Customer experience and healthcare

From time to time you hear people understanding service design as something very strategic or too complicated to be applied for a development project. Purpose of this blog post is to show, applying service design can be practical and especially in healthcare sector, highly recommendable. Last week we organized an ideation workshop in a public hospital in Helsinki Finland in order to improve customer experience during the first 24 hours patients check in. Workshop covered 10 departments and over 50 participants representing hospital employees from nurses and physiotherapists to doctors.

Understand the reality and define the problem you´re solving.

Participants started by getting absorbed in the patient´s experiences collected by student observations. What did the patients feel, think, do, see and hear? Shared emotional understanding of the customer´s experience worked as a starting point for the workshop. In the next phase participants filled an emotional customer experience map, that is a process for discovering, how your customers feel as they experience the service through service touch points. With the help of the emotional customer journey, participants identified the pain points of the service. By identifying the pain points, participants were able to understand the reality and define the problem participants continued to work with.


From ideation to potential solutions

As the design process progressed, focus of the workshop moved into creating ideas. As the hospital sector is known from high hierarchy, the whole ideation phase was facilitated by working by turns of individual and group work. We used a modified version of the power of ten brainstorming technique to generate ideas. From the ideas groups picked up one theme to start developing a solution worth to be prototyped.

At the end of the workshop each group represented their solution to the workshop participants to test the potentiality of the service. Can you guess, what was in common for all the solutions represented? They all focused in developing circumstances to build better encounters with patients. Most of the ideas did not require new investment, but the awareness and will to change it.

Service design can be strategic, but also very simple and straightforward development method. If you are still not convinced in applying service design in your work, I can´t resist telling, how the participants felt at the end of the workshop. Most of them summed up their feelings as being inspired, empowered and excited. Not a bad end result for 3 hours of investment of working time?

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