Creating Innovative Health Experiences That Are Good for People and Business
Episode 546

Amy Heymans, Founder, Chief Experience Officer at Mad*Pow

Creating Innovative Health Experiences That Are Good for People and Business

Today’s episode features the awesome Amy Heymans, Founder and Chief Experience Officer at Mad*Pow. In this interview, Amy talks about how her company works with large organizations to help them understand their clients. She also shares how Mad*Pow leverages innovations, designs, and digital experiences to positively impact a person’s behavior. You’ll pick up many insights into this exciting conversation with Amy Heymans, so don’t miss it!

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Creating Innovative Health Experiences That Are Good for People and Business

Episode 546

Amy Heymans

Amy is the founder and chief experience officer of Manpower Power. She believes that design can help improve the human condition. With that mission and vision, she founded Manpower in 2000 manpower, leverage, strategic design, and the psychology of motivation to create innovative experiences and compelling digital solutions that are good for people and good for business.

Amy was named one of 2009 Women to Watch, and was also included in Boston’s “40 Under 40” and was one of Pharma Voice’s 100 most inspiring people.

 

Creating Innovative Health Experiences That Are Good for People and Business with Amy Heymans, Founder, Chief Experience Officer at Mad*Pow transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Creating Innovative Health Experiences That Are Good for People and Business with Amy Heymans, Founder, Chief Experience Officer at Mad*Pow was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcome Rocket. Saul Marquez here, and today I have the privilege of hosting Amy Heymans. Amy is the founder and chief experience officer of Mad*Pow. She believes that design can help improve the human condition. It was with that mission and vision that she founded Mad*Pow in 2000. Mad*Pow leverages strategic design and the psychology of motivation to create innovative experiences and compelling digital solutions that are good for people and good for business. In today’s interview, we’re going to enjoy a great conversation about how Amy and her team are doing just that to both improve outcomes and business success. Amy, such a privilege to have you here today. Thanks so much for joining me.

Amy Heymans:
I’m so excited to talk with you. Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. So, OK, I’ve been a big fan of the work that you guys do. You know, behavioral change, digital solutions, really designing that, you know, customer focus, design thinking is important. And so tell me a little bit about what inspires your work in healthcare.

Amy Heymans:
Oh, yeah, absolutely. So as you may know, the health system can be a bit of a mess. You know, it wasn’t not like a bunch of experts kind of sat down and designed it. You know, knowing then what we know now Right. it it sort of happened by default. And by the nature of that, the data flow and the and the business relationships and regulations and everything else. But what we have now is the patient left at the center of a very disconnected ecosystem and they’re trying to figure it out on their own. And we are battling chronic disease. We’re battling depression and anxiety, where we’re battling substance use disorder. The life expectancy is on the decline. Health costs continue to rise. And now we’re in the midst of a pandemic. So, you know, no shortage of challenges afoot in health, but so much opportunity and so much opportunity to help people live more vibrant lives and basically achieve their dreams. Right. that the things that matter most people are the health of themselves and their loved ones and also their finances as well. Right. So relationships, health and finances are at the top. And, you know, we believe in the work we do. We can accomplish really good things and positive impact at scale. So we’re working with large, complex organizations to help them to understand the needs of the people they serve. What matters most to them? What is their context? What is their value proposition? What are the tasks they need to get done? And what are their hopes and dreams? And how do we help them to get from point A to point B? How do we help to motivate them? How do we help to help them to accomplish that which they want most? And we shape that up and envision that with our clients and bring it to market.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you know, I appreciate that, Amy. And, you know, it’s not easy to do. We get stuck in our business models. We get caught up in how we believe business should go. And health care, especially the end consumer, has been left out of the picture. And so the work that you guys do is critical to really bringing it home for all of us. So I’d love to hear from you how Mad*Pow is really adding value to the health care ecosystem and helping the consumer.

