A Conversation About Healthcare Design With Thomas Goetz
Thomas Goetz has an issue with whiteboards. Specifically, how such a large piece of equipment in a hospital ward—and one that’s chock full of important information—seems to be almost an afterthought.
“No one seems to have thought of that as a piece of design and yet it’s the biggest thing on any one wall or surface,” he says.
I recently talked to Goetz, who is the opening keynote speaker at this year’s Healthcare Design Conference (Nov. 16-19, Orlando), about his work (the former Wired magazine editor and author is now an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), his thoughts on the industry at large (he’s hopeful), and what he’ll be sharing with our audience in November (for more, check out HCD’s September issue.)
So what do whiteboards have to do with the big picture of healthcare design?
Goetz—who comes from the world of information and graphic design—believes every choice is a design choice, from signage and lab test reports to patient rooms and, yes, the location of that whiteboard.
For example, he says he’s working on a project for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on the problem of data visualization with a team from the University of Michigan.
“It’s hard to get doctors not to think about presenting information truly scientifically as if to themselves,” he says. “But [the process] starts by opening the door and having designers in the conversation.”
He wants that door to open on every detail, whether it’s information delivery or facilities. “How are we building design into the creative process and delivery of these environments for patients?” he says.
After all, these solutions can lead to better communication between patients and staff, which ultimately improve the patient experience—a conversation of great importance these days.
Going back to those whiteboards, though, Goetz is looking for some best-in-class real-world examples, which could even make their way into his presentation. So let me know if you have any to share. Then join us in November to hear what Goetz has to say and to join the conversation.