BarnRaise x Access to Care: Why We Chose This Year's Theme


The theme of BarnRaise 2015 is "Designing for Improved Access to Care." Healthcare is a massive opportunity space for design and focusing on Access to Care in particular will be extremely valuable for participants.

It's no secret that the healthcare industry is in great need of reform. It must become more cost-effective and efficient, and provide better experiences for patients. Though this is a dauntingly complex system, it's also one that lends itself to design (as evidenced by the number of designers already working in the industry).  As the leaders of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation have noted "tearing down everything and starting over is not an option in healthcare" (1). Transforming the way people experience healthcare will have to be done very incrementally through iteration and prototyping of new ideas, always with humans in mind  - right in the wheelhouse of IIT Institute of Design!

Limiting the theme to access to care allows us to focus down on a manageable but diverse set of barriers and opportunities. To bring coherence to the work teams are doing, we will be framing all of the design challenges along a patient's access to care journey before during and after their interactions with caregivers. Stay tuned for more on this as the event approaches. 

So how does BarnRaise help make an impact? 

  1. Cross-pollinating Ideas: One of the main goals of BarnRaise is to provide a platform for the meaningful exchange of ideas and expertise. We want participants who are curious and passionate about design to learn and implement methods and frameworks; we want community partners to leave with viable solutions to problems they face; and we want to give designers interested in or already working in the healthcare space more exposure to experts and enable a deeper understanding of specific issues. 
  2. Networking: We know many design firms are already working in the healthcare space, and that many healthcare organizations have already had some exposure to design. BarnRaise 2015 will be an opportunity for participants to make more professional connections across these silos, and as with last year, for those interested in design to connect with professional designers. 
  3. Reframing Problems: A strength that designers possess is the ability to reframe problems to unlock better solutions. We think this is particularly relevant for access to care because the issue affects everyone, is influenced by a broad range of factors, and can involve a variety of touch points beyond just interacting with caregivers. BarnRaise 2015 will be a great opportunity for participants to practice shifting their thinking to find powerful solutions to very real problems.
  4. Producing Small, Transformative Ideas: One strength of the BarnRaise format is that it enables teams to drill down on an issue faced by a Chicago-based organization. We think teams will be able to come up with some really great concepts around access to care that contribute to a far better whole.
  5. Taking Ideas Forward: Our strategic partners, the Chicago Department of Public Health and MATTER Chicago, have immense expertise and have been connecting us to great community partners. This year we are working on ways to improve the potential for these organizations to take great ideas forward after the conference.

We think this has the potential to be a very powerful event and we hope to see you there! Register now to take advantage of early bird pricing!

  1. LaRusso, Nicholas M.D., Barbara Spurrier, MHA and Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., "Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast: A Blueprint for Transformation from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation." McGraw Hill Education, 2015, xv


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