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How we applied user-led design thinking in the ER setting to improve patient care

The challenge
Our client needed to identify the key delivery-device attributes for an antibiotic topical treatment used to combat a group of infections typically affecting young children. Current treatment is a burden and antibiotic resistance is a key issue, which sometimes results in families needing to seek emergency hospital attention in response to acute pain. We interviewed urgent care and ER physicians in order to find out the current challenges faced when treating patients with acute infections and to understand how topical treatment could improve the management of this condition.

The solution
We employed a user-led design approach, allowing physicians to create their own device and also carried out testing of four unique device designs. An intensive 3 days of duo and triad interviews conducted with emergency care specialists resulted in high group participation and respondent engagement. The result was a very deep understanding of the individual attributes considered key characteristics of the ideal delivery-device. In the final stage, we conducted a future framing exercise to provide the client with suggested next steps, barriers and solutions.

Emergency Care Image

The outputs
We were able to confirm which option was the the most successful prototype. Urgent care and emergency physicians were in agreement that the device should be pre-filled to allow for quick and easy administration to children in a busy and high-pressure environment. The treatment should also address antibiotic resistance build up, ultimately allowing physicians to see and treat more patients in practice and reduce the number of hospital stays. In addition, we provided clear recommendations on potential obstacles that would need to be addressed, such as cost and storage, in order to maximize uptake.

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