Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who is the customer in a hospital?

Yesterday I had to visit a new hospital in my city for a couple of tests. The hospital is now open for a month or so. This means that everything is new and quite a lot of things are not finished yet. For instance, the signs for the various departments are mostly missing. So, many patients and visitors have the feeling that they are in a maze. Even the nurses don’t know where you are supposed to go.  I was sent 4 times to the wrong location! Then they did ask a volunteer, who acted as a traffic guide, to accompany me, but she had problems as well in finding the place to be!

It is clear that the hospital had not heard about the ‘user experience’ and about applying ‘design thinking’ to the layout. It looked like the old rules of running a hospital (via compartmentalizing) did win, again. I am pretty sure that any designer would tear out his/her hair in seeing the set-up and routing.

I was also (temporarily) put in a bed/room. On first sight, I could see no place to hang my winter coat, so I had to leave it on the ground. Then a nurse pointed me to the cupboard, which was located behind a curtain. She said, “ Only a man could have designed this”! Again this is another example of how the users (patients and nurses) are left out of the equation.

I would argue that a hospital should be one of the prime areas, where customer-centricity is at the heart of the operation. But, it is clear that (user experience)
design has not reached the board room of this hospital.

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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