5 x 5 - Service Design for Healthcare, Christine Chastain

Interview with Christine Chastain, Senior Consultant at Customer Centered Solution Design and Innovation, Cigna

by Thomas Brandenburg

Service Design is a unique opportunity to link front and back of house across organizational competencies in an alternative and/or complementary way to more traditional mechanisms with their origins in manufacturing e.g. lean, Six Sigma.

1. What are the biggest challenge(s) you face applying Service Design to Healthcare?

The biggest challenges are the mechanisms by which to integrate Service Design into existing organizational infrastructures. That includes everything from portfolio planning cycles, sourcing, funding challenges between business units and so forth. And when one extends that into the larger ecosystem, many barriers still exist.

2. What framework(s) and/or key performance indicators have you found useful to measure the impact of service design?

We’re still trying to figure that out because some of the traditional Service Design measures just don’t match up with, for example, NPS scores. For the moment, we’re linking all Service Design efforts to a traditional innovation process and are measuring perceived value, return on value, number of exploratory programs that moved from an exploratory to in-market pilots and for those that do, clinical outcomes as compared with a base case.

3. Besides having a mindset and the skill set for service design, what other knowledge, experience, or skills do you see as valuable for a designer to have in his or her repertoire today in the healthcare space?

Many young designers now have an MBA - having business understanding for context is important. Additionally important is some understanding around futures thinking - trending, scenario development and future strategy such that insights, concepts and implementation planning is future proofed. Last but not least, personal patience and flexibility are required.

4. Can you speak to how service design might be an agent of change in healthcare, anything from creating internal initiatives to reinventing policies?

Most organizations still follow a manufacturing approach to innovation. That isn’t always appropriate in healthcare. Service Design is a unique opportunity to link front and back of house across organizational competencies in an alternative and/or complementary way to more traditional mechanisms with their origins in manufacturing e.g. lean, Six Sigma. It means more comprehensive business cases based on early exploratory efforts, including co-creation and rapid prototyping.

5. What would you like to see happen for the future of service design in healthcare?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if Service Design and associated methods could be used to drive corporate strategy and transformation more often?

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