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RED HOT Contributors


Episode 70 – Designing Healthcare (PART 1)


On today’s show, we have Amy Cueva and Amy Bucher of Madpow.

Take one-part cutting-edge motivational science, add in a strong dash of design psychology, a high level of insight & innovative design…and round it off with 80 strongly-skilled and passionate professionals.

And you have Mad*Pow, a market-leading design company that has worked with the top names in healthcare – including CVS Health, Harvard Pilgrim and even the CDC.

This show episode was so chock full of great information, that it became the first ever 2-part interview series I have done!

In this episode. Dr. Steve Ambrose, Amy Cueva, and Amy Bucher discuss the following:

? How ‘motivational science’ and ‘design psychology’ are changing the world of patient experience and engagement.

? Blending creative processes with scientific methods to deliver unique solutions

? The framing strategy of today’s healthcare companies to deflect ‘pricing’

? Why persuasion is highly overrated in behavior change

? Collaboration as the ‘new’ innovation

? Engagement differences – pharma, payers, and providers

And so much more!

Some notable audio clips from the episode:

AMY CUEVA: “The health system…the structure with its walls, barrier, and canyons are a by-product of its business relationships, the transactions, the data flow, and the money flow.

This has created what we have today – where we expect PATIENTS TO SERVE the system. To be compliant, to understand the difference between an EOB and a bill, and where to go for what.

They’re essentially in the center of a disconnected ecosystem – a mess.

Our healthcare system was not intentionally designed to serve people, what they need…and how they need it. So we see a lot of companies that were designed to monetize sickness, instead of providing better health and vibrancy. But there’s plenty of opportunity to re-center the system for what people actually need in their lives…and how we can best serve them.”

DR. STEVE: A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association has really rung the bell in what I’ve been saying for nearly the last two years.

In that, the high pricing in healthcare is one of the major challenges driving us apart from other countries in our spending. The price levels we have…I think it’s become just obscene to be honest.

Plus, the use of the term ‘value-based’ care is one where it appears the business side of healthcare is framing the narrative. That ‘VALUE’ is defined by business players in healthcare as quality, outcome, and costs.

Look hard and you’ll see major players and entire industries that purposely avoid mentioning pricing to the politicians and media. They simple frame it around cost – from their end.”

AMY BUCHER: “You don’t need people to agree with YOUR reasons…to get them to do the behaviors you need them to do.

If you’re a physician and you want your patient to walk a mile a day to get more exercise to lower their reliance on medication, the numbers themselves are often more important to the doctor.

However, if that patient is a grandmother, whose grandchild lives a mile away in an area with bad parking. Now you’ve just found a way to get the behavior you wanted and the desired effect it will bring – in a way that works for the patient’s value system.

This is where motivational psychology really comes into play. It’s really about talking to people you are designing for, and understanding where THEY LIVE – in the psychological sense.

What do THEY care about, what are THEIR goals, what are THEIR values – and then how can you frame the experience so it achieves what THEY care about, instead about what YOU care about?”


 I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Steve Ambrose on a podcast that covered a range of topics in healthcare information technology. The podcast logistics – communications, interview questions, scheduling and production – were every well managed.
A great experience that I would do again in an instance.

Dr. John Glaser
SVP, Population Health at CERNER

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