A Most Unholy Testament: The Crusade of Patient-Centered Design

by Dirk Knemeyer

By Juhan Sonin (@jsonin) and Dirk Knemeyer (@dknemeyer)

Chapter I: Genesis

Doctors were once the high priests of health,
oracles whose absolution has diminished.
Now, the gospel of patients is preached.
“Patient centered design”, being flocked to by the masses.
But our path to salvation cannot run through
these seductive false gods and prophets.
The heresy of “user-centered design”
reached digital design decades ago.
At first it seemed enlightened
but rarely did great software come forth.

Chapter 2: Lamentations

Putting the patient at the center is well-meaning.
But patients are just 1/4 of the equation.
Medical professionals are another quarter.
Technology is still another quarter.
The business is the final fourth.
Like a chair, if one leg gets too long
everything tumbles to the floor.
So out, forever out, to “patient-centered design”
a heathen that has lost the way.

Chapter 3: Revelation

The promised land still does await,
a beautiful health system begetting vibrant citizens.
But even if patients are the reason for health
the solution requires so much more.
Good business and the limits of technology constrain.
Patients of course matter too,
as must those who service them.
It is an ecosystem not simply a patient.
The design of health holds glorious potential,
salvation to an ever sickening world.

Topics: Design, user-centered=misguided, usability, health, Analysis, Blog