Northwell's Inclusive Healthcare

A contextual healthcare solution that breaks down barriers and enhances accessibility by tailoring solutions to patient's circumstances and needs.



How might Northwell offer care for social determinants of health (SDOH) that prevent patients from staying on top of their health?



Of the factors that influence our health operate outside hospital walls



Average cost of no-shows per patient for health systems



Research and Prototyping


Storytelling for connection

Encourage patients to share their personal experiences through storytelling. By creating a standard story around accessing healthcare, we empathized and gained a deeper understanding of their barriers and the external conditions that prevented them from arriving at the hospital, getting medication, communicating with doctors or receiving care after diagnosis.

Patient Interviews

We created interview guides from the information we gathered during the PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors) analysis and other secondary research sources. We filtered participants that missed appointments to understand the reasons behind their limitations.



We worked with 3 more teams of students to gather observations and create insights that fed every classmate to have a holistic overview of healthcare. Other projects involved a vision around language barriers, the capacity of health providers to follow up with patients and confusion about costs and insurance.

Prototyping with Sacrificial Concepts

On a second round of interviews, and after condensing the insights, we generated sacrificial concepts of possible solutions to share with patients. More than pretending to have a final solution to their problems, we wanted to have generative conversations to hear patients' alternatives.

North Stars: Design Principles


Holistic Care

Care for patients by providing not only functional but also emotional support, in a warm and familiar way that makes them feel at home


Empathetic Communication

Request and deliver information in an empathetic, mindful and dignified manner, making patients feel heard while creating a judgment-free safe space that enables comfort and honesty


Cultivate Belonging

Provide inclusive and accessible experiences that cultivate a sense of belonging while keeping in mind patients cultural, social, economic and emotional aspects


Cohesive Experience

Reduce friction by avoiding unnecessary, repetitive actions and proactively share information internally so that every touchpoint with Northwell feels like a seamless continuation of the last one

Design Proposals

SDOH Screener

SDOH (Social Determinants of Health). Asking patients respectfully about external factors can help them reflect and help Northwell identify those suffering from health disparities that can be getting in the way of accessing healthcare or recovering properly.

Pain Points

  • Distrust in the system
  • Unaware of eligible services 
  • Misleading guidance
  • Lack of belonging
  • Feels unheard & self-conscious

Discover Nearby

Northwell goes beyond expectations. Like a mother when her kids leave the house, Northwell cares for its patients, especially in the most difficult situations, and helps them figure out how to navigate a system and surroundings, until they are ready to do it by themselves.

Pain Points

  • Unaware of eligible services 
  • Embarrassed to ask for help
  • Feels unheard & self-conscious
  • Lack of sense of belonging
  • Feeling vulnerable

Key Strategic Shifts


Patient Journey


We mapped the critical touch points that patients have with providers in their healthcare journey, the emotional curve in those moments, and the intervention timeline of the proposed solutions.


Outcomes & Impact

Increased touchpoints for data collection

Cost savings by reducing no-shows

Improved caregiving coordination

Faster turnaround for average care time

Potential annual savings of $30m1 by offering support and resources, thus reducing no-shows by 5% of all appointments (assuming 2 M patients per year2)


Healthcare Service Design

Designers can help create strategies to manage the patient experience and facilitate effective healthcare treatment. By prioritizing patient-centered care and actively involving patients in their treatment, providers can improve outcomes, enhance satisfaction, and continuously improve the quality of their service.


Credits (2022)

Dana Duarte | Strategic Designer

Shivani Banshali | Strategic Designer

Ramey Chen | Strategic Designer 

Lucia Chen | Strategic Designer

MS SDM Students | 12 + students in the class

Northwell Team | Digital Experiences Team

Selected Works