Health Forward Charrette: A Booster Shot for Creative Design

featuring Tushar Gupta, Robert McClure

February 19, 2024

IMG_7487.JPG“Let yourself be free,” says Tushar Gupta, healthcare sector leader at Page, addressing a room full of architects, designers, and other creatives from around the country who attended the Page Health Forward symposium in Houston the day previous and are ready to apply what they heard. “Think where we can take some of what we heard yesterday into the future. There is a here and now, but today is about looking ahead.”

The instructions are simple, adds Rob McClure, design director at Page. What could healthcare look like 100 years in the future? “Don’t think about the things you usually think about that impede you,” he says. “Futurists are ‘foresight practitioners’ and ‘horizon scanners.’ Explore without consequences.” 

And by the future, the organizers mean 100 years plus.

The teams are divided into groups, each addressing one of five topics posed by Jennifer Hebblethwaite, director of storytelling at Page:

  1. Stewarding sustainable and resilient healthscapes 
  2. Humanizing technology
  3. Engaging our communities
  4. Redefining delivery
  5. Promoting intellectual collisions

The groups have one hour for a “brainstorming blitz.” Consider: scale, process, human experience, impact.  

AI%20aerial.png“We are reimagining the box,” says McClure. “You can use words or visual representations; it’s a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure.’ Surprise us.”

The room comes alive with spirited conversation, overlapping ideas, sketching, and debating. The “engaging communities” group talks about incentivizing people to eat healthy foods. Should there be a sugar tax? Could healthcare be consumed as a sport? Should young people in school be trained as EMTs? Meanwhile, the “redefining delivery” team emphasizes that healthcare delivery has to be adaptable. How can we take the idea of “assembly line” care and not make it feel like an assembly line?

Nearby, the “sustainability” team sketches a farmers’ market-style wellness center, building community and supporting health concurrently. The “humanizing tech” team looks to successful disruptive innovators that empower individuals.

Team members draw health pods connected to green belts, which return to plug into a main base – a new vision of a “hospital” that can break apart and come to patients. “Tech enables us to be remote, to have avatars.” The pod idea stuck: “The physical environment is augmented reality – if you want to be at the beach while you’re getting an infusion, you’re at the beach.”

a_fleet_of_sleek_transparent_futuristic_mobile_SQUARE.jpgAnother team discusses healthcare from a doctor’s point of view: They enjoy seeing patients but dislike mounting administrative tasks, such as note-taking and prescription renewal, which automation and AI can help with. “We need to decentralize health care but centralize the scale of resources.” Someone mentions that, even in the future, “food and fitness” will be key to good health. “A lot can be learned from your ‘digital twin,’ with your devices always collecting data.” “You’ll see your mom’s blood glucose levels from your smartphone.”

One team, under the slogan “Start Young. Live Better Together,” encourages extracting health care from a “sick care pathway” and transforming it into a lifelong wellness quest to help people stay healthy. The pitch: Make getting healthier easy, with access to one-stop shopping for natural foods and fresh produce, recreation and socialization, coffee and conversation, expert outreach and community classes. Another team advocates decentralizing health and wellness, seeding it throughout and within the community at locations like farmers’ markets and pop-up gatherings: “We need to ensure that the human element remains.”

The teams present their ideas, and a “winner” is selected, but the main intent of the day has already been accomplished: brainstorming and networking.

image-20231020-192435-febd1c9e_0.jpeg“We wanted this event to be influenced by what we heard yesterday at the Health Forward symposium but, at the same time, let everyone have the flexibility to push the boundaries on things we might have discovered today,” McClure says, who likened the charrette day to a booster shot for creative design. “This was the beginning — a day of creativity and exploration. How do we use that as a jumping-off point to do even more?”

Dive deeper into what’s possible for the future of healthcare at Health Forward. 

Tushar Gupta

Healthcare Market Sector Leader

Robert McClure

Design Director