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Facilitating communication between service providers to improve Boston's drug recovery system.

 
 

Objective

“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”

- Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises

In partnership with MASS Design Group and Huxtable Fellows studying Architecture at the Boston Architectural College, this Advanced Industrial Design Studio investigates the role of design and design thinking in addressing issues of addiction and homelessness. Through engagement with the City of Boston, health service providers, and community groups along Boston's "Methadone Mile", my team and I were able to conduct a human-centered design process leading to an interface system and mental model of the addiction recovery process. Our goal was to advocate for design to create positive social change. 

 
 
 

Context

With the terrifying rise of new illicit drugs like fentanyl, the US is facing it's deadliest drug overdose crisis. According to The New York Times, drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000 (the largest annual jump ever recorded in the US) and is now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50 years of age. 

 
 
 

Research

The use of documentary filming and editing was effective. It gave my group the opportunity to learn about the recovery system in Boston from the service providers, intake coordinators etc. themselves and through interviewing we learned how to ask powerful questions. After experiencing filming, editing helped us pare down and ingrained the ideas that were valuable. 

Documentary V1

Documentary V2

 

The "linear" system isn't so linear.   

 
 
 

Problem Identified #1

The structure of communication between services is redundant and inefficient. There is a accumulation of un-responded emails and voicemails. In addition, there is always continuous phone calls and emails requiring the same response.  

Problem Identified #2

Service providers (employees) communicate using outdated communication methods that have loopholes. There is a "hit or miss" chance of a bed being available (based on calling luck, right timing). Faulty waitlist system with no consistent and straightforward way of updating. 

 

Goals:

Cohesive | Transparent | Cooperative

 

Meet the Users 

 

Prototyping

 

Solution

Our group proposed a digitized platform for service providers that maximizes efficiency of the current system in place and minimizing confusion for clients/patients. More efficient system results in faster circulation of clients. Communication between services is more intentional and impactful. 

What if going digital is scary?

We asked those same questions as we considered our user group. However, the feedback that we got was that while it would be a change, it would be worth transferring to a present day tech system and it seems it would be majorly helpful as a tool for organization and communication.