Creating design briefs on patient dignity

The Design Council and the Department of Health in the UK initiated late 2009 a national design challenge ‘Design for Patient Dignity‘. STBY was asked to contribute to the exploratory research that defined the design briefs in the call for proposals.

A team of researchers from STBY and the Design Council spent 4 days on a ward in a hospital in London. They observed the daily routines, and talked in-depth with patients, staff and visitors. Most of these observations and conversations were recorded through video and photography. The study resulted in 7 edited films, each illustrating a specific design opportunity.

Three other research teams have done related studies in other hospitals. In a joint workshop they all contributed to the overall insights creation that informed the final briefs announced in October 2009.

The national design challenge was an open call for proposals inviting designers to join forces with manufacturers, service providers and specialist contractors to help eliminate mixed sex accommodation and increase patient privacy and dignity in hospitals. Six design agencies, together with the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal college of Art, were selected to design products, services and systems according to specific briefs underpinned by the design research insights.

The results demonstrate that service design indeed stretches across many disciplines, with examples from fashion, product, graphic and interior design.