Designing Improved Access to Care at Barnraise Chicago 2015

At this annual maker-conference that has become a staple in the service design community, Rêve worked with the nation’s largest non-profit to link clinical and community-based services to improve surgical outcomes.

The Opportunity:

In October 2015, we participated in Barnraise, an annual conference hosted by the IIT Institute of Design. Barnraise is a hands-on maker-conference, aimed at cross-pollinating design and healthcare perspectives by connecting design firms with community-based organizations and participants. This year’s theme was “Designing Improved Access to Care” with a focus on barriers and opportunities around a patient’s journey to attain sufficient and proper healthcare services, and Rêve had the opportunity to be a design partner.

We were matched with YMCA of the USA, a leading nonprofit organization that offers programs, services, and initiatives for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility and a focus on improving the nation’s health and well-being for all individuals.

Leading a group of ten participants, our design challenge was “How might we link clinical and community-based services to help older adults prepare for and recover from joint replacement surgery?”. Mobility and stability are key to a healthy lifestyle, and joint replacement surgery offers a chance to maintain activity levels. As people live healthier for longer, the frequency of joint replacement surgery is increasing.

Key Activities


  • Patient + Expert Interviews
  • Journey Map

Ideation + Capability Building

  • Capability + Asset Maps
  • Opportunity Statements


  • Experience Map
  • Business Model Canvas

Approach and Results

We looked at defining a new program related to joint replacement surgery that would leverage the capabilities and assets of the YMCA to support individuals in building and maintaining an active lifestyle for healthy aging.

With only two days to complete the design sprint we had to get creative with our process, particularly the research phase. To gain insight into the patient journey we interviewed a small group of joint replacement experts and patients via video conference and conducted digital discovery sessions via YouTube and personal blogs.

Using our research, we constructed a patient journey that spanned from initial joint pain to post-rehab strength training. Based on the journey map and interviews we found a few key opportunities to improve the patient experience and drive better health outcomes:

  • Patients are often uninformed about their role in preparing for and recovering from joint-replacement surgery
  • Rehabilitation often ends abruptly 6 weeks after surgery and many times does not get patients to their personal mobility goals
  • Feelings of social isolation are common during rehabilitation and negatively impact progress

Focused on these opportunities, the team created dozens of ways to improve the patient journey, choosing a handful of key concepts aligned to the capabilities and assets of the YMCA. Our solutions focused on providing support pre-surgery and post-rehab, empowering patients with the knowledge, resources, and connections to stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

After identifying the concepts we began prototyping various artifacts from the experience, developing a new patient journey, and articulating a business model canvas. Given the short two-day timeframe of the project, we were unable to acquire patient feedback. However, we concluded our two days of work in front of 400 attendees at a public showcase at the office of MATTER, a community of healthcare entrepreneurs and industry leaders working together in a shared space to individually and collectively fuel the future of healthcare innovation.


  • 8 patient + expert interviews
  • 12 empathy maps
  • 1 patient journey map
  • stakeholder map
  • 100+ ideas
  • 25+ concept briefs
  • 1 capabilities + assets maps
  • 1 physcial prototype
  • 1 future state experience map
  • 1 business model canvas
  • 2 output presentations