“The Most Comfortable Shoe in the World”

“The Most Comfortable Shoe in the World”

A former pro-athlete from New Zealand teamed up with a friend to develop shoes made of wool. The project was crowdfunded and resulted in a machine-washable, wool sneaker that has been labeled “the most comfortable shoe in the world.”

Product sales have exceeded expectations. They value their customers’ input and continue to improve the design of the shoe.

This post is based on the CNN article, Allbirds Is Shaking Up Footwear With Machine-Washable Wool Shoes, by A. Garcia, January 17, 2018.

Discussion Questions

1) Compared to a lightweight leather sneaker, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the Allbirds sneaker?

Guidance: Link this discussion to Garvin’s dimensions of product quality. Advantages to mention: perceived quality (multiple redesigns), features (breathable, machine-washable, etc.), performance (comfort), conformance (multiple redesigns). Disadvantages: less durability (wool is probably not as durable as leather), unknown consistency due to age of company, unknown serviceability due to novelty of product.

2) What external factors did the developers see as opportunities?

Guidance: Discuss the market factors that made consumers embrace this product. Demographics: young and older people are attracted to the novelty and comfort. Psychographics: environmentally conscious individuals like the sustainability of the product; active individuals Continue reading

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Dr. Alexa to the Rescue?

Dr. Alexa to the Rescue?

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase have vowed to attempt a disruption of health care with an extensive use of technology. According to this New York Times article, their vision is already a reality in China.

Technology companies such as Alibaba and Tencent are developing artificial intelligence (AI)-based diagnostic tools to assist overburdened physicians. Setbacks in telemedicine and online drug sales did not discourage Alibaba from forging ahead with AI software for CT scan interpretation and for diagnosis assistance.

Tencent has been engaged in similar initiatives. Not only has the technology brought more efficiency in large hospitals, but it has also expanded the access to care in small, rural areas.

This post is based on the New York Times article, Amazon Wants to Disrupt Health Care in America. In China, Tech Giants Already Have, by S.-L. Wee and P. Mozur, January 31, 2018.

Discussion Questions

1) What are the advantages and disadvantages of using technology as a diagnostic aid?

Guidance: Advantages: better utilization of health care staff capacity, more accurate diagnoses, increased patient access to healthcare, lower costs, higher consistency of treatments for given condition, more convenience for patients, less wait for appointments and test results, etc. Continue reading

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Healthy Results from a Care Transformation

Healthy Results from a Care Transformation

OSF Medical Group has rolled out a Care Transformation initiative to 40 of its medical clinics in Illinois, with healthy results. Under the initiative, clinicians work in a multidisciplinary team to better serve patients. Every morning, the team meets to discuss the daily agenda, quality performance achievements and challenges.

This approach has proven successful in increasing the number of patients being seen, improving preventive services, ensuring treatment compliance, and providing patient-centered care.

This post is based on the Modern Healthcare article, OSF Medical Group Adopts Team-Based Approach Across Clinics, by M. Castellucci, December 16, 2017.

Discussion Questions
1. What is the composition of a typical team at OSF? Why does the nurse play a particularly important role?

Guidance: A team comprises at least one physician, a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, a care manager, and a medical assistant. Nurses help free up physicians’ time by seeing patients with common ailments and handling simple follow-up appointments. They also find ways to improve care. Job enlargement and enrichment strategies can be discussed.

2. Are the teams described in the article self-directed? What benefits can be achieved with such teams?

Guidance: The teams described in the article set their Continue reading

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