“For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
Name: Diana Anderson, MD, ACHA
Specialty: Internal Medicine and Architecture
Location: Boston, MA. Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics
Steve Jobs once said,”If Henry Ford had asked his customers what they want, they would have said a faster horse…[you see, he said] It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.” When you create a trillion dollar company and the iPhone, you get to say stuff like that.
How would your life be different if Steve Jobs designed your EHR? Could a dream team from Apple design a perfect hospital without any input from the physicians and nurses who will work there? What if they said,” it’s not the doctors job to know what they want because we know what’s best for them.”
Yeah, probably not.
Medical space design is something we take for granted everyday, often only crossing our minds when we’re frustrated about it. And sometimes it’s really frustrating. Much of this frustration originates from the gulf between those who design these spaces and those of us who actually work in them. It effects our work, our mood and as research is now showing even patient outcomes.
As a trained physician and architect, Dr. Diana Anderson (the “Dochitect” as she is known) understands this better than most. She has worked on hospital design projects in the US, Canada and Australia, and is widely published in both architectural and medical journals, books and the popular press. She’s currently a Fellow at the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics. Just the kind of unique perspective we love to find on the show.
When it comes to problems in design, and medicine in general, perhaps we’re all looking for faster horses when what we actually need requires a different perspective. With that said, let’s get started…
Links and More:
Recent Article in The Lancet, “The convergence of architectural design and health.”
Article by Keith Mankin, MD and Diana Anderson, MD in KevinMD:
Diana Anderson’s Website:
Stanford Med-X Speaker:
Social Media and Professional Links:
International group with clinical expertise in order to inform design and guide leadership through health research, education, and policy. Diana is a co-founder: