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Behaviour change key to digital transformation

Behavioural change techniques can be used on both providers and consumers of care to drive transformation in the system, digital strategist Rachel de Sain says.

de Sain, chief executive of strategic design agency codesain, is presenting on the increasing importance of behavioural science during Digital Health Week NZ in Hamilton 18-22 November 2019.

She says health has traditionally followed a "find and fix" model of care, but "we have a phenomenal opportunity to move towards more prediction and prevention" and this transformation will require behaviour change.

Discussions around behaviour change in health are often focused on patients. However, in order to realise the full potential of digital health everyone from administrative staff to doctors needs to embrace change and the same techniques can be used to encourage them to do so.

"Health sometimes gets a bad rap for not being innovative but it attracts people who are very curious and want to make things better," de Sain says.

“The rate of change in health is enormous and the burden of that change is hard for a lot of people to deal with so how do we better support them to actively want to change behaviours and adopt some of the fantastic new digital tools being put in place?”

One technique she will discuss at the HiNZ 2019 Conference is gamification.

de Sain says everyone likes to have fun and has a competitive edge, so gamification can be used on all sorts of people to encourage them to try something new.

"I will share examples of how it can be used to drive engagement and adoption, not only amongst patients, but in the workforce with new software implementations that require behavioural change amongst users," she explains.

de Sain was previously executive general manager responsible for innovation, design and development at the Australian Digital Health Agency, which delivered Australia's Digital Health Strategy – safe, seamless and secure 2018-2022.

She tells the seamless component of the title is key as change is more readily accepted if it fits into people's everyday lives or workflows.

"Innovation is really all about change that creates value. We want ideas to become forgettable: when it becomes business as usual, people forget it was ever a new way of doing things and that’s the goal," she says.

De Sain says health is always evolving and being innovative, but there are many barriers to successful innovation that are yet to be overcome, such as funding models, procurement, risk appetite and culture.

She believes understanding the role behaviour change and service design can play in delivering meaningful transformation is essential for long-term success.


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