Technology, Healthcare


From a weekend design sprint to a funded startup, Hummin began as an empathy exercise for healthcare workers and became an IoT platform through our rapid prototyping services focused on wellbeing.


Creating a Better Workplace in Healthcare: The Hummin’ Story



Traditional physician burnout surveys are offered once or twice a year, looking back at previous experiences, and not preparing health systems for workforce challenges ahead.


While health systems value a real-time stream of wellbeing data, we applied empathy to create an input method that engaged the user and delivered truthful, actionable insights to reduce burnout and improve wellbeing.


The Challenge

In the spring of 2020 as stories of ICUs overflowing with COVID-19 patients filled our news feeds, The Berkeley Innovation Group initiated a design sprint to address the burnout among frontline healthcare workers. This global group of twenty-five design thinkers, healthcare experts, and concerned stakeholders came together to find “a better way,” in the face of a global pandemic.
Connecting with frontline clinicians in our networks, they shared that talking with trusted colleagues about their feelings, chiefly vulnerability and exhaustion, provided comfort and, somehow, made them feel safer. We asked ourselves, “How might we help people on healthcare’s frontlines acknowledge and share their vulnerability, to make them feel stronger?”

The Process

During our weekly meetings with clinicians, patients, and administrators, we were struck by the reality that there were screens showing real-time information about the patients’ health; meanwhile, nobody had any idea how those providing care were doing emotionally.

Thus, we set out to “make the invisible visible” addressing the burnout in healthcare by creating an ecosystem in which feelings of vulnerability and gratitude could be registered in the moment and reflected visually, both at the individual clinician level as well as at the group level of trusted colleagues.

Before solving the problem, we started with one-on-one interviews, following healthcare providers through their user journey to build empathy. The user journey, which is a low-fidelity prototype, created a comfortable environment for interviewees to co-create the solution. During these conversations, the Hummin’ team could propose alternative solutions on the spot for more “yes, and” feedback from the interviewees.

With the tailwind of these interviews, we created a minimum viable product (MVP) consisting of off-the-shelf components and a mobile website. This hardware and software platform increased engagement among the users, gave us a richer data set, and had a more meaningful impact on provider wellbeing.

With the positive results of this test and rapid prototyping methods, we spent nine months building a custom-designed piece of hardware, iOS and Android apps, and a full-scale marketing campaign to launch the solution as an IoT platform creating a stream of real-time data on healthcare provider emotional wellbeing.

The Impact

The greatest impact of this work is the positive influence on providers’ emotional health as they face the current and future waves of COVID-19. Beyond the pandemic, our experiments reinforced the belief that real-time data monitoring is not limited to patients, but also to the providers giving care.

Our value proposition, real-time data on emotional wellbeing, extends beyond healthcare to many industries and applications. As we say, “design at the extremes to improve the mean.”
Beyond finding product-market fit, the mindset and process of design thinking remain central to our growth strategy.

Customer interviews help us uncover potential objections or user-centered benefits that enable our sales team to be more effective in client conversations.

This feedback helps our engineering team prioritize product enhancements.

The generalized data from a nationwide network of users allows us to match the quantitative data (e.g., percent change in an underlying metric) with qualitative data, like sharing quotes from providers about Hummin’s impact to generate predictive analytics.

By creating a better workplace, improved physician wellbeing will result in a higher retention rate which is essential to keeping costs down and providing quality care. For example, when the cost of recruiting and onboarding a new physician costs over $360,0001, avoiding that expense by improving the experience of your existing workforce drives massive cost savings for hospitals.

Tell us a long-held industry orthodoxy that you wish to challenge. We’ll help you reframe the opportunity space, ideate disruptive innovations, and prototype minimum viable products to explore new verticals and industries for your company’s future growth.

1 Shasha Han, Tait D. Shanafelt, Christine A. Sinsky, et al. Estimating the Attributable Cost of Physician Burnout in the United States. Ann Intern Med.2019;170:784-790.

About Hummin'

A leader in on-prem video solutions, disrupted by software-driven virtual work, must redefine the return to in-person work for the next stage of business growth.

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