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HxRefactored: The Healthcare Experience Re-Imagined


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cindy gallop

In healthcare, there is a growing chorus who are in agreement that the system needs to be re-oriented around the patient. Policymakers, administrators, and providers who all believe that patient-centered care models can improve the quality and efficiency of care delivered, while lowering costs.  To achieve these new models of care, the healthcare system is opening itself up to tech developers and designers—particularly those with experience in building consumer technologies and human-centered design.

There is a wealth of opportunity at the intersection of design, technology, and healthcare, and this year’s HxRefactored conference offered an impressive lineup of movers and shakers in the space. The two-day design and technology conference brought designers, developers, and healthcare professionals together to explore how to improve the health experience.

In her opening keynote, Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, captured the event’s disruptive spirit. At the helm of a platform that celebrates “ real world sex,” Gallop shared the trials and tribulations of launching a controversial startup in a—while the number of views and user generated content has grown exponentially, she has yet to find a bank willing to serve her business. Attributing this to the social dynamic of, “fearing what other people think,” Gallop reminded the audience that “you will never own the future if you care about what other people think.”

The events other speakers shared their own stories of fueling innovation in the health and wellness industry. In a design session, Ahava Leibtag, founder of content strategy and marketing consultancy AHA Media Group, made the case for moving away from “healthcare zombie marking words” towards empathetic messaging that actually reflects what people want to hear. Think, replacing the word “multidisciplinary” with “patient-centered.”

In a developer session, MapMyFitness’ Co-Founder and VP of Innovation, Kevin Callahan, discussed the data infrastructure used to scale efficiently. From the pandas Python package to Amazon Redshift, Kevin detailed how the MapMyFitness platform supports its 24 million registered members. To give you a better idea of what this means, in the past 30 days, MapMyFitness users have completed over 15 million workouts. You can check out a large-scale data visualization of NYC app users’ workouts at the Under Armor store in SOHO. (The company acquired the platform back in November).

Last but not least, healthcare insiders talked about how they are driving change from within.  Ophelia Chiu, Design Strategy and Innovation Head at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, shared her experience pioneering an internal design innovation team at the hospital. Operating as a partnership between hospital management and designers, Chui’s team focuses on bringing a design sensibility to the patient experience. Advising designers to find organizational champions and hospital insiders to help propel ideas forward, Chui concluded her session by reminding us to lock into a startup mentality and stay resilient.

A rare meeting of the minds, HxRefactored represents the very best of collaborating across industries to design products and systems that help people more effectively manage their health and healthcare. Held in Brooklyn, HxRefactored is yet another indication that New York’s booming health tech industry is in no way slowing down. And putting people first.

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About the author: Claudia Paz

Claudia Paz is a graduate student at NYU specializing in health policy and management. She works for The GovLab, a public sector innovation consulting firm, on projects that span from online education to digital health. Claudia is an aspiring hacker interested in civic and health technology.

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