Healthcare writer - Bethanne Toci
By Bethanne Toci
Columnist, March 22, 2021

Have you recently heard the term “design thinking” and wondered if it pertains to your business? Actually it does. Design thinking has been around for over 50 years, and can be defined as an innovative problem-solving method that focuses on the value a solution will provide key stakeholders. In healthcare, your stakeholders might consist of patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, medical staff, and/or even marketers.

So, why is design thinking important? This method of problem-solving provides a framework in which you can unpack the challenges your brand or team may be facing. By using design thinking tools, you can champion innovation in your organization. In fact, the voice of your organization—and the stakeholders you serve—deserve an approach to strategic problem-solving that truly resonates with those whom you are seeking to empower.

Traditionally, the healthcare industry had been known to be overregulated and under designed; thus, making design thinking essential when trying to solve complex challenges.

So, where do you start?

At the heart of design thinking is the intention to improve user experience through empathy. Without empathy, you may never meet the needs of your customers.

Ask yourself and your team the following questions:

  1. Do you have a clear understanding of who you’re problem-solving for?
  2. Are you considering their needs, challenges, behaviors, and attitudes when designing a solution?

Empathy is especially important when it comes to the decisions that impact not only your brand strategy but also the investments you make. Once you empathize with your customer, you will be able to ideate the solutions that best meet their needs throughout their entire journey.

It is important to note that design thinking is not necessarily a linear process. In fact, throughout the entire exercise, insights are constantly being questioned and acquired to help redefine the problem and identify alternative solutions. Consider that some solutions might not be instantly apparent by using only our initial level of understanding.

Here is a brief description of what happens at each phase:

  • DEFINE: Bring your stakeholders’ vision to life by painting a portrait of their mindset, needs, and goals
  • IDEATE: Conduct group brainstorms to iterate solutions. The team will need to push past the obvious to get to breakthrough solutions. Then, these solutions must be prioritized by importance and feasibility
  • PROTOTYPE: Rapidly develop some solutions. Consider implementing concept clearances with your regulatory teams to ensure what you are proposing will be acceptable, then refine as needed to quickly bring forth to your audience
  • TEST: Confirm your assumptions to ensure that the hypotheses are proven. There are many ways in which we can validate our assumptions, including various forms of testing and measuring our key performance indicators
  • IMPLEMENT: Once your solution is in place, you must continuously iterate and validate that your approach is still effective. Have you gained new information about your customers? Does your solution remain valid? Do you need to reiterate or pivot? This approach to innovation will allow you to analyze and refine at regular checkpoints

At ENTRADA, our transformative approach to design thinking enables us to turn insights into action by putting customers’ needs first to solve complex challenges. We are passionate about partnering with our clients to iterate solutions that solve their most complex challenges.

To learn more about how we use the principles of design thinking for our healthcare clients, drop me a note at

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