Industrial Designer

Patient Voices Tool Kit

St. Paul's Hospital Workshop-075.jpg

The Patient Voices Tool Kit, designed by our team at HDL, is made up of engaging activities that prompt core-users to express their needs, wants, and desires.


The St. Paul’s Redevelopment Project presented an opportunity to reimagine the future of healthcare and the way healthcare services are delivered to optimize the patient, visitor and staff experience. Through the indicative design process, a concept for the new hospital was established; however, there remained an opportunity to further engage the community in identifying the needs of its core users and generating creative concepts for the design of the entrance experience. 

The Health Design Lab collaborated with the St. Paul’s Hospital redevelopment team on this project, to further explore and consider the patient and visitor experience upon entry into the new hospital. Titled “The First Five”, the focus of this project was on the first 5 minutes, the first 5 user needs and the first 5 actions upon entry. 

This project explored questions such as:

  • What will be the emotional state of people as they enter the facility and how can this be considered in the design of the space and services delivered?

  • How should people be greeted upon arrival?

  • What information needs to be at hand immediately?

  • Where can technology be used to enable a more efficient experience and where is a more personal touch needed?

  • What kind of feeling do we want to create for people entering the space?

  • How can we create an entrance space that is empathetic, human-centred and supportive?

Our team used a human-centered design approach, to observe, listen and generate insights for the new entrance, with an empathetic and person-centered focus. 

Beginning with site visits and ethnographic observations at facilities across the Lower Mainland, our findings informed the development of a set of personas and co-design activities specific to the St. Paul’s Redevelopment project and local community. Utilizing these tools our team led three community co-design workshops in order to gain insights and recommendations directly from past patients and visitors. 

The HDL team developed custom tools and activities for these workshops over a two month development phase, to ensure that the workshops would be engaging and foster meaningful dialogue. A key emphasis was placed on the development of ‘make tools’ that would allow participants to uncover and express needs and ideas through making.

We facilitated three, 2.5 hour long workshops, consisting of three activities in each. We aimed  to engage a group of participants that reflected the multicultural and multigenerational community that access services at St. Paul’s Hospital and included participants from a range of roles, including patient advisors, family caregivers and healthcare staff. 

Through a participatory co-design process and engagement with core users, this project has resulted in a series of ideas and recommendations for the St. Paul’s Redevelopment Team and the future architectural team, to inform the design of the new St. Paul’s hospital entrance experience. This included consideration for reception and check-in kiosks, communication through signage and digital screens, seating and play areas, and visual/graphic elements as forms of positive engagement and wayfinding. 

We created Journey Maps to understand a users progress through a space and how diverse elements of design could help enhance their experience.

My roll was to develop personas, and create the story line for the journey map. My partner Steph drew the images.
Working collaboratively in small groups, participants of our workshop considered how each persona might feel entering the hospital given the scenario presented. Together they brainstormed various needs of the personas and generated ideas for what might make their experience better. Based on the insights gathered through the persona activity, as well as the floorplan activity, we have created six ideal patient and visitor scenarios, as a way to synthesize the ideas generated by workshop participants. These help to bring to life some of the ideas that were suggested and demonstrate how various design elements can support and enhance a positive entrance experience. As the architectural design of the entrance evolves through the design process these personas and scenarios can be referred back to, ensuring that the design of the space will meet the needs of the users described in these stories.

Journey Example: Edha and family


Edha arrives with her sister and her sister’s 2 teenage children to visit her father/the children’s grandfather. Edha is the main caregiver to her father, Mangesh, and neither of them speak English well. Mangesh, is 78 years old and has been an inpatient on the medical ward for 2 days with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. There is a kitchenette where Edha is able to heat the home cooked meal. The family is relieved to find a digital information kiosk with the option to select Hindi. Located near the kitchenette is a dining area with large table, allowing the entire family to sit together. Edha’s sister has brought a home cooked meal for the family to share. They don’t want to eat in the room because Mangesh is sleeping. The nurse suggested they go downstairs to the kitchenette. After the meal Edha and her sister want a quiet place to pray and discuss their father’s health. Meanwhile Edha’s niece and nephew are bored and Edha hopes they can keep themselves occupied as to not disturb their prayer time. They make their way into the sacred space. The room is carpeted making it more comfortable to kneel and pray. Outside there is a comfortable seating area with free wifi where the two teenagers sit and wait for their mom and aunt.

Journey Example: Marjorie and Handford