Pioneering design research in health and care

A flavour of our design research in health and care

As well as a home to post-graduate teaching, GSA’s Highlands and Islands campus plays host to a portfolio of pioneering design research. The campus is home to the Experience Lab team, a group of design researchers who are central to the Digital Health and Care Institute.

Lasercut model of a nurse used in a design tool during an Experience Lab

Lasercut model of a nurse used in a design tool during an Experience Lab

So, what does all this mean? Why do designers work in healthcare? What do they do exactly? How does Design make a difference? What is an Experience Lab?

These are just some of the queries raised around the exciting and developing role of Design Innovation. Our design researchers specialise in the discipline which sees them designing beyond products, and into services.

To help explain our work to you, one of our research fellows, Gemma Teal is here to help in the video below. Gemma is an experienced design researcher who has almost a decade of experience working in the area of health and wellbeing. 

Gemma Teal Diabetes Experience Lab

Project lead Gemma Teal during a Digital Diabetes Experience Lab. Image credit: Louise Mather

Before we hear from Gemma, here are some frequently asked questions:

What do our design researchers do?
Our researchers work in many different contexts, from business to healthcare.  They address complex issues through new design practices and bespoke community engagement. Our team research the new qualities of design that are needed to co-create contexts in which people can flourish: at work, in organisations and businesses, in public services and government.

Why is this important in a health and care context?
Gemma and our wider design research team play a core role in the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI). Across the world, models of health and care are struggling to meet the challenge of our ageing population. Digital health and care interventions are recognised as key to the solution in tackling this. Our design researchers explore and prototype possible solutions to these issues.

What is an example of this in action?
Recently, our team has explored how to innovate the experience of Outpatient departments in hospitals.  The waiting period ahead of an Outpatient appointment was identified as a key area to innovate working with the NHS staff, and those who live with long-term conditions.

“Revolutionising the Outpatient Experience” was a DHI event, which GSA designed and facilitated. This work gave Gemma the idea to innovate the waiting experience.

As our work in DHI continues, Experience labs are continuing to innovate in this area. We are now collaborating with The Scottish Government on The Modern Outpatient strategy. Part of this programme of work will include looking at how to innovate the waiting experience.

Following the DHI event, which involved health and social care staff and a number of projects that explored experiences of people living with long-term conditions, the team held an internal prototyping workshop to give form to the insights and ideas generated. Their aim was to develop prototypes that respond to the identified need to reduce patient anxiety and prepare them to get the most from their appointment. 

The prototypes designed on the day will feed into the ongoing project, which includes:

  • Interviews with people with lived experiences of Outpatient care
  • A series of co-design sessions
  • A pop-up public engagement tool

…All designed to inspire meaningful conversations around aspirations for care with people who use Outpatients services.

Watch our Experience Lab team in action
Here, and with some help from Gemma, you can watch our designers at work together at the GSA’s Highlands and Islands campus:

GSA Experience Lab team at work! from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.

 

If you’d like more information about our previous work on Revolutionising the Outpatient experience you can read the report online.

To find out more about our portfolio of research please visit our website.


Introducing Design Tools


What is a design tool?

Our Experience Labs team has worked on more than 20 digital health projects in the past three years, covering subjects such as diabetes, back pain, counselling and Internet safety.

The Labs were developed by InDI and are a central element in the Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI), a Scottish Innovation Centre funded by the Scottish Funding Council, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Because each topic and group of participants is different, the design researchers create special tools to use in each workshop. These are designed to engage participants and encourage them to share their own experiences.

In a series of blogs, called Tool Stories, members of the Experience Labs team reflect on some of these bespoke tools and why they were so effective.

Blank swallow cards CrossReach

Image credit: Hannah Laycock

But what is a tool?
We asked our design researchers and for this, the first blog, we bring you their definitions. Let us know what you think about the term.

“A tool is something that gives form to thought…we’re trying to capture experiences and asking people to share their stories… The tools help people to visualise that experience because perhaps they can’t do it in a conversation.
Leigh-Anne Hepburn

“A tool is anything that is populated with experiences or thoughts in a session. It moves the conversation beyond a chat, and makes the structure and shape of the process tangible.”
Jeroen Blom

“A tool is something that facilitates engagement and helps people either to think about new ideas or express and share their experiences and ideas. It is anything that helps to articulate and makes tangible the different thoughts and experiences that people bring to the labs.”
Sneha Raman

“A tool is anything we use, whether it be software, hardware, a piece of paper, that facilitates discussion, can be used to record discussion or can be used to provoke some reaction and then discussion.”
Dr Jay Bradley

Until the next blog, you can read more about a different approach to tools on the Leapfrog page and by searching our blogs.


Helping you keep well at work


Take part in an Experience Lab

We  are offering a second chance to take part in an Experience Labs project about wellbeing in the workplace.

The Glimpse project investigates ways for people can improve their health through gentle exercise carried out at work.

Taking part in a lab is a great way to help GSA researchers explore a health related challenge that can help people in the future. It also gives you the opportunity to meet our team and find out more about our work.

