2–5 February 2021


Student Forum

Operating under pressure: Alleviating hospital tensions through Service Design


Presenting Author(s): Elle Miller, Christopher Rabineau, Kendra Rabineau
05 February 2021

Please be aware that multiple presentations will take place during this session commencing at 08:15AM AEDT and share the same zoom link. Check how presentations are clustered in the program spreadsheet when adding the calendar.

With surgical drapes being purchased and sold as a commodity, our client knew they had to innovate to create market value. Cardinal Health, a Fortune 50 healthcare services and products company, challenged our team to understand how users are interacting with surgical drapes and propose design solutions that mitigate pain points in the operating room. Using customer research and service design methodologies, we saw that surgical drape failures often lead to breakdowns in team performance, ultimately creating tension during procedures. These tensions eroded the relationships between surgeons, nurses, and surgical scrub technologists (scrub techs), ultimately affecting patient outcomes.

Scrub techs’ primary responsibility is to maintain sterility during a surgical procedure. The surgical drape, scrub techs’ primary tool, is a simple piece of paper-like fabric. It also has the power to destroy relationships in the operating room. Despite being the primary user of drapes, the current operating model for hospitals does not consider scrub techs’ preferences or capitalize on their knowledge because they are not involved in purchasing decisions. We advocated for the inclusion of scrub techs while proving they were an invaluable stakeholder.

Our project resulted in a service offering that would provide certification in drape modification and add a new role in the operating room to monitor and prevent drape issues on the fly. It would also create a feedback loop— collecting and documenting problems or new equipment interactions, allowing our client to stay at the forefront of innovation while capitalizing on scrub techs’ expertise.

Download Event Paper

Christopher Rabineau
Christopher Rabineau
Columbus College of Art & Design

Christopher Rabineau is a creative problem solver, seeking to develop meaningful solutions that drive innovation. His experience in a broad spectrum of fields and businesses including technology, fashion, academics, nonprofit and home & garden, has led to a personal philosophy that all design should be centered around human needs.

Elle Miller
Elle Miller
SPGB Architects

Elle is a participatory designer, fueled by exploring patterns and uncovering connections between seemingly disparate people, environments, and ideas as a means for innovation. She has a diverse background; earning a degree in Speech and Hearing Science before spending ten years designing learning environments and places for discovery as a Principal at SPGB Architects. In 2019, Elle earned a Master of Design degree in Innovation Design Strategies from the Columbus College of Art & Design.

Kendra Rabineau
Kendra Rabineau
Columbus College of Art and Design

Kendra Rabineau is a designer who partners with companies to find innovative business solutions through empathy, research, and strategy. After working for national brands in the fashion, food, and finance industry, Kendra has learned that with an open heart, a desire to connect, and an inquisitive spirit, we can discover new ideas that improve people's lives through the power of design. Kendra holds a Master of Design in Integrative Design from Columbus College of Art and Design.