Applying Design Thinking to Optimize Clinical Learning Environments

Nexus Summit Clinical Learning Environments Innovation Challenge

Leaders in higher education and healthcare are collaborating to focus on better preparing students to enter the workforce as part of interdisciplinary teams, resulting in the rapid adoption of an interprofessional practice and education (IPE) model.

Every year, hundreds of health professionals, educators, learners, patients and community members, systems leaders, and policy makers converge at the Nexus Summit to work together toward better care, better value and better education.

Alongside the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education and the National Collaborative for Improving the Clinical Learning Environment (NCICLE), SmithGroup’s design and strategy experts co-hosted the “CLE Innovation Challenge” at the 2019 Nexus Summit.

Teams from diverse perspectives and professions were charged with submitting a challenge they are facing at their institution based on specific clinical learning environment (CLE) settings such as acute care hospitals, ambulatory care and public health settings. SmithGroup led the teams through an immersive—and rapid—design thinking workshop where each team developed an actionable prototype to bring back to their institutions.

This event was an opportunity for our us to better understand the challenges our clients are facing along the spectrum from education to practice, as well as the changes needed to empower healthcare transformation.

Key themes included:

  • Better integration of one profession into others on campus
  • Scaling up more learners across the continuum 
  • Uncovering the impact of “hidden curriculum” on learners
  • Improving intra-team communication
  • Developing more cultural competence 
  • Moving from periodic didactic events to hands-on community-based groups in need

By diving deeper into these challenges through a different lens, the prototypes that resulted give optimism to the ways in which design can be transformative. We will bring these challenges, when appropriate, to the forefront of planning and designing CLE environments in order to overcome the barriers and provide an abiding, positive impact.

CLICK HERE to access "Optimizing the Clinical Learning Environment."