How design thinking can improve private healthcare

Healthcare is changing, new technology is offering transformational ways of treating and working with patients, customer demands are shifting and staff are seeking more engagement and involvement in their workplaces. How are businesses adapting to these new challenges and opportunities, which if ignored will inevitably result in declining market share and profitability and what role can design thinking play in meeting these challenges?

New Technology

Businesses need to be aware of new developments in technology and how they can achieve more efficiencies and improve the patient experience. Examples of the way new technology is changing healthcare include:

  • 3.7m repeat prescriptions were ordered online in the first 3 months of 2015.
  • Seoul’s Bundang Hospital provide patients with a patient guide app that checks them into the hospital and guides the patient through the procedure they are due to have. It also allows patients to pay for their treatment.
  • The NHS is aiming to become digital and paperless by 2020. 

However, the advent and adoption of new technology should not be the starting point for organisational change. The starting point needs to be deciding on what patient experience your organisation wants to deliver and how technology can help deliver that experience, something that is at the heart of design thinking.  

What vision has your business set out to maximise the opportunities new technology offers?

Patient experience

New technology and social media is changing the expectations of patients and consumersPeople expect choice which offers quick and easy transactions which lead to immediate benefits (Amazon now offer a same day delivery service). If your business is not meeting or exceeding patient expectations, then they will move to a competitor who does. With the advent of new technology, improving patient experience should never be easier. The Care Quality Commission regulation on Patient Centred Care makes it even more important that patient experience is at the heart of healthcare businesses

Are all the services your company provides based on good quality patient understanding and insight?

Staff engagement

New technology is also helping internal communications. Stitch is an internal patient focussed communication tool that staff can use to track a patient through their hospital visit and view their real time updated medical information. It provides staff with information when they need it, and in a simple to understand format, and helps them make decisions in real time about how they can improve patient’s experiences. This empowerment of staff to make decisions is crucial to a responsive organisation and increases staff motivation and engagement.

Leaders in Oncology Care (LOC), recently worked with Uscreates to apply design thinking to develop and trial a number of service improvements. The trials reduced the amount of time patients spent in the clinic receiving treatment, allowing the clinic to treat more patients and engage staff in how they can improve their own services. Prototyping and trialling is a key element of design thinking and can engage all staff teams in continuously improving the business and the service they provide to patients. Read more about this work here

To learn more about how companies can respond to current and future challenges Uscreates are holding an exclusive breakfast event: Designing the Future of Private Healthcare at RIBA, near Oxford Circus on 22nd March 8.30am - 10am.

If you are interested in attending, please email Denica Alleyne at

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How design thinking can improve private healthcare



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