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Health Care Design Conference - 2013 Boston


About Me

As a two-time cancer survivor, Samantha LeVan is an advocate for patient and consumer inspired design. In her role at Mayo Clinic, she works alongside a talentedteam of user experience professionals to research and design web and mobilesolutions to support Mayo Clinic patients, as well as health information consumers around the world.

Since joining Mayo Clinic’s Global Business Solutions team, Samantha has collaborated on a total redesign of the transplant center website, a fresh look for the development department, and is currently studying how students choose which medical school programs to apply for andultimately enroll in.

Before joining Mayo Clinic, Samantha worked on eCommerce web solutions for a Fortune 50 company and was lead designer for Paint Shop ProX2. She also runs a small design studio, The Little Penny, with her preschool daughter, creating artwork and handmade gifts.

Q&A with Samantha

HxD asked speakers to tell us what inspires and drives them in healthcare and design. Check out our Q&A with Samantha LeVan!

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  • Q1: What is your burning mission in health?

    Something that has always irritated me is how much research has been done on different learning styles, yet patient education is often uniform from person-to-person. If given the chance, I would love to pick several methods of explaining critical health and care information and find ways for providers to better understand which learning style works best for each patient.

  • Q2: What is something you want everyone to see?

    What I share with people evolves with time and most often is a blog post or article that gets at the heart of UX. Lately this post from Whitney Hess on the evolution of the Swiffer is what I most often share.

  • Q3: Why it inspires you?

    Frankly, I spend a lot of time explaining what I do. When appropriate, I'll share a link with someone (family & friends, product managers, clients, etc) to show another side of UX and that I'm not the only experience designer in the world. The Swiffer post from Whitney is particularly inspiring because it serves as a reminder that despite small budgets and tight deadlines, try to get out of the office and actually observe people.

  • Q4: What is your patient story?

    This is complicated. I guess it all began in 1977 when I was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma. Thankfully I have no memory of those early years, so fast forward to 2010. I was a new mom, working in user experience for a Fortune 50 company, and thinking about what the future held when I randomly (at least in my mind) diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. I'd had no symptoms, and certainly no belief that I could possible have been at risk for that until was at least 50. In nearly three years, I've had multiple surgeries, additional complications, chemo (including some lousy side effects), and health problems related to all these surgical procedures. Patient life is never-ending and my latest issue is a non-life threatening kidney condition. Though my friends may say otherwise, my attitude is not always cheery and positive. I do become frustrated, angry, and annoyed, but I try to put everything aside so I can focus on something else – helping other patients get through their own healthcare experiences as smoothly as possible.

  • Q5: Why HxD?

    This is easy. I want more exposure to other healthcare design practitioners, as well as those in other healthcare roles who are interested in experience design. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share my story and look forward to hearing what other practitioners and patients have to say.

  • Q6: Why come to your session?

    Come to my session because I'm honest and perhaps a bit blunt, so you'll hear my reality. If you want to understand the impact my own health problems have had on my career, how I research and design, and the positive and negative aspects of "being the user," you should definitely come.

Samantha at the Conference

CONFERENCE | Monday, March 25

When the Designer is a Patient: A View from the Inside

Patient experience researchers are trained to minimize the influence of personal opinions on the design of a product or service, but when the researcher is also a patient, those personal experiences may be difficult to set aside. In this talk, Samantha will share how being a cancer patient has shaped the direction of her user experience design career and highlight a few tricks to using personal experience as an advantage, rather than a hindrance to patient-centered design.

"Last year's HxD conference was so amazingly inspiring, and has definitely caused me to strive harder and become more passionate about improving our healthcare system." - 2012 HxD Attendee

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Watch the 2012 HXD Conference Recap