front-end, exploratory research of the respiratory health system
Note: Due to a NDA, only a high-level summary of the process can be shown. Details including findings and deliverables can be shared in person.
Program Duration: 5 months
My Role: Design Researcher & Strategist
Create strategy for secondary and primary research
Manage junior researchers
Develop interview guidelines & recruit interview respondents
Lead in-depth interviews
Develop preliminary research visualizations
A U.S. medical product company who manufactures solutions for diverse health categories such as surgical products, wound care, infection prevention, digestive health, and pain management, was determined to expand their respiratory health product portfolio and build an innovation pipeline that leverages their current expertise and value proposition. In order to identify what direction to pursue, the client recognized the need to thoroughly evaluate the current and shifting states of the respiratory health industry.
Initial Thoughts and Questions
A sample of questions that ran through my head at the beginning of the program:
What activity is occurring in the client’s core and adjacent markets? Who are the major brands and disruptors?
How are respiratory/airway management products segmented?
What are new technologies and features in regard to mechanical ventilation and respiratory support?
With the transition of a new administration, what shifts are occurring in regard to healthcare legislation in the United States? How will this impact healthcare delivery? Payment? Clinical practice and methods?
What are the airway management options? What impacts the choice and success of these methods?
How much of this is enforced? How much is via clinical discretion?
What are the most common patient conditions that require respiratory support? What is the current and projected epidemiology? How might this impact the use and success of airway management methods?
In order to identify new opportunities in the respiratory healthspace, we outlined an approach that would enable us to examine the current state of the respiratory care industry and customer touchpoints in a range of settings, from pre-hospital to hospital and post-hospital (i.e. long-term care facilities and patient homes). To achieve this understanding and uncover gaps, pain points, and diverse needs of all entities in the system, we used various research methods including secondary (online) research, one-on-one interviews, industry conferences, and on-site observations in the ICU and ED.
The three primary dimensions were:
Business Landscape: Respiratory Care Industry
Socioeconomic Context: Healthcare Policy and Payment System
Stakeholder Experience: Clinical Roles, Pathways, and Workflows
Stakeholder Ecosystem /
Through the research, we learned that several stakeholders interact with airway management products, and therefore it was critical to understand their individual roles and overlapping responsibilities when considering new product directions. In order to clarify the stakeholder ecosystem and outline varying interactions with products and services, we identified the roles, decision-making processes, social dynamics, and challenges among the key stakeholders of the respiratory care ecosystem including hospital administrators, physicians, clinical staff, and patients.
The primary stakeholders were the attending physician (intensivist, anesthesiologist, surgeon, pulmonologist), nurse practitioners / physician assistants / medical residents, registered nurses, and the respiratory therapist. Secondary stakeholders, included case managers, social workers, purchasing director, infection control, dietician, speech therapist, physical therapist, EMT/paramedic, and the pharmacist. All stakeholders were categorized by their role in decision-making: Decision Makers, Decision Advisors, Decision Influencers/Enforcers, and Decision Executors.
Progression of Respiratory Care by Patient Condition /
There are no standard protocols for treating patients who require respiratory assistance due to the variability of their conditions and needs. In attempt to provide some clarity to this variability, the following conditions were identified through primary and secondary research as being the most prevalent primary diagnoses that require respiratory intervention. For each condition, the prevalence, diagnosis, respiratory care focus, progression of care, patient variables, and key challenges were indicated. Additionally, these conditions were visually represented on the general progression of respiratory care to indicate which methods may be used.
Non Respiratory: Surgery, Trauma, Cardiac Distress, Opioid Toxicity
Respiratory: Chronic Lung Disease (COPD, Asthma), Premature Birth, Respiratory Infection
General Progression of Respiratory Care /
Based on the research findings, we created a framework, ‘Progression of Respiratory Care’ that visually communicates the complexity of respiratory care. The framework highlighted various respiratory therapy methods used throughout the patient journey, which was organized by therapy invasiveness. Each method corresponds to the environment(s) where they may be employed and to patient conditions they may be used for.
The Progression of Respiratory Care also highlighted two major decision points–escalation of care and de-escalation of care–with corresponding decision criteria.
The Progression of Respiratory Care was segmented into three phases – Support, Stabilize, and Maintain. Each phase was further detailed with the focus of respiratory care, indications based on patient conditions, clinical perspectives, clinical challenges, and notable product solutions.
Based on the primary and secondary research, we produced a detailed report and three visualizations: (1) General Progression of Respiratory Care, (2) Progression of Care by Patient Condition, and (3) Opportunity Areas. With this, our client not only became well-versed in the current and shifting landscape of respiratory health / airway management, but also viewed their product and industry with a wider lens. Ultimately our work informed the client's strategic plan and directed their new product development.