April 11, 2014

Old-fashioned medicine ad

An old-fashioned medicine ad. Credit: Miami University Library / Flickr Creative Commons


  • Thomas Goetz, founder of Iodine and author of "The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis"

Managing your health is crucial, but anyone who’s tried to navigate an insurance website or a patient portal knows that isn't always easy.

Which is why Thomas Goetz, the former executive editor of Wired, is trying simplify healthcare design and create a personalized resource to help consumers make better health decisions. 

“You can go online and do searches on what medications you’re taking and what side effects they may be causing," explains Goetz, the founder of Iodine, a healthcare startup. "And it takes you right now, half an hour, forty-five minutes to get an answer to your question. And that, to me, is just a huge failure."

Just why is design so crucial?

“Making an argument to somebody is not often compelling enough to get them to change their behavior. The challenge is to infuse or imbue a rational argument with an emotional imperative," says Goetz. "And that emotional imperative has often come through design.”   

Here’s a concrete example that anyone with a junk drawer or cluttered closet can relate to. If there’s stuff all over the place, it’s easier to avoid the mess than to deal with it.  But if there’s an organized space where you can easily access what you need, you’ll visit it often.

This same concept applies to healthcare websites.  If people can’t find the information they need, when they need it, it will be ignored, which doesn’t help anyone. Goetz wants to help contextualize that data - and present it in a way that's both understandable and actionable.

websites, Business, Sci & Tech, Body & Mind, design, Thomas Goetz, medicine, health

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