Amy Heymans:
Yeah, sure. So, I mean, you know, what you’re getting into here is like, you know, in the health system, it is a business. Right? Unless it’s a nonprofit. Are you working for a government agent? But the point is that the mission has an organization. There’s people, there’s politics. There’s all these things to be considerably complexities. But we tend to look at the data, right.. We want one plus one equals two. We want to know exactly what we should do. So we do surveys and we look at analytics and we look at big data and we hope to get the insight that are going to help us drive the innovations that are going to help improve people’s lives. But sometimes we can get lost in the data and it isn’t you know, we can’t get the answer from a spreadsheet. Data tells us what’s going on, but it doesn’t tell us why and it doesn’t tell us how we might improve the situation. So we’re big fans of designing with people as opposed to for people. So we go deep in terms of qualitative research and ethnography. Even now, we do ethnography virtually where we’re doing, you know, digital video journal studies or being with people in their homes via face time or zoom., what have you. But To get a sense of really what are there obstacles? What are their motivations? And what are they hoping to achieve? What is their value proposition? Because we believe that if we understand the people served by an organization and we orient that organization in the direction of meeting those needs, satisfying people or even in some cases thrilling them, that that’s the path toward longevity for the business, for the organization. So we look to find the intersection between social impact and business results. And that inspiration comes from deep understanding of the people served. It’s research. It’s being a student of the problem. It’s and again, it’s inviting people to the table of innovation and design with us. So we do participatory design and co-creation where we’re at, where we’re envisioning solutions with people in there helping us to design.

Saul Marquez:
Well, I mean, I think it’s great work. And, you know, for many businesses that feel like they know their customer. It may be that they don’t. And or maybe that they don’t know them as well as they could. And so you mentioned, you know, the different studies that you do interviews as unique things that you do to help understand that the different customer populations. What would you say makes Mad*Pow special and better than. I mean, you know, better is not the word, but special and different in the way that you’re able to help companies do that.

Amy Heymans:
Thank you for asking that. I mean, because a lot of a lot of organizations do research. Right. And the research that we do, we’re trying to get to the actionable insight and we’re trying to develop empathy as well, because that’s an important motivator. There is a pathos and logos and that can help an organization to move things in the right direction. Well, what differentiates us is the behavioral research we do and the behavior change design that we do. So we design digital solutions, right. We can design an app or website. What have you to be wonderful, completely modern, self-service, frictionless experience Right.. We also do service design. So we’re designing the services an organization provides and making sure that from a process, culture and organizational structure and workflow perspective, the organization is set up to satisfy customers and patients and clinicians. Everybody that’s part of that ecosystem. Right. So we’re doing the digital. We’re doing the experience, innovation and improving patient experiences. And then we’re but we’re looking at what are the behaviors people exhibit in the real world. We want to design to change real world outcomes, not just to get somebody to use an app or not, just to improve a customer journey, to help somebody to stop smoking, to help somebody to get it here into a therapy, or to help somebody to better manage their diabetes or to help somebody change the lifestyle behaviors that put them at risk for chronic conditions. Even reverse conditions and in some cases, through lifestyle change. And so when we look at behavior change design, we’re designing interventions that are focused on changing those behaviors. And when we’re designing for behavior change, we’re looking to identify what motivates people most. What are their obstacles? We use Cumbie Theory, which says, you know, somebody needs to have the capability, the opportunity and the motivation in order to exhibit a new behavior. So this analysis, this one tool in our toolkit of many tools can help us to deconstruct the problems, face, synthesize all the research insights and come up with what are the intervention ingredients that are going to help us to help empower these new behaviors or these altered behaviors that will help improve the outcomes that we’re looking to improve.

Saul Marquez:
I think it’s great. Hey, me. And, you know, it’s hard to change people’s behaviors. I mean, you just I mean, can you change behavior? You can influence it. And maybe this is getting philosophical, but but it’s it’s tough work and having a set of processes and models that you could apply that have been practiced, rehearsed, redone, implemented in other places could could potentially help how you’re approaching your customers. And so something to think about here is as you listen to today’s podcast with Amy, I mean, you’ve worked with so many companies. Amy, you and your team, as you’ve implemented some of these programs, how would you say maybe one or two examples of how they’ve improved, either, you know, how their patients change their behavior to improve their chronic disease, or, you know, how their business has improved as a result?

