A New Year, a New Opportunity for Impact

 Photo by  helgabj

Photo by helgabj

In 2013 I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work on, what I feel, are powerful and meaningful service design projects at Peer Insight. These were the types of projects that every designer (or maybe every humanitarian?) wants to tackle. 

I started off the year designing a service to reduce readmissions in hospitals. I had deep conversations with patients and family caregivers, shadowed emergency room doctors and schmoozed with hospital CEOs. And ultimately, I collaborated on the development of a customized, interactive solution to not only reduce readmissions, but also reduce some of the stress and anxiety associated with invasive surgical procedures. Most rewarding of all, the service is currently in the market, in an Alpha experiment, actually touching and changing the lives of real surgical patients and their families. 

Next, in the long-term care space, I had the opportunity to continue great work being done to design a service to support elders in aging well in place. Charged with building an Alpha test for a sensor-based technology service, I've been privileged to talk with elders, who are 70 to 95+ years old and living alone at home. I've learned how big of an impact a simple motion sensor system and a weekly phone call can make on the lives of these individuals and their families. How simple reassurance can lead to more independence and can keep an elder from having to move into a home. 

Most recently, I've been collaborating on the development of a service platform to prevent diabetes. According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services,  it is estimated that 79 million Americans, ages 20 years or older, have prediabetes, the completely reversible condition that is a pre-cursor to full-blown diabetes. The service platform being developed is aimed at increasing awareness, screening and education around prediabetes.  

It's these types of projects that inspire me to be a service designer. I measure my success, not on the happiness of the client or the profitability of the engagement, but on potential impact the service can have on the quality of life of those we designed for. I look forward to the projects I'll work on, the clients I'll engage with and impact I can make in 2014.  

How do you plan to make an impact in 2014? Large or small, I'd love to hear your plans and resolutions for the new year. Message me: @jess_dugan