Designing a New Medical Record

Of the four men in my immediate family, two are doctors. My dad is an Ob/Gyn with his own practice and my older brother, having spent many nights hearing our dad wake up in the middle of the night and bolt out of the door a few minutes later, made the obvious choice to follow in his footsteps. I spent many dinners listening to my dad recount his day delivering babies or performing some complicated procedure. By the time I was a young teenager I knew two things —

  1. Being a doctor is meaningful work. My dad still loves his job and is as fulfilled by it today as he ever was.
  2. Being a doctor wasn’t for me. From the stress of having people’s lives in your hands to my inability to stay conscious when my blood is drawn, it was a path I knew I wouldn’t take.

Despite eventually choosing a career in design, my proximity to healthcare has continuously illuminated the potential for designers to impact the field. From poorly designed hospitals to difficult to use medical devices, medicine is ripe for a design revolution. We simply need the right collaborators and opportunities.

That is why I’m so excited to announce our support of the recently launched Health Design Challenge to redesign the Electronic Medical Record.  The reason this opportunity is so ridiculously great is three fold —

  1. Design Opportunity — Just look at what currently passes for someone’s medical record and your brain races with all the improvements that would make this 100 times more usable and beautiful.
  2. Huge Impact — The winning design will actually be implemented for 6 million veterans AND open sourced for hundreds of electronic medical record companies to use. We aren’t talking about hypotheticals here but designing something millions of patients will actually use to get better treatment.
  3. Great Partners — This is in collaboration with the White House (yes, that one), meaning we can create massive, nation-wide change.

So, I urge you to step up and take a crack at this. Design students: instead of doing a hypothetical project for your classes, take this on. Seasoned designers, get a few friends together and see what you come up with. The winning entries will be will be showcased in DC and online to inspire healthcare professionals and designers alike. Oh and did we mention we’ve also allocated $50,000 in prizes?

We have 18 days. Let’s make this happen!

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