A Patient-Centered Approach to Service Adoption

Case Study

IDEO is one of the world’s leading design consultancy firms. We worked with IDEO.org, the non-profit sister organization of IDEO, to complement their human-centred design approach with relevant insights from behavioral and decision-making sciences. 


We worked with IDEO.org’s design team on a project to improve the adoption of engagement with the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program in Dallas, Texas. The program, which launched in 1974, is a U.S. federal program that provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, as well as to infants and children up to 5 years old. 


Through design research conducted by IDEO.org, consisting of depth interviews and interactive discussions with women and observation of WIC program sessions, we found that the low-uptake of the WIC program was actually a result of a myriad of interacting factors. After mapping out these barriers along a customer journey—from the first interaction to long-term program adherence—we noticed an opportunity to disarm negative attitudes and improve client outcomes by using the nutritionist-client interaction as a space to build a therapeutic alliance. Together with IDEO.org, we built a toolkit to train nutritionists on therapeutic alliance-building, in a way that targets the specific attitudes and bottlenecks to WIC adoption that their clients face in the initial interaction.

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