I will be on vacation on the shores of Potato Lake—and not blogging—for the week of July 27-31. Before I leave, here are a few items that I’ve been meaning to follow up on in the last month:

Picture 52More on Hospital Gowns
It seems like every time I blog or speak about design and healthcare I get more responses and comments than on any other topic. My post about Cleveland Clinic a few weeks back (Redesigning the Patient Experience, June 24) generated a flurry of activity, including a call from my good friend Joan Barlow, Design Manager at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who alerted me that RWJF has been involved in a hospital gown design project as well. The project is featured in this recent article from the Wall Street Journal. RWJF, a philanthropic institution dedicated to health and healthcare—which also happens to have an impressively forward-thinking approach to design—funded the project through the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University.

Picture 55Taking a New Look at Health
Joan Barlow also tipped me off on this amazing visualization of health trends and statistical data created by, of all sources, General Electric. Using the Health Visualizer you can determine whether you or your loved ones might be at risk of disease. It is also an interactive tool that can be used to show the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle. It’s impressive from an information design and user experience perspective; the data, which in its raw form is dense and intimidating, is refreshingly accessible and engaging. It reminds me of the work Lisa and I have done in collaboration with design agency HartungKemp on the HealthSimple brand.

Picture 53Yes, Your Social Media Strategy Needs Design
I’ve been interested recently to see online social media getting more attention from the “traditional” business research and education communities. I blogged about this earlier this week (New Research on Online Social Media, July 22), and shortly after I published that post, Twitter fed me this article from the granddaddy of the business research and education family, Harvard Business School. The article was authored by David Armano of Dachis Corporation, an Austin based start-up delivering social business design services. Armano emphasizes the point I made in my post, that, given the rapid evolution of this category, a sound social media strategy is going to be an absolute must—and design thinking is a key to that process. My favorite line: “The current state of “social media” for many businesses looks more like an episode of MacGyver than Apple’s design process. Duct tape and bubble gum hold together fragile tactics such as Twitter accounts run by the summer college intern (nothing against college interns) or agency-generated Facebook fan pages that have few actual fans.” Click here to follow David Armano on Twitter.