There’s no doubt about it – the healthcare sector is facing new challenges as patients call for more intuitive, personalised and customer-centric experiences. To meet these needs, design thinking is to a greater extent at play.

While you’ve likely had some exposure to design thinking in different aspects of healthcare, there’s still much untapped potential for this problem-solving process. Design thinking is ideas-driven and encourages creative thinking to find simple answers for common problems.

At essence, design thinking is increasingly part of what we practise – we apply strategic and creative analysis of customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) to support more effective ways to deliver information.

So, we’re naturally energised to see more and more healthcare brands embracing human-centered design to deliver their solutions, methods of care and improve processes and products.

How has design thinking been applied in healthcare?

Design thinking can be applied to devices, medical equipment and health technology, and to enhance patient experiences; for example, reducing waiting room processing times.

Design thinking can improve distribution of medical results by more effectively and efficiently delivering health information via website portals and apps. It’s also used to progress the performance of marketing and advertising channels.

Today, virtual reality, customer-centric apps and artificial intelligence are a handful of solutions used to bring tailored and more authentic healthcare experiences to life.

We don’t need to look far to recognise local examples of design thinking.

Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s iMoko is a digitally enhanced healthcare programme designed to increase access to health services for children. Design/tech studio Rush Digital creates experiences using computer vision and sensor technologies for children at Starship Hospital, to make their stay more enjoyable. These innovators will both be at TILT 2018 next week sharing information with healthcare leaders and marketers on how to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

For others keen to embark on the design thinking journey, a quick online search will deliver extensive information on applying design thinking to healthcare.



Getting Started

To get you started, here are our top tips:

  • Observe your customers and the people that matter most
  • Start conversations – survey/interview existing customers to uncover their unmet needs
  • Empathise with customers – put yourself in their shoes
  • Define the problem you’re keen to solve
  • Brainstorm ideas on how you can solve the problem and identify what tools you’ll need
  • Develop a prototype
  • Test the product, service and customer journeys before making tweaks and implementing wider


Before you start the design thinking process, look within your organisation to engage those at the frontline of the problem you are trying to solve (e.g. doctors, nurses, administrators, office managers, sales people, marketers); they can share valuable insights before you delve deeper into uncovering the desires of customers and devising innovative solutions.

However, as with all healthcare challenges, there will be obstacles – privacy, regulatory constraints, lack of innovation or funding, to name a few – but remember, with innovation comes opportunity.

If you’re keen to have a chat about how to best apply design thinking to your business’ marketing and advertising, feel free to email us. If you’d like to come along to TILT 2018 you can find more information about it here: