In collaboration with fuelfor

A design exploration of the waiting experience in healthcare.
We all know how it feels to wait. Waiting is part of our everyday life; we wait for the bus, we wait for a friend to arrive, we wait our turn to be served in a shop. Sometimes we enjoy the wait, it gives us a chance to breathe and reflect. At other times it's a disruption to our routine that leaves us frustrated, stressed or simply bored.

Waiting is a consistent pain point at different stages of a health care experience. We wait for a consultation or to obtain our test results. Waiting in a hospital or clinic can be especially difficult as we could be in pain, feeling anxious about our health condition, or confused by a procedure we do not understand. Waiting in healthcare is rarely positive.

Many healthcare systems are working hard to reduce waiting times as a means to improve efficiency and perceived service quality. But as health services around the world are increasingly overstretched, waiting becomes an inevitable part of every healthcare journey. So how can we improve the quality of a waiting experience in healthcare?

Project Process Overview

Synthesising our data from secondary desk research and fieldwork observations and interviews with service users and healthcare providers, we defined a set of key insights that relate to the experience of waiting for a consultation in a healthcare setting.
Each insight into the current experience is described on a separate card, the title of each card opens up a particular opportunity area to improve the experience of waiting. A trigger for ideation of solutions.
The insights capture the physical, emotional and spatial aspects of the waiting experience. By combining them and mapping them to time and the process of waiting provided a clear innovation framework for the project.

Patient Journey
From arrival and registration at a clinic or hospital reception, all the way through to medical consultation and departure, the waiting experience is broken into key stages that impact the overall waiting experience. consideration was given to people having to wait while their loved one consults the doctor. Each stage was colour coded to indicate the pace of activity at that point, a faster pace with a more intense colour. A time icon indicates the typical relative duration of each stage.

Modular furniture system that can be adapted to support different types of activities, people and facilities; elements can be reconfigured by healthcare provider as a service evolves. Moveable arm rests and a choice of different density cushion pads allow people to create their own physical comfort zone. Wheelchair users and children in strollers have designated waiting space alongside their loved ones. Soft design qualities communicate comfort, but not at the expense of hygiene, with specialist materials finishes ensuring safe surfaces. Active and passive air cleaning is achieved through integrated ventilation and carefully chosen plants. A queue management system provides displays at each end of the seating unit, reassuringly near to people as they wait.

When you sit at a table its surface naturally creates a personal space around you. Tableau is a communal table for waiting rooms that provides social and private space for people to read , write, relax or socialise.
Integrated lighting, storage and queue management displays create a dedicated area in which people can prepare or debrief after a consultation. Service staff can also use the table as an informal work space or a place for conversations with patients and loved ones.

Is an iPhone application that tells you more than just your number in the queue. You can use it to make an appointment, locate your doctor's consultation room at the clinic, as well as make use of your waiting time for a better, more effective medical consultation. Features include reassuring dynamic updates of your position in the queue, a place to keep health notes, medication records and access to information about local activities for a healthier lifestyle. Simple visual interfaces make waiting time, effective time for you.

An iPhone application that brings together relevant information for your consultation.

A pre-triage feature can help people prepare the information they need to share with their doctor.

Folio is a low-tech solution that helps people review and organise their medical consultation records, past present. Important details about medications and appointments are stored in a simple paper wallet. Prepare and Remember cards on which people can record their personal health notes can be kept safely in one place, ready to bring to consultation. Information is deliberately simple, visual and color-coded for easier interaction. Individual healthcare providers can always tailor the content and branding to reflect their own health care services.

Simple questions and diagrams prompt people to capture the essential information to be shared with their doctor.

A map helps people locate their waiting room at the hospital or clinic.

Counter Act
Counter Act is a freestanding vending unit for the waiting room that combines a display surface for public health messages with the vending of healthy snaks and water. More kitchen counter than vending machine, the unit triggers people to interact and practice healthy habits in a context where they are likely to br thinking about their health.

Helathpoint is an interior architecture concept that is designed to promote healthy living, whatever your health condition or lifestage. A welcome wall as you enter introduces the doctor's on duty for consultation as well as a variety of a local health and social care services for group meetings, classes etc. Local citizens can share their healthy tips and stories to create a living library of community health to inspire and encourage active lifestyles.