Healthcare is an emotive issue. It consumes vast amounts of resources, and is crying out for new ideas that can improve access, services and treatments—especially given the demands of an ever-changing population. So: should design set about bringing advances in areas such as telehealth, the administration and packaging of drugs, and in the revival of R&D?
Or is design’s role better suited to highlighting ‘softer’, patient-centered issues, such as improving patient care, dignity and wellbeing, and providing patients with a greater say about how they are treated? Perhaps design should both help people more easily manage their health, and, through new advances in clinical innovation, also bring them greater freedom over their lives – not least, the freedom to stop worrying about their health.
Everyone agrees healthcare needs to be improved, but can attempts to alter patients’ and staff’s behaviour succeed? And will focusing on patient satisfaction be enough to transform the NHS and wider healthcare provision?