[Based on a talk given at Interaction11 in Boulder, CO on February 12, 2011]
We find ourselves at a critical moment in the evolution of healthcare. The progress of medical science means that people can now overcome many previously fatal and debilitating conditions, and we know enough for most people on the planet to live long, healthy lives. But we are not yet achieving this dream: even people who have access to healthcare are not universally enjoying the kind of outcomes science suggests they should, and the cost of healthcare has been rising quickly, to the point it is in danger of being unsustainable, on a personal and global level.
Watching the public debate, it's easy to see this as a policy issue, but the politicians, doctors and insurers could use a hand in the imagination department. Many of the biggest opportunities to improve healthcare have to do with interfaces and interactions. Some of these interfaces and interactions have to do with onscreen GUI's, and some are between people and institutions. Almost all of them stand to benefit from the kind of holistic, imaginative problem-solving designers can help with.