For two years I worked as a healthcare consultant and designer for Blue Cottage Consulting, a consultancy specializing in visioning, strategy, operations and facility planning for hospitals. As a designer I used human-centered design approaches and research methods to engage front-line staff, healthcare professionals, patients, families in visioning activities around future state operations. My work often involved co-facilitating large multidisciplinary client meetings, developing future state work flows and creating training and transition document for hospitals undergoing major redevelopment projects. 

Design Research Methods

When developing a functional program to inform the design of a new hospital, it is critical to have a strong understanding of the future state work processes that will occur in the space. It is also critical to consider the experience that is being created in the new space for staff, patients and families. It can often be challenging to engage families, patients and front-line staff in meetings, so there is a need to gain their insights through other activities or venues. 

As a designer working for Blue Cottage Consulting I introduced design methods, including photo journals and storyboards, as new ways to engage frontline staff, patients and families. These are powerful tools that help us to gain insight into an experience from the user’s perspective. They provide an emotional and personal portrayal of an experience which can help to identify important gaps and opportunities.