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Seattle Healthcare Salon: Launching ILN Seattle

For the last couple of years, Artefact has been a member of the Innovation Learning Network, an organization dedicated to promoting and facilitating innovation in healthcare. Through the network, we have shared our approach and experience in healthcare innovation and learned invaluable lessons from healthcare providers. Every ILN in person meeting has left us more confident in our work, more attuned to the needs of patients and the challenges providers face. Most importantly, it has made us feel like the part of a community.

This is what we set out to do when we organized the Seattle Healthcare Salon. We wanted to establish a community, provide a forum, and build connections between the people and organizations that can drive the healthcare to the future we all desire. People from 15 organizations came to our studio earlier in February for a lively, interactive discussion about the intersection of healthcare, technology, and design.

Artefact Healthcare Salon ILN Seattle

We focused our conversation on emerging and evolving trends and the thematic futures that they may lead to in healthcare:


The rapid advance in technology is creating new centers in which healthcare activities are instigated and practice engaged. Decision making that patients and clinicians used to do in response to static reference, standard protocol, personal experience, and point-in-time test results, can now be driven by technology systems. This forces us to ask questions about trust in technology, the changing roles of clinicians, and the unintended consequences of technological advance. Here is where understanding of human behavior and cognitive psychology comes into play through behavioral economics tools and best practices, as we try to design systems and solutions that eliminate friction and reduce burden, but still keep stakeholders engaged and invested.


In a future where there are new relationships and routes to care as seen in trends like uberization of care delivery, do-it-yourself healthcare with critical medical devices, and strong peer-to-peer health communities, technology has enabled us to take more initiative in finding expertise, making interventions, and getting support. While empowering the patient to take initiative seems promising, it is unknown what new risks might be introduced and how quality care outcomes can be maintained. Companies like WeAreCurious are a good example of how patient initiative can be enabled through data, while balancing some of the important potential risks like privacy.


New technologies applied in the healthcare industry are also offering new extensions of body, mind, and self-image, to a degree we are just starting to understand. Robotics, AI, machine learning, and new sources of brand affinity towards the things we use to provide care mean that our illnesses might provide us with opportunities to be even better versions of ourselves. Our client, eSight explored the potential of augmentation in their latest product, eSight 3, which not only restores vision for people with visual impairment, it also addresses the universal human need of maintaining positive self-image and confidence. Another partner, Intuitive Surgical augments surgeons’ skills by developing robotic surgery systems.


Advancements in the quality and quantity of data we have about some conditions, the materials we use to design and deliver medical devices, and immersive technologies like virtual reality let us be more effective in pursuing better outcomes for patients. We explored how data can be used to improve the health of people with chronic conditions in our Dialog and Chronicle projects. Others are even further ahead: Google’s spin-off Verily Life Sciences is partnering with a wide range of companies to create even richer insights from data. While these advancements are exciting, they also bring to the fore ethical questions about who should own data, where to prioritize application of new technology, and what experiences should be simulated instead of encountered in real life.

These are some of the topics that we at Artefact are focused on. As the year progresses, we will explore each of them in more depth and zero in on opportunities for design and innovation to steer these thematic futures towards positive outcomes. And the newly formed ILN Seattle will be a forum to discuss, define, and drive these futures with the people in the trenches of healthcare.

Want to join us for the next one? Send us a note.