The Experience Labs are part of the Digital Health & Care Institute, one of Scotland’s Innovation Centres, funded by the Scottish Funding Council.

Lego desk

The team has organised a special collaborative design workshop in Glasgow on Tuesday 28 March, which is open to people with experience of desk-based working. This is the second workshop of the project after a successful session last month.

The partner on the project is Justin Eade, of Glimpse Ltd. Justin is a Workplace Wellbeing Consultant with more than 20 years experience. He hopes that the research will develop ideas for a digital application to counter the effects of sedentary work.

Dr Jay Bradley and Dr Michael Johnson explain more about what the session involves:

“At the first workshop, the participants explored the key issues around wellbeing and exercise within the workplace; the opportunities that exist for exercising at work and the activities they could incorporate into their working day. We now have an understanding of how people might feel about movement for wellbeing in the workplace and what exercises and situations would be preferable for challenging sedentary behaviour.

Dr Jay Bradley speaking at a lab

Dr Jay Bradley leads an Experience Lab. Image credit: Louise Mather

“The second workshop will build on the outcomes of the first. Participants will take part in co-designed prototype development. We will explore ways for people to learn and sustain movement exercises and routines at work.

“All information provided will remain confidential.”

The lab will take place at House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, on Tuesday March 28, from 11am-3pm.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided and reasonable travel expenses will also be paid.

To take part or to for more information, contact Dr Jay Bradley, [email protected] or Dr Michael Johnson, [email protected]


Exercise for wellbeing in the workplace?


Helping desk-based workers keep well

Researchers from the Experience Labs are looking for people to take part in one of their latest projects.

The Glimpse project aims to investigate ways that people can improve their health and wellbeing through gentle exercise carried out at work.

Taking part in a lab is a great way to help GSA researchers explore a health-related challenge that can help people in the future. It also gives you the opportunity to meet our team and find out more about our work.

The team has organised a special collaborative design workshop in Glasgow later this month, which is open to people with experience of desk-based working.

Dr Michael Johnson speaking

Dr Michael Johnson describing an activity during an Experience Lab. Image credit: Louise Mather

Here Dr Jay Bradley and Dr Michael Johnson explain more about what the session involves:

“We are working with Justin Eade, of Glimpse Ltd. Justin is a Workplace Wellbeing Consultant with more than 20 years experience. He hopes that our research will contribute to development ideas for a digital application to counter the effects of sedentary work.

“The whole project involves two Experience Labs that will develop ideas generated by participants. We are looking for people to take part in the first event on February 28.

“The lab will use creative activities to explore how movement for wellbeing can be better incorporated into the workplace to address health concerns. The physical activities involved will be largely gentle movement and light activity – so no one will be asked to do anything too strenuous!

“We will also have group discussions about participants’ own experiences of desk-based work and its effects on health and wellbeing. All information provided will remain confidential.”

A woman's hands doing tai chi

The lab will take place at House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, from 11am-3pm.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided and reasonable travel expenses will also be paid.

To take part or to for more information, contact Dr Jay Bradley, [email protected] or Dr Michael Johnson, [email protected]

You can read more about the Experience Labs by clicking here.


Join our Digital Diabetes Experience Lab!


Exploring self management of diabetes

InDI’s Experience Labs explore innovative and exciting solutions to a range of healthcare issues affecting Scottish society.

They often include looking at how digital technology can be used to improve peoples’ lives and now there’s a chance for you to get involved.

One of the team’s biggest projects to date has been Digital Diabetes, a portfolio of seven promising innovation projects supported by the Digital Health & Care Institute.

Researchers have collaborated with people living with diabetes, carers and health professionals to understand their needs and design new models of service.

Gemma Teal Diabetes Experience Lab

Project lead Gemma Teal during a Digital Diabetes lab. Image credit: Louise Mather

The Experience Lab team has organised a lab in Glasgow later this month and are looking for people to take part. Project lead Gemma Teal tells the InDI blog a bit more.

“The project is looking at how people living with diabetes can be supported in managing their condition using digital technology.

“We’ve already carried out interviews with people living with diabetes, as well as Experience Labs throughout Scotland. The ideas generated will be used to shape future diabetes services and research programmes.

“Our next Experience Lab will be in Glasgow and we’re exploring how visuals can support self management for people living with diabetes.

“We’re looking for people over the age of 16 who manage their condition using insulin.

“The day will involve a three-hour interactive design workshop where you will share your experiences of living with diabetes. Participants will also work together on a design activity.

Diabetes workshop Experience Labs

Researchers have worked with people living with diabetes, carers and health professionals to understand their needs. Image credit: Louise Mather

“We want people to feel comfortable enough to talk about their experiences and help designers to understand how people live with this disease. Any information provided will remain confidential.”

The workshop will be held in Glasgow city centre, on Monday 20th February. Food will be available from 5pm and the workshop will run from 5.30pm-8.30pm. Those taking part will receive a £20 gift voucher as thanks for their participation and reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.

For more information or to register to take part in the workshop, contact Gemma on 0141 566118 or [email protected] or Tine Thorup, t[email protected]