Healthcare Design

The “Landscape” of Healthcare Design

The Dundee V&A museum of Design provides a global showcase for the value, meaning and language of world-class design. At the same time, there is an evolving Scottish healthcare journey using design thinking as a catalyst, placing citizens at the heart of identifying and tackling systemic health and care issues.


The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland's report entitled “Realistic Medicine” captures a design-led mindset that places people at the center of shared decision making, partnership working, risk management and outcome based care.


The report also challenges doctors to be creative and contribute to healthcare improvement and innovation. AHSP healthcare design will bring these complimentary mindsets together and help develop the new healthcare products and services of the future.


Our AHSP healthcare design team aspires to promote a new philosophy of human centered design and thereby develop new products and services that are desireable to patients, technically feasible to develop in Scotland and viable to implement within a global healthcare economy.


Design covers a wide range of people-centred innovation and enterprise, placing users at the center of the creation of novel healthcare products and services that they value.


Design Council – Public sector design ladder

The use of design in healthcare has traditionally been confined to architectural and interior design of healthcare buildings and to the design of medical equipment. AHSP design-led healthcare will extend the remit scope of design to wider areas of activity and grow a new economy based on inter-disciplinary collaboration at the interface of the creative industries, art, science, computing, gaming and engineering.

AHSP design-led healthcare introduces a new way of thinking, to support an increasingly complex health and social care sector. Current models of global healthcare provision are based mainly on scientific, objective and ‘task based’ thinking. These models of evidence-based solutions rarely explore the value of ‘user experience’, patient reported outcomes or the emotional impact of being a patient, carer or healthcare worker in a complex environment.

Design-led healthcare will facilitate a creative engagement between arts and sciences, introducing a fresh philosophy, structure and user-centered ‘design thinking’ mindset to the health and social care sectors. A wide range of professional design expertise will be used to influence, compliment and challenge current healthcare models. This expertise will be gained through collaboration with design colleagues in academia and professional design practice.

Healthcare Design includes the following, inter-related design disciplines:

1. Product design – physical products and technologies used by workers, patients and carers

2. Service design – user-centered systems, behaviors and policies that can reform organisations

3. Digital interactive design – interfaces between digital technologies and human beings in hospitals, communities and homes

4. Environment design – architecture and interior design of hospitals, clinics and homes

5. Business design – management, finance, sales and marketing of healthcare products and services

6. Design for Education and Training – human centered design thinking, technical and non-technical skills training

Of these diciplines, Dundee is well placed to create a unique environment for the introduction of Design thinking in education and training. The University of Dundee Medical School and NHS Tayside have a long history of expertise in technical and non-technical skills training for undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare workers. Education resources will support healthcare workers and public awareness of “design thinking” as a valuable discipline and asset within healthcare. Themes of “Realistic Medicine” and design-led innovation will be introduced to a global audience. This will be done through undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, public seminars, conferences, V&A events, publication and web based resources.

 Images related to Design disciplines: 


1.Product Design



 2.Service Design


 3.Digital Interactive Design

wardWatch is a web based platform created by Dr Matt Pendleton and Mr Adam Williamson, former students of Dundee Medical School, which allows students and staff to see the best places to access clinical learning opportunities.  The idea was first developed whilst studying at the University.  To find out more about wardWatch, visit the website:

 4.Environment Design 

 5.Design for Healthcare Business



6.Design for Education and Training



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