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Discovery Design

Charting New Directions in Healthcare Improvement

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Discovery Design is a handbook for healthcare innovators who want to address the most important challenges facing patients, families, clinicians, and healthcare organizations.

Leveraging the best thinking from the worlds of design thinking, risk management, healthcare improvement, and business strategy, Discovery Design will walk you through eight actionable steps for developing meaningful solutions that create impact and value in patient care.

Clearly structured and rich with examples and illustrations, Discovery Design will empower you and your team to take on complex problems with the creativity, precision, and practical wisdom necessary for creating lasting change in healthcare environments. We welcome you to discover design!


Editors - Jeffrey Driver, Barry Katz, Simon Mawer
Authors - Simon Mawer, Rob Lister, Kara Harrington, Lucie Richter, Svava Atladóttir.
Foreword - William Burnett
Creators - Discovery Design is a collaboration between The Risk Authority Stanford and Future Medical Systems.

The Risk Authority Stanford is a global healthcare consultancy formed from the risk management group serving the Stanford University medical institutions. TRA specializes in equipping healthcare organizations with the data-science, design thinking, and business strategies necessary to generate and sustain quantifiable improvements in the safety, experience, and costs of care.

Future Medical Systems is a unique design and development consultancy dedicated to creating new healthcare experiences. FMS practices a systems-led approach, inspired by users' needs to create solutions that deliver improved care, reduced risk, and better outcomes.


“If design thinking has always baffled you, this book is the key to unlock its potential. Discovery Design is what anyone who wants to improve health care needs in order to generate the best ideas and see them transform practice in patient care settings.”
— Larry Chu, MD, MS
     Executive Director, Stanford Medicine X
     Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine

“Discovery Design meets us right where we’re at in patient safety and quality. It’s a companion that provides powerful new tools for improvement, and the hard-won wisdom needed to do it. Healthcare is so often immune to change. Leveraging empathy and evidence, this could be the cure! It’s become a staple in our practice.”
— Tim Bowers, MS, CIC, CPHQ
     Director of Quality and Safety - Ambulatory
     Inspira Health Network

“Discovery Design provides a scalable framework that is vital to those looking to generate measurable impact in health and medical domains.”
— Farzad Azimpour, MD
     Director of Health, IDEO
     Adjunct Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

“The value of listening and learning from patients and frontline clinicians is at the forefront of our conversations about how to best improve care. We have been missing tools for how best to listen—and what to do with what we’ve learned. Discovery Design completes the toolbox. In these pages, healthcare professionals will find a credible companion for understanding complex problems in a new light and real-world footprints for creating higher performing processes and better outcomes.”
— Mary Beth Kelly, RN, BSN
     Corporate Director, IPC, Patient Safety, and Risk Management

“Empathy is the starting place for great work. It connects us to the human experience and reveals where we can create change that counts. But knowing how to translate empathy into action in large organizations is a huge challenge. Discovery Design is the best roadmap for making the seismic shifts needed to create healthcare experiences that honor, serve, and heal those in its care.”
— Nancy Ortberg
     Organizational consultant, former nurse, and author.

“Discovery Design provides a framework for designing care that works, by emphasizing the needs of people: the patient, the care team, and the organization. More than that, it’s an actionable guide for improvers looking to successfully navigate the unique challenges of healthcare improvement.”
— David Pickham, Ph.D., RN, FAHA
     Executive Director of Research, Patient Care Services, Stanford Health Care
     Assistant Clinical Professor, Medicine - Primary Care and Population Health
     Stanford University School of Medicine

“As a medical student, I’m constantly thinking of ways to improve the healthcare experience for patients, but don’t have an organized framework for studying problems and implementing change. Discovery Design combines quantitative research with the nuanced methodology of design and guidance to innovate and implement thoughtfully. This guide is a must-have for all healthcare innovators, experienced and new alike.”
— Jennifer Loretta Liao
     MD Candidate, Class of 2019
     The George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences

“Few design domains are as complex as healthcare, but likewise, few are as rewarding in which to inspire change. The pragmatic experience and design thinking passion captured in this handbook will help teams discover a path forward, powered with empathy and insight, navigating the realities of working inside healthcare systems. ”
— Katja Battarbee
     Principal XD Researcher, Innovation Practices

“What an amazing handbook! So many clinicians need this. I’m making this required reading for my students.”
— Cosima Gretton, MD
     Product Manager, Karius
     Technology Entrepreneurship Teaching Fellow
     University College London

“While the phrase ‘patient-centered’ has become a cliché, in efforts to make care more effective, healthcare organizations often struggle to engage with the people most responsible for health outcomes—the care team and the patients themselves! Discovery Design offers an approach to designing systems of care that patients and clinicians actually want and need. Our program could not have been successful over the past six years without first learning to better ‘empathize’ with the people we were trying to serve. I can no longer imagine seeking to transform the care system and not starting the journey in a design mode. Bravo!”
— Alan Glaseroff, MD
     Co-Founder, Stanford Coordinated Care
     Clinical Professor of Medicine
     Stanford University

“The Discovery Design process works. From the first project meeting, we could tell this approach was different and a welcome complement to other improvement methodologies. It provided a sensitivity that helped articulate the needs at the frontline in new ways. Nurse engagement continued to increase as we cultivated solutions together. We will certainly utilize this method again, and I recommend it to anyone seeking to spark empowered change.”
— Shannon Feehan, MSN, RN, CPN
     Patient Care Manager, PCU 374
     Stanford Children’s Health

“Discovery Design meets us right where we’re at in patient safety and quality. It’s a companion that provides new tools for innovation and improvement, and the hard-won wisdom needed to do it. Healthcare is so often immune to change. Leveraging empathy and evidence, this could be the cure. It’s become a staple in our practice.”
— Tim Bowers, MS, CIC, CPHQ
     Director of Quality & Patient Safety - Ambulatory
     Inspira Health Network

“So often, we hear about the successful outcome without understanding the process behind it. This handbook will enable many health system stakeholders to apply design thinking to their own improvement efforts.”
— Claudia Amar, RN, BScN, MHA
     Program Manager, Healthcare Delivery Systems
     Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC)
     Stanford University

Discovery Design
View in iTunes
  • $24.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Industries & Professions
  • Published: Dec 20, 2017
  • Publisher: The Risk Authority Stanford
  • Seller: The Risk Authority
  • Print Length: 294 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 3 or later and iOS 4.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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