tools. Generally speaking, a persona is defined as one’s way of being in the world. Designers use personas to represent key audience types, including who they are and what they need. Pitfalls to avoid when creating personas are basing them solely on demographics, as this can promote stereotypes that don’t tell what users need, how they may react, or why they do what they do. Instead, behavior-based personas allow designers to envision how the audience will use a product and how to support their needs. The interactive session featured MPACT, Mad*Pow’s persona-building framework. The team used mock user interviews to show how different personas’ behavior attributes might be applied when developing a health-based app. Attendees were challenged to think about how they could design their products and services based on their customers’ behavior attributes to bring about business innovation and differentiation.

The Missing Link: DIY Health Solutions Link Members Across the Health Spectrum

Keynote: Angie Kalousek, Blue Shield of California

Last June, Blue Shield of California launched the Wellvolution platform to its commercial membership. While the platform focused on preventing and reversing disease with science, the team had no idea the impact it would have on participants and their healthcare providers. Wellvolution offers the largest community and digital therapeutics network of any U.S. health plan with 30,000 locations (e.g., WW and Jenny Craig storefronts and gyms), 40 digital partners and 60 digital lifestyle medicine programs. With so many choices, creating a member-driven program like Wellvolution needed robust tools to help individuals curate the options best for them. Wellvolution offers programs that are scientifically proven to be effective and are also free for the member. The results are important, as traditional wellness programs have a negative ROI for insurers. So far, Wellvolution has a 65 percent engagement rate among members, who have seen substantive reductions in weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetic control and medication utilization. It has also proven to be cost-effective thanks to a pay-for-performance model for participating programs. Additionally, the Wellvolution platform has been able to adapt quickly to continue supporting members during COVID-19 – providing additional behavioral health options at no cost, as well as digital options for tools that were previously available in-person.

It's Personal: Creating a Formulary to Address Needs and Preferences for Digital Mental Health

Keynote: Young Bang, Kaiser Permanente

This keynote focused on the need for personalization in digital services, but not in the typical way we think of “personalization.” Sure, using questionnaires, gathering feedback and analyzing how users consume content is important when making relevant tools for people. However, to engage Kaiser Permanente’s 12 million members, 3 million of whom seek mental health assistance each year, they found that patients want:

  1. To be seen and heard by a professional
  2. To receive specific, relevant recommendations
  3. To gain the skills they need
  4. To feel better

As a result, the Kaiser Permanente team created a formulary of mental health apps that clinicians can use to refer patients within their existing referral system. The team takes time to carefully train healthcare professionals on how to find the best fit for their patients and how to make the referral specific and relevant to each patient’s situation. Now in the second year of their pilot, they have a high adoption rate with clinicians and are looking ahead to how to use the same concept with additional audiences, such as pediatricians.

Closing Remarks

Amy Heymans, Mad*Pow

Amy closed HXD 2020 by recognizing the amazing stories shared, the heart with which the HXD community approaches its work, and the brilliant ideas everyone is bringing to this time of crisis. She acknowledged the maturity of the digital health interventions – how each year shows even more impressive progress, with innovations that are actually reversing disease and also encouraging people to live healthier lives. Of course, HXD couldn’t be as impactful without all the speakers, sponsors and Mad*Pow staff, who seamlessly transitioned to an all-virtual platform only weeks before the conference. Looking ahead, the community is welcome to keep the discussion going at, and we hope to see everyone (in person) next year!

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