Kim Erwin is an assistant professor at IIT Institute of Design with expertise is in user-centered design methods, which put people at the center of any problem space so as to develop solutions that better fit their everyday lives, activities and context. Design methods are particularly useful in healthcare, where critical medical interventions must be aligned with human behavior in order to be adopted.

Kim’s research targets communication methods for collaborative knowledge construction and stakeholder engagement. Her book, Communicating the New: Methods to shape and accelerate innovation focuses on helping teams explore, build and diffuse critical knowledge inside organizations.

For the healthcare context, Kim focuses on creating information interventions and tools for use by patients, families, clinicians and staff. She applies methods of Contextual Inquiry to drive foundational research and requirements-gathering. She uses communication methods to create team immersion and engagement in those findings, building shared mind and mission among collaborators.

Currently funded healthcare projects include:

  • CHICAGO Plan (PCORI): Designing a new service touchpoint for ER staff and caregivers of children presenting with an asthma attack; this work is in clinical trial across 6 emergency departments in Chicago and will conclude in 2017.
  • RELIANCE (PCORI): Designing a “seamless study experience” for participating clinical staff and patients with COPD; this is a nationwide trial involving 24 clinical sites and 3500 patients in which the Institute of Design serves as the Communication Center.
  • CHICAGO II (NIH): Building a children’s asthma program for Chicago that works across families, homes, schools and medical centers on Chicago’s south and west sides; this is 1-year planning grant to prepare for the NIH U01 application.