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Health Care Design Conference - 2013 Boston


About Me

Ryan Armbruster is a passionate advocate for needs-based innovation that employs human-centered design methods. In his role as creator and director of Mayo Clinic's SPARC Design Lab, a ground-breaking center for innovation in healthcare services, to his current position as VP, Innovation Competency at UnitedHealth Group, Ryan is showing that meaningful innovation can be enabled by a deep understanding of unmet and unarticulated human needs. Currently, Ryan is focused on building new competencies that enhance UnitedHealth Group’s ability to innovate and deliver value to its members and customers.

Ryan’s pioneering experiences in service design and innovation have provided him with deep insights on how to build new organizational competencies that deliver value, and he is a talented advisor, speaker and educator on this topic. This includes working with national organizations, speaking at prominent national forums, authoring articles and developing and teaching graduate-level courses and executive sessions.

Q&A with Ryan

HxD asked speakers to tell us what inspires and drives them in healthcare and design. Check out our Q&A with Ryan Armbruster!

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  • Q1: What is your burning mission in health?

    Deliver more meaning and value for people.

  • Q3: Why it inspires you?

    Health needs.

  • Q4: What is your patient story?

    In doing research for a project to improve cancer care, I visited a young woman living in a studio apartment in Chicago. She was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, was undergoing intensive treatment, and had a very poor prognosis. Her mother had moved in to care for and spend time with her. During this time, her mother also had pulled open the door of a counter-height oven to create a make-shift desk…. which was for the mountain of insurance paperwork, medical bills and medical records…and spent much of her time there. Here is a daughter and mother, likely spending their last time together. And this is how the healthcare industry empathizes (or doesn’t) with this situation? If being there in that moment doesn’t inspire people to change our system, nothing will. Find your inspiration by empathizing with situations like that. It’s what healthcare is truly all about.

  • Q5: Why HxD?

    Why not? The future of the healthcare industry greatly relies on our ability to use empathy and design to improve the value of services.

  • Q6: Why come to your session?

    No nonsense, straight-to-the-point, curated perspectives on the importance of service design in the healthcare industry. Plus, you will be surprised by how UnitedHealth Group is taking a lead role in leveraging design to explore and enhance the value of their services across a diverse array of health channels. If we get enough people to attend, there is a good chance we can draw marker mustaches on the folks who doze off in the back of the room.

Ryan at the Conference

CONFERENCE | Monday, March 25

Design and Innovation: The Human Perspective

Design and Innovation. By themselves, two words that are very broad and generally misunderstood. Moving these forward within healthcare organizations is partly about understanding each of them, and also how they rely on each other for success. In this session, Ryan will share frameworks for explaining and understanding this interrelationship which have been effective at helping healthcare leaders grasp and pursue design and innovation effectively within their organizations. In addition, he will share recent examples of how UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest and most diversified companies in the healthcare industry, is applying design to enable more successful innovation.

"Last year's HxD conference was so amazingly inspiring, and has definitely caused me to strive harder and become more passionate about improving our healthcare system." - 2012 HxD Attendee

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Watch the 2012 HXD Conference Recap