User-centred Healthcare Design

The state of the health of Britain’s population and the ways medical professionals are expected to respond to health issues have changed drastically in the sixty years since the NHS was set up. Older people often have multiple health issues rather than one illness, while the number of people with chronic illnesses has increased. Commercially available products mean that people can more easily treat minor health issues without the help of professionals, and many people want to be more active and informed throughout treatment that does require professional administration.

The purpose of the UCHD project is to help the NHS respond to these changes. There are four major elements to the project. We take a user-centred approach, looking at current services through the eyes of their users to identify opportunities to create positive changes. We focus on innovative thinking, attempting to enact positive change across the broad picture rather than focusing on more narrowly-defined issues. We work towards the material realisation of our ideas through the use of participatory analysis, which includes role play, pencil sketches, dialogue and discussion. Finally, we engage in interdisciplinary dialogue, bringing in fresh perspectives from psychologists, social researchers, technologists, engineers, interaction designers, product designers and graphic designers.

With these aspects in mind, we aim to develop technologies that will allow patients to have control and choice, providing a customer-focused health care service that gives them what they require, attempting to enact positive change across the broad picture rather than focusing on more narrowly-defined issues.

Start Date: 2009

Funding: NIHR: National Institute for Health Research

Researchers: Peter Wright (PI)

See the UCHD website for more information.