Amy Heymans:
Yeah, sure thing. And, you know, you’re touching on something very important with companies and organizations adopting emerging technology. There’s a lot of, you know, let’s just get it in the marketplace. Let’s just get in the marketplace. And so organizations don’t learn from what’s worked and what doesn’t. Right. So we evaluate academic literature. We take an evidence based approach to design. We’re leveraging scientific method. We’re constructing a hypothesis where prototyping these interventions and where we’re gathering feedback and we’re evaluating. Are they effective? Right. So it isn’t just about, you know, getting a shiny object into the marketplace. It’s about is this thing going to work? And where we’re using tools and methods that are evidence-based and we’ll we’ll leverage everything that we can that we know about and we’ll look at, you know, what are the leading indicators. And what had a lagging indicator is lagging indicator might be somebody stop smoking. But the leading indicator may be setting a quit date. And that’s actually what. We learned in our work with truth talks become an X program where we worked with them to redesign the Web site that was built in their relationship with Mayo Clinic. No sound clinically based, protocols there. And it was a really effective system, but we helped them make it more effective. And we used influence through the design and persuasive design to guide people in the direction of setting the quit date, which increase the likelihood of their stopping smoking. Right. So in design, we actually didn’t upset anybody when it launched live, which is hard. Very change is difficult, but also more people set the quit date. So that’s a good example. And other one is our work with Imagine Care. So imagine care was spun out of Dartmouth Hitchcock medical system and it was wonderful because we worked with them from the beginning. It was business model innovation, technological innovation and experiential innovation all in one. And we worked with them from the moment they had the idea. We did the research strategy design, develop implementation and were actually able to evaluate the efficacy during pilot. And what it was, was it helped patients to manage their condition at home, which obviously makes a ton of sense to us right now where your home is. You know, the home is the hospital. What was the moment? The office, the home is everything right now. But a few years ago when we started this, you know, people knew there was promise and telemedicine and digital health. But this was our opportunity to really prove that out and support patients suffering from the top five chronic health conditions, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, COPD, congestive heart failure. And there were even behavioral health. Diabetes. And there were even behavioral health pathways as well to help them manage their condition in the home with a smartphone device that would connect to Bluetooth biometric sensing devices. So if you had hypertension, it would be a Bluetooth blood pressure if you had diabetes and your Bluetooth glucometer. And what was unique about this is there was a bank of clinicians modelling’s patient population 24/7. And if there were was any measure out of whack, the patient would get a phone call within two minutes. So the data would go up in the cloud. Algorithms were put on it and it was a close loop patient’s support experience. They could also secure message with their care team. There was also digital health coaching built in. And patients reported feeling supported. They no longer felt alone. There was ninety five percent satisfaction and fifteen percent of the cost associated with managing this chronic population was cut out, avoided visits to the emergency room. Improved blood pressure and health outcomes is really a dream come true in terms of a project, but also, you know, the outcomes we were able to achieve. Unfortunately, that asset was sold off to a European health company. And right now it’s alive in Sweden and it’s changing. Lives over there is being operational, commercialized across Europe, and hopefully it’ll make its way back to the states. But but through that project, we knew that, you know, through behavior change, design, human centered design and phenomenal technology, we can really change people’s lives.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. Two great examples, Amy. And, you know, it’s definitely apparent that, you know, you love what you do and in the way that you guys are doing it is is evidence based, but it’s creating results. And I think, you know, a lot of customers and a lot of companies looking for those changes and that impact are looking for this type of work, as do you guys have been doing this for the last 20 years. I mean, it’s incredible. Right. since 2000. Yes. Just like. Wow. Right. The time.

Amy Heymans:
It flew by in the bat of an eyelash.

Saul Marquez:
It’s just something else. So 20 years of doing this, you obviously get better and better and you create finer distinctions. But with that, you also have setbacks. So I’d love to hear from you. Maybe a setback that you guys have experienced and how much setback made you guys stronger and better at what you do and helping your clients?

Amy Heymans:
That’s a great question. I mean, you know, as an agency business, we have to keep what I have to be doing. We all have to be doing constant research to understand what our clients need in their quest to serve patients. Right. So we work with life sciences companies. We work with health systems, integrated networks. We work with insurance companies, government agencies, nonprofits. So where are they at in their evolution? Some are just getting started and others are very mature. And so for the mature ones who actually have built up phenomenal design teams in-house, what’s missing for them? Because the best companies will balance internal resources with external resources and not, you know, kind of go too much in one direction. It’s a good balance. So what are they needing? Like what? What is the missing link? And, you know, we found that companies are aware of human centered design. They appreciate humans and are designed to the point where they’ve invested in it. And now what’s next? Right. So we work with clients in terms of training and coaching and upskilling their teams in, for example, behavior change design, Right.. So we’ll do a project with them. They’ll emerge with us. We’re simultaneously upskilling their team as we’re doing the work with them. But we had to learn that, as you know, we the companies are sort of building up their design teams. We had it’s or figure out, OK, where do we fit in? What we figured out as we we support design teams, we help them to expand and contract and we help them figure out what’s next in the evolution of design. And so we always have to be one step ahead so our clients keep us on our toes. It’s never a dull moment, but it’s always in the quest of figuring out how to improve the experiences that they deliver to the people they serve.

Saul Marquez:
I mean, I can appreciate that, you know, it’s being part of it and oftentimes being ahead of the game, but helping the client in such a way that they’re almost leading you to get there together.

