Staying healthy is hard. It requires making decisions and trade-offs day in and day out, to do the right thing -- which is the best thing -- for personal health. If you have a chronic condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure, those decisions and trade-offs become more complex and, simultaneously, more important.
But making healthy decisions and managing chronic conditions isn’t what gets any of us out of bed in the morning.
Most of us turn to tools and technology to make life easier and generally simplify the things we don’t want to exert mental effort on. All of those small, seemingly throw-away decisions add up to create the roadmap of our health (and, therefore, our life), so utilizing some sort of external tool frees up just a bit of mental space each day.
So why does it sometimes feel like these tools and technologies -- especially when it comes to healthcare -- create more work and add to our mental load? Broadly speaking, the missing element is design; more specifically, user (or human)-centered design.
Building With You, Not For You
IDEO, one of the most innovative design firms in the world, describes human-centered design as follows:
Human-centered design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs.
In many ways, it would appear that tools and technologies in healthcare have focused more on solving problems for users, rather than solving problems with users, resulting in solutions that are pure function and no empathy.
Presently and historically, there is and has been a lack of user perspective and participation in discussion about their own health management. From the doctors’ offices to app construction, the daily (if not hourly) user experience is largely disregarded.
Traditional health management tools, like a glucose meter or blood pressure cuff, are built like calculators: input in, numbers out. But managing one’s health conditions happens in the context of day-to-day life, which can’t be captured by these tools.
On a daily basis, people face different external challenges (tight deadlines, balancing working from home with childcare, COVID-19) and feel varying emotions, motivation, and levels of energy. Healthcare tools need to take all of these into consideration if they are going to effectively help people manage their health within the constraints of real life.
Building for Humans, Not Systems
I was at a health conference a few years ago when a speaker likened disrupting healthcare to disrupting transportation. It goes something like this: When people wanted to go from point A to point B, at one point in time, you could walk, or you could ride a horse. At some point, a horse wasn’t fast enough -- people needed cars. But to get even further, say across the ocean, people need ships. When the fastest ship simply isn’t fast enough? Well, now you’re in the business of building planes.
At One Drop, we’re not just thinking about how to build a faster plane. In some ways, we’ve already done that.
We’ve delivered a blood sugar monitoring system that is not only accurate and convenient, but also stylish -- designed by people with diabetes who kept all other people with diabetes in mind while doing so. We’ve also created a mobile app that delivers powerful functionality, such as blood sugar predictions, and looks good doing it. Now, we’re building what comes next.
Delivering an exceptional user experience to the people who trust us to help them is what gets us at One Drop out of bed in the morning. We do this by not only keeping our users in mind, we actively work with the people in our community who have those health conditions to understand their contexts and their needs.
In fact, not only do most of us at One Drop have someone in our immediate family who has a chronic condition, but almost half of our employees have a chronic condition themselves. We combine this deep empathy and personal understanding with powerful science to design a personal approach to individual health and wellbeing.
There is no more room for system-focused care; the way forward is human-centric care. At One Drop, we are building tools that allow our users to surpass their wildest dreams of what’s possible; we are bounding past the limits imposed by a reactive, symptom-focused healthcare system; we obsessively promote health as a positive force, beyond just the absence of disease.
And we do it all while keeping you at the forefront of everything we create.
Reimagine What’s Possible With Us
Our upcoming innovations pair methods that promote behavior change with our proven predictive capabilities. This combination not only gives people the tools to manage their health better, but these tools also learn from their daily health management behaviors (i.e. “Jeff has been exercising less and eating more carbs over the last two days”) to predict problems before they happen.
We’re not solely driven by the possibility of helping anyone who uses our product to be healthier. We aspire to deliver on the promise of what becomes possible when people are healthier. Just as “making healthy decisions” is a means to “being healthier,” so, too, is “being healthier” a means to an end. What that “end” looks like is different for everyone. That’s why at One Drop we strive to reimagine possible and help our users to do the same.
In his book Biochemical Individuality, Dr. Roger Williams asserts:
“Statistical humans are of little interest. People are unique. We must treat real people with respect to their biochemical uniqueness.”
In a similar way, we are designing a digitally-enabled self-care experience that serves you, your needs, and your biochemical uniqueness.
Stay tuned for more details on how this all works and when you can expect to get your hands on our latest innovations. If you are interested in joining our community of users who are helping us to design and deliver these innovations or simply want to share your thoughts on how we can work together to reinvent healthcare solutions, please get in touch.