Powell & Associates
Solving complex health care challenges through human-centered design.

Human-Centered Design

Focusing on the needs of the user

American Academy of Pediatrics , Clinical Report,  10.1542/peds.2016-3021 . Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics

American Academy of Pediatrics, Clinical Report, 10.1542/peds.2016-3021. Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Human-centered design (HCD) will deeply explore the goals and needs of stakeholders within the entire health ecosystem, including patients, families, caregivers, service and support organizations, payers, and civic leaders. HCD research methods include environmental scans and ethnographic research that are designed to get to the core of the human experience. We uncover perceptions, attitudes, emotions, and beliefs that drive behavior and decisions. We identify business opportunities and constraints and research trends. The approach unfolds unspoken tensions, pain points, and motivators that reveal opportunities for purposeful innovation.  


stakeholders to human-centered designers 

Design processes are utilized more and more to build engagement, design an experience, or solve complex problems. Powell & Associates guides stakeholders towards establishing a design mindset. We believe that there is a designer in everyone. Designers are curious, open-minded problem solvers who develop solutions that focus on developing human-centered connections to business conditions. Through research, co-creation, testing, and iterative processes, designers explore the relationship between human behaviors and business needs to solve the design challenge.  

Environmental Scan

An environmental scan is a systematic review of literature, evidence, best practices, and a current state analysis to inform the development of ideas, key features, and interventions. This is especially critical as we engage designers who represent the entire spectrum of a health care condition, who have varying degrees of knowledge and understanding of the existing system and emerging trends in the field. All designers are encouraged to conduct mini-environmental scans throughout the design phase.


Ethnographic Research

By conducting interviews with patients, caregivers, in-home immersions, clinic visits, and stakeholder interviews, we create vignettes that represent all key components of the system, which then inspire ideas and interventions. This research is used to understand the needs of the user, how it connects to the problem, and inform the prioritization of solutions.  

the User/Patient Journey

The User/Patient Journey is a method for mapping a person’s journey through a set of circumstances. It is a powerful design session exercise to create an empathic connection with end users. The journey might happen in parallel, such as a journey that includes both a patient and a clinician to understand the experience, perspective, feelings, and needs from two perspectives.  


Key Features/Concepts

Key features or key concepts are traits that are essential in the design of a product or service. These features are not reflective of the design and user journey; instead they are the pieces that must be incorporated into the design to create conditions for an appropriate user's journey, and utility of the product or system.

Design sessions

Face-to-face design sessions and virtual workgroups engage in discovery and foster conditions for convergence where designers generate inspirations, ideas, and innovation. In the divergent stage, designers vet these ideas and inspirations through criteria that culminate in a set of intervention packages.