The St. Paul’s Redevelopment Project presents 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 innovative 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.