EMBA students create innovative healthcare management solutions using design thinking | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

EMBA students create innovative healthcare management solutions using design thinking

Posted 5.19.2022

EMBA students create innovative healthcare management solutions using design thinking
It happens every time you go to a doctor’s office. The doctor wants to take a look at you and talk with you face-to-face about your symptoms and at the same time they need to record everything you are discussing, which often doesn’t take place until after the conversation is over. 

This is something Chuck Martin sees done all the time. 

“In a healthcare setting, when we perform a procedure, the recording or dictations on what was done happens after the fact,” said Martin, an interventional radiologist at Cleveland Clinic. “Because it’s done in this retrospective format, sometimes details that are billable are being missed. I noticed we were losing 30% of our revenue because we were not capturing all of the details of the procedures.”

This spring, Martin (MGT ’22), who was an executive master of business administration (EMBA) student at Weatherhead School of Management, presented on this analysis of his organization’s operations and issues for his capstone project in the Leading Design in Organizations course taught by Professor of Design and Innovation Youngjin Yoo.

The course explores the ideas and methods of design as a new approach to management practices. With the changing environment that organizations face in contemporary culture and the emerging economic environment in the United States and abroad, it is a valuable learning opportunity for leaders.

The idea for Martin’s capstone project titled, “Real-Time Dictation and Recording System,” came about when he was dictating from his home office one morning and his 11-year-old son asked him, “why don’t you just say, ‘Hey, Siri’ and start dictating right away?”. 

Since then, Martin has worked to develop a patented system and process to record dictations in real time. A prototype has been created and is being trialed at the clinic with the hopes of developing enough preliminary data to advance the project, in the hopes that this would be used fulltime in the near future.  

“He is well on his way to bringing his idea to life,” said Nicole Capuana, an adjunct professor at Weatherhead School, who coached Martin on his project. “When he is able to bring this product to market, it will be a game changer for many clinicians.”

Students in this course work on their capstone projects over the course of two semesters and are matched with a coach, who helps guide them through the process. 

“The course is about getting students out of their comfort zone and opening up to looking at problems in a different way,” said Capuana, who is also the lead product strategist at Level 20 for Progressive Insurance. “Some, like Chuck, have working prototypes that they test out with real people. Others spend the entire year figuring out the problem and know what they need to continue to work on in their organizations.”

Melissa Li-Ng (MGT ’22), who graduated from the EMBA program this spring, is hoping to implement the workflow she has outlined for her capstone project with her organization in the near future.

Li-Ng is the medical director in international operations and medical operations for Cleveland Clinic and a staff endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic Diabetes Center. 

Her project, “Transforming Diabetes Care with Human-Centered Smart Solutions,” focuses on the technical issues that come with accessing and integrating diabetes device data into the electronic medical record (EMR) to allow for real-time management of diabetes.

“There is no existing software or platform that accepts data from all the available diabetes devices nor is there a platform that integrates these devices into the clinic’s EMR system,” said Li-Ng. “The biggest challenge always seems to be the incompatibility of the technology platforms.” 

By applying design thinking that Li-Ng was taught in the course to her organization’s problem, Li-Ng helped her team at the clinic discover a large number of solutions to try. Instead of focusing on finding the right middleware, she approached the problem with empathy for users and generated new ideas. 

The workflow she has outlined will simplify how a patient can send data remotely to the Diabetes Center and how to automate the process to access, review and respond to the data. 

“The most important lesson that I learned from this class is that design is creating a condition for people to do what is desirable when you are not there, by understanding them better,” she said.

“Regardless of what problem the students explore, the tools and frameworks they learn in class truly change how they look at the world and problem solving going forward,” Capuana said. “To me, that transformation is the best part of this class.”

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Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.