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

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 d.School. 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:

[spp-tweet tweet=”We thought ‘How might we better leverage this existing resource?’ @edithaelliott”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”There was so much pain around very simple gaps in information @Katy_Ashe”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”We made hundreds of tiny prototypes and showed them to the families. @Katy_Ashe”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”We’ve built design thinking into everything that we do. @edithaelliott”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”We’ve focused on teaching high-leverage, low-risk skills to family members. @Katy_Ashe”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”We are a bit data obsessed. @edithaelliott”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”It’s time to scale and bring this to more hospitals. @edithaelliott”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”Don’t feel like all of the answers need to come inside of yourself. @Katy_Ashe”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”Talk to your users! @edithaelliott”]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

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About the Author
Tony Loyd is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and coach. He facilitates the growth of purpose-driven changemakers so that they can thrive and increase their impact. Tony has been personally trained in the science of climate change by former Vice President Al Gore, Chairman of the Climate Reality Project. The Climate Reality Project is a grassroots network of more than 20,000 trained leaders who live and work all over the world. Tony is the Executive Producer of the podcast Social Entrepreneur where he shares positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions. Social Entrepreneur is downloaded more than half a million times in over 180 countries. He is a TEDx speaker and the best-selling author of Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs. He is a former Fortune 500 executive with companies such as John Deere, Medtronic, and Buffalo Wild Wings. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, talent management, and leadership development.

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