Amy Heymans:
Yeah, exactly. And it’s still to this day, we we offer services that our clients absolutely. 100 percent need. I mean, they sort of don’t know they need it. Right. So we we actually change management for design and innovation teams. So we will look at how do we help their teams transform us so you have a design, innovation or transformation team? How do we help that team work better together? How do we help that team in terms of process and culture? So it’s almost applying the design process to the design and innovation team. And a lot of companies need that because it would help them to totally improve, make sure their people are happy, they’re well utilized, that they’re putting great experiences into the marketplace, you know, tweaking the machine, if you will, in a very human way. But that’s not something that is sort of a line item on a budget, right? People don’t know they need it yet. And so that that’s a it is a budding practice. But I wish there were there were more people taking advantage of it.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now, that’s a good call out. And oftentimes when you think in, you know, put yourself in the shoes of your customers, you will know the things that they need that maybe they often don’t know. I mean, and that’s for the the finesse and the talent comes in and being able to partner with them and gain that empathy. Like you said, Amy, such a way that they’re like, okay, you know what? These guys know what they’re doing. You know, let me let me just work with them. And now they’ll help me find a way. If you think about Covid, pre-Covid, post -Covid, Amy, or what would you say is the thing that you’re most excited about today?

Amy Heymans:
Yeah, good point. You said empathy. We absolutely have empathy for our clients because they teach us every day and help us to get better. But yeah, pre-covid, post-covid. I mean, you know, we knew that digital is important. Now we know it’s table stakes. We’re gonna need touchless experiences or in any virtual experiences. It’s calling for health organizations to change their policies and processes in the direction of letting people self-service digitally. And, you know, also what’s going on in the world with the demonstrations and protests is shining a light on equity and covid short of it put a light on what we knew already. Right. folks with chronic conditions are at higher risk. We have so many folks that have chronic conditions in this country and people of color at higher risk as well. We see the mortality rates Right.. And so one thing you know, a couple of things I hope remain is the focus on seamless digital experiences completely enabled from the home where people can manage their health and your your home becomes your doctor’s office, your hospital and your gymn and your place of well-being and everything else from a health perspective, digitally enabled. And also that we continue to focus on how do we prevent and reverse chronic disease and how do we provide for health equity? How do we truly address social determinants of health? It’s something that as an organization, we’re very committed to helping our clients do those things.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I think those are great call outs, Amy. And, you know, as you think about the topic of equity and access, how would you summarize and maybe maybe in a closing thought, you know, one of those top two or three things that businesses and people need to be thinking about as they look to best connect with their customers and maybe one thing that they should avoid.

Amy Heymans:
Yeah, I mean, one thing is to check out preconceived notions and our assumptions and our biases. And nothing can help do that better than comprehensive qualitative research and having stakeholders actually spend a day with different types of patients, different types of members, ensuring that, you know, the people we’re talking to is a representation of the true audience in adopting a principle of universal design. When we design for “educates” or we design for the minority or we design for an exception case, we’re designing for everyone. We’re making the experience better for everyone. So, for example, someone who is homebound, Right., if we were adopting the design principle of universal design of accessibility, then we would have accommodated our experiences for the homebound organizations who did that were ahead when the covid crisis hit. They were already ready and we were able to provide experiences that were better for everyone. And that applies across the board. There are no edge cases. There are humans that were serving, and so we need to figure out how do we factor everybody into the experience? A pitfall to avoid an absolute do not do it is to be unaware of the obstacles that are driving behaviors that the obstacles to outcomes improvement because will assume that it’s this. But really, it’s that, you know, so we really need to understand, you know, people want good things in their lives. Right. If we help them to identify what they want most, if we understand what they want most. And we make the pathway clear and we understand what obstacles they’re encountering. And we designed to help them overcome those obstacles. They’re more likely to be successful and we’re more likely to be successful. So let’s not assume that we know the situation and research can help us to get rid of those assumptions and help us to adopt a more universal and equitable mindset.

Saul Marquez:
I love that, Amy. Such great advice. And folks, as as you consider your approach to your market, to your customers, I definitely encourage you to take a look at the work that Amy and the Mad*Pow team is up to. You can find them at madpow.com. That’s madpow.com. Just extraordinary work by this purpose driven team. And Amy, I mean, just I can’t thank you enough for the work you guys are up to and really just sharing it with us today. So I want to I want to thank you for that.

Amy Heymans:
It is my absolute pleasure. And anytime.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • There are many opportunities to help people live vibrant lives and achieve their dreams.
  • Create innovations that help improve people’s lives.
  • Always be one step ahead of your client.

 

Reference:
https://www.madpow.com/