Design thinking has become a guiding principle for new product breakthroughs in drug delivery, diagnostic and MedTech device innovations by helping to inform product performance based on patients’ lifestyles, abilities and preferences. In a human-centered design blog authored by my Phillips-Medisize colleague Brett Landrum, he stressed the critical need for form to follow function in improving patient compliance and medical outcomes.
Machine learning and AI tools are already driving precision medicine and improving diagnostic, treatment and prevention strategies for individual patients. However, we can celebrate these achievements only so much. Because, at the same time, significant gaps persist in research about underserved populations, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) or Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), LGBTQIA2+, children and women, or those with rare diseases. When developing new drugs and technologies, researchers have historically neglected the needs of these groups, or have been unable to gather enough data to support research into new therapies. As a result, underserved individuals have shorter life spans, experience limits to healthcare access, and are most likely to be misdiagnosed and suffer from untreated chronic conditions.