053, Katy Ashe and Edith Elliott, Noora Health | Design Thinking to Improve Health Outcomes

The founders of Noora Health utilized design thinking to iterate their way to dramatically improved patient outcomes. It started at Stanford University’s dSchool. When Katy Ashe was an engineering student at Stanford University, she was anxious to find ways to apply her skills. She signed up the d.School’s “Design for Extreme Affordability” class. There she met Edith Elliott. Edith had a background in international policy. They were paired with medical students Shahed Alam and Jessie Liu. Together they were assigned a group of cardiac hospitals in Bangalore.

When the team visited the hospitals, they were confronted by a system stretched to the limits by demand. The hospital staff was stretched, and requested that the team focus on improving the flow of patients through the system. However, by “living a day in the life” of the stakeholders – from the CEO to the janitors, to the patients and their families, they noticed an unusual pattern. Yes, the hospital staff was overwhelmed, however, there standing in the hallways was a highly underutilized asset – the families of the patients.

As in many cultures, when a patient is in the hospital for cardiac care, they are surrounded by a large number of family members, most of whom would like nothing more than to be helpful. Using design thinking, Edith, Katy and the team asked “How might we better leverage this underutilized resource?” The answer to that question eventually became Noora Health

Noora Health provides training materials and train-the-training for hospital staff. The hospital staff trains patients and their families with actionable health skills to improve outcomes and save lives. For post cardiac surgery training, they train in 12 simple tasks.

An initial survey showed a 24% reduction in post-surgical readmissions, and a 36% reduction in post-surgical complications. After a more thorough study conducted through Stanford University, the results were even more stunning, showing a 71% reduction in post-surgical complications.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Katy Ashe and Edith Elliott:

“We thought ‘How might we better leverage this existing resource?’” Edith

“There was so much pain around very simple gaps in information” Katy

“We made hundreds of tiny prototypes and showed them to the families.” Katy

“We’ve built design thinking into everything that we do.” Edith

“We’ve focused on teaching high-leverage, low-risk skills to family members.” Katy

“We are a bit data obsessed.” Edith

“It’s time to scale and bring this to more hospitals.” Edith

“Don’t feel like all of the answers need to come inside of yourself.” Katy

“Talk to your users!” Edith

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

About the Author
Tony Loyd is a leadership development expert. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and coach. He helps purpose-driven business leaders to thrive in life so that they can connect with others and contribute to the world. Find out more at https://TonyLoyd.com.

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